Results tagged ‘ Matt Szczur ’

8/17 Hail, Szczur

Matt Szczur’s father was in Des Moines this weekend to help his son pack some of his belongings. Szczur has spent the season at Triple-A Iowa, and with the year winding down, the plan was for his father to make a stop at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, then load up the car and drive to New Jersey. But plans changed.

“I called him and said, ‘You might want to come back — we’re packing up for a different reason now,'” Szczur said.

On Sunday, Szczur was recalled from the Minor League team and joined the Cubs at Citi Field, where he played once before in a workout for Major League scouts. When he gets in a game, he will be the seventh player to make his Major League debut with the team this season.

“To be honest, I didn’t even think I’d be playing baseball,” said Szczur, who was a star wide receiver at Villanova. “I thought I was going to go to the NFL and play football. It happened my opportunity was better at the time to play baseball.

“I just wanted to work hard and get to the hardest level,” he said. “It’s been a great journey. There have been struggles but there are struggles everywhere and you learn from your struggles.”

Szczur knows first-hand about struggles. He donated blood cells to a leukemia patient who had a 1-in-80,000 chance of finding a match. He missed 10 games in 2010 because of side effects from the medication he had to take.

A fifth round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Szczur has impressed the Cubs organization with his work habits. He doesn’t just stand in the outfield during batting practice, he “power shags” and chases after balls hit as if it’s a game situation.

“It’s helped me a lot,” Szczur said. “What helped get me here is being a defensive help in the outfield.”

Iowa manager Marty Pevey broke the news to Szczur in a light-hearted way. Szczur was called into Pevey’s office before Saturday’s game.

“He asked if I was hitting off the curve ball machine today,” Szczur said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I planned on it.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re not going to hit it with us, you’re going to the big leagues. I was excited, everybody else was excited. They see the hard work I put in and they were happy for me.”

Even if Szczur’s father won’t make it to Citi Field — he’s driving Matt’s car to Chicago — there will be plenty of family in the stands. He grew up in Cape May, N.J., although Szczur admitted he was a Phillies fan as a kid.

Manager Rick Renteria wanted to give Szczur time to get familiar with the outfield before putting him in the lineup but will try to take advantage of his speed. Szczur had 30 stolen bases at Iowa; the Cubs have 49 as a team.

“He did a nice job for us in the spring, he’s a nice defensive player, he had some really good at-bats, runs the bases well,” Renteria said.

He arrived in New York shortly after midnight Saturday. Was he excited about the call-up?

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night, there was no way,” Szczur said. “It’s exciting. You have to realize it’s your job and you have to go out there and work. Once you make it, [the work] doesn’t stop. You have to just keep it up.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Szczur to get call up

After Saturday’s game, the Cubs made it official — Matt Szczur will be added to the big league roster on Sunday. The outfielder was promoted to take Dan Straily’s spot on the 25-man roster. Straily was headed back to Triple-A Iowa after his Cubs debut at Citi Field. He gave up seven runs — five earned — over 5 1/3 innings. It’ll be a homecoming for Szczur, 25, a Cape May, N.J., native. He was batting .261 in 116 games at Iowa with 16 doubles, one triple, one home run, 24 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases. He was hitting .292 in 14 games this month after batting .275 in July.

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Szczur expected to get call up

The Cubs would not confirm it, but outfielder Matt Szczur was expected to get called up to the big league team on Sunday. Dan Straily was added to the 25-man roster on Saturday to start, and Junior Lake was optioned to Iowa. But Straily was expected to return to the Minor League team after his spot start. The Cubs are short-handed on the bench.

— Carrie Muskat

8/9 Minor matters

In his first start for Triple-A Iowa, Kyle Hendricks gave up one unearned run over seven innings in a 2-1 win over Fresno. Hendricks struck out five and walked one. Brad Nelson hit his 17th home run.

Matt Szczur had four hits including his third home run, in Tennessee’s 9-8 win over Montgomery. Eduardo Figueroa gave up five runs over six innings and did not get a decision. Arismendy Alcantara and Rubi Silva each had two hits and a stolen base.

