10/14 AFL update & notes

John Gaub, the left-handed pitcher whom the Cubs acquired in the Mark DeRosa deal with Cleveland, made his Arizona Fall League debut Wednesday. Gaub gave up one run on three hits over one inning and struck out two. He hit 96 mph on one fastball, and was consistently in the 92-93 mph range.

James Russell took the loss in relief in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 4-2 loss to Phoenix at HoHoKam Park. Russell, another Cubs prospect, gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits over two innings. Blake Parker, who had 22 saves at Triple-A Iowa, also pitched one inning in relief, and struck out two.

Josh Vitters had three hits, including a double, and Starlin Castro had a double in the game.

* The Cubs have yet to begin interviews for the hitting coach vacancy on the big league team. One name that will likely be considered is Rudy Jaramillo, whom the Texas Rangers said will not return. Jaramillo is still under contract through Oct. 31.

* Cubs pitcher Angel Guzman has started rehabbing at the team’s Mesa facility. He was shutdown before the regular season ended because of soreness in his right side and tricep.

* Thomas Diamond, whom the Cubs claimed on waivers from Texas, will start the final Instructional League game Saturday in Mesa, then join the Mexicali team and get more innings in there. Diamond hopes to be starting again in 2010.

* The Cubs will send eight players to their academy in the Dominican Republic for four weeks. The group includes Rebel Ridling, Ryan Flaherty, DJ LeMahieu, Logan Watkins, Brett Jackson, Matt Cerda, Sergio Burruel, and Kyler Burke.

“It’s a reward and a ‘keep going’ kind of thing,” Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Dave Keller said of the trip. “We want them to work on stuff but also enjoy themselves.”

* Jeff Samardzija will make four to five starts for Mexicali in the Mexican Winter League. He made his first last Friday, going four innings. Samardzija is working on developing a curve ball to go along with his changeup.

– Carrie Muskat

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