The Cubs bullpen shuffle continued Saturday when the team placed Jose Veras on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. The Cubs recalled RHP Brian Schlitter from Triple-A Iowa to take Veras’ spot in the eight-man bullpen. The Cubs have made five roster moves with the bullpen since Thursday and will make two more moves next week when Jake Arrieta is activated from the DL and Carlos Villanueva is sent to the bullpen.
Rick Renteria announced Saturday that Carlos Villanueva will likely make his scheduled start on Wednesday, as previously reported. Villanueva’s spot in the rotation comes back around on Wednesday for the finale in Cincinnati. With Jake Arrieta starting on Saturday night, he would not be available until Thursday. So the Cubs had to stick with Villanueva one more time. Arrieta should be activated from the disabled list during the Cardinals’ series (May 2-4) and if he starts the opener of the weekend series at Wrigley Field, that would allow Chris Bosio to move each one of his starters back a day.
The Cubs could call-up Chris Rusin for the day to make the start on Wednesday in Cincinnati and go ahead and move Villanueva to the bullpen. Rusin and Villanueva are on the same five-day routine, so Rusin’s next scheduled start is Wednesday. But, for now, it appears the Cubs will stick with Carlos Villanueva.
The Cubs eight-man bullpen consists of three rookies (Zac Rosscup, Neil Ramirez, Brian Schlitter), three lefties in Rosscup, James Russell and Wesley Wright and right handers Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm.
Jake Arrieta completed what should have been his last rehab start on Saturday night for Double-A Tennessee. Arrieta pitched a scheduled two innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Arrieta threw 44 pitches, 25 for strikes.
The Cubs have not said when Jake Arrieta will be activated from the disabled list and added to the rotation.
Kris Bryant launched his fifth home run of the season on Saturday in Tennessee’s 4-3 loss to Huntsville. Bryant has reached base safely in all 22 games after his 2-for-6 performance.
Kris Bryant is hitting .312/.442/.597 with seven doubles, five home runs with five stolen bases and a 1.040 OPS. Bryant is 24-for-77 with 14 walks and 25 strikeouts in 22 games.
Arismendy Alcantara collected five hits, scored a run and drove in three runs in Iowa’s 9-6 win in 13 innings over Colorado Springs on Saturday. Alcantara recorded another extra basehit with a RBI triple in the 13th inning.
Alcantara is hitting .301/.310/.554 with seven doubles, four triples, two home runs and a .865 OPS. Alcantara is also a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases this season.
In 22 games, Arismendy Alcantara is 25-for-83 with two walks and 20 strikeouts … and more than half of the 25 hits have gone for extra bases (13).
News and Notes
Matt Garza was still talking Cubs on Saturday even though he is with another team that is focused on winning and not hoping to win as he pointed out. Garza knows what Jeff Samardzija is going through and he told his former teammate to pitch his way out of Chicago according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
According to Ron Coomer, Rick Renteria addressed his team following Friday night’s game. Renteria was not pleased with the effort he saw and was not happy that the players did not follow the game plan. The Cubs did not make Matt Garza work on the mound. The game plan called for the players to bunt to try to get Garza to field the ball and get him off his game.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs gave no timetable on when Jose Veras would be ready to pitch again. Veras is hoping the break, as he recovers from the oblique injury, will help him clear his head and get on track when he returns.
The Cubs understand Junior Lake’s frustrations according to a report from Patrick Mooney … and for the record, breaking a bat over a knee is not in the Cubs’ manual.