Cubs

Cubs add Brian Duensing into bullpen mix; Carl Edwards Jr. will miss weekend series

Cubs add Brian Duensing into bullpen mix; Carl Edwards Jr. will miss weekend series

Brian Duensing set his alarm for 5:30 a.m. Friday morning even though his flight from Iowa to Chicago wasn't for another few hours.

"There was no way I was gonna miss this one, so I made sure I got up early," Duensing said Friday in front of his locker in the Cubs clubhouse.

Duensing has actually had his name on his locker all week, even though the veteran left-handed reliever was in Triple-A rehabbing after a back injury limited his spring training work.

The Cubs activated Duensing off the disabled list Friday morning, placing pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. on the bereavement list after a death in the family.

This is actually Duensing's first time at Wrigley Field even though he's been around the big leagues since 2009, although all of his previous experience came in the American League with the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles.

Duensing got a full tour of the Cubs clubhouse from traveling secretary Vijay Tekchandani, but the southpaw joked he was still getting his bearings and didn't even know where the bathroom was.

Duensing got to know the Cubs players and coaching staff in spring training after signing a one-year, $2 million deal over the winter. When it comes to his performance on the field, he's just aiming to blend seamlessly into the background with the reigning World champs.

"I look forward to how the team's gonna do," Duensing said. "Obviously had an unbelievable year last year winning the World Series. They wanna do it again and it'd be fun to be a part of it and help out."

As for Edwards, he tossed two shutout innings in Thursday's 4-0 Cubs win so he would've been unavailable at least Friday — and possibly Saturday — anyways, but this is obviously not how anybody would want the young pitcher to get some rest.

"It's horrible," said Joe Maddon of Edwards' loss. "We all know CJ and he's such a good kid and he's absolutely being devastated by it. We just wait and see when he gets back and in the meantime, we'll just hold down the fort."

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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