Spring Training Will Feature 21 NRIs

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today announced the club has invited 21 non-roster players to Major League Spring Training, which begins Friday, February 13 when pitchers and catchers are invited to report in Mesa, Ariz. Position players report to camp Monday, February 16 with the team's first full workout Tuesday, February 17.

Eleven pitchers – lefthanders Ed Campusano, J.R. Mathes, Matt Smith, Mike Stanton, Jason Waddell and Bill White and righthanders Esmailin Caridad, Andrew Cashner, Chad Fox, Ken Kadokura and Rocky Roquet – have been invited to major league camp, as well as catchers Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Mark Johnson. Infielders Darwin Barney, Andres Blanco, Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales have also been invited, along with outfielders Doug Deeds, Jason Dubois and So Taguchi.

Darwin Barney, 23, begins his third pro season after hitting .262 (107-for-409) with 22 doubles and 51 RBI in 123 games for Single-A Daytona in 2008. A right-handed hitter and fielder, he was selected by Chicago in the fourth round of the 2007 Draft after helping Oregon State University to the 2006 and 2007 College World Series titles.

Andres Blanco, 24, batted .285 (85-for-298) with a career-high 36 RBI in 102 games with Triple-A Iowa, his first campaign in Chicago's system. The switch-hitter batted .292 or better in three months: .292 in April, .317 in May and .350 in August. He began his career in Kansas City's system, first reaching the majors in 2004 and appearing in 78 games from 2004-2006.

Ed Campusano, 26, owns a 14-16 mark with 27 saves and a 3.59 ERA (111 ER/278.0 IP) in 152 career minor league appearances (19 starts). After missing the entire 2007 season due to left elbow surgery, he combined to go 5-3 with one save and a 4.98 ERA (36 ER/65.0 IP) between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee in 2008. Campusano, who was originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2001, briefly left the organization in 2007 after being selected by Milwaukee in the major league portion of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft and traded to Detroit.

Esmailin Caridad, 25, enters his second full season with the Cubs organization after signing with the club as a non-drafted free agent December 19, 2007. The five-foot-ten, 193-pounder boasted a 13-7 ledger with a 3.73 ERA (63 ER/152.0 IP) and a .234 (131-for-561) average against in 28 games (27 starts) between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.

Andrew Cashner, 22, was selected by the Cubs in the first round (19th overall) in the 2008 Draft. The righthander went 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA (13 ER/20.0 IP) in eight games (six starts) with Rookie-League Arizona, Single-A Boise and Single-A Daytona. Cashner led Texas Christian University hurlers with nine victories, nine saves and 30 relief appearances while posting a 2.32 ERA (14 ER/54.1 IP) in his only season at TCU in 2008.

Welington Castillo, 21, spent most of 2008 with Double-A Tennessee, batting .298 (59-for-198) in 57 games before he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa to finish a season in which he combined for a career-best 93 hits, 19 doubles and 37 RBI. Selected to the 2008 Futures Game as a member of the World Team, Castillo was originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in December of 2004.

Steve Clevenger, 22, batted .298 (111-for-373) between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, collecting 25 doubles and 54 RBI in 113 games. The left-handed batter has hit .286 or better in each of his first three pro seasons since he was selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2006 Draft.

Doug Deeds, 27, led Double-A Tennessee with a .325 batting average (135-for-416) in 2008, good for fourth in the Southern League. His 37 doubles also led the club and ranked third in the league. Acquired by Chicago April 10, 2008, from Minnesota to complete the deal that sent outfielder Craig Monroe to the Twins, Deeds owns a .297 (665-for-2,237) batting average in 660 career minor league contests.

Jason Dubois, 29, batted .307 (73-for-238) with 25 homers and 56 RBI in 76 games with the I-Cubs last season after re-joining the organization by signing as a minor league free agent May 18. The right-handed hitter and fielder began his career with Chicago, reaching the majors in 2004 and 2005. He has also spent time with three other organizations: Cleveland (2005-2006), Baltimore (2007) and Washington (2008).

Chad Fox, 38, saw his first major league action since 2005 last season, appearing in three games for the Cubs. After going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA (2 ER/3.1 IP) in three relief appearances for the Cubs in 2008, the six-foot-three, 215-pounder spent the rest of the year on the disabled list with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. He is 10-12 with a 3.60 ERA in 217 relief appearances in all or part of nine major league seasons.

