2017 Cubs Minor League Camp is Underway

Cubs Minor League Camp officially opened today, with pitchers & catchers reporting and some position players also present. 

Among the notes from today's workout:

* OF (Cubs 2016 32nd round pick - Texas Tech) is now switch-hitting (he was formerly a RH-hitter only). Davis has plus-speed but a weak bat, so trying switch-hitting probably makes sense.  

* OF (October 2015 IFA - $3M signing bonus) felt discomfort in his right elbow while playing catch and was shut-down as a precaution.

* The Cubs have signed 28-year old 6'4 225 free-agent RHP (Anna Maria College). Rafferty last pitched in 2012 for Worcester (Can-Am league), but he has been getting into pitching shape at High Level Throwing in Lowell, MA (click on his name for recent "live" BP video - command wasn't too sharp, but his fastball sat at 94-95 and topped out at 96).

Minor league players are typically (but not always) initially assigned to Spring Training Minor League Camp squads (groups) one or even two levels above where they are projected to be on Opening Day, and then most players are either moved down to a lower level or released as players are sent down to Minor League Camp from the big league squad during the course of Spring Training. 

The Eugene/Mesa squad will be formed once Cactus League minor league games start in mid-March, and that squad becomes the EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING group on Opening Day. Meanwhile, at the start of Minor League Camp the South Bend squad will be "heavier" than the other three.

For players who spent the 2016 season in the DSL (especially players who attended AZ Instructs post-2016) and who were invited to Minor League Camp in 2017, some will remain at the Cubs Dominican Academy and not report to Mesa until the very end of Spring Training or the start of Extended Spring Training.

Comments

LHP Jeffry Antigua and RHP Luis Contreras have been released.

Also, LHP Daniel Moskos (signed as minor league FA in December) is not on Cubs Minor League Camp roster, so he may have retired or possibly his contract was voided (TBD).

Same goes for RHP Denmy Sanchez (IFA signed last August). His contract may have been voided, or it could still be pending for some reason (TBD).

I saw a report on Twitter that Tyler Peitzmeier is retiring. Or has retired.

Phil, is Duane Underwood hurting again?

AZ PHIL: Is Frank Batista 45 years old? How long will the club kerp him in the system?

JHey! First hit, first homer

1 for 17 (and counting)! woo spring.

2-18! sure, he was late on the swing making it end up in LF...but he made the contact. it was nice low line-drive contact (aka, not softly blooping into the OF or spiked into the ground). it was off a lefty, btw. he's still late on a lot of stuff (2 fouls on late swings before the double in this AB), but at least he's having something to show for his play in today's game.

Attaboy JHey!

I think being late is probably a natural part of having a completely new swing that isn't automatic so he's probably thinking about his mechanics still causing that delay. The trick is when he makes contact are they harder hit balls and more line drives and I guess that will just take some time to see. God knows he has the will to succeed anyway considering he spent the entire off season in the batting cages working on it. I don't think there's a single person I'm rooting for more this year.

it's good to see schwarb bouncing around on the bases between pitches. he's playing like he's never had a knee injury. he doesn't seem to fear re-injury (a mental leap that takes a while for more than a few players returning from injury). he seems even more confident than the post-season. good stuff.

c.corporan gets his 2nd hit of the inning...this dumpster fire of a 7 run inning so far.

In Florida with my son for college spring break, so went to a spring training game between the Astros & Red Sox -- Junior Lake starting in RF for BoSox. First time up, 2-2 count -- curveball in the dirt as Junior swings from his heels so hard his helmet comes a little loose. Strike 3. He still looks toolsy, though.

Pond

BB wasn't your son playing competitive ball recently? Potcher maybe?

Yep -- finished up his HS career in 2015 -- was RF and backup C. I miss watching him play, but I don't miss the early April games on the Chicago lakefront -- several games with windchill below freezing!

nothing like a good ol' fashion nearly-4-hour spring training game. 13-10 cubs over angels. speaking of, here's some classic mitch williams on the subject of extra innings in a spring training game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1Qu9-xS4Hg

Minor League Camp rosters have been updated as three more arrive from Dominican Academy.

