Cubs focus on pitchers in Rounds 3 through 10 of draft

Written By BY DAN MCGRATH For Sun-Times Media Posted: 07/08/2014, 06:17am
Array CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 06: Starting pitcher Jason Hammel #39 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field on June 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477584537

After selecting a catcher and two left-handed pitchers in Rounds 3, 4 and 5 of the amateur draft on Friday, the Cubs chose a pitcher with Wrigley Field experience in Round 6. Dylan Cease, a right-hander from Milton, Georgia, pitched in the Under Armour game for top high school prospects at Wrigley in August.

Cease fell to the sixth round because of concerns over a tender elbow that has kept him off the mound since March. He has signed a letter of intent with Vanderbilt.

Mark Zagunis, a catcher from Virginia Tech who hit .338 with a .495 slugging percentage in three Atlantic Coast Conference seasons, was the Cubs’ third-round pick. They chose high-school pitchers in the fourth and fifth rounds: Carson Sands, from Tallahassee, Florida, who has committed to Florida State; and Justin Steele, from George County, Mississippi.

They went with college pitching in Rounds 7 through 10, selecting right-hander James Norwood from St. Louis University; left-hander Tommy Thorpe from the University of Oregon; right-hander James Farris from the University of Arizona and right-hander Ryan Williams from East Carolina.

Distinguished guests

Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus and Sheldon Brookbank from the Blackhawks took batting practice before the game. Bickell hoisted a couple of left-handed drives to the right-field warning track. Sharp was disappointed that he failed to reach the seats at Wrigley after doing so in B.P. at U.S. Cellular Field last year.

“Wind must have been blowing in,” Sharp said.

Sharp was a pitcher/center fielder playing youth baseball in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his dad as his coach.

“Baseball was actually my favorite sport growing up, and I played till I was about 15,” he said. “I guess I was a little better in hockey.”

Sharp said it will probably be “early July” before he’s over the effects of the Hawks’ loss in the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings.

“It takes a while to unwind mentally, and to get over the bumps and bruises,” he said.


Catcher John Baker ­returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game with a bruise to the throat. Baker took a foul tip to the throat during Wednesday’s game against the Mets. “He has bruised vocal cords,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He probably shouldn’t talk unless he has to.” … Cubs’ pitchers have surrendered 37 home runs, a major-league low.

◆ The Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who came into the game as the National League’s home-run leader with 17, has hit one against every opponent. But the Cubs kept him in the yard, as Stanton went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts and a double-play grounder.

◆ Neil Ramirez’s save against the Mets on Thursday night was the first of his career. He has a 0.64 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 14 innings.



The facts: 3:05 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.

The pitchers: Randy Wolf (1-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 2.54).

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