Cubs Prospects Set for AFL

Arizona Fall League rosters and coaching staffs for the annual event were announced on Monday, and once again housing prospects from the Cubs' farm system will be the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Sox are also home to players from the Astros, Dodgers, Twins and Mets organizations this year.

Managing the team will be Pat Listach – in his first year as skipper at Double-A West Tenn. The players from the Cubs' farm system that Listach will oversee include four pitchers and three position players.

"It's definitely an honor to manage in the Arizona Fall League, especially when you see all of the guys that have gone on to manage in the major leagues from here, such as Dusty Baker," Listach said.

"What it does is open a lot of doors, because you're dealing with five organizations at the same time. You get to meet other farm directors, GM's, assistant GM's and a lot of people from other organizations. It's a good networking tool. I'm looking forward to it," Listach added.

The pitchers who will get a chance to work on their tools in the AFL will be Carmen Pignatiello, Lincoln Holdzkom, Grant Johnson and Clay Rapada.

Pignatiello was promoted to Triple-A on Saturday, where he spent a good portion of 2005. A starter throughout most of his career, the left-handed curveball specialist has appeared in all but one game from relief this year.

Holdzkom was acquired by the Cubs from Florida in March for right-hander Todd Wellemeyer. He underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2003 and missed all of following season. The right-hander has appeared in 13 games in relief for West Tenn this season and has a 2.19 ERA in 24 2/3 innings.

Johnson, previously a starter all throughout his career, has pitched exclusively from the bullpen in 17 consecutive appearances with Class-A Daytona since coming off the disabled list in late June.

Rapada, meanwhile, began the year at Double-A, but was promoted to Triple-A in June after notching 21 saves and boasting a 0.82 ERA.

Position players on hand will be catcher Jake Fox, third baseman Scott Moore, and second baseman Eric Patterson. All three were named to their respective league All-Star teams earlier this season.

Fox was promoted to Double-A in mid-June and has driven in 82 runs on the year, most in the organization. His 21 home runs are a career-high for any season, and ranks second behind only Iowa's Micah Hoffpauir within the organization.

For his part, Moore was the unanimous MVP of the Southern League All-Star Game in Montgomery, Ala., this past July, going 3-for-4 with two home runs.

Patterson was also named to the Southern League All-Star Game, as well as this year's All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh. He was promoted to Triple-A with Pignatiello on Saturday after batting .263 with 22 doubles, nine triples and eight home runs in 121 games for West Tenn.

Patterson and Fox have both served previous stints in the Fall League. Patterson was there last year with Fox participating in 2004. As was the case two years ago, defense will likely be the main focal point for Fox.

Forty-six players from 2005 AFL rosters have already saw time in the majors this season.

Six teams make up the league, which primarily consists of players who spent the previous season in Triple-A and Double-A, with each roster featuring 30 players. The Solar Sox will kick off the 2006 AFL schedule Oct. 10 against the Phoenix Desert Dogs (A's, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Reds, Tigers).

Listach is excited about the opportunity to return to the league on a coaching basis. He was there in 2001 as the Sox hitting coach.

"It's a lot of exposure for the players," Listach said of the AFL. "I've had Spring Training out there in 17 of my 19 years in the game. We have our organizational meetings out in Arizona every November and have one mandatory night where we go and watch a Fall League game and watch our players. I was the hitting coach out there with Chris Cron and Bob Stanley in 2001, so I'm pretty familiar with the league and the way it's run."

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