Dustin Geiger hit two home runs to help Pierce Johnson and lead Daytona to a 11-0 win over Clearwater. Johnson gave up two hits over five innings and struck out six. Geiger finished with three hits and five RBIs.

Starling Peralta gave up one hit over 5 2/3 innings in Kane County’s 7-0 win over Burlington. Peralta struck out five but also walked five. Dan Vogelbach hit his 17th home run and drove in three runs.

Kris Bryant hit his fourth home run and Yasiel Balaguert belted his sixth in Boise’s 7-5 win over Vancouver. Duane Underwood picked up the win in relief, giving up one walk and striking out two over three innings.

Mesa had the day off and resumes play Friday against the Angels.

7/2 Minor matters – Monday’s games

Monday’s games

Barret Loux gave up one run over five innings and struck out six in Iowa’s 4-2 win over Memphis. Anthony Giansanti drove in two runs in his Iowa debut. Brian Schlitter converted his eighth save of the season.

Matt Szczur had two hits and one RBIs in Tennessee’s 7-2 loss to Montgomery. Austin Kirk took the loss, giving up six runs over 5 2/3 innings. Arismendy Alcantara hit a double, and his 138 total bases are a team high.

Daytona’s doubleheader against Clearwater was postponed because of rain and unplayable field conditions. The games will be played as part of doubleheaders Aug. 13 and Aug. 15.

Albert Almora had two hits in Kane County’s 4-3 loss to Wisconsin. Almora was batting .346 for the season, and posted his 13th multi-hit game.

Jacob Hannemann had two hits and one RBIs in Boise’s 3-2 win over Salem-Keizer. His two-out RBI single in the ninth scored the game-winning run. James Pugliese gave up one run over six innings.

On Monday, Yasiel Balaguert was named Northwest League Player of the Week. He batted .348 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Kevin Freeman had two RBIs in Mesa’s 10-2 win over the Dodgers.

6/26 Minor matters

Tuesday’s games

Yoanner Negrin gave up six runs (four earned) on four hits over two-thirds of an inning in Iowa’s 7-0 loss to Memphis. The I-Cubs were held to one hit in the game, a single by Jae-Hoon Ha.

Matt Szczur had three hits, including a walkoff RBI double in the 14th, and Christian Villanueva and Elliot Soto each hit home runs to lift Tennessee to a 7-6 extra inning victory over Jackson. Justin Bour had two hits, and one RBI.

Matt Loosen gave up one run on one hit and one walk over seven innings in Daytona’s 5-2 win over Lakeland. Loosen struck out eight, and retired the last 18 batters faced. Wes Darvill had two hits and three RBIs.

Albert Almora had two hits, both doubles, and scored two runs in Kane County’s 9-5 loss to Beloit. The Cougars are 0-5 in the second half. Dan Vogelbach had two hits and stole a base, his fourth. Jeimer Candelario and Rock Shoulders had two hits each.

Boise’s game against Hillsboro was postponed becasue of rain. On Monday, Paul Blackburn was named Northwest League Pitcher of the Week. He gave up one unearned run over 10 innings in two starts and struck out 12.

Anthony Prieto gave up five runs on thre hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in Mesa’s 14-4 loss to the Giants. Erick Castillo had two hits.

5/14 Minor matters

Nick Struck gave up four runs over six innings and Donnie Murphy hit a home run and drove in three in Iowa’s 6-4 win over Reno. Murphy was 2-for-4. Struck struck out four and gave up 11 hits. The I-Cubs matched a franchise record with five double plays in the game.

Rubi Silva and Rafael Lopez both homered to lead Tennessee to a 6-4 win over Jackson. The Smokies scored four runs in the top of the ninth for the win. Matt Szczur had two hits, including a double, and was batting .458 in his last five games. Silva hit his third home run in his last six games. Trey McNutt struck out three and picked up the win in relief.

Zach Cates gave up three runs over six innings but took the loss in Daytona’s 3-0 loss to Charlotte. Jorge Soler was named Florida State League Player of the Week. In four games, he was 7-for-15 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, four RBIs and scored five runs. He has reached base in 10 consecutive games.

Pierce Johnson gave up four runs over six innings in Kane County’s 4-0 loss to Clinton. Gioskar Amaya and Dan Vogelbach each had two hits.

