Roquet Looking to Get Back on Track

Roquet looks to rebound (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)

After being bothered by elbow soreness earlier this season, Cubs pitching prospect Rocky Roquet is looking to get back on track with Class-A Daytona.

Roquet began 2008 at Double-A Tennessee, the same level he closed last season after conquering the Single-A Midwest and Florida State League's.

The right-hander put together one of the best all-around campaigns for any Cubs minor league pitcher in 2007, as he finished with a 2.31 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 70-plus innings in a total of 50 appearances.

But at times this season Roquet has struggled to find that same dominance – largely as the result of a sore elbow that began to act up toward the end of spring training.

With Tennessee, Roquet allowed eight runs and 17 hits in 12 1/3 innings and was placed on the disabled list near the middle part of this month. Highlighted by a drop in velocity, the DL stint resulted in a trip to Chicago for an MRI.

"There was just inflammation inside the joint," Roquet said. "I couldn't extend my elbow the whole way. I was cutting the ball off and not getting through it. They switched medications for me and that's really helped. The trainer in Tennessee (Nick Frangella), we did a lot of stuff. He stretched my elbow out. I was in there for about an hour everyday."

Upon being activated from the disabled list, Roquet was sent to Daytona to get into a more regular routine and to gain some confidence, he said.

Roquet said that at times he has not felt like his same self from last year.

"My velocity was down considerably, which made my slider longer and made it a lot harder to go after hitters like I usually do," he said.

But the 25-year-old Roquet, who normally sits 90-94 mph and has topped out at 96 mph, says that his velocity is back on the rise now with Daytona.

"I threw [three] days ago in Daytona (on May 22) and its back," he said. "It was my first game in like two weeks and I felt pretty good about it."

Roquet faced three Tampa Yankees batters and threw over 20 pitches in his first appearance with the Daytona team. The first batter he faced resulted in a 12-pitch at-bat with the second batter drawing an eight-pitch at-bat.

"I felt good and I'm excited to get back out there," Roquet said.

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