Pawelek Going Back to Basics … and Extended

Mark Pawelek will begin the season in extended spring training – again. The left-hander and Cubs 2005 first-round draft pick got the news on Friday as full-season minor league rosters were being finalized.

It is essentially the third straight season in which Pawelek will open the year in Extended Spring Training. He was initially assigned to Class-A Peoria a year ago, but made just two appearances in relief before he was sent back to Arizona.

Pawelek logged just 17 2/3 innings in 2007. He suffered a fractured radial head on his non-throwing arm in June, right as he was preparing to leave Arizona for another stint in the short-season Northwest League with Class Low-A Boise.

This spring, the Cubs have been working with Pawelek on a different windup and delivery, which Pawelek says resembles the one from his prep career.

"They've had me change a couple of things over the last two years and I basically wanted to go back to how I used to throw," said the 21-year-old Pawelek, who finished 10-0 with a zero ERA during his final prep season at Springville (Utah) High School en route to becoming the 20th overall selection in the '05 draft.

Among the changes Pawelek has made: raising his leg kick and reverting to his low three-quarters arm angle. Since doing so, the southpaw says he's been able to throw strikes more consistently, and that's the most important thing right now.

"From when I started throwing long-toss, my arm (has been) coming up faster and I'm throwing harder," said Pawelek. "It's just going to take some time before I can throw strikes with it. I've been throwing all right, but I'm just not there yet."

Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita said that he had hoped Pawelek would be able to break camp with a full-season minor league team.

But, he said, the work has taken longer than the club had hoped.

"His spring training has been fair and I think we may be on to something," said Fleita. "He's got a few issues to iron out and once we get that put behind us, he'll probably move on. It has been a very competitive camp and at this point, he is probably just short of where he needs to be."

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