Breaking News : Lower native Matt Szczur traded to San Diego Padres
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Lower native Matt Szczur traded to San Diego Padres.
Two days after designating the 2007 Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate for assignment, the Chicago Cubs traded Szczur to the San Diego Padres on Monday for right-handed pitcher Justin Hancock.
Szczur is immediately added to the Padres’ 40-man roster. He is out of options and can not be sent to the minor leagues.
Hancock, 26, was 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in 10 appearances for the Padres’ double-A team the San Antonio Missions this season. He has pitched 13 innings, giving up 13 runs (nine earned) with 11 strikeouts and seven walks.
Lower native Matt Szczur traded to San Diego Padres
In his minor-league career since 2011, Hancock is 24-29 with a 3.91 ERA. The Defiance, Ohio, native was selected by the Padres in the ninth round of the 2011 draft out of Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois.
Szczur had four hits in 19 at-bats with three RBIs this season for the Cubs. Chicago released him and promoted pitcher Rob Zastryzny before it played the New York Yankees on Saturday night. Chicago needed bullpen help because its relievers had thrown 11.2 innings in the past two games, including eight in a 5-4, 13-inning win over the Phillies on Thursday.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has praised Szczur in the past for his contributions to the team.
“He’s one of the top pinch-hitters in the league,” Maddon said last season. “His overall game has gotten a lot better since last year, and he’s going to keep getting better. He just needs more playing time, more opportunity. “
But the Cubs simply have too many talented players for Szczur to even get occasional playing time. He was not on Chicago’s playoff roster last season.
Szczur grew up in the Erma section of Lower Township. He is one of the most accomplished athletes to ever graduate from a Cape-Atlantic League school.
He starred at baseball, football and indoor track and field for Lower Cape May. The Press named him Male High School Athlete of the Year in 2007. He played quarterback and running back for the Caper Tigers. His speed enabled him to run away from would-be tacklers.
Szczur then sparked Villanova to the 2009 Football Championship Subdivision title. But while most South Jersey sports fans knew him for his exploits at running back, Szczur also wowed baseball scouts at Villanova. He again used his speed to hit for a high average and chase down deep fly balls in the outfield.
The Cubs picked him the fifth round of the June 2010 Major League First-Year Player Entry draft. Although there was speculation he might be drafted by an NFL team, Szczur committed fully to baseball in 2011 after signing a reported $1.5 million contract with the Cubs.
Szczur made his major-league debut on Aug. 17, 2014 in New York against the Mets.
“It was a long road,” Szczur said that day. “It’s been a great journey. There have been some struggles. There have been some ups and downs. I just wanted to work hard and get to the highest level.”