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Cubs bring in Prior to counsel prospects
Turns out the new “Cubs Way” involves a surprising part of the Cubs’ recent past – specifically Kerry Wood and Mark Prior book-ending the Cubs’ weeklong Rookie Development Program by offering advice to prospects.
“Who better to know and understand having all the hype, all the pressure, and being the young guy coming up and then performing in this environment?” McLeod said. “Those have been two of the most hyped Cubs prospects of the last 15 or 20 years.”
The talks by the star-crossed pitchers were part of the inaugural running of what amounts to an advanced seminar on big-league life, on and off the field, for a dozen hand-picked, near-ready prospects.
Wood, who remains in the organization after retiring as a pitcher last year, isn’t as much of a surprise headliner as Prior – who accepted an invitation last week from McLeod, who knew him from a brief comeback attempt in San Diego.
“I don’t know what the deal was when he left. I don’ t know if there were bad feelings,” McLeod said. “All I know is I reached out to him … Honestly, I thought he was going to say he didn’t want to, but he was fired up about it and said, `I’d love to come talk to those guys and tell them about my experiences.’ ”
Baseball operations president Theo Epstein, chairman Tom Ricketts, business ops president Crane Kenney, pitching coach Chris Bosio and current big-leaguers were also part of the week of events at Northwestern University.