By Roger Hoover / Smokies Radio Network
Earlier today, the Chicago Cubs announced that 21 non-roster players have been invited to 2012′s major league spring training. Of the 21 players, 10 are former Smokies, many of whom are headed to big league spring training for the first time in their careers. Here is the official release from Chicago Cubs media relations, with former Smokies highlighted in bold, along with a report on each player that has performed with Tennessee.
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs have invited 21 non-roster players to major league spring training, which begins Saturday, February 18 when pitchers and catchers are invited to report in Mesa, Ariz. Their first workout will take place on Sunday, February 19. Position players are invited to report to camp Thursday, February 23 with the team’s first full workout Friday, February 24.
Nine pitchers – righthanders Marco Carrillo, Manuel Corpas, Jay Jackson, Rodrigo Lopez, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker and Dae-Eun Rhee and lefthanders Trever Miller and Chris Rusin – have been invited to major league camp, as well as catchers Michael Brenly, Jason Jaramillo and Blake Lalli.
Five infielders – Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Jonathan Mota, Bobby Scales and Matt Tolbert – have also been invited, along with four outfielders – Jim Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Brett Jackson and Joe Mather.
Jim Adduci, 26, returns to major league spring training for his third year in a row. The left-handed batter and thrower hit .308 (73-for-237) with 13 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 20 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 71 games at Double-A Tennessee last season. Adduci enters his sixth season in the Cubs organization after being acquired by the Cubs following the 2006 minor league season to complete the Todd Wellemeyer trade.
Marco Carrillo, who turns 25 on Wednesday, went 7-5 with three saves and a 3.44 ERA (41 ER/107.1 IP) in 40 appearances (nine starts) with Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee in 2011. He spent most of the year with Tennessee, posting a 2.36 ERA (20 ER/76.1 IP) in 29 outings (seven starts). Carrillo signed with Chicago as a non-drafted free agent March 18, 2005 and is 38-21 with eight saves and a 3.60 ERA (224 ER/560.2 IP) in six seasons.
Jae-Hoon Ha, 21, combined to hit .279 (145-for-520) with 31 doubles, 11 homers, 72 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 132 games with Single-A Daytona and Tennessee, reaching Double-A at the age of 20. After starting the year at Daytona, Ha batted .283 (64-for-226) with 16 doubles, three homers and 25 RBI in 61 games with Tennessee to close the year. The right-handed batter and thrower originally signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on September 19, 2008. Ha is a career .281 hitter (298-for-1,061) with 20 homers and 155 RBI in three pro seasons.
Brett Jackson, 23, posted a .274 batting average (118-for-431) with 23 doubles, five triples, 20 homers, 58 RBI, 21 stolen bases and a .379 on-base percentage in 115 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa in 2011. The left-handed hitter began the season with Tennessee before a July promotion to Triple-A, his first, and finished the campaign by hitting .297 (55-for-215) with a .388 on-base percentage and .939 OPS in 48 games with Iowa. Jackson was selected by the Cubs in the first round (31st overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Jay Jackson, 24, went 8-14 with a 5.34 ERA (87 ER/146.2 IP) in 26 starts with Iowa last season, his fourth year in the Cubs organization and his second full campaign at Triple-A. The 2012 season marks his second non-roster invite to major league spring training. The righthander is 31-31 with a 4.23 ERA (87 ER/146.2 IP) in 95 appearances (80 starts) since being selected by the Cubs in the ninth round of the 2008 Draft.
Blake Lalli, 28, batted .287 (100-for-349) with 22 doubles, nine home runs and 52 RBI in 108 games with Tennessee, his third full season at Double-A. The left-handed batter enters his seventh season in the Cubs organization after signing as a non-drafted free agent on May 22, 2006 and is a career .303 hitter (580-for-1,917) with 124 doubles, 33 homers and 263 RBI in 571 professional games.
Trey McNutt, 22, went 5-6 with a 4.55 ERA (48 ER/95.0 IP) in 23 appearances (22 starts) last season with Tennessee, his first full year at Double-A. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder was selected by the Cubs in the 32nd round of the 2009 Draft and is 18-8 with a 3.13 ERA (83 ER/239.0 IP) in 61 appearances (53 starts) during his three-season professional career.
Jonathan Mota, 24, combined to hit .270 (76-for-281) with 19 doubles, seven home runs and 38 RBI in 98 games between Tennessee and Iowa last year. The right-handed batter and thrower has played more than 100 games at second base, third base and shortstop in his pro career since signing with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on August 23, 2003.
Blake Parker, 26, went 4-5 with seven saves and a 3.23 ERA (27 ER/75.1 IP) in 53 relief appearances last season between Tennessee and Iowa, combining to strike out 80 batters in 75.1 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A in May and went 3-3 with four saves and a 2.81 ERA (16 ER/51.1 IP) in 37 outings. Parker was selected by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 2006 Draft.
Chris Rusin, 25, went 8-4 with a 3.96 ERA (61 ER/138.2 IP) in 26 outings, all but two as a starter, with Tennessee and Iowa last year, reaching the Triple-A level in only his third pro campaign. The southpaw walked only 30 batters in 138.2 innings, an average of 1.9 walks per nine innings. Selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2009 Draft, Rusin is 14-12 with a 3.51 ERA (111 ER/284.2 IP) in 60 career minor league outings (54 starts).