The Cubs continued tinkering with the bullpen on Thursday with the addition of Zach Putnam from Triple-A Iowa. In the last 10 days, the Cubs have moved Carlos Villanueva to the pen, claimed reliever Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the Cardinals, designated Michael Bowden for assignment, placed Shawn Camp on the DL, recalled Rafael Dolis, claimed Alex Burnett off waivers from the Orioles, lost Kyuji Fujikawa for the season, optioned Alex Burnett to Triple-A Iowa and selected the contract of Zach Putnam from Triple-A Iowa. And in the process, the pen has performed much better during the last week. The Cubs’ pen has allowed three runs over the last 23 innings while holding opponents to a .147 batting average prior to Thursday’s finale with the White Sox.
After being designated for assignment on May 21, Michael Bowden passed through waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. The Cubs announced Thursday that Bowden accepted the assignment and will stay in the organization.
Carlos Marmol’s goal is to close games for the Cubs again, but his manager does not appear to be open to that idea. Dale Sveum was asked about the possibility of Carlos Marmol returning to his closer role prior to Thursday’s game with the Sox, Sveum’s response, “I hope not.”
Marmol has pitched a lot better of late and with all of the injuries and changes in the pen, he will pitch later in games than originally planned when he lost his job as the Cubs’ closer.
Kevin Gregg has done a very good job closing games and Sveum explained that his comment about Marmol had more to do with the way Gregg has pitched than with Marmol. Sveum was asked about what he would do for a closer in the event Gregg is traded away prior to the deadline. Sveum said they would cross that bridge then.
Carlos Marmol has a short amount of time to build value as he wraps up the three-year contract he signed with the Cubs prior to the 2010 season and enters free agency. Marmol told Comcast SportsNet that he would like to stay with the Cubs past this season.
The First-Year Player Draft
The draft is less than a week away (Thursday, June 6) and Keith Law released his second mock draft on Thursday. Law thinks the Astros will pass on Mark Appel again and select third baseman Colin Moran with the first pick in the draft. Law is hearing Houston is leaning toward the decision to draft Moran and pass on both Appel and Jonathan Gray. Law pointed out the decision to take Moran could have to do with money more than anything. The Astros might be able to ink Moran for less than slot ($7.79 million) and use the money for later picks in the draft.
If Houston passes on both pitchers, the Cubs will have their pick of either Appel or Gray. Law thinks the Cubs will take Mark Appel but he has heard that Theo Epstein loves Jonathan Gray.
Law thinks Kris Bryant will drop to the Padres with the third pick and Gray will slip to the Indians with the fifth pick.
According to Comcast SportsNet, look for the Cubs to load up on power arms in next week’s draft.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Scott Baker is playing long toss in Arizona but is not expected back before August at the earliest. Baker has not thrown off a mound since his one appearance in a Cactus League game back in March.
News and Notes
The Cubs may be reluctant to trade Scott Feldman according to Bruce Levine but his stock continues to rise and he could bring back a “top young player” in a deal prior to the deadline.
The I-Cubs placed RHP Barret Loux on the 7-day DL with a right ankle sprain on Thursday.
The Cubs made a statement with the three wins against the White Sox according to Bruce Levine … and Jon Greenberg questioned if the Cubs are as bad as most think they are.
Comcast SportsNet broke down the 25 most influential figures in Chicago Baseball.
And last, but not least, the quote of the day from Alfonso Soriano on the Cubs winning the Crosstown Cup for the first time. “It’s good that we won, but that trophy means nothing. That’s not the trophy that I want.”