2/20 Traveling man Coello happy with Cubs

Robert Coello had a busy offseason. He pitched for Licey in the Dominican Republic, and was headed home but the Guasave team in Mexico called, so he joined them for a nine-game stretch. His last appearance was on Christmas Day.

Last week, the pitcher packed up his family and arrived in Florida to get ready for the Red Sox spring camp and then got a phone call from Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Coello was now with the Cubs after being traded for Minor League infielder Tony Thomas.

“It was a little bit surprising,” Coello said. “When the phone rang, Jim Hendry called me and told me about the trade and I was really happy to be with the Chicago Cubs.”

Last year, he totaled 145 innings in 49 games for four different teams, starting in April with Double-A Portland, where he was 4-1 with one save with a 3.32 ERA in 14 games. At Triple-A Pawtucket, he was 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA in 18 games, including nine starts. Then he went to the Dominican, and in his first start Oct. 22, he gave up one hit and two walks over five innings and fanned four.

When Coello pitched for Licey, his catcher was Welington Castillo of the Cubs.

“He said, ‘When I got the news I was coming here, I thought about you,’” said Castillo, who likes the right-hander’s fastball.

Coello must be good at packing a suitcase. He’s traveled quite a bit.

“[The trade] was a little difficult because you already know the organization,” he said, “but it is a business so from a business standpoint, you have to be open minded and hope you can be lucky to get into a good organization like this. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the Cubs.”

– Carrie Muskat

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