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Cubs glad to fill organizational gaps in '18 Draft

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development for the Cubs, said Thursday they addressed some needs during the three-day MLB Draft.

Overall, the Cubs selected 19 pitchers, three catchers, 11 outfielders and nine infielders, including shortstop Nico Hoerner of Stanford, who was their first-round pick (24th overall).

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CHICAGO -- Jason McLeod, director of scouting and player development for the Cubs, said Thursday they addressed some needs during the three-day MLB Draft.

Overall, the Cubs selected 19 pitchers, three catchers, 11 outfielders and nine infielders, including shortstop Nico Hoerner of Stanford, who was their first-round pick (24th overall).

View Full Game Coverage

Draft Tracker: Every Cubs pick

"You're always happy the day after, but having those extra picks this year, I thought we were able to address what we feel are some organizational shortcomings with some of the graduations to the Major Leagues and some of the players we've traded away the last couple of years," McLeod said. "I know we're really excited about the players we acquired this year."

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Of the 42 players selected, the Cubs picked 29 college players and 13 high school players. McLeod said it was just a coincidence that they picked two players from the same high school back to back in outfielder Cole Roederer (77th overall) of Hart High School (Ariz.) and right-handed pitcher Paul Richan (78th overall) of the University of San Diego, who attended Hart. Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery and Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer both attended Hart.

"That's a great program at Hart and a lot of talent has come out of there," McLeod said.

Six of the Cubs' college draft picks will be taking part in NCAA Super Regionals beginning this weekend, including third-round pick Jimmy Herron (Duke), fourth-round pick Ethan Roberts (Tennessee Tech), 16th-round pick Josh Sawyer (Texas), 17th-round pick Jake Reindl (Arkansas), 23rd-round pick Hunter Taylor (South Carolina) and 29th-round pick Levi Jordan (Washington).

Worth noting
Addison Russell, who has been sidelined since Sunday with a sprained left middle finger, took batting practice and ground balls on Thursday and has one more test on Friday before he's gets the go-ahead to return to the lineup, manager Joe Maddon said.

Russell will take batting practice on Friday before the Cubs play the Pirates, and if all goes well, could be used late in the game. He most likely won't start until Saturday.

• Maddon complimented Kris Bryant's heads-up baserunning in the fourth inning on Wednesday night. Bryant walked to lead off and the Phillies then shifted the infield to the right side during Anthony Rizzo's at-bat. Rizzo walked, and Bryant moved up but saw no one covering third base, so he took off and swiped the bag.

Bryant then scored on Willson Contreras' single, which gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

"The steal itself I think was instinctive," Maddon said. "As a third baseman himself, he's aware that could happen. I don't know how much he processed in advance, but I definitely saw the glance [by Bryant] once it occurred and he caught them off guard. That's why when you do shift, you have to talk about so many different things."

Video: PHI@CHC: Contreras drives in Bryant with a single

• When Maddon handed Cory Mazzoni the ball to pitch in the ninth with two on and one out, he asked the pitcher if he had a Major League win yet.

"When he gave me the ball, he said, 'Do you have a win yet?'" Mazzoni said Thursday. "[Maddon] said, 'Tonight's the night.'"

No pressure, right?

"It didn't enter in because my job was to leave those two guys on base," Mazzoni said. "I'm sitting there with the bases loaded [in the Cubs' ninth] and thinking, 'Wow, this could actually happen.' [Jason] Heyward hits that grand slam, and you can't make that stuff up."

Mazzoni did escape the ninth, retiring both batters he faced, and then watched as Jason Heyward hit a walk-off grand slam for a 7-5 Cubs victory over the Phillies.

"That was probably the coolest game I've ever been a part of," Mazzoni said.

Video: Must C Clutch: Heyward belts a walk-off grand slam

• The Cubs named Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda and Class A South Bend right-handed pitcher Cory Abbott the Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May, respectively.

Pereda, 22, batted .287 with six doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs in 23 May contests. Abbott, 22, made six May starts with South Bend, going 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA. He struck out an organizational-best 41 batters, while walking 11 and limited opponents to a .227 average.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs