Tony Zych Gets Closer To Home





CHICAGO — It was a long year for righthander Tony Zych, but he was sure to feel good about it when he got home from the Arizona Fall League.

Zych, 22, put himself on the map as a potential set-up reliever behind closer Carlos Marmol, and he could reach Wrigley Field at some point in 2013. That would be a huge event for his family, which is scattered all around the Chicago area.
Zych was drafted in the fourth round out of Louisville in 2011 but played his high school ball at St. Rita High in Chicago, commuting 35 miles from his home in Monee.

Zych made 47 appearances during his first full year as a pro, opening the season at high Class A Daytona and ending it at Double-A Tennessee. He was 5-4, 3.67 in 61 innings, and used his 96-97 mph fastball to help pile up 64 strikeouts against 19 walks. That earned him the assignment to the AFL, and he posted a 3.86 ERA over 13 appearances. He throws a slider and a splitter in addition to his fastball.

"Tony can get into a mentality of wanting to overpower hitters with his power stuff," said Jason McLeod, senior vice president for scouting and player development. "He's working on pitching to both sides of the plate, changing speeds and (batters') eye levels."

The Cubs used 30 pitchers last season and headed into the offseason with Carlos Marmol, James Russell and perhaps Michael Bowden as the only guys set for the 2013 bullpen. The question for Zych seems to be how long he'll have to wait to get his chance.

CUBBYHOLE

• The Cubs hired Diamondbacks assistant trainer P.J. Mainville to replace Mark O'Neal as their trainer. O'Neal is moving into a newly created position as a medical administrator for the team.

• Shortstop Junior Lake got off to a good start with Estrellas in the Dominican League. He was hitting .342/.393/.500 with two homers and five stolen bases in his first 24 games. He seems in line for a promotion to Triple-A Iowa next season after a solid 2012 with Tennessee.