- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

KODAK, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League will remain the Chicago Cubs’ Double-A affiliate at least through the 2018 season.

The Cubs and Smokies announced Wednesday they had agreed to terms on a four-year extension of their Player Development Contract. The contract had been set to expire after this season.

Since beginning their partnership in 2007, the Smokies have produced 35 players who went on to make their major league debuts with the Cubs. The list includes second baseman Darwin Barney, catcher Wellington Castillo, shortstop Starlin Castro and pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

Tennessee previously had been affiliated with the Chicago White Sox (1972-79), Toronto Blue Jays (1980-2002), St. Louis Cardinals (2003-04) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2005-06). The Smokies play their home games about 20 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee.

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