The Daily CCO: Lake Moves into a Starting Role, Barney’s Future Up in the Air

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Junior Lake is the team’s starting left fielder, at least until further notice. Injuries to Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney have opened up more playing time for Lake and he’s responded, not only with better numbers but with a noticeably better approach at the plate.

Rick Renteria said Lake has been making the adjustments and his “confidence is growing.”

Junior Lake’s nine-game hitting streak came to an end on Saturday night. Lake hit .219/.254/.391 in April and is hitting .324/.342/.544 in 21 games this month with six doubles, three home runs, three walks, 20 strikeouts and a .877 OPS. The strikeouts remain high (50 in 44 games) and for the year, Lake has a .272/.299/.463 slash line with nine doubles, one triple and five home runs.

Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney is no longer an everyday player for the Cubs, but he could help out a contender this season according to reports from the Sun-Times and Comcast SportsNet.

Rick Renteria told the Sun-Times that Barney is “still a valuable player” and “nobody’s discounting his value.” Patrick Mooney reported that Barney “could be an under-the-radar move that helps a contending team.”

As was the case all off-season, Barney would seem to fit well on an American League team that would benefit from the defense Barney provides and has enough offense to hide his deficiencies at the plate. A scenario Mooney brought up again on Saturday.

Darwin Barney has been a professional and maintained he will do whatever he needs to in order to help the Cubs win.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have a “growing number of valuable young players/prospects for a trade” but they will not consider moving Dellin Betances.

It sounded like Justin Ruggiano was close to returning to the big league team. Ruggiano was a late scratch from Saturday’s game in Iowa after taking batting practice but was back in the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game.

Anthony Rizzo was asked about his time in San Diego, again, for obvious reasons. While Andrew Cashner called Wrigley Field a “dump” when he was asked about the old ballyard, Rizzo tried to downplay his return to PETCO Park, a place he does not like taking batting practice. Rizzo told Patrick Mooney, he’s “kind of moved on from all that.” Rizzo and Cashner will always been connected with one another and asked about the Padres and Cubs, respectively, when the teams play each other twice a season.  And for the record, Cashner was not wrong in answering the question honestly … and as Tom Ricketts pointed out, Cashner is correct.

According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs must trade Jeff Samardzija now.

The Giants announced late Saturday night that Matt Cain will be skipped on Monday due to the hamstring injury. Jeff Samardzija will face Yusmeiro Petit in the opener of the three game series with the Giants on Memorial Day instead.

Minor News and Notes

Kris Bryant went 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk on Saturday night and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Bryant is hitting .405/.463/.757 in his last 10 games with four doubles, three home runs and a 1.220 OPS.

Javier Baez extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double in five trips to the plate on Saturday night. Baez went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a strikeout, a RBI and two runs scored. Baez is hitting .341/.364/.707 in his last 10 games with six doubles, three home runs, two walks, 11 strikeouts and a 1.071 OPS.

Dan Vogelbach had a big Saturday. Vogelbach hit two home runs, one in each game of the doubleheader the D-Cubs played on Saturday. Vogelbach went 4-for-6 in the two games with two home runs, three runs scored and two RBI. Vogelbach is heating up. Over the last 10 games, Vogelbach is hitting .324/.405/.541 with two doubles, two home runs, four walks, eight strikeouts and a .945 OPS.

Albert Almora has cooled off a little but has still hit safely in seven of his last 10 games (.286/.286/.381).

Chris Rusin tossed six shutout innings on Saturday night and struck out a season-high eight batters. The I-Cubs pitching staff has six quality starts in the team’s last six games.

This Day in Cubstory

2001 – Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff single to Mark Loretta to start the seventh inning. The only hit allowed by Wood in a 1-0 victory over the Brewers. Wood struck out 14 batters in the one-hit gem.

1989 – Neil Ramirez, born

1984 – The Cubs traded Bill Buckner to the Red Sox for Mike Brumley and Dennis Eckersley

1981 – Behind 8-0 in the middle of the fourth innings, the Cubs rallied and beat the Pirates 10-9 in 11 innings at Wrigley Field.

1982 – In the third inning of a game against the Padres, Ferguson Jenkins struck out Garry Templeton, the 3,000th strikeout of his career. Jenkins was only the seventh pitcher at the time to record 3,000 strikeouts.

1973 – Todd Walker, born

1971 – Angel Echevarria, born

1962 – Ernie Banks was beaned by Moe Drabowsky and taken from the field on a stretcher. The Cubs lost to the Reds 2-1.

1931 – Jim Marshall, born

1908 – Joe Tinker hit one out of the park but is only credited with a double under ground rules of the time; the winning run was on first base as the Cubs beat the Giants 8-7 at the West Side Grounds

In non-Cubs related notes from This Day in Baseball …  In 1935, Babe Ruth hit three home runs in the Boston Braves 11-7 loss in Pittsburgh. Ruth’s seventh inning home run off Gary Bush, a blast that cleared the roof at Forbes Field, was the last home run of his career. #714 In 1951, Willie Mays made his big league debut at Shibe Park in Philadelphia

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon