Cubs’ pitching prospect flashes power, poise in debut loss to Giants
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SAN FRANCISCO — The last pitch James Norwood threw in his major-league debut was hit off the right-field wall by Buster Posey in the 13th inning for the Giants’ game-winner.
But even if he’s sent back to the minors before the Cubs’ series opener in San Diego on Friday — when Brian Duensing is expected to return from the disabled list — it won’t be the last pitch he throws for this team.
Norwood, who pitched only four games at Class AAA before his first big-league call-up, flashed upper-90s command and uncommon poise for a debut that began in the 12th inning.
“The beautiful thing about Norwood was the way he handled it,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He walked out there and, man, just had some great stuff.
“That’s something to look forward to right there.”
Norwood, a seventh-round draft pick in 2014, struck out two of the first three he faced before the top of the order wore him down in his second inning of work.
“It was amazing. Unbelievable,” said Norwood. “It’s what you dream of.”
Maddon: No Derby worries over hitters’ swings
Maddon has two young hitters headed to Monday’s Home Run Derby in Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber. He also has a message for anyone suggesting he should be concerned about the event fouling up their swings in the second half.
“That’s just an illogical dialogue,” Maddon said. “I think people say that just because they think they’ve heard somebody say that. It’s almost like a wives’ tale.”
Fatigue is the only potential issue Maddon worries about, but that’s even been mitigated with recent changes in the format that shortens the rounds.
“Guys take BP every day. They air it out,” Maddon said. “They’re going to be jacked. Come on, Javy and Schwarbs in a home run derby? Come on.
They’re going to be so excited about this. I get it. Let them be 25. Let them get it out of their system. Let them do this thing.”
Baez, by the way, got an early start on his homer swing, with a tying solo shot in the seventh inning Wednesday — his team-leading 18th homer.