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A little less than a week ago, the Chicago Cubs traded second base prospect Tony Thomas to the Red Sox for reliever/prospect Robert Coello, whom the Red Sox had to dump to clear up space on their 40-man roster. It was a surprising move, given the Cubs’ depth in the bullpen this year, but Coello has been a dominant minor league pitcher. Combine that with the limited chance Thomas had to make an impact on the Cubs in the near future, and I suppose it made some sense.

And it sounds like Coello is a cool dude who’s excited to be a Cub. So that’s good, too.

Last week, the pitcher packed up his family and arrived in Florida to get ready for the Red Sox spring camp and then got a phone call from Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Coello was now with the Cubs after being traded for Minor League infielder Tony Thomas.

“It was a little bit surprising,” Coello said. “When the phone rang, Jim Hendry called me and told me about the trade and I was really happy to be with the Chicago Cubs.”

Last year, he totaled 145 innings in 49 games for four different teams, starting in April with Double-A Portland, where he was 4-1 with one save with a 3.32 ERA in 14 games. At Triple-A Pawtucket, he was 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA in 18 games, including nine starts. Then he went to the Dominican, and in his first start Oct. 22, he gave up one hit and two walks over five innings and fanned four. Muskat Ramblings.

There are going to be, at most, seven members of the Cubs’ bullpen this year, four of whom are guaranteed to be Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Kery Wood, and John Grabow, and others of whom are very likely to be selected from a group of Andrew Cashner, James Russell (if they don’t make the rotation), Jeff Samardzija, and Scott Maine. Fortunately for the Cubs, Coello has a minor league option left, so that if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training, he can be stashed at AAA.

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