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posted: 1/19/2011 5:00 PM

Cubs get 2 pitchers, outfield in deal

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  • Villanova wide receiver Matt Szczur has signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs and will give up football. (AP Photo/Michael Perez/file)

      Villanova wide receiver Matt Szczur has signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs and will give up football. (AP Photo/Michael Perez/file)
    Associated Pres/2009 file photo

  • A two-sport athlete in college, Villanova wide receiver Matt Szczur has signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs to play baseball. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

      A two-sport athlete in college, Villanova wide receiver Matt Szczur has signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs to play baseball. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Associated Press

 
 

The Cubs on Wednesday made official their trade of left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals.

The deal became public earlier in the week, but the teams could not announce it until Gorzelanny passed a physical exam.

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In sending Gorzelanny to Washington, the Cubs save $2.1 million in salary and free up a spot on the 40-man roster, which stands at 38. In a procedural move, the Cubs and Gorzelanny agreed to a one-year, $2.1 million contract Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration. Washington will pay his 2011 salary.

For the 28-year-old Gorzelanny, the Cubs got three minor-league prospects: outfielder Michael Burgess, left-handed pitcher Graham Hicks and right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris.

The Cubs seem intrigued by Burgess, 22, who finished last season at Class AA Harrisburg and had a hitting line of .284/.391/.649 with 6 home runs.

Gorzelanny was 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA for the Cubs last season in 29 games, 23 starts.

Soriano's mother dies

The mother of Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano died Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. Andrea Soriano suffered an apparent heart attack.

The Cubs issued a statement: "The Cubs offer our most sincere condolences to Alfonso and his family upon the sudden passing of his mother, Andrea. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alfonso during this difficult time."

Cubs owners Tom, Pete and Todd Ricketts are in the Dominican Republic this week, and a Cubs spokesman said the family was hopeful of meeting with Soriano to offer support.

No more football

The Cubs are expected to announce Thursday that minor-league prospect Matt Szczur will forgo a possible football career in the NFL to play baseball.

Szczur, an outfielder out of Villanova, was the Cubs' fifth-round pick in last June's amateur draft. He starred at Villanova as a slot back/receiver.

The Cubs will give Szczur a bonus of $1.4 million to stay in baseball, essentially tripling their initial offer.

After being drafted last year, Szczur played one game at Rookie League Mesa before going to Class A Boise and putting up a hitting line of .397/.439/.521 with 9 doubles. He finished at Class A Peoria, where he is likely to start this season.

Unlike former football star Jeff Samardzija, a pitcher, Szczur was not given a major-league contract.

Szczur gained a measure of fame last spring when he missed part of the college baseball season to donate blood cells to a 1-year-old girl with leukemia.

"It was worth it in the end, being able to help save a life," Szczur said during a visit to Wrigley Field before heading back to college.

Welcome back

The Cubs have signed former first-round pick Lou Montanez to a minor-league contract and invited him to spring training as a nonroster man.

Montanez, a 29-year-old outfielder, played in 26 games with the Baltimore Orioles last year. He has 93 games of big-league experience. The Cubs took him as a shortstop in the first round of the 2000 draft, but he never panned out for them.

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