Mariners promoting top prospects Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin to Triple-A

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Danny Hultzen jumped directly to Double-A after the Mariners took him with the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft and now Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the left-hander from the University of Virginia is headed to Triple-A after just 13 pro starts.

Hultzen was ridiculously good at Double-A, throwing 75 innings with a 1.19 ERA and 79/32 K/BB ratio while allowing just two homers and a .151 opponents’ batting average. The promotion puts him one step from the majors at age 22.

Along with Hultzen the Mariners are also promoting their top position player prospect, shortstop Nick Franklin, to Triple-A after the 2009 first-round pick hit .322 with four homers and an .822 OPS in 57 games at Double-A.

Both were selected for the Double-A All-Star game, which was played last night, and clearly the Mariners wanted them to participate before moving up to Triple-A.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.