Top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian set for Cubs debut Saturday
After days of mounting speculation, the 25-year-old right-hander was promoted from Triple-A Iowa and slated to start the nightcap against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
Frank Schwindel was looking forward more to Caleb Kilian’s next trip to the mound than to his own.
Schwindel had mop-up duty in the Cubs’ 14-5 loss to the Cardinals on Friday, making his first pitching appearance in more than a decade.
When was the last time he warmed up? “Probably sophomore year high school,” Schwindel said Saturday. “I was a catcher, so my coach wouldn’t let me do both.”
In the lineup as the DH on Friday, Schwindel was taking cuts in the batting cage between at-bats when bench coach Andy Green told him to get loose.
“He was like, ‘We [might] need you to throw the eighth but you’re definitely throwing the ninth,’” Schwindel said.
“It was one of those funny things. You’ve just got to make the best of a tough situation.”
Schwindel’s ERA is at 18.00 after allowing a couple runs in his pro pitching debut. He was expecting better from Kilian in the latter’s MLB debut in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
“I’ve heard all good things,” Schwindel said of Kilian, who came to the Cubs from the Giants in last year’s Kris Bryant trade. “The young guys have come up and they’ve done great.
“That’s all you can ask, go out there and compete and have some fun.”
After days of mounting speculation, the 25-year-old right-hander was selected from Triple-A Iowa before Saturday’s opener and slated to start the nightcap.
Ranked the Cubs’ No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Kilian was 9-4 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 170 strikeouts in 155 2/3 innings over 35 career minor-league games.
Manager David Ross, who has been fielding daily questions about when Kilian would be called up, is as interested as anyone in seeing what the Cubs have in their highly touted prospect.
But Ross is trying to keep things in perspective.
“I try not to hype it up too much,” he said. “I don’t think any one player is ever like the savior, right? ... He’s gonna come up, he’s gonna make a start and we’ll see how it goes. And we’ll analyze it afterwards.”
Kilian’s arrival was part of a flurry of moves before the opener. Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr, was optioned to Iowa, lefty Conner Menez was designated for assignment to make room for Kilian on the 40-man roster and righty Anderson Espinoza was added as the 27th man for the doubleheader.
Ross said outfielder Seiya Suzuki has “almost full range of motion in that finger, so it’s getting better every day. ... It’s just a slow process.”
Lefty Wade Miley (shoulder) “played catch the other day,” Ross said. “Threw light, and feels really good. So that was great news.”