One of the Chicago Cubs top minor league prospects is recovering nicely following Tommy John surgery. The left-handed hitting Tyler Colvin had a stellar 2008 season with Double-A Tennessee, hitting .256 with 14 home runs and 80 RBI’s. Colvin started playing in the Arizona Fall League, but was bothered by pain in his left elbow which was believed to be a bone spur problem. The Cubs shut Colvin down so that he could have surgery to remove the bone spur, but during the surgery, doctors discovered that he also needed to have Tommy John surgery to repair further damage to the arm. Tommy John surgery is easier to recover from than shoulder surgery, so it is expected that Colvin will be back at full strength in 5-6 months. Colvin may miss a few weeks during the 2009 minor league season, but he should still be able to make a solid impact as the season progresses.
In Venezuela, former major leaguer Rich Hill is 1-0 with a sparkling 3.00 ERA in 2 starts. Left-handed starter J.R. Mathes has shined in the Venezuelan league, winning both of his starts with a 0.87 ERA in 10 1/3 innings pitched. Cubs Catcher Henry Blanco had a .267 batting average in Margarita with 2 home runs. The Cubs just declined a 2009 option on Blanco, and elected to pay him a $300,000 buyout instead. I believe the Cubs will still try to sign Blanco because of his good relationship with many Cubs pitchers and because of the valuable experience he can continue to pass on to budding super star Geovany Soto.