First full squad work-out today (Monday).

Four pitchers throw "live" BP:
Trey Hedges (Iowa)
Jake Stinnett (Tennessee)
Adbert Alzolay (Myrtle Beach)
Manny Rondon (South Bend)

It is noteworthy that all four pitchers threw two "innings" in their first "live" BP session, meaning they are being prmed as starting pitchers for "full season" affiliates. 

zach hedges? also, is there room/desire for him to actually start in AAA or is he expected to settle in AA once spring is over?

I'm under the impression he's a reliever. The thought being, his velocity would play up higher from the bullpen.

CRUNCH: Zach Hedges is assigned to the Iowa squad right now but he will almost certainly be moved down to the Tennessee squad once the Cubs start sending pitchers down to Minor League Camp from Sloan Park. Hedges was actually moved to the bullpen at Minor League Camp last year for the reason mentioned by Tim, but then out of necessity he was moved back to the starting rotation at Myrtle Beach, and he excelled as a SP in 2016. So Hedges will very likely be in the starting rotation at AA Tennessee to begin the 2017 season, but his eventual role will probably be in the pen. (He looks a bit like Brian Schlitter, BTW).

I would hope he gets a chance to remain a starter at last at the AAA level after what he did last year. No indication he can't hold up in that role so far, even if his stuff might ultimately be better in the pen.

Markey fan. However.... Does he bump Ryan Williams? Buchanan? Mills? Butler? Zastryzny?

I don't think I'd say Markey was so dominant as a starter at AA to where he merits a spot in the AAA rotation. Almost as many walks as strike outs last year, 4.81 FIP. Also doesn't really have a starter's build. He's a lot easier to bump to the pen due to a roster crunch than Hedges in my mind. Hedges has the build to be a starter and was just so good at keeping the all on the ground and not walking people last year. I think he did enough that you have to try to keep him in that role for now, even if he has to repeat AA until a rotation spot opens up in AAA.

Israel with the win in extras. Sam Fuld leadoff. ha.

heads up for t-mobile users...hail corporate. April 4th, T-Mobile is giving every customer a free season-long subscription to MLB.TV Premium—a $112.99 value—PLUS MLB.com At Bat Premium--$19.99 value! Download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app to redeem. https://www.t-mobile.com/mlb

Confirmed OF (ex-C) Yohan Matos has been released. Matos was signed ($270K signing bonus) as a 16-year old IFA on the first day of the 2013-14 ISP (same class that produced Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez). He hit 248/339/383 with seven HR, 16 doubles, 48 BB, and 106 K in 115 minor league games (437 PA) 2014-16 (2014 in DSL and 2015-16 in AZL), and he was moved from catcher to outfield in 2016. 

Also, a few tweaks to Minor League Camp rosters today (involving only pitchers) after yesterday's bullpen sessions and "live" BP (see Minor League Camp Rosters for updated changes). It's possible that there won't be any more changes to the four squads until the first cuts from big league camp come next week, but if any of the "MIA" arrive I will update the rosters.

Four pitchers threw "live" BP this morning (Tuesday) at Minor League Camp:   
Jen-Ho Tseng
Thomas Hatch
Kyle Miller
Cole Brocker 

Tseng, Hatch, and K. Miller threw two "innings" each (30 pitches total - 15 pitches each "inning"), and Brocker threw one "inning" (25 pitches), meaning Hatch, K. Miller, and Tseng are being primed as starting pitchers, and Brocker to be used as a reliever.  

So called "World Champs" lose first defense of title against foreign opponent

especially considering the team the cubs fielded, that's f'n embarrassing. it's not a huge embarrasment, but ow.

Checks calendar. Notices March is a week old.

yeah, it means little/nothing, but they fielded a good chunk of the "legit" team and lost to a team of "who?" it's extra burn that a few of their own minor league teammates helped in the beating.

Daury Torrez got the save for Team Italy.

Torrez was one of two Cubs minor league pitchers loaned to Team Italy today (Jonathan Martinez was the other one) so they could play nine innings.

