GENEVA – Cubs right-hander Shawn Camp officially rehabbed a sprained right big toe during his inning of scoreless relief for the Cougars on Tuesday.
Somewhere along the way in a 14-pitch, 10-strike outing during Kane County’s 7-6 loss to Burlington, Camp also soothed his baseball soul.
“It’s really good to be here and just see young guys who, you know, all they want is to reach that [major league] level,” Camp said. “And I was there. I always tell them it can happen. It can happen.”
On the disabled list since May 22, Camp hopes to return to the Cubs soon after a scheduled two-inning rehab outing when the Cougars host Wisconsin on Friday. He wants to work both sides of the plate then while testing his fastball on the inner half against lefties and righties.
His fastball produced a pair of first-pitch groundouts to second base and also helped Camp end the sixth with a strikeout of Bees right fielder Kyle Johnson. Camp also showed confidence with his slider. The Cougars made a pair of errors behind him.
“Let’s just throw velocity out of the window,” said Camp, who is not known as a flamethrower. “The way it was coming out of my hand and obviously the way they were hitting it into the ground is a good sign.”
A Midwest League All-Star with Clinton in 1998, Camp happily spoke with players interested in asking him about his background. A 10-year veteran, he made a career-high 80 appearances with the Cubs last season and was 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in 20 games this season before landing on the DL.
Cougars reliever Eddie Orozco lockered next to Camp and called his presence a pleasant surprise.
“You come around and kind of just see what he’s doing and how he gets ready for each and every game,” Orozco said. “How he goes about his business. So you go out there and kind of take a couple mental notes.”
Outfielder Bijan Rademacher saw things from the other side.
“You can see their stuff and see what kind of stuff you have to get better [at] to be able to hit that” in the majors, he said.
Camp was not in any hurry to leave Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, and stayed to complete a cardio session after his outing.
He’s the first Cub to rehab with the Cougars since the sides launched a two-year player-development contract in September. In April, righty Matt Garza was held out of a planned appearance due to inclement weather, while second baseman Darwin Barney ultimately headed elsewhere to rehab after originally telling reporters he was Geneva-bound.
Cougars (RHP Tayler Scott, 3-2, 4.18 ERA) vs. Bees (RHP Alex Keudell, 4-2, 3.13 ERA) 6:30 p.m. today, AM-1280
Tuesday's crowd of 2,362 pushed the Cougars' season total to 147,350 fans in 28 home games. Kane County attracted 134,294 fans through the same span last season.
Manager Mark Johnson's 8-year-old son, Will, visited with his dad in the clubhouse before the game. Asked what his son's favorite position was, Johnson said he wasn't pushing baseball on the lad, who's "an outdoorsy kid, still tree climbing and throwing rocks and things like that."
Cubs brass will be excited because
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was 3 for 5 with an RBI, contributing his fourth multi-hit game in seven starts. He also made a solid bare-handed pickup to retire Bees designated hitter Pedro Toribio trying to bunt in the fourth.
Cubs brass will cringe because
Despite going 4 for 9 with runners in scoring position, the Cougars stranded eight runners on base. They were 0 for 11 with men in scoring position Monday.
At long last, the Cougars welcomed their first rehabbing Cub to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Although Shawn Camp looked sharp, the earlier damage against Jose Rosario ultimately added up to the club's third straight loss.