Starlin Castro was front and center prior to the opener against the Mets at Citi Field and was asked about the trade rumors to the Mets that popped up after the Cubs acquired Addison Russell from Oakland. According to multiple reports, Castro was unaware of the rumors, but the New York media is convinced the Cubs will trade one of the shortstops for pitching. And the Cubs and Mets would be a perfect match-up for a deal in the not-to-distant future.
Starlin Castro wants to stay with the Cubs for his entire career. And he pointed out there are “a lot of shortstops in the minor leagues” but he doesn’t think that matters because they are all athletes and “can play wherever in the infield.”
Starlin Castro does not want to change positions according to the Sun-Times and Jed Hoyer was glad to hear Castro say that.
Jed Hoyer was asked if there is room on the big league roster for all of the shortstops in the organization. According to the Sun-Times, Hoyer thinks the Cubs will be “better in a lot of ways” if they can. The front office does not feel “compelled to trade even one” of the shortstops and Gordon Wittenmyer reported that Castro “might not be as expendable as many may think.”
Starlin Castro is having a good season at the plate and in the field. After a bad July, Castro extended his hitting streak to 14 games on Friday night and is hitting .421/.441/.526 with three doubles, a home run and a .967 OPS over the last 14 games.
Rick Renteria reiterated prior to Friday’s game, the plan for Dan Straily is to have him start Saturday and send him back down to the minors. Straily is expected to make starts in September for the Cubs once the roster expands and Iowa’s season is over.
Straily was with the team Friday and talked about the improvements he’s made during his time in Iowa since the trade.
Bruce Walton, Iowa’s pitching coach, Chris Bosio and others according to a report from Carrie Muskat, made “some minor changes” to Straily’s mechanics and those changes have helped. Straily’s fastball command and velocity have improved as well. And Straily thinks “maybe this whole change of scenery thing is what it’s made out to be.”
Straily was asked about the prospects the Cubs have in the minors. Straily played with Addison Russell during Spring Training and is playing with Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler in Iowa. Straily told the Sun-Times, “There’s a lot of talent down there. There’s just a whole culture of winning that’s being instilled. It was something I felt when I was with Oakland coming up. We won, and you see that group of guys, and then that’s just kind of the trend that you keep going down there, and eventually it starts to translate. It’s exciting to be here.”
Junior Lake was optioned to Iowa following Friday’s game to make room for Dan Straily on the active roster. The plan for Lake is to play every day and hopefully working with Brian Harper and Manny Ramirez will have the same impact on Lake it has with Mike Olt.
Junior Lake acknowledged after Friday’s game that he needs to play and he needs more at bats.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Lake was told he will be recalled in 15 days when the roster expands.
Junior Lake was not on an optional assignment and it was reported incorrectly that optioning Lake to the minors would use his last option. As long as Lake is recalled within 20 days, he will still have one minor league option left.
Rick Renteria will have an even shorter bench Saturday than he’s managed with this season. The active roster will have 14 pitchers on it with only 11 position players. That gives Renteria two position players and the back-up catcher. Based on the way the team has handled call-ups this season, John Baker will likely start behind the plate for Dan Straily.
The Cubs will send Straily down following Saturday’s game and replace him on the active roster with a position player. And that position player was thought to be Jorge Soler when Junior Lake was optioned out.
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the call-up could be “a much less exciting move than dropping Jorge Soler into The Big Apple this weekend.”
News and Notes
Luis Valbuena received Friday and Saturday off to “clear his mind of recent tailspin” according to a report from the Sun-Times. Carrie Muskat reported Valbuena is battling a cold. And Mark Gonzales reported Valbuena would be held out of Friday and Saturday’s games but was available to pinch-hit.
Minor News and Notes
Pierce Johnson put together another scoreless outing Friday. Johnson gave up three hits in four innings with three walks and seven strikeouts. Johnson has not allowed a run in his last three starts and is 2-0 over that span with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. In 16 innings, Johnson has allowed six hits with six walks and 21 strikeouts.
Mark Johnson addressed the plans for the recently promoted Mark Zagunis. The Cougars skipper said Zagunis will play most left field and DH and maybe catch once a week.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Ryne Sandberg was named interim manager of the Phillies
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Horacio Ramirez
1997 – The Cubs acquired Frisco Parotte from the Yankees for Rey Sanchez
1992 – Greg Maddux gave up four hits in the Cubs 1-0 victory over the Astros
1988 – Justin Grimm, born
1956 – Dee Fondy homered and “Sam Sam” Jones struck out 13 batters as the Cubs beat the Braves at Wrigley Field.
1932 – It was Charlie Grimm Day at Wrigley Field. The Cubs rallied in front of 32,000 and beat the Braves 4-3.
1930 – The Cubs beat the Phillies 10-9 in the first game of a doubleheader and the second game of the twinbill was suspended in the 11th inning due to darkness with the game tied at three. Gabby Harnett drove in the winning run in game one and Hack Wilson hit his 41st homer of the season.
1911 – Frank Schulte set a record that would be broken in 1955 by Ernie Banks, when he hit his fourth grand slam of the season. The Cubs beat the Braves 13-6 in Boston