Cubs Explore All Avenues in Draft

There were a couple of mildly interesting selections made in the late rounds of the amateur player draft by the Chicago Cubs this week. One of those selections was listed as an outfielder, the other listed as a right-handed pitcher. Both also are (or were) college football players.

The names Colin Kaepernick and Glenn Cook are not as synonymous with college football as Tim Tebow or Aaron Curry, but the two have played quarterback and linebacker, respectively, for Division I Football Bowl Subdivision member schools.

The Cubs selected Kaepernick from Nevada in the 43rd round and added Cook (Miami-Florida) in the 46th round on the final day of the draft Thursday. Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack with 2,849 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes in 13 games in 2008. He also rushed for 1,298 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Cook was a sixth-year senior for the Hurricanes a season ago, starting all of the team's 13 games at middle linebacker. He led Miami with 91 tackles.

That is a long way from the baseball fields of course.

Cook has not played baseball since his days as a junior at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami Gardens, where he doubled as a center fielder and left-handed pitcher. Kaepernick hasn't played baseball since his high school days, either; not since the spring of 2006 at Pittman (Calif.) High School as a pitcher.

The Cubs are hoping to change that.

"We're not doing this just to get some high-profile guys," Cubs Director of Amateur and Professional Scouting Tim Wilken said. "We're doing this because we're serious about doing this. This is not a whim, especially on Cook."

Cook was introduced to a Cubs area scout, Rolando Pino, at a workout in Clearwater, Fla., about three weeks ago. Wilken said Pino was encouraged by what he saw from Cook.

"He was fairly impressive for a guy that hadn't played (baseball) in awhile," Wilken said of Cook. "His arm worked pretty good from the outfield. He took some batting practice that showed some strength to his swing. He drove a couple of balls pretty good and then against live pitching, he probably took better swings than he did in batting practice.

"We know he's been rusty, but (Pino) has been working him out a couple of times a week. He kept this very quiet the whole time and then he brought him to the workout."

There are published reports that say Cook will to report to Arizona and finalize a contract with Chicago before he begins training. Cook entered the NFL draft in April, but was not selected.

Kaepernick, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, will surely be a more difficult player to sign. He plans to return for his senior season at Nevada later this fall, recently telling The Modesto (Calif.) Bee that he is "100 percent committed" to playing football.

"He pitched high school baseball in Southern California, and we just wanted to see what that was all about," Wilken said of Kaepernick. "We're going to have a couple of scouts watch him throw in the next few days. We're going to try to sign him also.

"He is going to throw for our guys here in about a week, so hopefully we'll see what that's all about and maybe get some good news. He's still got another year left as a quarterback in Reno, but he had pretty good (baseball) numbers."

Wilken said the Cubs considered selecting Cook and Kaepernick as a means to "keep all avenues open."

"Sam Hughes and John Bartsch were instrumental in the Kaepernick one," said Wilken. "They remembered him as a high school pitcher and didn't want to lose sight of that, and Pino scouted Cook. We even worked out a quarterback from Mount Union that won the Division III championship, Greg Micheli. We worked him out and we've just been revisiting some of these guys that played baseball fairly successfully in high school and for one reason or another don't look like they're going to pursue football (professionally).

"We're just trying to keep everything open if we can. There's more than one way to skin a cat and hopefully we found a nice avenue here."

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