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ROUND 1 (31): Brett Jackson, OF (Cal)
L/R, 6'2, 210, 20 years old
COMMENT: College junior was named 1st team All-PAC-10 in 2009... Also was a pre-season All-American... Above-average defender with enough arm to play CF or LF, but not RF.... Above-average speed... Aggressive baserunner... Outstanding bat speed, but he strikes out a lot... Hit 321/407/564, with 8 HR & 41 RBI, 17 2B, 6 3B, 29/61 BB/K in 253 PA, and 11 SB (5 CS) for the Golden Bears in 2009... A similar type player as Cubs OF prospects Cliff Andersen and Drew Rundle...

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ROUND 2 (79): D. J. LeMahieu, INF (LSU)
R/R, 6'4, 190, 20 years old
COMMENT: Draft-eligible sophomore... Played SS as Freshman at LSU, then was shifted to 2B as Soph... Has power potential, but so far has been intent on hitting ball to opposite field... Will probably have to learn to pull the ball if he wants to progress... Has average speed... Below-average arm for SS, and struggles with footwork at 2B... Might have to be moved to a corner IF-OF spot at some point... Hit 340/408/462 for Tigers in 2009, with 4 HR & 39 RBI, 12 2B, 3 3B, 27/38 BB/K in 286 PA, with 10 SB (3 CS), and nine errors... Played HS ball in Michigan... Follows in the footsteps of LSU Cubbies Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot...

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ROUND 3 (109): Austin Kirk, LHP (Owasso HS - Owasso, OK)
L/L, 6'1, 205, 19 years old
COMMENT: Went 9-1 with a 0.45 ERA and 21/111 BB/K in 62 IP for the Rams in 2009... Showed an overpowering fastball that was clocked at 95 MPH in state semi-finals, as well as a sharp breaking ball and solid change-up... Has signed NLI with University of Oklahoma... Played OF & 1B when he wasn't pitching, and hit .400+ with 5 HR in 2009...

The draft will resume tomorrow, starting with Round #4.   

The MLB Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”) starts at 6 PM ET tomorrow (Tuesday) and will continue Wednesday and Thursday. The first three rounds (plus supplemental rounds) will be televised “live” on the MLB network Tuesday night (round #1 on the MLB cable channel and the other two rounds and supplemental picks on mlb.com TV), with the balance of the draft to be conducted via conference call (rounds 4-30 on Wednesday, and rounds 31-50 on Thursday). 

The Cubs will have the 31st pick in the 1st round, followed by the 79th overall pick (2nd round), pick #109 overall (3rd round), and #140 overall (4th round), and then every 30 picks (#170, #200, #230, #280, etc) after that until the 50 rounds are completed. More than 1,500 players will be selected by the 30 MLB clubs before the drafting is finished.

Luis Rivas singled, doubled, and homered, scored twice, and drove-in four runs, and Ryan Freel reached base four times and scored three runs, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the EXST A's at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.  

Aaron Miles got four at bats and reached base twice, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs blanked the EXST A's 5-0 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 under mostly-cloudy skies. 

The EXST Cubs and EXST Giants split a simultaneous doubleheader played at Fitch Park this morning, one game on Field #1 and one game on Field #3. Both games went seven innings.  

The EXST A's defeated the EXST Cubs 6-1 in Extended Spring Training action at Field #2 at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.

CF Albert Hernandez singled and doubled and drove in two runs, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter, as the DSL Cubs #1 defeated the DSL Tigers 7-3 yesterday afternoon on Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day at Baseball City, near Boca Chica, DR.

box score

In other DSL Opening Day action, Miguel Gonzalez had three hits and drove in two runs, but the bullpen could not hold a 4-1 8th inning lead, as the DSL Orioles/Brewers co-op team took advantage of five errors to rally and edge DSL Cubs #2 5-4.

box score

Larry Suarez threw four shutouts innings and struck out seven, and Jose Made smacked a bases-loaded triple, leading the EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the EXST Giants at Fitch Park Field #1, in one-half of an Extended Spring Training simultaneous doubleheader played this morning in Mesa under partly cloudy skies.

