clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

More power to him: Mark Zagunis showing new look to Cubs’ staff this spring

Zagunis rips an RBI single against the Giants this spring.

MESA, Ariz. — The timing couldn’t have been worse. But the injury could’ve been a lot worse when Cubs outfielder Mark Zagunis was hit near his wrist by a pitch Friday night.

“I’m really thankful it’s nothing serious,” he said.

Zagunis, who doubled in his previous at-bat, hasn’t played since getting hit on the pad of his left hand.

But he could be back on the field by Tuesday or Wednesday based on how he felt as the week began.

And not a moment too soon for the right-handed hitter who has shown an increase in power this spring after earning brief call-ups the last two seasons.

Manager Joe Maddon said he has seen a more aggressive Zagunis in camp.

“He’s trying to hurt the ball,” Maddon said. “He’s not just up there trying to move it. He’s not up there just trying to accept the walk. This is the kind of stuff we’ve heard about. A lot of the guys in the minor leagues for a couple of years have been saying that about him.”

A 2014 third-round pick out of Virginia Tech, Zagunis seems fitter, and the ball is definitely traveling farther when he hits it.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been in a couple of years,” he said. “I put in a lot of work in the offseason. I switched my swing up a little bit. And I feel really good. Hopefully, I can stay on the field and continue to show what I’ve got.”

So far, he has shown two homers and three doubles among eight hits in nine games (24 plate appearances), with a walk and the pitch to the hand (.417 on-base percentage).


• Language of Cubs’ ‘pitch lab’ all geek to some, but tech wave just beginning

How to make the Cubs’ YouTube channel a success: ‘Real time with Joe Ricketts’

By raising his hands and “standing a little taller” in the box, “I think that’s going to help generate more consistent power,” Zagunis, 26, said.

So far, so good for a prospect who could be one call away from a lengthier stretch in the big leagues if the changes carry into the regular season at Class AAA Iowa.

“It’s definitely good to get out there and show I have power,” Zagunis said, “and now it’s just trying to stay healthy and stay on the field.”