Baseball: Cubs promote first-round pick Kyle Schwarber from Cougars to Daytona

It was fun while it lasted.

After only 23 games tearing up Midwest League pitching for the Cougars, the Cubs’ 2014 first-round pick — Kyle Schwarber — received a promotion to high-Class A Daytona after Kane County’s loss Monday to Beloit.

Schwarber was the MWL Player of the Week in his first, full week with the Cougars, and he kept it going throughout his short tenure with the team. He hit .361 with eight doubles, four home runs, 17 runs and 15 RBI while splitting time at catcher, left field and designated hitter.

Through his first 29 professional games over three levels, Schwarber is hitting an even .400. The fourth overall pick, he was the highest drafted player to suit up for the Cougars since former top overall pick Adrian Gonzalez led the Cougars to the 2001 MWL title.

Comeback trail

Just before the Cougars wrap up the second half of the season and make a push for the organization’s second MWL title, a couple of key pieces should be back.

Infielder Danny Lockhart has been out nearly a month with a wrist injury, and Cougars manager Mark Johnson says that Lockhart has about three weeks left until he’s ready to return.

Outfielder Yasiel Balaguert is facing the same timetable after a stress fracture in his ankle forced him to the disabled list last week.

“It’s an older injury and it was actually starting to heal when he was playing with it,” Johnson said. “He’s got a boot on and he’s in Arizona (at the Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa). He can still hit and throw, he just can’t put a pounding on it.”

Outfielder Kevin Brown has bounced through the Cubs’ system this year, playing at short-season Class A Boise as well as Class AA Tennessee. He came to the Cougars when Balaguert went down.

“He’s a gamer,” Johnson said. “He’s a guy that plays the game the right way. He’s a true professional. He’s passionate about the game.”

Remember when?

Gonzalez’s 2001 Cougars teammate, Miguel Cabrera, helped get the American League going with a two-run first-inning home run off of the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright in the major league All-Star Game.

The most remarkable story among the four former Cougars in the game, however, was Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle. He spent half of the 2007 season with the Cougars playing first base. He made the transition to the mound in late 2011, and after only 17 minor league appearances, found himself with the A’s.

Now, he’s their closer, an All-Star selection, and the holder of a long-term contract that could keep him in Oakland through 2020. He struck out the Cubs’ Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo in the All-Star Game.

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