CHICAGO -- The Cubs on Tuesday announced their first class of Minor League community service winners, a new set of awards to be presented annually to a player from each of the four full-season affiliates who demonstrates strong community spirit and leadership.
Right-handed pitcher Jay Jackson (Triple-A Iowa), infielder Nate Samson (Double-A Tennessee), infielder Justin Bour (Class A Daytona) and left-handed pitcher Austin Kirk (Class A Peoria) represent the inaugural class of winners.
The four players were honored prior to Tuesday's Cubs game against the Brewers.
The Iowa Cubs said Jackson "is becoming known as much for 'pitching in' around the community as he is for pitching." This season, he helped with youth baseball camps, Miracle League games, spent time with groups from the Make-A-Wish foundation and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and visited with residents at an assisted living center.
Jackson, 23, a ninth-round pick in 2008, went 8-14 with a 5.34 ERA in 26 starts at Iowa.
Samson attended every Smokies player appearance this season. That included visits to the team's partner in education schools, Chilhowee Intermediate and Sevierville Primary, plus visits to East Tennessee Children's Hospital and to Young Williams Animal Center.
A 34th-round pick in the 2006 Draft, Samson, 24, hit .236 with 17 doubles, five home runs and 31 RBIs in 113 games with Tennessee.
The Daytona Cubs commended Bour, a 25th-round pick in 2009, for his energy as an instructor in the team's baseball camps. Bour also was an eager participant with fans during special days at and away from the ballpark.
Bour, 23, batted .277 with 30 doubles, 23 home runs and 85 RBIs in 133 games with Daytona this season.
A third-round pick in 2009, Kirk signed up for appearances with Little League teams in Peoria and accommodated all autograph seekers. The Chiefs said he was involved with the Kids Club party and did well speaking to children.
Kirk, 21, went 5-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 29 appearances (28 starts) with Peoria this season, including a no-hitter on July 4 vs. Clinton.
Coleman credits dad with key tweak in delivery
CHICAGO -- Give Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman's dad, Joe, an assist for his son's win on Monday against the Brewers.
Joe Coleman, a former big league pitcher himself from 1965-79 who had a 23-win season with the Tigers in '73, kept an eye on his son's outing on MLB.com on his computer. Joe gets too nervous watching Casey pitch in person.
Coleman gave up one run on two hits over six innings and struck out a career-high eight batters in the Cubs' 5-2 victory. But what most fans probably didn't notice was how Coleman had shifted to the right side of the rubber when he faced the Brewers' right-handed hitters. That was something his dad suggested. Casey knew he'd hear "I told you so" when he called his father after the game, and he did.
"[My dad] was impressed with how I kept the ball down," Casey said. "When I told him I moved to the third-base side, he's like, 'With your kind of pitches, I told you that.'
"He said, 'You'll have more success and be more deceptive.' So, he didn't come out and say, 'I told you so,' but he was pretty much saying, 'I know what I'm talking about.'"
The elder Coleman has been a pitching coach at the big league and Minor League level longer than he pitched. It's in their genes. Joe's father, also Joe Coleman, pitched in the Major Leagues from 1942-55. They are the only third generation of pitchers in the Majors.
Casey felt he needed to slide over because he had been flying open on some of his pitches from the first-base side. It worked.
"They were taking 0-1 fastballs that were strikes on the plate," Casey said of the Brewers on Monday. "It was just giving them a different look. That was big for me last night."
However, scouts probably noticed as well.
"I feel like I'm way more competitive from that side of the rubber against righties," Casey said. "If I'm on the first-base side, they know I'm not coming in very much. This opens up the right side of the plate for me."
LaHair, Beliveau earn Minor League awards
CHICAGO -- Bryan LaHair and Jeff Beliveau were named the Cubs' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, Tuesday.
LaHair, 28, was named the 2011 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player after leading all of Minor League Baseball with an Iowa franchise-record 38 home runs. He led the PCL with 76 extra-base hits, 303 total bases, a .664 slugging percentage, a 1.070 OPS and was tied for first with 109 RBIs.
LaHair's 38 home runs set a franchise record, surpassing Joe Hicks in 1984. LaHair joined Mel Hall (1982) as only the second player in Iowa Cubs history with at least 30 homers and 30 doubles in the same season.
Beliveau, 24, combined to go 6-2 with five saves and a 1.57 ERA in 53 relief appearances between Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. He struck out 89 and walked 19 over 74 1/3 innings combined.
Beliveau began the season with Daytona, where he went 0-1 with two saves and a 0.52 ERA in 12 relief outings to earn the promotion. With the Smokies, Beliveau went 6-1 with three saves and a 1.89 ERA in 41 relief appearances.
Originally selected by the Cubs in the 18th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Atlantic University, Beliveau is 17-9 with 10 saves and a 2.69 ERA in four professional seasons.
Beliveau will pitch for Team USA this fall.
The Cubs have set up their pitching for the final games of the season. Matt Garza (8-10, 3.51 ERA) will start Wednesday in the series finale against the Brewers. The Cubs then travel to St. Louis for three games and San Diego for three.
Ryan Dempster (10-13, 4.63 ERA) will open against the Cardinals and also finish the season Sept. 28 against the Padres. Rodrigo Lopez (6-6, 4.71 ERA) will make his last start of the season on Saturday followed by Randy Wells (7-4, 4.3 ERA).
Garza will also open the series against the Padres, followed by Casey Coleman (3-8, 6.64 ERA) and Dempster.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin being struck in the chest by a broken bat and suffering a collapsed lung. This season, Colvin is batting .155 in 75 games, but Cubs manager Mike Quade said he has not seen any lingering effects from the freak accident.
"He just has to keep working to get better," Quade said. "He has bat speed and the power to play up here and be good up here. Now it's a matter of making consistent contact, of improving his discipline at the plate. When he swings at strikes and gets pitches he can handle, he does a pretty good job."
Gary Hughes, who was a special assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry since October 2002, has told the team he will not return in 2012.
Hughes has spent 45 years working in professional baseball with the Giants (1967-72), Mets (1973-76), Mariners (1977), Yankees (1978-85), Expos (1986-91), Marlins (1992-98), Rockies (1999), Reds (2000-02) and Cubs.
He was named one of the top 10 scouts of the 20th century by Baseball America, and in December 2009 was named West Coast Scout of the Year, as voted on by his peers. In February 2008, he was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.