The Cubs have come to terms with left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny, the club’s second-round pick in the 2013 draft. The 41st overall selection reportedly signed a $1.1 million deal after going 2-9 with a 3.38 ERA in his junior season at the University of Missouri. This season, the 21-year-old southpaw fanned 82 batters over 90.2 innings and held opponents to a .266 batting average.
An Edmonton, Alberta native, Zastryzny had 228 career strikeouts as a Tiger, eighth-most in the school’s history.
He is the eighth player to sign with the Cubs from the 2013 draft class. The other prospects include right-handed pitcher Zachary Godley (10th round), catcher Cael Brockmeyer (16th round), shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio (18th round), second baseman Zak Blair (20th round), left fielder Kevin Brown (22nd round), left-handed pitcher Tyler Ihrig (23rd round) and right-handed pitcher Zak Hermans (30th round).
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To bolster their bullpen, the Cubs acquired right-hander Henry Rodriguez from the Nationals Tuesday night in exchange for Kane County right-hander Ian Dickson.
In 17 relief appearances with the Nationals this season, the 26-year-old Rodriguez was 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 18 innings. He limited opponents to a .203 batting average against, including a .194 mark by right-handers and a .211 mark by left-handers. Rodriguez was designated for assignment by the Nats on June 4.
The Venezuelan native, whose fastball has averaged 98 MPH over his career, has pitched all or part of five seasons with the Athletics and Nationals, posting a career 5-7 record with 11 saves and a 4.23 ERA in 143 innings. He had career-high nine saves last year in Washington.
Dickson was 2-2 with a 6.88 ERA in 35.1 innings this year for Single-A Kane County. The 22-year-old was a 35th-round pick by the Cubs in the 2011 Draft.
To make room for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated Eduardo Sanchez for assignment. They had claimed the right-handed pitcher off waivers from the Cardinals on May 21.
The Chicago Cubs tonight selected right-handed hitting third baseman Kris Bryant out of the University of San Diego with the second overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Bryant was recommended by area scout Alex Lontayo.
“Kris had an incredible season at San Diego, hitting for both power and average,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs vice president of scouting and player development. “He is a big, strong, athletic player, and we feel he has the attributes of someone who could fit into the middle of a lineup at the major league level. He has the ability to hit for average along with power to all parts of the park.”
Bryant, 20, hit .329 (75-for-228) with 80 runs scored, 13 doubles, three triples, 31 home runs and 62 RBI in 62 games for the Toreros this season, his junior year. His 31 home runs led the nation and are a USD single-season record. Bryant also led the nation in runs scored, walks (66) and slugging percentage (.820). His 54 career home runs in three years at USD are a school record.
Named a finalist for the 2013 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Bryant also led the Toreros in total bases (187), while striking out just 44 times in 302 plate appearances. In addition, Bryant was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year to go along with All-Tournament Team honors at the West Coast Conference Championships. The Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year sported a .946 fielding percentage at third base (9 E/166 TC).
Baseball America listed Bryant as the top position prospect available in the draft, and the third-best overall. The publication ranks him as the top college power hitter available and third-best with regards to strike zone judgment.
In 2012, Bryant reached base safely in 53 of his 57 games and logged a .366 batting average (78-for-213). He led the team in RBI (57), home runs (14), runs scored (59), hits (79), walks (39), on-base percentage (.483) and slugging percentage (.671). Bryant earned All-Conference honors for the second-straight year, and was named to the WCC All-Academic Team after posting a 3.34 GPA. He was named WCC Co-Player and Co-Freshman of the Year in his first year at USD in 2011.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nev., Bryant graduated from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas. As a senior, he hit .489 with 22 home runs and 51 RBI en route to being named an AFLAC All-American. He was drafted by Toronto in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB June draft, but did not sign, electing to attend USD.
The 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft continues this evening with the second round, in which the Cubs have pick No. 41. The draft continues tomorrow with rounds three-through-10 and concludes Saturday with rounds 11-through-40.
The Houston Astros selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the first overall pick.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Chicago Cubs today selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Zach Putnam from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-handed pitcher Alex Burnett to Triple-A. To make room for Putnam on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. It was announced yesterday the 32-year-old Japanese reliever will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Putnam, 25, will be available for the Cubs this afternoon against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. So far this season, he is 1-1 with four saves and a 3.26 ERA (7 ER/19.1 IP) in 17 relief appearances with Iowa. He has struck out 22 and walked only six in 19.1 innings, an average of 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Putnam has a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) in his last 10 outings beginning April 28.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound right-hander has a 1-1 record and a 4.82 ERA (5 ER/9.1 IP) in 10 major league relief appearances since making his debut with Cleveland in September 2011. In 2012, he had two scoreless appearances for the Rockies (2.0 IP) in two stints with the major league club.
Putnam is 20-13 with 30 saves and a 3.86 ERA (135 ER/315.0 IP) in 188 career minor league games, all but 15 as a reliever. He was originally selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2008 draft before Colorado acquired him in January 2012 for pitcher Kevin Slowey. The Cubs claimed Putnam off waivers from Colorado in November 2012.
