Cubs

Cubs tab Kyle Schwarber as minor league player of month

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Cubs tab Kyle Schwarber as minor league player of month

Kyle Schwarber is off to a heck of a start in his professional career.

The 22-year-old was named the Cubs minor league player of the month for May after hitting .297/.443/.582 in the month with eight homers, 18 runs and 17 RBI in 28 games.

Schwarber led the entire Cubs system in homers, walks, slugging percentage and OPS for the month and paced the Southern League in walks while also finishing second in homers, third in OPS and OBP and fourth in slugging.

[RELATED - Will Cubs use Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez as interleague DH?]

Schwarber is determined to stick at catcher and his fielding is a work in progress, but his bat and plate approach may be nearly MLB-ready. He owns a career 1.052 OPS in 119 minor-league games with 30 homers and 85 RBI in 419 at-bats.

On the season, Schwarber is hitting .312 with a 1.038 OPS, 12 homers, 32 RBI, 31 runs and a 37:42 BB:K ratio with Double-A Tennessee.

The Cubs named 2014 10th-round draft pick Ryan Williams the organization's minor league pitcher of the month as the right-hander went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in five starts for Class-A South Bend.

Williams, 23, is 4-1 with a sparkling 1.17 ERA and 0.708 WHIP in 53.2 innings on the season with South Bend.

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He was promoted to Double-A Tennessee and started Wednesday's game for the Smokies, surrendering three runs in 5.1 innings with four strikeouts.

Williams had a 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 11 relief appearances in the Cubs system last season.

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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