GARY | Josh Biggs had tossed a few pitches with a friend Friday morning, keeping himself in shape for when a ball club had an opening.
At 2 p.m., the RailCats called.
"They asked me if I could be out here tonight, that was pretty much it," said Biggs, a Washington Township product. "I had a 15-minute run when I first got here. I've been throwing bullpens and playing catch with a buddy back home. I just threw this morning, I didn't know what was going on (with the RailCats)."
The 'Cats signed Biggs before Friday's game after Fargo-Moorhead when starter Morgan Coombs was diagnosed with shingles. Because the RailCats plan to replace Coombs in the rotation with James Adkins, a need arose for a lefty reliever.
Biggs tried out with the RailCats as part of a swing of tryouts after graduating from Evansville. He also worked out for scouts with the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles.
He said that the scouts at the pro tryouts recommended that he try independent baseball.
Three weeks ago, after the RailCats held their undrafted senior workout, Biggs was pulled aside.
"I came out here on a Monday and was asked to come back that Friday," Biggs said. "They had a live tryout, which means instead of throwing a bullpen you throw to batters. They asked me to stay after and they talked to me and wanted to try to make it work."
Biggs entered Friday's game in the top of the seventh inning, relieving starter Billy Spottiswood. He pitched 2/3 inning, allowing a hit, a run and a walk.
Biggs was on The Times' all-area first team as a senior, when he went 8-0 as a pitcher with a 0.63 ERA. He played four years at Evansville on scholarship, including 16 games his senior season splitting time as a starter and a reliever.
"He had a nice successful career at Evansville, a school I'm very familiar with, and that's not always a precursor to a professional career, but it was success that impressed me as a late-inning reliever in his junior year and as a starter during his senior year," manager Greg Tagert said. "His career was a little bit like Morgan's at Ball State. I'm impressed by that, because it creates a whole different dynamic for us, a guy that's been a starter and can use all of his pitches, but can pitch out of the bullpen, which is the role that many of the young pitchers are given when they first come here."
Biggs said he remained in contact with the team after working out during the last home stand.
He pitched at U.S. Steel Yard for Washington Township during the RailCats High School Challenge in his junior year and played first base on the field as a senior.
Coombs had started nine games for the RailCats since being moved to the rotation when Stephen Hiscock was sidelined with an injury. Coombs had a 4-1 record with a 4.85 ERA.
Adkins, who will take Coombs spot in the rotation Sunday, has played in 10 games this season with one previous start.
"We're obviously concerned for Morgan as well as the rest of the club as we find out more about who might be susceptible to it," Tagert said. "He was very sore prior to his last start in Winnipeg, so much so that there was concern he might miss that start. He went out, and this makes it even more impressive, the outing against Winnipeg, that he went out and pitched and that might have been the start of it."