Pawelek Continues Development in Arizona

Cubs pitching prospect Mark Pawelek pitched three innings in an Extended Spring Training start in Mesa, Ariz., over the weekend. The left-hander and Cubs first-round draft pick in 2005 walked two batters, hit one, gave up one hit, and worked his way out of trouble throughout the afternoon. "He bounced back in every situation," said one scout in attendance.

Pawelek allowed one baserunner in the first inning courtesy of a walk, and two additional runners to reach base in each inning afterward.

He struck out one.

"I was throwing mostly fastballs and changeups," Pawelek said of the outing. "My slider was a little off, so I had to re-adjust."

The 20-year-old Pawelek spent last season at Class Low A Boise, where he rebounded from a slow start to finish 3-5 with a 2.51 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 61 innings. He walked 23 and held opposing hitters to a .232 average.

This spring, he began the year in the bullpen with Class A Peoria and made two appearances there before being sent to Extended Spring Training.

In four innings with the Midwest League club, Pawelek walked four and hit four batters in four innings.

"Mark just has to get more consistent," Cubs Assistant General Manager Randy Bush said of Pawelek's extended stay in Mesa. "With him, it's all about throwing strikes and repeating his delivery. He's had trouble with that and he continued to have trouble with that early in the season.

"We sent him back to get him into a more structured environment where he could throw on a certain day each time, so that regardless of whether he's throwing balls and strikes, he gets his work in," added Bush.

Pawelek feels the work has gone well.

"I feel everything is coming around," he said. "I've been working on a lot of things with my mechanics: trying to hit spots better, being more fluid with my arm motion, and keep repeating my delivery."

The southpaw and former prep standout at Springville (Utah) High School has been starting games with the Extended Spring Training team and figures to keep doing so later this summer – either at Peoria or Boise.

"I like starting and I don't know how to do the relieving role too well," said Pawelek. "For them to bring me to Arizona and keep me in the rotation, it was nice ... Where I pitch this season all depends. I'd like to go back to Peoria and help them win. Right now, I'm trying to pitch my way out of here."

The Cubs hope it won't take long.

"He just needs to get to where he throws a greater number of strikes and can get out (of the inning)," Bush said. "Once he does that, he's going to advance quickly because his stuff is really overpowering."

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