New Cubs pitcher Aaron Brooks provides insurance at Triple-A

MESA, Ariz. -- New Chicago Cubs pitcher Aaron Brooks didn’t have to go far to join his new team after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics for Chris Coghlan earlier this week.

The A’s train in Mesa just as the Cubs do, so Brooks simply got off the highway “one exit earlier,” arriving at Sloan Park as an extra arm for the rotation, although he’ll start the season at Triple-A Iowa.

“I want to compete and win and help any team that’s willing to give me a chance,” Brooks said Saturday morning.

Brooks, 25, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the ninth round in 2011 before being traded to the Athletics for Ben Zobrist last season. Now he joins Zobrist on the Cubs.

“Now we’re teammates,” Brooks said. “It’s awesome.”

Brooks grew up an Angels fan, so he’s familiar with Joe Maddon, who was a longtime coach there. And he plans to prepare himself in case he’s called upon to start for the World Series favorites. Cubs President Theo Epstein indicated the team’s best fill-in starters, like Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard or Travis Wood, all reside in their big league bullpen, so they would like to have someone ready at Triple-A who’s already stretched out just in case. Rookie Ryan Williams is a candidate for that role, along with holdovers Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch. Brooks has started 10 games in his career with mixed success, compiling an 8.38 ERA in 15 appearances overall.

“Staying up here is always about staying consistent and having that drive to win,” Brooks said.

One thing bound to create more confusion for Brooks coming to the Cubs is sharing the same name as Bulls guard Aaron Brooks. In fact, it already has.

“I’ve actually talked to him on twitter before,” Brooks explained. “Everybody thinks I’m him, they’re tagging me and stuff … All they have to do is look at the profile picture.”