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Chicago Cubs Pitcher Assad Takes Full Advantage After Steele Scratched from Start

Young Chicago Cubs pitcher Javier Assad grasps opportunity as Justin Steele is scratched from his start.
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Javier Assad capitalized fully on his opportunity.

After Chicago Cubs left-hander Justin Steele was scratched from Sunday’s start against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of arm fatigue, Assad stepped in and retired all six batters in two innings.

“What I can say is that all his pitches were crisp today and very consistent, and he executed just about everything,” Cubs catcher Tucker Barnhart told reporters about Assad’s outing. “So generally when that happens, guys have to be right mechanically.”

Assad went 2-2 with a 3.11 ERA last season in nine games with eight starts. He’s battling for the fifth starter position in 2023.

“I’m coming in really with a strong mentality,” Assad said, “knowing I’m fighting for that spot.”

Assad will be representing Team Mexico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

If Assad pitches in that tournament like he did in this game, Team Mexico will benefit in a big way.

“Just really happy, emotional, proud,” Assad told reporters about the WBC. “And now that it’s arrived, a little bit anxious and getting ready to start. But mostly it’s just a fulfillment of a dream to be playing for my country.”

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