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Cubs use nine of Day 2's 14 selections on arms

The Cubs added enough arms in the first two days of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft to nearly fill a Major League pitching staff.

Chicago used its first five picks, and nine of its 14 selections, on pitchers in the second day of the Draft on Tuesday.

The selections of those arms followed the picks of right-handers Pierce Johnson (No. 43 overall) and Paul Blackburn (No. 56) in Monday's sandwich round, giving the Cubs 11 pitchers (nine right-handed, two left-handed) through the Draft's first two days.

Only the Twins, who used 13 of their 18 selections on pitchers, drafted more arms. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein's former team, the Red Sox, also drafted 11 pitchers.

Five of the pitchers selected Tuesday were college arms, while four were high schoolers.

The club's fourth-round selection of Coastal Carolina pitcher Josh Conway could turn out to be one of the Draft's best value picks.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander had a great summer in the Cape Cod League in 2011, earning league All-Star honors after going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. Then, nine games into this season, he tore the UCL in his right elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 15.

"When that happened it was a bummer," Conway said Tuesday of his injury. "But luckily today I was fortunate enough to get picked up by a Major League team."

Conway's arm is currently in an immobilizer, and he will begin the early part of his rehab in his hometown of Smithsburg, Md. Although he can return to Coastal Carolina for his senior year, Conway said he's excited about getting drafted by the Cubs and looks forward to signing.

"Absolutely. If everything is there and the table is set, I'd love to continue my career at the next level," Conway said. "I'm ready for the next challenge. The first challenge is getting my arm back, and then I just want to get after it and expand and learn a little more and gain understanding as a big leaguer."

The Cubs began the second day with the selection of right-hander Duane Underwood out of Pope (Ga.) High School in the second round (No. 67). The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Underwood doesn't turn 18 until July 20, but has a fastball that can reach 95-96 mph with a late-breaking curveball and deceptive changeup.

The Cubs followed with another high school arm, lefty Ryan McNeil out of Nipomo (Calif.) High School, in the third round (No. 101). McNeil went 7-1 with eight complete games in 11 appearances last season.

Conway -- Round 4, Coastal Carolina -- left-hander Anthony Prieto -- Round 5, Americas (Texas) High School -- and right-hander Trey Lang -- Round 6, Gateway (Ariz.) Community College -- followed the string of pitchers.

"Words can't even explain the feelings I'm going through right now! Blessed to have such great family and friends!" Lang tweeted.

The Cubs added Crystal Lake, Ill., native Michael Heesch in the eighth round and 6-foot-7 righty Chad Martin in the 10th. Heesch is a 6-foot-5 left-hander who prepped at Prairie Ridge High School and Illinois-Chicago before transferring to South Carolina-Beaufort two seasons ago. Martin posted a 4.79 ERA in 19 games for Indiana this season.

The Cubs also selected two catchers Tuesday: Chadd Krist and Carlos Escobar. Krist, the club's ninth-round pick, hit .294 during his senior season at California. Chicago's final pick of the day in the 15th round was Nevada's Carlos Escobar, who batted .283 in his junior year for the Wolfpack.

Other Cubs non-pitcher selections were Virginia third baseman Stephen Bruno (Round 7), Georgia high school center fielder Rashad Crawford (Round 11) and Orange Coast (Calif.) College outfielder Bijan Rademacher (Round 13).

The Draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 16-40.

Here's a look at all of the Cubs' second-day picks:

Round 2, Duane Underwood, RHP, Pope (Ga.) High School: Underwood, a Georgia commit, went 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings this season. He struck out 15 in 6 1/3 innings on March 9.

Round 3, Ryan McNeil, RHP, Nipomo (Calif.) High School: McNeil posted a 1.10 ERA and .175 average against last season for Nipomo. He is committed to Long Beach State.

Round 4, Josh Conway, RHP, Coastal Carolina: Conway's junior season at Coastal Carolina ended after nine games because of an elbow injury, but the righty already had Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-1, 175 pounder went 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA as a sophomore and was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star team last summer.

Round 5, Anthony Prieto, LHP, Americas (Texas) High School: Prieto is a 5-foot-11, 170-pound high school lefty out of Texas. He missed half of the season because of a forearm strain, but reportedly hit 97 mph last year, Baseball America's Jim Callis said on the Draft selection show.

Round 6, Carl "Trey" Lang, RHP, Gateway (Ariz.) Community College: Lang was originally a two-way player before focusing more on pitching this season. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound righty projects as a reliever. He began the 2012 season 2-2 with an 0.87 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Round 7, Stephen Bruno, 3B, Virginia: Bruno, a right-handed batter, played multiple infield positions at Virginia, hitting .370 with six home runs and 23 doubles this season. A redshirt sophomore, he played only seven games last year because of an injury.

Round 8, Michael Heesch, LHP, South Carolina-Beaufort: Heesch is a 6-foot-5, 245-pound lefty. He went 9-3 with a 2.21 ERA this season and had 118 strikeouts in 122 1/3 innings while walking only 13.

Round 9, Chadd Krist, C, California: Krist is a 5-foot-11, 190-pound catcher who hit .294 with four home runs and 19 doubles for the Bears this season.

Round 10, Chad Martin, RHP, Indiana: Martin is a 6-foot-7, 230-pound righty who posted a 4.79 ERA in 19 games (nine starts) this season.

Round 11, Rashad Crawford, CF, Mundy's Mill (Ga.) High School: Crawford is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound switch-hitter.

Round 12, Justin Amlung, RHP, Louisville: Amlung just completed his junior season at Louisville, where he went 9-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 16 starts. He's 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds.

Round 13, Bijan Rademacher, OF, Orange Coast (Calif.) College: Rademacher is a 6-foot, 200-pound outfielder who bats left-handed. He began his collegiate career at Cal State Fullerton before transferring to Orange Coast this season. According to a local TV station report from 2008, Rademacher also is a switch-thrower.

Round 14, Corbin Hoffner, RHP, St. Petersburg (Fla.) College: The 6-foot-5, 235-pound righty posted a 2.52 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 71 innings in his first junior college season.

Round 15, Carlos Escobar, C, Nevada: Escobar is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound catcher who hit .283 during his junior season at Nevada. The right-handed hitter also had five home runs and 14 doubles.

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