In the other game on Field #3, ex-OF (now RHP) Andres Quezada threw three shutout innings and the Cubs rode the extra-base hitting of John Contreras en route to an 8-3 victory over a second squad of EXST Giants.

Cubs SS Ryan Theriot officially qualified for post-2009 salary arbitration yesterday, and Aaron Heilman hit five years of MLB service time a week ago, meaning that although he has two minor league options left, he can't be sent to the minors without his permission.

Also, the Cubs have released OF Richie Robnett from AAA Iowa and RHP Jesse Estrada from AA Tennessee, and have signed minor league FA OF John-Ford Griffin, with Griffin replacing Robnett on the I-Cubs roster. 

Robnett was one of two players the Cubs got from Oakland for Michael Wuertz in February. The other one (INF Justin Sellers) was traded to LAD at the end of Minor League Camp for a PTBNL (or ca$h) and is presently at AA Chattanooga. I wonder how Wuertz is doing at Oakland?

Now 28, Griffin was the Yankees 1st round draft pick out of Florida State in 2001, and was rated by Baseball America as a Top 100 prospect and one of the Yankees Top 10 prospects in 2002, and one of the A's Top 10 Prospects in 2003 after he was traded to Oakland along with Ted Lilly in the deal that sent 1B Carlos Pena and RHP Franklyn German from OAK to DET and RHP Jeff Weaver from DET to NYY.

Griffin hit 310/386/527 at Las Vegas (Dodgers AAA) in 2008, but was released by the Dodgers recently after hitting only .122 with 13 K in only 41 PA in his first 16 games in AAA in 2009. He has logged 13 games in the big leagues (with Toronto 2005-07), and he will be a Rule 55 minor league FA post-2009 if he is not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the end of the World Series.

In addition, LHP James Russell has been promoted from Tennessee to Iowa and LHP Jayson Ruhlman has been demoted from Iowa back to Tennessee, and RHP Marco Carrillo has been promoted from Daytona to Tennessee (replacing Estrada). The son of ex-MLB closer Jeff Russell, James Russell was the Cubs 14th round draft pick of out the U. of Texas in 2007, although he got "3rd round money" to give up his college career (he dropped to the 14th round only because he was considered to be a "tough sign," because he was telling everybody that he wanted to return to Texas for his senior season). Along with 2008 draft picks RHP Jay Jackson and RHP Casey Coleman (who is also the son of an ex-MLB pitcher), Russell is one of the more-polished pitchers in the Cubs system.  

Drafted by the Cubs out of a Texas JC in 2004 but signed as a "Draft & Follow" in May 2005, the now 25-year old 6'8 300+ Estrada progressed steadily through the Cubs system over the past few seasons, and was considered enough of a prospect that the Cubs sent him to the AFL last fall, and he looked OK there. But he was not added to the Cubs 40-man roster in November, and then he pitched poorly at Minor League Camp in march with Iowa, where he was given every opportunity to nab a spot in the I-Cubs starting rotation. So instead he began the 2009 season in the Iowa bullpen, but he was demoted to Tennessee earlier this month, and he continued to perform poorly when given a chance to start at AA. 

Besides the PTBNL the Cubs are yet to get back from the Dodgers for Sellers, the Cubs are stilled owed a PTBNL from BAL (for LHP Rich Hill), one from OAK (for RHP Rocky Roquet), and another from TOR (for RHP Dumas Garcia), although I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs will get ca$h instead in all four cases (probably around $20,000, which they could use to claim a player off waivers at a time & place of their own choosing).

And Rule 5 LHP Donald Veal is still on the Pirates 25-man roster. although he has appeared in only one game in the last three weeks (and he has pitched in just five games & logged only 6.1 IP so far in 2009), although he did throw two innings in relief versus the Astros last night. 

Matt Cerda reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, but there just wasn't much other Cubs offense on display, as the EXST Angels defeated the EXST Cubs 3-1 in Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning. 

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