However, Torrez and Martinez are not Italian or of Italian descent (they were even unable to locate Italy on a world map), so Team Italy will have to forfeit the game.

Sorry.

So.....

Cubs Win!

Obviously the Cubs had this planned out WAY in advance. 

The Cubs have assigned six NRI pitchers to Minor League Camp: LHPs Gerardo Concepcion and Manny Parra, and RHPs Andury Acevedo, Daniel Corcino, Fernando Rodriguez, and Ryan Williams. Parra (April 2016 TJS), Acevedo (April 2016 knee surgery for torn ACL), and Rodriguez (September 2016 surgery to repair torn lat) are rehabbing and did not pitch in any Cactus League games. With the six cuts, the Cubs MLB Spring Training roster is reduced from 66 to 60.

NEWS & NOTES FROM MINOR LEAGUE CAMP (WED 3/8):

The Cubs have purchased the contract of 23-year old OF Brandon Cummins from Southern Illinois (Frontier League), and he has been assigned to the South Bend squad at Minor League Camp. Cummins was a college teammate of Cubs minor league 2B Trent Giambrone (Cubs 2016 25th round draft pick) at Delta State.

AA Tennessee C-INF Gioskar Amaya is out for the year after undergoing knee surgery last month. Amaya was signed as a 16-year old IFA second-baseman in 2009 and was converted to catcher in 2015 (although he also plays 1B-2B-3B). The 24-year old Amaya has spent his entire career in the Cubs organization. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2016, but he signed a 2017 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a FA.

Another player (OF Samir Lara) has arrived from the Cubs Donminican Academy. Several more are expected to arrive in coming days.  

Five pitchers threw "live" BP at Minor League Camp today:
Aaron Brooks
Preston Morrison
Tyson Miller
Trevor Clifton
Manuel Rodriguez

Brooks, Morrison, T. Miller, and Clifton threw two innings each (30 pitches - 15 pitches each inning), and Rodriguez threw one inning (25 pitches), meaning that Brooks, Morrison, Clifton, and T. Miller are each being primed as a starting pitchers at a "full-season" affiliate (Brooks at Iowa, Clifton at Tennessee, Morrison at either Tennessee or Myrtle Beach, and T. Miller at South Bend), and M. Rodriguez is being prepped as a reliever (probably at South Bend).

Brooks was sent to Minor League Camp from the big league squad to get "sim game" work (so that he could pitch two innings and throw exactly 30 pitches). He is projected to be in the Iowa starting rotation (probably with Butler, Mills, Zastryzny, R. Williams, and/or Buchanan).

The Cubs purchased Manuel Rodriguez from Yucatan (Mexican League) last July. The 20-year old RHRP clearly relies heavily on his off-speed stuff because he threw about 80% curve balls & change-ups in his one inning of "live" BP (most pitchers throw 80% fastballs in "live" BP). While he doesn't appear to be anything special, Rodriguez does have three years of experience in the Mexican League, so he could move fast.

ex-cub, current stainding-ovation-in-waiting recipient dexter fowler is 6/13 with 7 walks so far this spring. dayam.

There's also reports he's started to change the Cardinals clubhouse bringing alot of the Cubs stuff there against what Matheny likes but basically forcing Matheny to deal with it because the players like it so much. Dunno I think we're going to regret not keeping him.

I don't think he's ever going to hit enough for it to matter which on-deck circle he stands in. But, also, isn't he supposed to play the OF? I wonder if he'll lose some of the football weight and get down to a more reasonable 245-225, instead of the 255 he's currently listed at. If you are going to be Adam Dunn or Kyle Schwarber in the OF, you have to be an elite slugger.

he wont' sniff above single A

he knows wtf he was doing...why he felt the need to get his name in the press in this way is another issue. yeah, he's a waste of a roster space, but he's not new to the game.

Anybody else having trouble logging into TCR while on an iPhone? I cannot - had to log in through a PC. The new addition of entering a numerical value in order to prevent spam accounts may be gumming up the system, at least on my phone anyways.

I'm not having any problems on an iPhone.

Yeah, me too. The screen formatting won't allow access to the U and P spaces so I can't enter my info.

