Cubs minor league update

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Cubs minor league update

On the heels of their first three-game sweep of the season the Cubs have finally given their fans something to cheer about, at least for the time being. But the front office focus should not deviate from their plans for the future. Here is how Cubs minor league standouts fared this week.

Anthony Rizzos onslaught on opposing pitching continued this past week as he raised his season average 10 points up to .354 by going 9-for-21 (.429) on the week. Along with hitting for a solid average Rizzo added three more home runs and seven RBIs to his season total. His consistent approach at the plate coupled with unparalleled power produced a ridiculous 1.175 OPS and Rizzo now leads the Pacific Coast League in OPS (1.128), SLG (.713), and HR (17). He is also third in RBIs (46), and top 10 in AVG (.354).

Brett Jackson finally showed signs of improvement last week as he went 8-for-23 (.347) with two triples, a homerun, and five RBIs. This was the first week this month that Jackson has hit over .300. Jackson also swiped two bags showing off some of his great athleticism. The rest of the season is going to be an great challenge for the North Side hopeful, but with a few consecutive weeks of production, no one will ever remembered his rough start to the month of May even happened.

Tennessee AA standout Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate as he managed to go 8-for-28 (.285) with a homer and only one RBI. Lake had trouble finding his way on base this week (OBP .283), which did not help a Smokies team in desperate need of wins (1-6 on the week). Although Lakes average still sits above .300 the Smokies are going to need to see better production out of what many consider a top five Cubs prospect.

Smokies right-hander Trey McNutt made one start last week and he tossed five innings allowing two runs on five hits with only one strikeout. McNutt did pitch his way out of a number of jams he got himself into but ultimately the two runs were enough to credit him with the loss. He is now 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 2.88.

Daytona Cubs first baseman Greg Rohan caught fire last week. He was 7-for-19 (.368) with six RBIs. Rohan showed the ability to spray hits to all parts of the field including over the fence as he homered in three consecutive games. This is nothing new for the 26-year-old righty, who has been providing solid run support for the Single-A affiliate all season long. In fact, he is leading the Florida State league in RBIs (45). Rohan can count on a promotion if he continues to produce at this accelerated level.

Matt Loosen made only one start last week but he made the most of it. Loosen was locked in surrendering only one run on four scattered hits. He struck out seven in his six innings of work, and improved his record to 2-1. Loosen also managed to give up no walks on his way to helping his club snap a three-game losing streak.

Last week Javier Baez received a long awaited call. The Peoria Chiefs added the Cubs first round pick of 2011 to their roster and in his first performance he did not disappoint. Baez went 2-for-4 and appeared comfortable both at the plate and in the field. The 19-year-old is ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs number two prospect in the entire organization. This talented youngster will be a solid addition for a Peoria club struggling to find run production and wins.

Joe Musso contributed to this report.

White Sox Top Prospects: Zack Burdi thriving in minors

White Sox Top Prospects: Zack Burdi thriving in minors

Zack Burdi hasn't been in the White Sox organization for long, but he's certainly showing why the club drafted him with the 26th pick in this year's draft.

The 21-year-old pitcher is thriving in the minors with a little over two months in to his professional career. Burdi worked his way through four affiliates and is currently in Triple-A Charlotte.

In 22 games and 31.1 innings pitched over four levels, Burdi has a 2.90 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 13 walks. In addition, the Illinois native hasn't allowed a run in the last 18.1 innings pitched with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.

"One of the things we want Zack to work on is his consistency with his delivery out of the stretch," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said on Thursday. "The only problem is he’s not allowing any baserunners on, so he’s not really having a lot of opportunity to work on that. We are going to tell him to put more guys on.

"But no, in all seriousness a lot has already been thrown at this kid and he’s responded essentially to every outing, with the exception of the first one at Birmingham was rough. It’s been a lot about the consistency of his delivery and fastball command and fairly simplistic stuff that he’s taken to very quickly and he’s got a world of ability."

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Burdi was rated as the No. 21 best prospect in Baseball America's top 500 prospects prior to the draft.

Before joining the White Sox in June, Burdi finished off his collegiate career at Louisville. He was named to the All-ACC First Team, USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and Third Team Louisville Slugger All-America.

White Sox trade catcher Dioner Navarro to Blue Jays

White Sox trade catcher Dioner Navarro to Blue Jays

The White Sox made room for the return of veteran catcher Alex Avila by trading Dioner Navarro to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

The club activated Avila off the 15-day disabled list and acquired left-handed minor league pitcher Colton Turner in exchange for Navarro, who spent the previous two seasons with the Blue Jays. Turner, who has a combined 1.33 ERA in 44 minor league games this season, has been assigned to Double-A Birmingham.

Navarro hit .210/.267/.339 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 298 plate appearances this season.

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Avila, who has been on the disabled list since July 5 with a strained hamstring, went 7-for-11 with a home run and two walks on his assignment. He caught 12 innings during his rehab, including seven on Thursday.

“I’m ready to go,” Avila said.

The team has been happy with how rookie catcher Omar Narvaez has performed since he joined the club in July when Avila went on the DL. Narvaez has an .831 OPS in 43 plate appearances this season.

“I know Omar, with him being here and doing what he’s doing, you want him to get a little more of the shot of being able to play,” Ventura said. “I think he’s worked his way into that.”

Luis Solignac wins MLS Goal of the Week for opener in Montreal

Luis Solignac wins MLS Goal of the Week for opener in Montreal

Luis Solignac has made a big difference to the Chicago Fire’s attack since joining the team in early August.

On Friday, the Argentine forward added an award to show for his impact on the team. He won MLS Goal of the Week for his opening goal in the 3-0 win at Montreal on Aug. 20.

The curling goal from Solignac was his first in a Fire uniform. He also drew a penalty kick, which David Accam converted, in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy.

In Solignac’s 312 minutes, nearly three and a half games, the Fire have scored seven goals. Not bad considering the Fire were averaging less than a goal per game before Solignac’s arrival.