Pawelek Struggles in Debut

Mark Pawelek made his 2006 debut on Monday night, going four innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits while walking three for Class Low A Boise. Hawks manager Steve McFarland was none too pleased with the left-hander's debut.

The short-season, Class Low A affiliate of the Cubs dropped their season opener in Northwest League play, 11-7, to the Eugene Emeralds at Boise's Memorial Stadium.

Boise tallied 12 hits in the loss, but gave up 18, including three home runs by the opposition. Pawelek, selected as the Cubs' first-round pick from Springville (Utah) High School in last year's draft, gave up three runs in the first two innings and had thrown 64 pitches through his first three frames.

"He didn't have control or command of any of his pitches," McFarland said bluntly after the game. "His fastball was all over the place. He couldn't repeat his delivery. He couldn't command anything."

The 19-year-old Pawelek had been with the Cubs in Extended Spring Training prior to his debut on Monday. As a senior in high school, he went 10-0 with a zero ERA and finished his prep career as the state's all-time strikeout leader. He whiffed 132 in 63 innings his senior season.

The southpaw struck out three in his season opener with the Hawks. He also threw a wild pitch and hit two batters.

"It was a bit unfortunate in the first inning because we booted the ball and may have gotten out of it," McFarland added. "But the second inning is when he really lost it."

Russ Canzler started at first base and went 3-for-3 with two walks in the loss. He and third baseman Elvin Puello homered to lead off the eighth inning for the team's final two runs of the night.

McFarland, now in his eighth year with the Cubs after managing previously for both Boise and Class High A Daytona, said if he had to award an MVP for the game, the 20-year-old Canzler (drafted in 2004) would be the choice.

"He had a good game, no doubt about it," McFarland said. "He swung the bat pretty good tonight. Some of our hitter's got themselves some pretty nice counts to hit. We kept hitting and coming back with some runs, but couldn't slam the door. We had the back-to-back homers in one inning. For the most part, I thought we did a good job of fighting back."

Sixth-round draft pick Josh Lansford was 1-for-5 with a two-run single in his professional debut. Catcher Matt Canepa, a 15th round pick who played with Lansford at Cal Poly, got the start behind the plate and drove in a run as part of a 1-for-3 performance.

Other 2006 draft picks making their professional debuts were CF Matt Camp and second baseman Steve Clevenger. Both finished 1-for-5.

Hawks Notes

Jeff Samardzija, a two-sport standout at Notre Dame whom the Cubs selected with their fifth-round pick, signed a professional contract with the organization earlier this week and has reported to Boise for the start of his pro baseball career.

Samardzija will continue to play college football for the Irish once the fall season arrives. McFarland doesn't yet know when he expects the right-hander and Notre Dame wide receiver to officially make his first appearance with the team. Samardzija was expected to appear on ESPN's "Cold Pizza" later on in the week.

Left-hander Darin Downs, back in Boise for a third straight season since being drafted in the fifth round by the Cubs in 2003, will start game two of the five-game series Tuesday night. In 2005, Downs was 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts for the Hawks. He spent 2004 with the team as well and was 5-3 with a 4.95 ERA in the same number of outings.

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