Updates on Edwards and Tseng, Minor Signings and Cubs News from Down on the Farm

Jaron Madison, Cubs Farm Director, provided an update Thursday on C.J. Edwards. Madison said Edwards has begun a throwing program at the Cubs complex in Mesa and the Cubs are “shooting for around the All-Star break” for him to return.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Edwards probably could have pitched through the fatigue and inflammation in his shoulder and Madison pointed out that he wanted to. The Cubs decided to shut him down, build him up slowly and make sure he was ready for the second half.

The report explained, “The Cubs haven’t decided if Edwards should be eased back in a bullpen role.” Madison said, for now, the plan is for Edwards to return in a starting role and “because he missed so many innings, it might be better to keep him regimented” as a starter.

Jen-Ho Tseng

Kane County placed RHP Jen-Ho Tseng on the disabled list on Monday with an upper extremity injury. Cougars’ manager Mark Johnson addressed his injury on Thursday.

Tseng has “a sore right shoulder” and said it was nothing serious. According to a report from Kevin Druley, the plan with Tseng is to be “really careful” and take their “time with it.” A timeframe for a possible return was not given.

The 19-year old right hander is 3-0 in six starts with the Cougars this season with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. Tseng allowed 37 hits with five walks and 32 strikeouts in 32 innings.

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant is hitting the baseball at the Double-A level (.335/.431/.623/1.054 with 12 doubles and 12 home runs) and either leads the Southern League or is among the league leaders in many of the offensive categories.

The Sun-Times reported, Bryant is “staying put” and not only will he not be promoted to majors anytime soon, he might not be “at AAA Iowa anytime soon.”

Bryant still has a lot to work on with his approach at the plate. Jaron Madison pointed out that he is “working his butt off” defensively trying to improve at third base.

Minor Signings

According to a report from Chris Cotillo, the Cubs signed RHP Julio Rodriguez. The 23-year old right hander has been pitching in independent baseball with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League. Rodriguez was 2-0 in four games, three starts, with a 2.60 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP (18 strikeouts, 10 walks, seven hits allowed in 17 1/3 innings). Rodriguez signed with the Phillies as a 17-year old in 2008 and pitched in three levels of the Orioles system last year. Rodriguez made it to the Double-A level and was a combined 0-3 in seven starts with a 9.43 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP.

Chris Cotillo passed on a report from Sosnick Cobbe Sports that the Cubs signed RHP Joe Gardner. According to the report, Gardner has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee and is scheduled to make his debut on Saturday. The 26-year old right hander was pitching in independent ball for Lancaster in the Atlantic League. Gardner posted a win in his only start and struck out seven with one walk and three hits allowed in five innings. Gardner is 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and pitched in the Rockies system in 2012 and 2013. Gardner can start or pitch out of the pen and is 38-29 in 117 minor league games, 77 starts, with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over five seasons.

The Cubs have not announced the signings. Both pitchers could fill holes at the Double-A level left by injuries to Pierce Johnson, C.J. Edwards and Ivan Pineyro.

Update 2:31pm CDT  – Julio Rodriguez has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee according to a report from the Bridgeport Banner.

News and Notes

Jaron Madison shot down the report from Baseball Prospectus this week about Javier Baez’s struggles this season could be vision related. Javier Baez had an eye exam “not too long ago, and everything was fine.” Madison also pointed out that Beaz’s day-night splits were the exact opposite last year. According to Patrick Mooney, it’s finally starting to click for Javier Baez.

Former Cubs prospect, Ryan Searle has signed with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the American Association Baseball League.

According to Jim Callis, catcher Max Pentecost keeps rising up draft boards. Callis said he could see Pentecost being selected in the top 10. Theo Epstein checked out Pentecost on Wednesday and Keith Law mentioned him as a possibility for the Cubs in his mock draft last week.

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  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I am afraid to even ask, as I will likely be scolded for questioning the FO, but I am curious about Bryant at 3B.

    If we think Olt has a chance of sticking, and we know Bryant likely won’t play SS or 2B, and further if we think Baez would necessitate either Castro to move to 2B or Baez will move to 2B or 3B, the infield can get crowded in a hurry.

