The Cubs announced several roster moves prior to Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.
The Cubs activated RHP Anthony Varvaro. The Cubs claimed Varvaro off waivers from the Red Sox on Sunday. Varvaro is out of minor league options and had to be added to the active roster. To make room on the 25-man roster for Varvaro, RHP Gonzalez Germen was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Varvaro is with the team at Busch Stadium and will be available for Tuesday night’s game.
The Cubs placed OF Chris Denorfia, as expected, on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain. OF Matt Szczur is in St. Louis but will not be added to the active roster for Tuesday’s game. According to reports, the Cubs will use Denorfia’s spot on the roster for a relief pitcher.
LHP James Russell had his contract selected from Triple-A Iowa and has been added to the 40-man roster. