Peoria, IL -
Coming off a perfect 6-0 homestand the Peoria Chiefs in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs have announced three roster moves heading into a three-game weekend series in Davenport, Iowa against the Quad Cities River Bandits. Right-handed pitcher Larry Suarez and outfielders DJ Fitzgerald and Francisco Guzman have joined the team from Extended Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona. To make room on the Chiefs roster outfielders Jesus Morelli and Alvaro Ramirez have been sent back to Mesa while right-handed reliever Tim Clubb was released by the Cubs.
Suarez signed with the Cubs for big money out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old in July 2006. He was ranked among the Cubs Top 30 Prospects in 2007 and 2008 while appearing for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League in both seasons. In 2007 he was 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA in 14 games and nine starts before going 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 10 games and seven starts in 2008. Last season he again started in Mesa going 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in six games and one start before moving up to Boise. With the Hawks last summer, Suarez was 1-0 in eight games and one start but posted a 10.18 ERA. In 13 innings he issued 16 walks and four wild pitches while striking out 13. In 38 career games Suarez is 3-7 with a 5.57 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. He will join the Chiefs bullpen for the series in Quad Cities this weekend.
Guzman, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent on March 5, 2008, played for four different Cubs affiliations last season spending time in Mesa, Boise, Peoria and Daytona. In just eight games with the Chiefs he was 2-for-21 for a .095 batting average, three stolen bases and three runs scored. He spent the majority of the season in the Arizona Rookie League with Mesa hitting .264. In 53 games he stole 32 bases and scored 49 runs while collecting five extra-base hits and 18 RBI. Guzman played for current Chiefs manager Casey Kopitzke in Boise hitting .118 in six games with a RBI and two runs scored. In six games for Class A Advanced Daytona of the Florida State League when Tyler Colvin went on the disabled list, he hit .263 with one RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base. In 2008, his first professional season, the 6'1, 160 pound outfielder hit a solid .299 with 16 RBI in the Dominican Summer League.
"D.J." Fitzgerald, 21, was drafted in the 22nd round last June out of Dyersburg State Community College in Tennessee. Fitzgerald began his pro career last summer with Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League before joining the Chiefs in July and then finishing the season with Boise. The right-handed hitting infielder/outfielder hit .231 in 19 games with the Chiefs while collecting three RBI. He had one double and one home run along with a stolen base in 65 at-bats. Fitzgerald hit .267 in 27 games with Boise with two home runs, five RBI and 13 runs scored. In eight games in the AZL he hit .500 (15-for-30) with one home run, eight RBI, dour doubles, three triples, nine runs scored and two stolen bases. The 680th overall selection in the 2009 draft, Fitzgerald predominantly played second base at DSCC. In 46 games last season as a redshirt-freshman he hit .340 with ten homers, 13 doubles, 42 RBI and 40 runs scored. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Fitzgerald went to Ocean Lakes High School and signed a national letter of intent to Georgia Southern before landing at DSCC.
Ramirez appeared in 12 of the Chiefs first 15 games batting .244 with one RBI, one stolen base, one double and five runs scored. A left-handed hitting outfielder, Ramirez saw action in right and center field while batting in the seventh or eighth slots of the Chiefs order. The 24-year-old collected his first RBI of the season with two hits in his final game on Thursday night as the Chiefs beat Kane County 6-4.
Morelli also had a great final game going 3-for-3 with a walk and his first RBI of the season Thursday night. The right-handed hitting corner outfielder hit .276 in 10 games with eight singles and a stolen base. He struck out 12 times while walking twice and getting hit twice. At 19 Morelli was one of the youngest Chiefs on the Opening Day roster.
Clubb, a 29th round pick in 2009 out of Missouri State University, was 0-1 with a 19.64 ERA in three appearances out of the Chiefs bullpen. He joined the Chiefs on Opening Day and gave up three runs on two homers over two innings in his first outing at Clinton on April 10 in an 8-2 loss. Five days later he followed Jonathan Nagel and took an 8-6 loss at Cedar Rapids after allowing three runs on four hits in just one inning of work. His final outing came on Tuesday against Kane County when Clubb allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning. He finished his Chiefs career with four walks issue and four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings while opponents hit .476 with two home runs.
The three new players will be in uniform and available for the Chiefs Friday night in Quad Cities. The Chiefs enter the 7:00 p.m. game riding a seven-game win streak and they sit one game behind the first place River Bandits. The two rivals will play a three-game series before a Monday offday. The Chiefs return home for a 10-game homestand on Tuesday, April 27 against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.peoriachiefs.com, by calling 1-866-MYTICKET or at the O'Brien Field Box Office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.