Hart Stays Fresh at Peoria

PEORIA – Cubs pitcher Kevin Hart only made one costly mistake while pitching on a minor league assignment for Class-A Peoria on Monday at O'Brien Field.

Hart let a 2-1 pitch hang over the heart of the plate and Fort Wayne first baseman, Allan Dykstra, sent the pitch sailing into the right field pavilion, giving the Tincaps a 2-0 first-inning lead. The Chiefs would only need one big inning to take back the lead and hold on for a 5-2 victory.

"I was just trying to come out here to get some work in and throw some pitches," Hart said. "But it just goes to show you no matter what level you are, if you work behind in the count, good hitters are going to put good swings on the ball."

Hart was not as sharp as he had hoped, working behind in the count most of the day. But he was able to battle back against Fort Wayne batters and finished the day giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out three before reaching his pitch limit after four innings.

Chiefs manager Marty Pevey knew Hart did not have his best outing, but also knew the goal of the assignment was just to keep him pitching so that he stays sharp after the major league and Triple-A All-Star break. The Cubs open the second half Thursday at Washington.

"He's an up and down big leaguer. To be a consistent big leaguer, you have to be strike one. Strike one takes away stolen bases and hit and run opportunities," Pevey said. "They didn't really hit him hard; he got himself into trouble. He could be a little bit rusty, though."

One player excited to have Hart in town was Chiefs catcher Michael Brenly.

"To see a guy with that mental mindset that knows what he wants to do and throw in certain pitches in certain counts was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun catching him," Brenly said.

"[Before the game] I found out what his signals were and what he wanted to do with runners on second. But it was a role reversal because I had seen these guys a lot more than he has so I tried to use what they have done against us when we went there and the past couple days to help him as much as I could."

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