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Trio of recent Cubs signees may open the season with Iowa

James McDonald signed with the Cubs on Friday.
James McDonald signed with the Cubs on Friday.
Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Three recent Chicago Cubs signees very well may begin the 2014 season in an Iowa Cubs uniform.

On Friday, the Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Jason McDonald to a minor league contract. McDonald will be given a non-roster invitation to Spring Training once the medicals are completed. McDonald won 12 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, including going 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA in the first half. In 2013, McDonald struggled with a shoulder injury that limited him to 16 appearances between the Pirates and the minors.

Last week, the Cubs signed former Red Sox farmhand Lars Anderson to a minor league contract. Anderson is likely to take over first base duties in Des Moines after Algona, Iowa native Brad Nelson was granted free agency by the Cubs after last season. Justin Bour appeared to be the front runner for the first base job but was selected by the Florida Marlins in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Anderson was rated the 17th best prospect according to Baseball America prior to the 2009 season. In 2012, he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks. 2013 saw Anderson selected off waivers by both the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Anderson was released from the White Sox this last July.

The Cubs also signed 2009 National League Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan to a minor league contract. Coghlan is a career .270 hitter in over 1500 major league at bats but has struggled to match the offense he produced in 2009 when he hit .329 in 509 at bats with the Florida Marlins. Coghlan may compete for the final outfield spot in Chicago in 2014 but will likely begin the season with Iowa.