GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Jonathan de Marte seems to always find a way. The Chicago Cubs' pitching prospect has battled through serious injuries, five surgeries, and three different independent leagues to get his opportunity.
"Literally, the day I was supposed to have my first live outing against hitters, spring training was postponed," de Marte said. "All of these great things happen, I sign a few months later, and then everything came crumbling down pretty fast."
Not only was de Marte robbed of his first season with a Major League organization, he also saw his Olympic debut delayed by a year. He was set to be a reliever for Team Israel in the 2020 Olympics.
"I got a call from the team manager for Team Israel, who's also from Westchester County, which is where I'm from," de Marte said. "I'd love to have you on the team... the only catch is you have to become a citizen of Israel."
After receiving that call, de Marte and nine of his teammates-to-be, all of whom were Jewish Americans, became Israeli citizens. They didn't play together for another year afterwards.
Between playing for Team Israel and his workout and throwing routine with the Cubs, he's also working with other pitchers in the area. de Marte came to Western New York to live with his girlfriend and found another home at Hot Corner Baseball Academy.
"The way that baseball and training has developed over the last few years, I feel like these kids need to get their bodies moving properly at a younger age," de Marte said. "I hope that I can impact as many guys as I possibly can in this area."
While he isn't a member of the taxi squad and the Cubs have shut him down for the season, de Marte is still under contract with Chicago. He's also slated to be a reliever for Team Israel in Tokyo next summer.