Friday was a pretty typical day in the life of the Chicago Cubs. The front office made their daily roster moves before news surfaced that one of the best players in the history of the organization and a Hall of Famer, whose retired number flies daily in the ballpark he once called home, was hired to manage the Philadelphia Phillies on an interim basis. The big league team that scored a grand total of four runs in the previous three games combined then took the field and shut out their long-time rival behind an excellent performance from a starting pitcher in just his second start for his new team. And the day ended with the top prospect in the system going down on one knee while hitting a walk off homer for his 31st longball of the season.
The performance that Jake Arrieta turned in on Friday was overshadowed by Ryne Sandberg being named interim manager of the Phillies. Sandberg replaced Charlie Manuel, who was fired just a few days after winning his 1000th game. When Sandberg was hired by the Phillies to manage their Triple-A affiliate, many thought he would one day take over for Charlie Manuel, and that is exactly what happened on Friday.
The Phillies make their annual trip to Wrigley at the end of the month (August 30 – September 1) and what would have been just a three-game series between two teams looking toward the future will have a lot more intrigue with Ryne Sandberg in the visitor’s dugout calling the shots for Philly.
Ryne Sandberg is a class act and will remain a fan favorite for what he did on the field in a Cubs’ uniform. Sandberg worked his way back-up the minor league system and paid his dues as manager. And it is probably safe to say that Cubs’ fans everywhere wish him the best, except of course when the Phillies are playing the Cubs.
A day after hitting his 30th home run of the season, Javier Baez went deep for the 31st time this year on Friday night with a two-run walk-off homer that gave the Smokies an 8-6 victory. Baez went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a walk on Friday and is 17-for-42 over his last 10 games with five doubles, three home runs, four walks and eight strikeouts (.405/.457/.738/1.195). After a slow start with Double-A Tennessee, Baez is hitting .293/.355/.631 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs, 15 walks and 49 strikeouts in 38 games with a .985 OPS. In 114 games this season between the D-Cubs and Smokies, Baez is hitting .281/.344/.568/.912 with 30 doubles, four triples, 31 home runs and 19 stolen bases. Baez does not turn 21 until December 1.
The Iowa Cubs placed Chang-Yong Lim on the 7-day DL on Friday with a right shoulder strain. Lim had been working his way up the Cubs’ system and was planning on making his Major League debut in September.
Lim pitched in seven games for Iowa and allowed one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings (seven appearances) with three walks and five strikeouts. Lim made stops in Daytona and Tennessee prior to Iowa and had allowed four runs on 12 hits with six walks and 17 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.
The Cubs signed Chang-Yong Lim last off-season to a two-year, $100,000 minor league contract that included incentives if Lim could work his way back from his second Tommy John surgery and end up on the Cubs’ roster.
Matt Guerrier had surgery on Friday to repair the flexor mass in his right arm. The recovery time on the surgery, performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek, is expected to be six to eight months. Guerrier is a free agent at the end of the season and would like to re-sign with the Cubs.
The Cubs acquired Guerrier from the Dodgers for Carlos Marmol in July. Guerrier realizes that he will have to sign a minor league contract with a team and prove he is healthy during Spring Training.
With the lack of relievers in the Cubs’ system, re-signing Guerrier to a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp would seem to be more than a possibility.
The Cubs optioned RHP Eduardo Sanchez to Triple-A Iowa prior to Friday’s game to make room on the active roster for Jake Arrieta. Sanchez has a very good arm but the 11th inning of Wednesday night’s game was a snapshot of the problems that Sanchez has on the mound.
The Cubs need relievers in the system but Sanchez is a candidate to be with another organization next season if he struggles in September.
News and Notes
Josh Vitters was placed on the 7-day DL on Friday. Vitters reinjured his right hamstring and has been put on the disabled list for the fourth time this season. Vitters spoke with the Des Moines Register about his season and how he has dealt with the injuries that have shortened his year on the field.
Brett Jackson is using his time with the Smokies to get back on track and is not looking at being back in Tennessee as a demotion.
Trey McNutt has been on the DL with an undisclosed injury since June 28 and suffered a setback in his rehab according to a report from Smokies Radio. Smokies’ manager Buddy Bailey said that McNutt was close to returning “and then in just the last day or two something showed back up but in a different spot.”
Ryan Sweeney has been on the 60-day DL since the end of June with a left rib fracture and is not eligible to come off the disabled list until the end of August. Sweeney has been able to hit in the cage and is expected to return to the field in September.
Austin Kirk has been on the DL since July 27 and according to a report from Smokies Radio, the organization is working to change Kirk’s delivery to more of a three-quarters delivery.
Brian Bogusevic has been rehabbing in Arizona and started playing in games with the AZL Cubs as he works his way back to Chicago. Bogusevic has been on the DL since July 19 with a left hamstring strain. Bogusevic is expected to be added to Iowa’s roster soon to continue his rehab. The Cubs have not mentioned a timeframe for his possible return. If he is healthy enough, Bogusevic should receive a lot of playing time in September.
Luis Valbuena is not ready to begin a rehab assignment. Valbuena was placed on the 15-day DL on August 4 with a right oblique strain. Valbuena has not swung a bat yet and has been limited to swinging with a fungo bat. Due to the severity of his injury, Valbuena was expected to be out for at least a month.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs see Kris Bryant as one key piece in a big puzzle.