Thursday, July 30, 2009

G-Force Off To The Windy City

Hey, no rest for the beat writers and bloggers. John Grabow, who was for a day or so the longest-tenured Bucco on the roster, and Tom Gorzelanny are now Cubbies. And Donnie Veal becomes the new Pirate LOOGY by default.

It seems the deal came together after the Colorado Rockies nixed a Grabow for Eric Young Jr. trade, and the Bucs shopped him elsewhere.

Dave Littlefield, the Pittsburgh GM when Gorzelanny won 14 games in 2007, is scouting for the Cubs and watched one of his recent starts. Another Littlefield deal!

The Cubs sent RHPs Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio to Pittsburgh, along with minor league burner and utility guy Josh Harrison.

Kevin Hart, 26, can spot start or work from the pen. He was sent to AAA Iowa in early July to make room for A-Ram, and just returned to the roster on the 19th.

Hart was traded minutes after pitching Chicago to a 12-3 victory over Houston. He is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in eight games, including four starts. Control is his main issue; he's walked 16 in 21-1/3 innings of work, with nine Ks.

Hart doesn't have overpowering stuff, with a low 90's heater, curve, slider, and change. But he's done good work in his trips to the Windy City; Hart could join the rotation or become a Jeff Karstens type from the pen.

Ascanio, 24, started in the Braves organization, and is considered a back-end bullpen arm. He was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA for the Cubs this year, with 18 Ks and 9 BBs in 15 innings of work, losing his spot to Jeff Samardzija.

He pitches at 95 MPH and touches 97. His 84-88 mph slider is a plus pitch. Ascanio has been around the MLB for parts of the last three seasons, mostly as a set-up man. He's been assigned to Indy. Ascanio will start there. The Cubs used him in the rotation at AAA Iowa and from the pen with the big team.

Josh Harrison, 22, is in High A ball. He can rake, with a .319/7/71 line in his second year, and 44 stolen bases in 62 attempts (71%). Harrison can play corner OF and second or third base; the Bucs plan to try him at second.

He was a sixth round pick in the 2008 draft from Cincinnati, and will report to Lynchburg. Harrison is ex-Bucco coach T-Bone Shelby's nephew.

With Gorzo joining Ian Snell in the bye-bye list, the Bucs are awfully thin in upper level starters; Dan McCutchen, Brad Lincoln, and the rehabbing Phil Dumatrait are it. We're assuming Hart will get a shot at starting for Pittsburgh.

The mad scientist continues to try to catch lightning in a bottle.

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