    Whereas you look at the OF, and we have the biggest question marks and no “core” players currently up and entrenched in any OF spot. Boni has had a great season, but stats say it won’t last, and he may be better suited as a super-sub, and who knows if Cubs even resign him. Schierholtz/Ruggiano/Sweeney are all short-term roster fillers. Kalish and Lake have potential, but we need to see a whole season of them to know what we might have there. Almora is a stud prospect, but very young, and years away.

    So rather than have Bryant come up late this year or next year and say “hey…let’s try you in the OF” like they did with Junior Lake last Summer, why not let him get comfortable in the OF now, and see if it is even a good option. Is the only value of Bryant continuing to play 3B now as a hedged bet against Olt failing? Or would they trade a succeeding Olt when Bryant is ready since they both play the same position?

    I would like to see a lineup with Olt, Baez, and Bryant all in it, and slugging at the MLB level. Just not clear what positions 2 of them will play yet.

    • GaryLeeT

      On another thread I suggested they promote Bryant to Iowa, and stick him out in RF for the rest, or most of the season, then just release Ruggiano. It’s not like he can’t just move back to 3rd, if needed.

    • triple

      It seems to me that it may be wiser to keep a player at their position and continue working on defending that position until there is a certain need that dictates the change in position. Bryant has probably played 3B way more than any other position throughout his life, and now is getting professional coaching at his position, so he stands to benefit from this and develop his skills to a level that he’s always hoped to be at. It’s hard to predict a team’s future needs, and if they move him off the position now, yes he will have some experience at playing an OF position, but that means that he will not improve anymore at third base. Guys like Bryant are good athletes and capable of learning a new position and being comfortable playing there after just a couple weeks, but by no means would anyone be polished from that short of time. It would take more than a couple years to develop into his full potential at a new position (look at Soriano in LF), when he is much closer to reaching that status at 3B.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I pretty much agree with what you wrote, but not sure MLB folks like moving guys from OF back to IF (specifically 2B, SS, 3B) as I can’t think of any notable everyday players that have done that. Typically they move to the OF from IF, but not other way around (Soriano, Lake, Braun).

        Either way, good problem to have if we wind up with a logjam of talent.

        • triple

          Yeah, I know what you mean. The speed of the game in the IF is alot different from the OF, but in reality it all is dependent on the initial reaction and first step, no matter what position. Albert Pujols was plugged in at LF, 3B, and 1B when he was young, and I think Bryant may be capable if he occasionally got time at 3B while he plays the OF, if necessary. It is exciting that there are reinforcements on the horizon that have lots of potential, and even if all of the close ones are infielders, I think they will all end up filling needed roles.

      • Eugene Debs

        We need them to hit. We’ll figure out the positions.

        We’re not talking about Matt Stairs types. These guys are athletic.

    • Tony_H

      I think far too much is made about this topic. Players can move down the defensive spectrum easier than they can move back up. Many players have been called up to the majors and thrown out in the OF or told to play 3B, etc without having much time at the position, if any, during their minor league career. Most of the time, these things have a way of working themselves out and at worst we have too many good young players than positions to put them in. which would be a very good problem to have.

      I think Bryant will ultimately be a corner OF, but he could play LF, RF, 3B or even 1B at some point based on need, injuries, or the only way to get his bat in the lineup. I don’t many people ever thought Miggy Cabrera would go back to 3B yet that is what they needed after they signed Fielder. And if Miggy could adjust to 3B, I have no issues with Bryant adjusting to whatever they ask of him.

      I honestly will be surprised if Olt, Baez and Bryant ever are 3 starters on the Cubs at the same time. Not saying I wouldn’t like to see it, but ultimately all 3 are 3B’s and to get all 3, I would think either Rizzo got hurt or 2 of them are in the corner OF positions.

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  • calicub

    Neil, I’d like to commend and thank you for all the hard work you put into this website.

    The CCO gets better and better with each passing year. Not only have you continued to expand your coverage of all things Cubs, you’ve managed to bring in knowledgeable and intriguing contributors like Tom U., Brian, and now Chris K in addition to those who have come and gone.

    You keep us ahead of the curve for the best team in Baseball and there truly is no other Cub site that comes close to the quality the CCO puts out on a daily basis. Keep up the GREAT work!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re too kind. Thank you very much and you’re more than welcome.

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