Cashner Offers Cubs Glimpse into Future (and Hope) with First Start

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On Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Cubs came another step closer towards learning if their super-prospect Andrew Cashner could one day become the next Greg Maddux; or instead find his name in the same bin with guys like: Mike Harkey, Lance Dickson, Mark Prior and Angel Guzman. Or maybe he’ll end up somewhere in between.

Cashner made his first MLB start, and pitched extremely well in a no decision. In 5 1/3, he gave up just two hits and one run, walked run and struck out two. But unfortunately he left the game early due to tightness in his arm, and manager Mike Quade’s desire to err on the side of caution. Especially this early in the season.

We won’t know anything more about the extent of his injury until MRI results come back Wednesday He was thought to be pitching with a blister, but his injury is a bit more serious than that. Overall his injury is thought to not be very serious at all. He had a 1.69 ERA in the outing (and thus on the season).

Cashner is Chicago’s top pick (first round, 19th overall) in the 2008 Draft out of Texas Christian University; where he was the team closer.

He began the season ranked as the organization’s number four prospect by Baseball America.  He joins the Cubs after combining to go 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA (13 ER/57.0 IP) in 11 games (nine starts) between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season.  In 57.0 innings, Cashner struck out 59 batters and walked only 15 while limiting foes to a .193 batting average.

Cashner has reached the big leagues after only 43 minor league appearances (39 starts).

So where does Cashner go from here? What’s expected of him? This excerpt from a Chicago Now post says it best:

“The Cubs aren’t expecting Cashner to ascend to the top spot in the rotation this season, but they should expect to see flashes of that kind of ability.  They need to see Cashner punch hitters out with his big fastball or wicked slider from time to time because the Cubs are going to need it down the road.  Right now they’re a team of 3rd and 4th starters and that should keep them competitive day in and day out, but being competitive isn’t going to be enough.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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