Me too.

The spam protection step has been removed - I was able to log in on my phone this afternoon- thank you site admin!

I have been extremely busy, but I looked in today and saw your post. Please use the site-wide contact form to send me an email when there's a problem.

Will do and thanks again!

BEARS! Way to go Bears! We'll for sure climb out of the NFC's crap pile with the signing of MIKE GLENNON! Whoo! I can't wait to see their draft class this year.

Glennon=Edwin Jackson Operation tank begins.

Great to have Mike Glennon on board -- with no receivers to throw to. Six straight seasons missing the playoffs (and 9 of 10) -- wonder how long the streak will go. This, in a league where almost 40% of the teams make the playoffs each year. Sheesh.

Glennon is very immobile and with terrible tackle play I think we're going to see very soon some of the positives Cutler brought to the position even though I'm fine with him being gone. We have no receivers, no tackles, below average TE play on the offense and on defense a terrible secondary and middling front 7 with no real stars and a supposed # 9 pick who only shows up on certain plays and gets pushed around the rest of the time when he's not hurt. The only positives from last year were Jordan and Grasu getting hurt which allowed Whitehair to actually look really good at center. That's not anywhere even close to getting it done though. Ugh so depressing being a Bears fan. Thank god for the Cubs.

I am a little encouraged that the Bears at least seem to know where they are in the success cycle. While this signing doesn't get them any closer to a super bowl, it short term, gives them a NFL caliber place holder at QB (which will allow them to evaluate other positions), and didn't cost any long term assets. ESPN, at least, seems to agree. http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/...

Boog Powell is playing CF for the Mariners! Awesome!

brian duensing is looking quite crizapy today. ps- and he's injured now. neat.

lower back tightness, d2d

dumpster pitching for team canada...first time on the mound in years in any capacity. he's facing a nearly literal all-star dominican team. good f'n luck.

welly hits a 2r HR off dumpster. dumpster's relying heavily on deception...hitting 90mph...not getting a lot of swing/miss. he doesn't look horrible, but he doesn't look he's going to go far with this comeback if he has aspirations beyond team canada.

"Kris Bryant will receive $1.05 million from the Cubs in 2017, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports." pre-arb record contract, though not by much (mike trout, 2014, 1m).

I don't see Ho-Young Son on the Cubs minor league rosters but I'm not seeing where he's been released. Has anyone heard?

ALEXANDER: Ho-Young Son is assigned to the South Bend squad. If you see any more like that, let me know. Thanks.

Thank you sir! Only one I spotted.

More "live" BP at Cubs Minor League Camp this morning, as Adbert Alzolay, Trey Hedges, Jake Stinnett, and Manual Rondon get stretched out to three innings a piece (45 pitches - 15 pitches each "inning"). So AS THINGS STAND RIGHT (subject to change), it would appear that the Opening Day starting rotations for the Cubs four full-season affiliates are likely to be: IOWA: 1. Butler 2. Mills 3. Zastryzny 4. Brooks 5. R. Williams 6a. Buchanan 6b. Kelly 6c. Frankoff NOTE: At least one or possibly two of the starting rotation candidates (probably Buchanan, Kelly, and/or Frankoff) will likely be assigned to the I-Cubs bullpen as SP/RP swing-men. TENNESSEE: 1. Hedges 2. Tseng 3. Stinnett 4. Clifton 5. Morrison MYRTLE BEACH: 1. Kellogg 2. Alzolay 3. de la Cruz 4. K. Miller 5. Steele SOUTH BEND: 1. Cease 2. Hatch 3. Moreno 4. M. Rondon 5. T. Miller Again, as of right now and based upon what is happening at Minor League Camp, these would be the projected Opening Day starting rotations for the Cubs four full-season affiliates - SUBJECT TO CHANGE -

Biggest surprise I see is Jose Paulino not listed

Phil, I'm not seeing Underwood listed among your projected rotations, and I don't recall seeing his name in any of the big-league exhibition games. Have you seen him around, and do you know if he's healthy? Assuming he isn't, any idea what's wrong with him?

