Cubs Organization Report

Good Education




CHICAGO—Despite all the travel league games as a youngster and all the games on the high school and college levels, nothing quite prepares a budding star for the grueling amount of work put in by a professional baseball player.

Outfielder Tyler Colvin got a little taste of it in 2007.

He was the Cubs' first-round pick in 2006 out of Clemson and had a world of baseball experience behind him. But not enough to prepare him for a full season.

He split time with high Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee and appeared in 125 games last year. He killed the ball in Daytona and put up some nice numbers for Tennessee. But come August, he was feeling the effects of a long season.

"I felt good overall," Colvin said. "Obviously I wore down at the end. I haven't played a full season until last year. I played a half season when I signed and I thought that was long. But it's a whole different world in the minor leagues. It's non-stop.

"It took a toll physically. I lost the weight that I had gained in spring training and that's one of the things that's going to stay with me a little while until I mature. I started off at 205 (pounds) and ended up at about 190. It's been tough. It's a long season."

But it was a good education.

Colvin, 22, hit .306/.336/.514 in 245 at-bats with Daytona with 24 doubles and 50 RBIs. He tailed off slightly in Double-A, hitting .291/.313/.462 for Tennessee in 247 at-bats.

"This year will be easier because I've been through it," Colvin said. "I just have to learn from everything that happened last year."

Colvin, who played high school ball at North Augusta (S.C.) High,  is not on the 40-man roster but has been invited to camp as a non-roster invitee for the second straight season.

CUBBYHOLE

• Carlos Marmol picked up closing experience while pitching for the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series. Marmol, Bobby Howry and Kerry Wood are the three leading candidates to take over for Ryan Dempster, who is vying for a spot in the starting rotation.

• Oft-injured righthander Angel Guzman, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007, won't be back on the mound until the final two months of the season at the earliest. Guzman had a 3.56 ERA in 30 innings last year for the Cubs, making all but three of his 12 appearances out of the bullpen. He also had 26 strikeouts and nine walks in his big league stint.