The Draft is Around the Corner … and Other Cubs News and Notes

As Theo Epstein has said, the most important day for the Chicago Cubs is just 48 hours away. The 2013 first year player draft begins on Thursday and the Cubs are in a position where they cannot afford to miss with the second pick in the draft.

Most feel the Cubs will take one of the highly touted pitchers. But if the Cubs pass on Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray, the Cubs could land power hitting third baseman Kris Bryant, who many think could end up in one of the corner outfield spots. And third baseman Colin Moran from North Carolina is not out of the equation either. Of course, the Astros could select one of the four, as expected, and reduce the Cubs choices. Plus, the news that Jonathan Gray tested positive for a banned stimulant could have an impact on which way the Cubs go on Thursday.

Jason McLeod indicated on Sunday the decision will come down to which player they feel will have the most significant impact.

After the first round, the Cubs are expected to focus on pitching in the upcoming draft, the same as they did a year ago, in an attempt to fill the pitching void in the system.

Jason McLeod said Sunday that the Cubs have not only spent time on which player they will take with the second pick, but the organization has spent a lot of time on the players they could select with picks no. 41 and no. 75.

Dustin Geiger and Kyle Hendricks

The Cubs named their minor league player and pitcher of the month for May on Monday.

Dustin Geiger was named the Cubs’ minor league player of the month. Geiger has been tearing up the Florida State League and is hitting .303/.370/.478 with 15 doubles, one triple and six home runs in 54 games with a .848 OPS and 47 RBI. Geiger earned FSL Player of the Week honors in the middle of the month (May 13-19).

Jason McLeod spoke highly of Geiger on Sunday. McLeod likes Geiger and pointed out he probably gets a little lost being in the same lineup with Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.

Kyle Hendricks was acquired from the Rangers along with Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster at the trade deadline last year and has thrown the ball very well this season. Hendricks improved to 6-2 in 11 starts with his complete game shutout win on Monday night. Hendricks has given up 57 hits while walking 14 and striking out 55 in 65 1/3 innings this season (2.20 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP).

Release from the Cubs

Steve Clevenger

Steve Clevenger has been on the shelf since April 14 with a left oblique strain. Clevenger swung through the final pitch from Santiago Casilla to end the game on April 13 against the Giants and grabbed his back as he swung the bat. Clevenger hit the ground and did not move for several minutes after the game had concluded. Once he could move, Clevenger had to be helped off the field. Clevenger was placed on the 60-day DL the next day.

Clevenger has been rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and started a rehab assignment on Monday with the I-Cubs. Clevenger started behind the plate and hit fifth. Clevenger went 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI in his first game back. Clevenger told the local media prior to the game that he was feeling 100 percent.

Minor Moves

The Cubs announced several moves down on the farm. The Smokies placed Tim Torres on the 7-day DL and Pin-Chieh Chen was promoted from Low-A Kane County to take his place on the Smokies roster.

LHP Austin Kirk was promoted from High-A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee. Kirk will take Matt Loosen’s spot in the Smokies’ rotation. Matt Loosen was demoted to Daytona.

The I-Cubs will have a new face in their pen. Recently DFA’d RHP Alex Burnett cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Burnett accepted his assignment and was expected to report to Iowa late Monday night.

News and Notes

According to a report from Des Moines, Josh Vitters is expected to be out at least another week, possibly longer. Vitters is on the DL for the third time this season with a strained muscle in his rib cage.

Shawn Camp is expected to throw a bullpen session at some point over the next two days while the Cubs are in Anaheim. Camp has been on the DL since May 22 with a sprained right big toe.

Carlos Marmol made a little history on Sunday. Marmol became the first Cubs’ reliever to walk three batters in consecutive games since Scott Sanders in August of 1999.

Javier Baez and Jorge Soler continue to impress according to a report from ESPN Chicago but the Cubs have not discussed promoting either player yet.

Kirk Gibson thinks Jeff Samardzija should shut up and pitch according to a report from FOX Sports.

The Cubs have not announced when Kyuji Fujikawa will undergo his Tommy John surgery as of Sunday night.

According to a report from the LA Times, Milton Bradley was convicted of spousal battery on Monday. Bradley was taken into custody and bail was set at $250,000. Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2 and could face more than seven years in jail.

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Quote of the Day

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