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Martinez, Caratini make strong first impressions for Cougars

Cougars right-hander Jonathan Martinez delivers home against Quad Cities on Saturday during his debut with the team at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Cougars right-hander Jonathan Martinez delivers home against Quad Cities on Saturday during his debut with the team at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

GENEVA – After a week full of transactions shuffled the roster, the Kane County Cougars saw dividends from the newcomers Saturday night.

Players that haven’t been around long enough to get nameplates in the locker room shined for the Cougars in an 8-2 victory over Quad Cities. 

In their respective debuts for the Cougars (24-17 second half, 69-41 overall), pitcher Jonathan Martinez and catcher Victor Caratini were both key contributors.

In his first appearance for Kane County, Caratini took a 1-1 offering back up through the middle for a single, scoring Jeimer Candelario. Caratini’s RBI capped a three-run first inning for the Cougars. 

Caratini drove in additional runs in his ensuing two at-bats with another single in the third inning and an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth. Caratini finished 2 for 4 with three RBI on the night.

Defensively, Caratini worked with his fellow newcomer Martinez, and the battery never ran into trouble.

Martinez was efficient, throwing 44 pitches in five innings of work before being pulled in favor of Michael Wagner. Martinez earned his eighth victory of the season in his Kane County debut. The 19-year-old was on a short leash in his first outing, expected to pitch four innings or 60 pitches. 

“We sat down before the game and talked about his style, and what sequences he likes to use,” Caratini said through pitching coach David Rosario.

Martinez was acquired as the player to be named later in the Cubs' trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Darwin Barney while Caratini came from Atlanta on Thursday for Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell.

“What an outing from Martinez. I don’t think he broke a sweat out there,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson added. “[The Cubs' front office] definitely did their homework on these guys.”

Another Cougars newcomer, Jasvir Rakkar, was brought in during the eighth inning and walked his first batter before striking out four hitters in the final 1 2/3 innings to close out the game.

Rakkar’s parents drove down from Canada and were in attendance to see him as a professional for the first time.

“You could tell he was a little nervous,” Johnson said. “But that shows his mentality and composure as he got it together and made the pitches he needed to.”

The Cougars roughed up River Bandits starting pitcher Kevin Comer for three earned runs in three innings but 81 pitches forced Quad Cities (21-20, 56-54) to go to the bullpen in the fourth inning. Comer struggled against Kane County in his last start against the Cougars, as he surrendered five runs in four innings of work on July 10.

The Cougars plated runs in five of the first six innings and improved their Midwest League-leading home record to 43-15.  

More roster moves: The Cougars announced two more roster moves to add to the pile of transactions in the past week.

Pitcher Zak Hermans will be sent to Short-A Boise, while Tyler Bremer will be rejoining the team from Daytona.

Bremer was 5-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 26 appearances for the Cougars this season before eight appearances in Daytona, culminating in an 0-1 record with a 4.70 ERA.  

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