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09/12/11 11:39 PM ET

Triple-A pitching coach encouraged with arms

CINCINNATI -- Triple-A Iowa pitching coach Mike Mason said he was encouraged by how Jay Jackson finished the season, Alberto Cabrera's stuff and Chris Rusin's progress.

Mason, who has joined the Cubs for the remainder of the season, said Jackson (8-14, 5.34 ERA) ended the year well. The right-hander has added a cutter.

"It gave him another pitch to get outs with when he's behind in the count," Mason said Monday. "You've got to learn to do it there [in the Minors] before you do it here. You don't want to learn to do it here, because that's the hard way."

Jackson, a ninth-round Draft pick in 2008, had a rough May, when he was 0-4 with a 10.38 ERA, but he went 3-3 in his last seven starts and gave up 14 earned runs over 42 2/3 innings in that stretch with 32 strikeouts.

Cabrera finished with 67 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings over 19 games (17 starts) at Iowa.

"He had the best stuff," Mason said of the right-hander. "What gets him is the inconsistencies. He's young, has tremendous stuff and sometimes he has to back off to throw strikes, which we're encouraging him not to do.

"He wants to compete and wants to get up here so bad he's willing to sacrifice strikes," Mason said. "When he comes [up to the big leagues], he's going to come quick."

Austin Bibens-Dirkx, a 16th-round Draft pick in 2006, finished 4-5 with a 6.07 ERA in 24 games (17 starts) for Iowa, with most of those runs coming in June, when he was 0-2 with a 9.22 ERA in seven games. In his last four games, he gave up six earned runs over 23 2/3 innings and struck out 19.

"He's a grinder, a strike-thrower," Mason said of the right-hander. "He's not going to overpower you. He fits in the Casey Coleman-Randy Wells mold."

Another starter Mason was high on was Rusin, who was 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 11 games (nine starts). A fourth-round Draft pick in 2009, he struck out 46 over 62 2/3 innings.

"He's your basic lefty," Mason said. "He can throw five pitches and locate them. He's not going to overpower you, but he does all the little things well. He can bunt, he can field, he can hold runners, he can back-door stuff, front-door stuff. He's a complete pitcher."

Gaub makes Major League debut for Cubs

CINCINNATI -- John Gaub finally got in a game.

The left-hander has been with the Cubs since Sept. 6 but had not made an appearance until Monday, when he made his Major League debut in the seventh inning of a 12-8 win against the Reds. How long has he been waiting for this?

"Since the day I was born," Gaub said. "Ever since I was a little kid, I loved pitching. I played football and hockey as well and loved those sports, too, but something about baseball. It's a team sport, but at the same time, pitching is a one-on-one game between you and the hitters."

Gaub struck out Dave Sappelt to start the seventh, got Joey Votto to ground out on a 3-1 pitch and retired Jay Bruce on a flyout to left. The lefty walked Yonder Alonso to open the eighth, and Devin Mesoraco lined a double down the left-field line. Juan Francisco then grounded out to first, and a run scored, prompting Gaub's exit. Mesoraco scored on Paul Janish's sacrifice fly.

"He made some pretty good hitters look not so good," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

On Votto's grounder, Gaub said he was thinking about the importance of fielding his position. Instinct kicked in, he said, and he ran to first to retrieve the throw from Jeff Baker.

The left-hander compiled a 3.42 ERA in 50 games with Triple-A Iowa, going 7-for-11 in save opportunities.

"Nobody will ever doubt his stuff," Iowa pitching coach Mike Mason said of the lefty, acquired from the Indians in the Mark DeRosa deal in December 2008. "He's got Major League stuff. His command keeps getting better. I'd like to find 10 left-handers who have better stuff than him -- and you might struggle to do that.

"It's going to come down to if he gets hot the first couple times out and has success, game on. If he doesn't, he's going to have to wait his turn. There's no doubt about his stuff."

Gaub showed signs at Iowa. He struck out 75 over 55 1/3 innings, an average of 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

His girlfriend was at Wrigley Field when he was called up and his family was in New York, but nobody made the trip to Cincinnati. He was given a few tickets as a souvenir.

"I felt good," Gaub said. "I thought I'd be a little nervous. I probably was and didn't have time to think about it. It was fun.

"It's good to get that outing out of the way. I've been here six days. You sit there and you're waiting for it."

Aramis in rare Cubs company with 25th homer

CINCINNATI -- Aramis Ramirez hit his 25th home run Monday night to join Hall of Famer Billy Williams as the only Cubs players with at least 25 homers and 30 doubles in six seasons.

Ramirez led off the sixth inning with his home run, his first since Aug. 20.

The Cubs third baseman hit his 33rd double in the first. Ramirez has also reached the 25 homer/30 double mark with Chicago from 2004-08. Williams did so in 1963-65, 1968, 1970, and 1972.

LaHair out of lineup against tough lefty Willis

CINCINNATI -- Bryan LaHair was batting .571 in six games since he was called up to the big league team, but he was on the bench for the Cubs on Monday.

LaHair went 0-for-3 against Reds starter Dontrelle Willis one week ago at Wrigley Field. Willis seems to be the only pitcher who can get the red-hot LaHair out so far.

"He's getting base hits and doing some things with his at-bats -- his takes, his pitch counts that he's running up," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He's doing a lot of good stuff, even if it results in a line drive to right. We'll see if it continues."

LaHair did face lefties at Triple-A Iowa, batting .284 (40-for-141) and hitting nine of his 38 homers off southpaws.

On Monday, LaHair received the 2011 Joe Bauman Home Run Award, presented to the Minor League player who hits the most home runs. LaHair, 28, will receive $7,600 -- $200 for each homer he hit -- at Baseball's Winter Meetings in December.

Whether LaHair has done enough to win a spot on the Cubs' roster next year has yet to be determined. Quade has been impressed, but it's a small sample. LaHair has 14 at-bats.

"I'm not inclined to go nuts after watching a guy for four, five games," Quade said.

Extra bases

• Dae-Eun Rhee gave up two runs on four hits over six innings for the win in Class A Daytona's 4-2 victory over St. Lucie on Sunday to claim the Florida State League championship. It was the Daytona team's fifth title since it joined the Cubs in 1993.

"We just showed a lot of character," Daytona manager Buddy Bailey said. "We had a lot of changes and had to find the right formula."

Greg Rohan had three hits and one RBI, Justin Bour and Logan Watkins each had two hits and one RBI and Elliot Soto had two hits for Daytona. Frank Batista converted his third save of the series, throwing a perfect ninth.

• Double-A Tennessee is waiting to find out its next opponent for the Southern League Championship, scheduled to begin Wednesday. The Birmingham-Mobile series was tied at two wins apiece. The Smokies swept Chattanooga to clinch their third straight Southern League North Division title.

• Cubs pitcher Randy Wells and musician Stoney LaRue will host the "Boot Bash 2011" on Oct. 21 at Joe's Bar at 940 Weed Street, Chicago. Admission is $15 per person, and there are limited VIP tickets for $125 per person. Doors open at 7 p.m. CT. LaRue and the Midnight River Choir will perform, and there will be a silent auction of music and sports memorabilia. The Boot Campaign is an initiative aimed at showing appreciation of the active military and raising awareness of the needs of military personnel. For more info, visit randywellsfoundation.org.

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.