The Chicago Cubs today recalled outfielder Matt Szczur (pronounced Cesar) from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-handed pitcher Dan Straily to Iowa.
Szczur, who looks to make his major league debut, will wear uniform number 41 and is available for today's game at Citi Field against New York Mets.
The 25-year-old Szczur is batting .315 (39-for-124) with 18 runs, three doubles, two RBI and 16 stolen bases in 30 games following the Triple-A All-Star break for Iowa. He is hitting .292 (19-for-65) this month and this season owns a .282 batting average (75-for-266) against right-handed pitching. All told, Szczur is batting .261 (108-for-414) with 30 stolen bases, 16 doubles, one triple, one home run and 24 RBI in 116 games in his first year at the Triple-A level. He has seen time at all three outfield positions for Iowa, most extensively in center field (79 games).
In 2013 with Double-A Tennessee, Szczur led the Southern League with 144 hits and ranked tied for third with 78 runs scored. Named to the Southern League mid-season All-Star team, he finished the year with a .281 batting average (144-for-512), the seventh-highest mark in the league, to go along with 27 doubles and 22 stolen bases.
Szczur owns a .280 batting average (535-for-1,912) with 101 doubles, 17 triples, 18 home runs, 164 RBI and 120 stolen bases in 491 career minor league games since he was selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft. He has 177 walks and has struck out just 296 times in 2,137 plate appearances. Szczur joins a major league roster for the first time having played 347 minor league games in center field, 64 games in right field and 49 games in left field.
Besides his Southern League All-Star nod last season, Szczur was named a 2012 Florida State League All-Star with Single-A Daytona and a 2011 Midwest League All-Star with Single-A Peoria. In addition, he was selected to the Team USA roster for the 2011 Futures Game at Chase Field in Arizona.
A native of Cape May, N.J., Szczur attended Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pa., and enjoyed a two-sport career. In 2009, he helped the football team to the Division I Football Championship national title as a wide receiver, and in 2010 became the baseball team's first .400 hitter since 1997. His 2010 college baseball season was cut short when he donated peripheral blood cells to a young leukemia patient who had only a 1-in-80,000 chance of finding a match.
Straily, 25, made his Cubs debut last night against the Mets after he was acquired from Oakland with infielder Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney and a player to be named, July 5, for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. He is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA (13 ER/39.0 IP) in seven starts with Iowa this season.