Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cubs Seek Boost from Phillies Castoff

Mindful of a lack of depth in the outfield, the Chicago Cubs reportedly have opened talks to sign 28-year-old outfield prospect Valentino Pascucci, who led the International League with 34 homers last year.

Pascucci -- a native of the Los Angeles area -- last played at the major league level in March, when the Phillies demoted him from spring camp to the minors, only to release the 6-foot-6, 260-pound slugger altogether after he struggled to make contact in a limited trial.

Pascucci last appeared in the major leagues with the Montreal Expos in 2004, who took him in the 15th round of the 1996 draft. Though he was a major contributor last year for Triple A Albuquerque in the Marlins system, his bat has been supplanted there by former Angels prospect Dallas McPherson, who is hitting nearly .300 and is approaching double digit homers in the early going.

McPherson is a natural corner infielder, but Albuquerque is giving him a tryout in the outfield.

With star outfielder Rafael Soriano out with chronic leg injuries, the Cubs have been forced to bolster the outfield with infielder Mark DeRosa, have recalled Matt Murton and signed light-hitting Blue Jays castoff Reed Johnson.

If Pascucci signs with the Cubs, expect him to be assigned to Triple A Des Moines.