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Hart grad signs minor league deal with Cubs

Infielder Chris Valaika joins Chicago franchise

Posted: November 18, 2013 5:23 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2013 5:23 p.m.

After an up-and-down season with the Miami Marlins, hart High graduate Chris Valaika signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs on Sunday that gives him an opportunity to try out for the big league club in Spring Training.

It’s the same opportunity Valaika had last year when he signed with Miami as a free agent as a non-roster invitee to spring camp.

Valaika’s versatility earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster, the first time he started the season with a Major League team in his career.

The three-year Major League veteran and eight-year professional batted .219 in 22 games before breaking his wrist against the San Diego Padres on May 8.

Valaika returned to the field on July 4 with the Jupiter Hammerheads for a rehab assignment that spanned 11 games where he batted .200 with a home run and four RBIs.

In Triple-A New Orleans he batted .246 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

The 28-year-old was in position to get a callup to the Marlins after Placido Polanco was placed on the 7-day disabled list on Aug. 19. Instead, the Marlins called up Gil Velazquez after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria vetoed Valaika’s call-up, the Miami Herald reported.

That veto reportedly stemmed from a disagreement Valaika and other players had with former Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez.

The infielder became a free agent after the 2013 season.

His new team, the Cubs, went 66-96 and finished last in the competitive NL Central division this past season.

In 55 Major League games, he is a career .244 hitter (31-for-127) with two home runs and 11 RBIs.


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