AUSTIN, Texas- Concordia University designated hitter/third baseman Jason Winkler (Pflugerville, Texas) has been signed to a free agent contract by the Cincinnati Reds. Winkler’s signing marks the first time a Concordia player has inked a professional contract during head coach Mike Gardner’s tenure at CUA.

After reporting to Sarasota, Fla. for an abbreviated spring training, Winkler will travel with his new teammates to Billings, Mont., where he will play rookie league ball for the Billings Mustangs. Winkler and the Mustangs will begin their season June 20 when they play host to Great Falls.

“It is extremely exciting to have the opportunity to play professional baseball and live out the dream that I haveWinkler signs with Reds always wanted,” Winkler said. “I never thought this would happen, but my hard work has finally paid off and I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

During his senior campaign Winkler posted career numbers, hitting at a .331 clip, while blasting six home runs and totaling 28 RBI. Winkler started all 38 games for the Tornados in 2006 tallying 70 total bases and recording a .504 slugging percentage, both marks good for third best on the squad. Over the final four games of his collegiate career Winkler hit .722 in 18 at bats and posted two home runs, eight RBI and seven runs scored.

Winkler garnered American Southwest Conference West Division honorable mention accolades in 2005 and 2006 and has been named to the ASC Academic All-Conference squad twice for baseball, and once for golf.