3/6 Cubs lineup – UPDATED

The Cubs travel to Surprise on Wednesday to face the Rangers. Hisanori Takahashi is scheduled to start for the Cubs. Here’s the B squad lineup for 10 a.m. AZ time:

Szczur LF
Watkins 2B
Baez SS
Clevenger C
Lake CF
Lopez 1B
Christian Villanueva 3B
Chavez RF
Gonzalez DH

Here’s the Cubs lineup for the regular game:

DeJesus CF
Barney 2B
Hairston RF
McDonald LF
Sappelt DH
Navarro C
Baez SS
Lake 3B
Clevenger 1B

Takahashi P

— Carrie Muskat

1/14 Kaepernick set on football

Tim Wilken was the Cubs scouting director in 2009, and talked to three NFL teams about their projections for Colin Kaepernick, who was a talented pitcher in high school but playing quarterback at that time for Nevada.

“[The NFL teams] didn’t think he was going to be much more than a [Canadian Football League] guy at the time,” Wilken said Monday. “The way it was described to me was that his arm action was somewhat suspect — kind of a slingy arm action with the football — and they were leary of that. They thought he was going to be more of a CFL guy than an NFL guy, and that was his sophomore year [in college]. As we all know, things have a tendency to change.”

Yes, they do. Kaepernick is now the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, and will lead his team into the NFC Championship game. However, he could have been prepping for the Cubs’ 2013 season. Chicago selected Kaepernick in the 43rd round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, hoping to convince him that baseball was better than the CFL.

“We were serious about this,” said Wilken, now a special assistant to the president/general manager on the Cubs. “We’ve had a little success in higher profile settings with [Jeff] Samardzija and [Matt] Szczur. We followed up on it, and after we got the reports from the NFL teams, we were saying, ‘Maybe he wouldn’t be too fond of playing in the CFL,’ so we were going to try to sell ourselves.”

Samardzija and Szczur, obviously, both chose baseball over football. Kaepernick’s high school baseball coach Mick Tate knew which way his pitcher was leaning. A three-sport start at John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, Calif., Kaepernick was nominated for all-state in football, basketball and baseball his senior year. That year, he was 11-2 with a 1.27 ERA in 13 starts with 10 complete games, 97 strikeouts and 39 walks. Plus, he threw two no-hitters. Scouts followed Kaepernick and the Pitman team, yet Tate, 61, knew baseball was just temporary for his star pitcher. Kaepernick received several scholarship offers from colleges to play baseball but only one school wanted him to play football, and that was Nevada. That’s where Kaepernick went.

“There was never a chance he was going to sign a baseball contract from what I know,” Tate said Monday.

The Cubs wanted Kaepernick to sign, play Minor League baseball in July, rejoin the football program at Nevada, and then commit to baseball after he graduated. In a 2011 interview, Kaepernick said: “What kind of leader would my teammates think I am if I left for a month to play baseball?” Instead, he would lead Nevada to victory in the Fight Hunger Bowl, and was the 36th pick overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.

“Colin was pretty set on his goals,” Tate said. “He wanted to be a professional quarterback. He’s done exactly what he’s wanted to do. You’ve got to give the kid credit.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 AFL final update

The Mesa Solar Sox ended the Arizona Fall League season on Thursday with an 8-3 loss to Phoenix. Cubs prospect Matt Szczur was 0-for-4, and finished his AFL stint batting .264. Logan Watkins, a late add to take Javier Baez’s place on the roster, batted .219 in nine games, and Rubi Silva batted .206 in 20 games. Among the Cubs pitching prospects who took part, Dae-Eun Rhee posted a 6.27 ERA in six games, giving up 13 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in six starts. Nick Struck, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year, compiled a 5.51 ERA in 12 appearances, giving up 10 earned runs on 12 hits and 12 walks over 16 1/3 innings. Kevin Rhoderick served up five runs on seven hits and struck out 14 over 9 1/3 innings. Tony Zych posted a 3.86 ERA in 13 games, giving up 18 hits and walking two over 14 innings. Peoria and Salt River will play for the AFL championship on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium.

— Carrie Muskat