Wells spends off-season in Arizona, preps for spring training

By Rob Patrick

Ben Wells may be back on the mound at Bryant High School field soon. The Chicago[more] Cubs Minor League pitcher planned to return for a week or two after spending most of the off-season working out at the Cubs’ facilities in Arizona.

“I’m going to call Coach (Kirk) Bock and see if I can throw some in an intersquad or two,” he said earlier this week. “Just to see some hitters before I go back to spring training.”

Wells, who tossed a perfect game in the 2010 State championship for the Hornets, is preparing to start his second spring training session in the Cubs’ Minor League camp after a successful stint with the Class A short-season Boise Hawks. In 16 games, 15 as a starter, Wells was 4-4 with a 4.66 earned run average. In 77 1/3 innings, he struck out 53, walked just 19 and allowed 83 hits.

“I’ve been working out, I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” Wells said of his off-season. “There’s some of us that have been here working with the big league conditioning and strength guy. And there’s some older guys that are down here that they wanted us to work out with.

“I’ve been throwing for the last three or four weeks,” he said. “It’s going real well. I feel like I’m throwing harder than I did last year. And the club wants me to be able to go a little deeper into the games. I struggled kind of finishing up in games. I’d do fine the first four innings but the next two I’d start to struggle a little bit.

“I’ll go back for mini camp where some of our guys are like fill-ins for the big league games during spring training. Once all the (Major League) pitchers get going then we’ll come back down to regular Minor League camp. I’ll be doing that for a week or two starting the 24th (of February). Minor League camp starts March 4.”

He should get his 2012 assignment around the first of April.

“They don’t really tell you much,” he added. “They post it on the board in the spring and that’s how you find out. Hopefully I start and do a full season after going through extended (spring training) and short-season. Hopefully, maybe I can start at low (Class) A — high A may be a little bit of a stretch but if I do well, you never know.”

The Cubs’ low A team is the Peoria Chiefs in Midwest League. The high A entry is the Daytona Cubs in the Florida State League.

“Last spring I was working in a group with the low A team,” he noted. “They split us up into groups and you just try to make that team.”

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