Mark Johnson, 33, returns to the organization after playing for Triple-A Iowa in 2005. The left-handed hitter spent 2008 with St. Louis, batting .264 (53-for-201) with Triple-A Memphis before playing 10 September contests for the Cardinals. Johnson has played in 332 major league games with the Chicago White Sox (1998-2002), Oakland (2003), Milwaukee (2004) and St. Louis (2008).

Ken Kadokura, 35, has gone 76-82 with a 4.36 ERA (618 ER/1276.0 IP) in 302 career games (172 starts) for the Chunichi Dragons (1996-1999), Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes (2000-2003), Yokohama Bay Stars (2004-2006) and Yomiuri Giants (2007-2008). The righty is a 13-year veteran of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.

J.R. Mathes, 27, went 9-5 with a complete game and a 4.29 ERA (67 ER/140.2 IP) in 27 games (22 starts) for Triple-A Iowa last season. The Pacific Coast League mid-season All-Star tossed a 7.0-inning complete-game shutout in game one of the doubleheader against the Nashville Sounds June 15. This marks his sixth season with the club after being selected by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 2004 Draft. He has posted a 44-29 ledger with a 4.32 ERA (309 ER/643.2 IP) in 120 career games (108 starts).

Luis Rivas, 29, spent 2008 with Pittsburgh after joining the club as a non-roster invitee in Spring Training. The right-handed hitter posted a .218 batting average (45-for-206) in 76 contests for the Pirates, his first season in the National League following his time with Minnesota (2000-2005) and Cleveland (2007).

Rocky Roquet, 26, spent a majority of 2008 with Double-A Tennessee, going 4-2 with a 3.70 ERA (20 ER/48.2 IP) in 39 relief appearances, and had a brief seven-game stint with Single-A Daytona, May 22-June 7. The right-handed hurler has posted a 9-2 record with a 3.13 ERA (52 ER/149.1 IP) in 115 career relief outings since being signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent May 29, 2006. Rocky has issued just 65 career free passes compared to 174 punchouts, good for 10.49 strikeouts per nine innings.

Bobby Scales, 31, set career marks with Triple-A Iowa in 2008, hitting .320 with 94 runs, 59 walks and a .415 on-base percentage in 121 games. He finished tied for eighth in the Pacific Coast League batting race and finished tied for second in runs scored. A switch-hitter and right-handed fielder, he begins his 11th pro season after he was originally selected by San Diego in the 14th round of the 1999 Draft.

Matt Smith, 29, spent the 2008 campaign with Rookie-League Phillies and Single-A Clearwater in Philadelphia's farm system, going 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA (8 ER/15.2 IP) in 14 games (six starts). He has appeared in the majors with the Yankees (2006) and Philadelphia (2006-2007), pitching in 35 games. Smith was originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2000 Draft.

Mike Stanton, 41, made 69 relief appearances for the Reds in 2007, his last active season, and owned a 5.93 ERA (38 ER/57.2 IP). The left-handed pitcher is 68-63 with a 3.92 ERA in 1,178 career appearances (one start) in all or part of 19 major league seasons. His 1,178 career appearances rank second all-time among left-handed pitchers, behind Jesse Orosco's 1,252.

So Taguchi, 39, has batted .279 (379-for-1,358) in 666 major league contests for St. Louis (2002-2007) and the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 following a 10-year career with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan (1992-2001). The right-handed batter hit .220 (20-for-91) in 88 contests for the Phillies last season. In 2007 with St. Louis, he led the majors with a .406 batting average as a pinch-hitter (13-for-32).

Jason Waddell, 27, signed with the Cubs as a minor-league free agent November 21, 2008. The southpaw went 1-4 with two saves and a 3.38 ERA (24 ER/64.0 IP) in 44 relief outings for Double-A Connecticut. The Giants' 2001 draft pick owns an 18-18 mark with four saves and a 3.70 ERA (163 ER/397.0 IP) in 252 career games (13 starts).

Bill White, 30, who made his major league debut in 2007, has made 17 relief appearances for the Rangers in 2007-2008. The left-handed hurler is 2-0 with a 9.45 ERA (14 ER/13.1 IP) in those 17 outings. Since being drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2000, the six-foot-three, 225-pounder owns a 19-23 mark with a 4.66 ERA (253 ER/488.2 IP) in 309 career minor league games (43 starts). He signed as a minor-league free agent with the Cubs January 5, 2009.

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