Roquet Hopes to Surprise

Rocky Roquet could be on the cusp of a major league call-up this year.

The right-handed pitcher might not be a favorite to break camp with the parent club, but he could turn a few heads, especially after his fantastic 2007 season.

Roquet, 25, opened the season in low Class A Peoria and came up with 11 saves and an 0.36 ERA. He made three appearances in high Class A Daytona and then finished the season with seven saves and a 3.63 ERA in Class AA Tennessee.

"At my age, I definitely wanted to end up in Double-A," Roquet said. "I didn't want to start in low A, and I was faced with an obstacle of moving up two spots. I started out well, and that boded well for my movement in the organization.

"I've only been pitching four or five years and never pitched this many innings in a season. I learned what you had to do to be a reliever on a consistent basis."

He was originally an outfielder in college but converted to a pitcher.

"It was plain and simple, and nobody likes to say it, but I just couldn't hit," Roquet said.

Roquet had offseason hernia surgery but said he is healthy and ready to go in spring training.


--OF Matt Murton could be on the trading block. He is not center field material, and the Cubs have LF Alfonso Soriano and RF Kosuke Fukudome locked up for several years.

--RHP Adam Harben could make it to the parent club in 2008. He was added to the 40-man roster in the fall one year after he had Tommy John surgery. He made three appearances in Rookie ball last season and reports are good enough about his health that he was added to the roster.

--RHP Jose Ceda could be climbing the rungs of the minor league system quickly. Toward the end of the season for Class A Peoria, the reliever had a string of 25 consecutive innings without allowing a hit.

--OF Sam Fuld, who is battling Felix Pie for the starting center field spot, won MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League and was voted by members within the organization as the prospect with the best heart and work ethic.

--1B/OF Micah Hoffpauir has shown power in the minor leagues and was considered for a call-up in 2007 before he hurt his knee. He could be considered again in 2008 if he stays healthy.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- RBIs for Ronny Cedeno in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Last year, we had to come from behind. We had to step on that gas pedal so much that I think it took its toll on us late in the year. Spring training is going to be springboard for us to get off to a good start." -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

Northsiders Report Top Stories