CRAIG: Duane Underwood Jr was shut-down for about ten days (don't know why), but he has begun throwing bullpens again and is supposed to pitch in a game this weekend after throwing "live" BP tomorrow (presuming it goes well). As things stand right now, Underwood will be in the starting rotation at Tennessee on Opening Day (although he might not be the #1 guy).

27 pitchers (four starters and 23 relievers) threw "live" BP Sunday morning at Cubs Minor League Camp.

The starters threw three innings a piece (45 pitches - 15 pitches each inning), and the relievers threw one inning (25 pitches).

As you will note, RHP Jeremy Null, LHP Jose Paulino, RHP Pedro Silverio, RHP Matt Swarmer, and LHP Kyle Twomey have been moved to the bullpen, although Silverio and/or Swarmer could be moved back to SP if they are left behind at Extended Spring Training.

* throws left

STARTING PITCHERS:
Trevor Clifton
Tyson Miller
Preston Morrison
Ryan Williams

RELIEVER PITCHERSS:
Pedro Araujo
Craig Brooks
Holden Cammack
Jared Cheek
Josh Conway
Enrique de los Rios
Scott Effross
Greyfer Eregua
* Colton Freeman
David Garner
Chad Hockin
Daniel Lewis
Mark Malave
Randy McCurry
Ryan McNeil
M. T. Minacci
Jeremy Null
* Jose Paulino
* Wyatt Short
Matt Swarmer
* Kyle Twomey
Pedro Silverio
* John Williamson

RHP Tanner Griggs and RHP Nick Sarianides were each scheduled to throw an inning but were scratched.

Also, RHP Alexander Santana and LHP Yapson Gomez have arrived in Camp, leaving only OF Michael Foster, RHP Gabriel Lima, LHP Eugenio Palma, and LHP Tyler Peitzmeier MIA, and Peitzmeier has supposedly retired (not official yet).

Paulino into the bullpen? A bit intriguing. Velo could kick up in the pen.

TIM: With a 92-94 MPH heavy-sinker & power slider combo, Paulino could move quickly as a reliever, instead of spending or wasting time (perhaps years) trying to master an off-speed pitch that might not ever happen. Obviously a pitcher's baseball-value is diminished a bit when he moves from the starting rotation to the bullpen (especially while still in "A"-ball), but sometimes you have to be realistic and appreciate what it is you do have, even if it isn't everything you had hoped for.

Having options like that as bullpen options due to lacking rotation spots. Pitching depth FTW

I had a feeling Paulinho would end up in the pen sooner rather than later. A bit disappointing, but he could be really good there and like you said this can maybe let him move a bit faster.

Paulino was breaking bats left & right in his "live" BP session today, so he is definitely no fun to hit against. He just needs to throw strikes consistently (and for him, that's easier said than done).

30 pitchers (two starters and 28 relievers) threw "live" BP Monday morning at Cubs Minor League Camp. (57 pitchers threw "live" BP at Minor League Camp over the past two days) The starters threw three innings a piece (45 pitches - 15 pitches each inning), and the relievers threw one inning (25 pitches). The pitchers who threw one inning include younger starting pitchers not yet ready for full-season ball who are earmarked for Extended Spring Training (such as Assad, Marte, and A. Rondon), where they can be stretched-out as starters over a period of several weeks. * throws left STARTING PITCHERS: Dylan Cease * Justin Steele RELIEVER PITCHERS: Luis Aquino Javier Assad Casey Bloomquist Jordan Brink Cole Brocker Jed Carter Daniel Corcino Oscar de la Cruz * Andin Diaz Elvis Diaz * Marc Huberman John Michael Knighton Jose Leidenz Dillon Maples Junior Marte Dakota Mekkes * Jordan Minch Tommy Nance James Norwood * Pablo Ochoa Tyler Peyton Duncan Robinson Manuel Rodriguez Andry Rondon Michael Rucker Ho-Young Son Nathan Sweeney * Tommy Thorpe LHSP Ryan Kellogg (Team Canada) and RHSP Erling Moreno (Team Colombia) are expected back in Camp by Wednesday, after their teams were eliminated from the WBC tournament on Sunday.

