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Former Sandburg standout Billo signs with Slammers

Cougars pitcher Greg Billo got wagainst DaytDragons Sunday Elfstrom Stadium. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

Cougars pitcher Greg Billo got the win against the Dayton Dragons on Sunday at Elfstrom Stadium. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 28, 2014 1:18PM



The Joliet Slammers allowed a whopping 31 runs in their first two games this week against River City, but pitching help could be on the way.

Joliet has signed 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander Greg Billo, a 2008 Sandburg graduate who spent several seasons pitching in the Kansas City Royals’ organization.

The 23-year-old Billo is scheduled to make his Slammers debut Friday night in the series opener against the Gateway Grizzlies at Silver Cross Field.

“He’s trying to get it going again and he thinks there’s something left in the tank,’’ said Joliet manager Jeff Isom, who’s in charge of player procurement for the team. “He’s got experience and it’s tough now to find experienced arms.’’

Billo pitched six minor league seasons with the Royals, including 2011 when he was 9-5 with a 1.93 ERA for the Kane County Cougars, who had moved their low Class A team from Idaho.

Billo pitched most of last season for Class A Lexington with an ERA of only 1.65 in 49 innings. He was 3-5 in 13 games, including 10 starts.

But his ERA ballooned to 7.41 this season in Double A before the Royals dealt him in May to the Los Angeles Angels, who released him after two appearances.

Kansas City selected the Orland Park native in the 28th round of the 2008 amateur draft. Billo was the 2008 SouthtownStar Player of the Year with a 12-1 record and a 1.19 ERA in his senior year at Sandburg. His father is the Eagles’ pitching coach.

“We like to try and get guys that are local,’’ Isom said.

Slammers rookie Jake Hermsen (1-0, 3.69), a Northern Illinois product, is scheduled to make his seventh start in Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies.

Kody McFarland (1-1, 5.65) will be on the mound for Joliet in Sunday’s series finale.



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