Cary-Grove's Priester calls pitching at Wrigley Field "surreal"
Pirates right-hander Quinn Priester got to take the mound against his hometown team Tuesday. The Cary-Grove High School grad pitched from the second through seventh innings in a lopsided Cubs victory.
"Surreal," he said. "Seriously, it was awesome. Just being able to see the scoreboard again and fans and, it sounds stupid, but the seventh-inning stretch, when it's 'Let's go Cubbies.'
"It brings back a lot of nostalgia, a lot of memories. To actually be out there doing it, competing against the team I grew up loving. Wanted a better result, definitely wanted to beat them, but it was just a really cool experience, really cool game."
Priester gave up 4 earned runs Tuesday, but settled down after a tough start. A first-round pick of the Pirates in 2019, Priester made his major-league debut on July 17, went down to Triple A for a while and is now back with Pittsburgh. He's posted an 8.61 ERA in 8 appearances this season.
"Definitely haven't had the results we want to see and that we're going to have in the future," he said. "We know that, I know that. Definitely feel like we're inching closer and closer to having good results and being more consistent in the work. I've seen a big improvement in the velocity and the consistency in the velocity."
Priester topped out at 97.3 mph with the first pitch, a sinker, he threw Tuesday to Christopher Morel, according to Statcast. He's planning to spend the winter in Florida to prepare for next season and hopes to be a regular as a Wrigley Field visitor.
"Getting a chance to face the best is what I want," he said. "The results haven't been there, but (the Cubs), the Braves, the Phillies, the Brewers -- they're making me better because those are some of the best lineups. It's great to get that experience.
"It's just mixing and finding out how to get big league hitters out, not once or twice but three times. That's been the thing I'm working on the most. Once we figure that out, and we are, we'll be good. We'll be great."
Manager David Ross said the plan is for infielder Jeimer Candelario (back) to return to full activity in the next couple of days and if all goes well, he could come off the injured list Sunday or maybe Tuesday in Atlanta.
Reliever Adbert Alzolay (right forearm strain) told WSCR's Bruce Levine he's hoping to be back for the final series in Milwaukee next week.
Around the horn:
The Cubs now have six players with at least 65 RBI -- Cody Bellinger, Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, Christopher Morel, Seiya Suzuki and Nico Hoerner. That hasn't happened since 2004. ... The pitching matchups for this weekend against Colorado are Jameson Taillon vs. Noah Davis on Friday, Jordan Wicks vs. Chris Flexen on Saturday, and Javier Assad vs. Ty Blach on Sunday.