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Colin Rea throws for the Des Moines I-Cubs during 2019.

Colin Rea’s journey back to the major leagues continues. Rea was added last week to the Chicago Cubs 40-man roster. And while Rea knows the move is no guarantee, he’s ready to show the Cubs what he can do.

“I was definitely excited when I got the call. This isn’t something I take lightly.”

The 29-year old Cascade native spent last season in Des Moines with the I-Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, where he went 14-4 with a 3.95 ERA. He led the Pacific Coast League in wins and was named the league’s most valuable pitcher. He also earned a spot on the PCL All-Star Team.

With all his success last season, Rea was left off the Cubs 40-man roster. “It did get a little frustrating at times,” he admitted. “I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty well. I think I opened their eyes a little bit. Getting added to the roster didn’t happen during the season, but it has now, so we’re going to try to make the most of it.”

Rea’s first full season since undergoing elbow surgery in 2016 ended when the I-Cubs lost to Round Rock in the PCL playoffs. “I felt pretty good at the end of the year. I wasn’t ready for the season to end, that’s for sure. I didn’t finish the way I wanted to, but I liked the way I was throwing the ball and the way the ball was coming out of my hand the last couple starts.”

Rea has returned to Arizona and is working out at the Cubs spring training facilities in Mesa. “They are open year-round and have a full staff of trainers, coaches and players. They have everything you need so it’s pretty convenient to head down, continue training and start-up the throwing a bit more aggressively.”

Rea will report to the Cubs major league spring training in February. While he knows nothing is guaranteed, he sees his inclusion on the 40-man roster as another step on the road back to the big leagues. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction. But anything could happen. I think this off-season will be huge for me.”

Rea said a full off-season of throwing will help. “I haven’t had a full off-season since I got hurt. I think that makes a big difference going into spring training.”

Rea said that while the Cubs likely will have a couple of starting pitching spots to fill, he knows there will be competition for those spots.

“There will be other guys they sign and other guys who will come in and compete for those spots. All I can do is the work in the off-season, get as prepared as possible and do what I can to perform well. That’s all I can control so that’s what I’m focused on. At the end of the day, it’s their decision as to who they think will help the team the most.”