Burnett, 25, was claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Monday and tossed a scoreless ninth inning yesterday in his Cubs debut.
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The Cubs claimed right-hander Alex Burnett off waivers from the Orioles Monday afternoon.
The 25-year-old reliever had his finest season last year, going 4-4 with a 3.52 ERA and 10 holds in 67 relief appearances for the Twins. Prior to the All-Star break he had a 2.49 ERA, fourth among AL relievers. During the spring, the former 12th round pick of the 2005 draft was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays before being designated for assignment and signing on with Baltimore on April 12.
Burnett is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings in Triple-A this season. He is currently on the Cubs’ 25-man roster.
(Photo by Jason Wise)
Albert Almora has always felt most comfortable when he’s on a baseball diamond. For the first time during the 2013 regular season, he’ll get that opportunity.
The Cubs’ 2012 first-round draft pick was transferred to Single-A Kane County on Wednesday after missing the first portion of the season with a broken hamate bone in his wrist. The sixth overall pick of last year’s draft entered the season as the organization’s second-best prospect and minor league baseball’s No. 33 overall prospect, according to Baseball America. The publication also lists Almora as the best hitter for average and the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs minor league system.
After signing with the Cubs in early July, he split time between the Arizona Rookie League and Short-Season Boise. In 33 combined games, the outfielder hit .321/.331/.464 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 12 doubles in 140 at-bats.
Almora joins an impressive list of former first rounders to play for the Cougars including Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Blanton.
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The Chicago Cubs today placed right-handed pitcher Shawn Camp on the 15-day disabled list with a right big toe sprain and recalled right-handed pitcher Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa.
Dolis, 25, is 1-0 with one save and a 5.40 ERA in 12 relief appearances (11.2 IP) with Iowa this season. This is already the third time he’s been with the big club, as he was up for brief stints from April 13-15 and May 6-8. He has appeared in two big league games in 2013, giving up no earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched. Dolis, who made the Opening Day roster in 2012, and has seen action with the Cubs each of the last three seasons, going 2-4 with four saves and a 5.93 ERA in 37 career big league relief appearances.
Camp, 37, is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA (14 ER/16.2 IP) in 20 relief appearances this season.
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The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Eduardo Sanchez off waivers Tuesday afternoon. The 24-year-old spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors with the Cardinals, going a combined 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA and five saves over 45 innings. He’s fanned 48 batters and held opponents to a .166 OBA.
The reliever appeared in nine games for Triple-A Memphis this season, recording a 3.72 ERA with a save in 9.2 innings pitched.
Sanchez made his major league debut in 2011, going 3-1 with five saves and a 1.80 ERA. He jumped between St. Louis and the minors last year, going 0-1 with a 6.60 ERA.
Sanchez will be assigned to Triple-A Iowa.
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The Cubs team strength should get even stronger tonight in Pittsburgh. After a 10-month absence, right-hander Matt Garza will make his highly anticipated debut as the Cubs take on the division rival Pirates. To make room for him in the starting rotation, Carlos Villanueva has been moved to the bullpen.
Garza’s last start was on July 21, 2012, before a stress reaction in his right elbow shut him down for the season. He came into the spring healthy, but suffered a left lat strain in his first bullpen session in Mesa, Ariz, and has been on the DL all year. In his last start with Triple-A Iowa on May 16, he went six scoreless innings on 75 pitches, walking none and striking out six. Garza has said he hopes there will be no limitations on him in his first outing, but manager Dale Sveum will likely keep the veteran at 85-90 pitches.
In two seasons with the Cubs, Garza is 15-17 with a 3.52 ERA in 49 games (301.2 IP).
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The Cubs and Anthony Rizzo officially came to terms on a seven-year deal worth an estimated $41 million that includes club options for the 2020 and 2021 season and could total $73 million before it’s through. The contract covers the first baseman’s final two pre-arbitration seasons, his four arbitration-eligible years and at least his first season of free agency, with options to buy out years two and three.
The 23-year-old—who will be 30 when the original contract expires—has played just 124 games for the Cubs, accumulating a .283/.345/.485 (AVG/OBP/SLG) line with 24 homers, 25 doubles and 76 RBI. His home runs, hits (136) and OPS (.830) all rank second among NL first basemen since his call-up on June 26, 2012. His .995 fielding percentage is also second among first basemen.
Rizzo was originally selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of high school. He was limited to 21 minor league games in 2008 after being diagnosed with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma in late April, but he returned a season later to lead all Red Sox minor leaguers with a .368 on-base percentage.
In December, 2010 he was traded to the Padres, along with four other players, for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He tore up the Triple-A ranks and was the No. 1 prospect in the Padres farm system when he was acquired by the Cubs on January 6, 2012 as part of a four-player trade that included RHP Andrew Cashner.
Through 37 games this season, Rizzo is hitting .280/.352/.538 with nine homers and 28 driven in. Though he struggled early, his average has climbed quickly, as he was hitting just .173 on April 25.