Are they converting de la Cruz to relief?? Also, I would have thought Duncan Robinson and (especially) Nathan Sweeney would be starters... candidates to be held back to EXST and change in role there?

DJL: Oscar de la Cruz, Duncan Robinson, and Nathan Sweeney are NOT being prepped to be rotation starters with a full-season affiliate coming out of Minor League Camp.

In the case of Robinson and Sweeney, they are nominally in contention for a bullpen job at South Bend (as all of the pitchers assigned to the South Bend squad are right now), but I would say that both of them (especially Sweeney) almost certainly will be left behind at Extended Spring Training and be gradually stretched-out as a SP in April and May.

In the case of de la Cruz, I don't know if the Cubs are actually moving him to the bullpen or are planning to leave him behind at EXST to get stretched out as a starter very gradually (he had a sore elbow this time last year), but for whatever reason he is NOT being stretched out to be a starter at Myrtle Beach or South Bend at this time. (He is not in the Rehab Throwing Program, and he threw 25 pitches with no difficulty today).

It appears that the starters at South Bend will be Cease, M. Rondon, and T. Miller, plus two of the SP presently assigned to the Myrtle Beach squad (Hatch, Steele, K. Miller, and/or Alzolay), or possibly Erling Moreno once he's back at Minor League Camp from the WBC.

That means Hatch, Steele, Alzolay, and K. Miller are likely competing for two or maybe three spots in the Myrtle Beach rotation, with probably Kellogg and either Stinnett. Hedges, and/or Morrison the others. Then Underwood, Clifton, Tseng, and either Hedges, Stinnett, Morrison, Markey, Skulina, and/or or J. Martinez will be the five starters at Tennessee... AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW.

This is presuming that the Iowa rotation will be Butler, Mills, Zastryzny, R. Williams, and either Brooks or Buchanan, with Casey Kelly, Seth Frankoff, and possibly Williams Perez still in the running for an I-Cubs SP slot as well.

It will be tough for guys like Dallas Beeler and Jordan Pries to survive Minor League Camp. Neither profile as a reliever, and there is just no room for either of them in the Iowa rotation, either.

See you all in South Bend this summer -- Dylan Cease and the Porknado sandwich. You just cannot beat that.

Great info as always, Phil, thanks. I was a bit disappointed that Paulino was being moved to the pen, but I would think it would be a huge disappointment for de la Cruz to be heading to the pen. Hopefully they're just being careful with him and either keeping him at EXST to be stretched out slowly or having him build up innings slowly to be able to throw more later when the innings should matter more and weather has improved.

The Cubs have optioned RHSP Aaron Brooks, LHRP Jack Leathersich, and RHRP Jose Rosario to AAA Iowa and RHSP Duane Underwood Jr to AA Tennessee, RHP Seth Frankoff, RHP Casey Kelly, and LHRP Zac Rosscup have been sent to Minor League Camp for reassignment, and RHRP Maikel Cleto has been released. Remember, players who have been optioned to the minors can continue to play in MLB Cactus League games. Also, players optioned to the minors prior to MLB Opening Day must remain on Optional Assignment for at least the first ten days of the MLB regular season, unless the player is recalled to replace a player who is placed on the MLB DL or other MLB inactive list (Paternity Leave, Bereavement, Family Medical Emergency, et al).

AZP - Did I miss something about Bryan Hudson somewhere along the way?

BILLYBUCKS: Bryan Hudson is in the Rehab Throwing Program, but I don't know why. So he will almost certainly begin the season at Extended Spring Training. While it is a bit of a set-back, it's a lot better to be in the Rehab Throwing Program than it is to be walking around Minor League Camp wearing a t-shirt & shorts with your pitching arm in an elbow splint (as is the case with Corey Black and Carson Sands).

Thank you, sir!

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  • crunch 5 hours 24 min ago (view)

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    Two White Sox test positive for Covid. Not yet disclosed who they are. Reminder that the Cubs are going to be scheduled to play the WSox for 6 games.

     

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  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

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  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

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  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

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  • Arizona Phil 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

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