South Bend affiliate changes name to Cubs

Former Silver Hawks will also have new batting cages and clubhouse

South Bend affiliate changes name to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Class A South Bend team officially changed its name from the Silver Hawks to the Cubs on Thursday, signaling the start of a new relationship. Team owner Andrew Berlin announced the change at a news conference in South Bend, Ind., and he was joined by Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and player development and scouting director Jason McLeod.

"We are now the South Bend Cubs," Berlin said. "Affection for and loyalty to the Chicago Cubs goes back generations in this community. We've listened to fans throughout the region, and this is a name that we know they are thrilled about."

The Cubs moved their Class A team from Kane County to South Bend -- an announcement made Friday -- because of the promise from Berlin to build facilities to help player development, including new batting cages, a fitness center and clubhouse.

Epstein said the plans for the player development center matched what the Cubs want to establish, beginning with their new Spring Training complex in Mesa, Ariz., that opened this year.

"What Andrew envisions here and the plans they have, they'll have a performance center that will represent a competitive advantage for our 'A' ball players," Epstein said. "We never dreamed of having something of that caliber for our low [Class A] affiliate. I think the fact that's going to become a reality will be a difference maker for us."

The Cubs plan on using South Bend for rehab outings for the Major League players as needed, Epstein said.

Over the past 26 seasons, the South Bend team has won five Midwest League titles, most recently in 2005, and has captured 12 division titles. The Cubs' Kane County team won the Midwest League championship this year under manager Mark Johnson, going unbeaten in the playoffs.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.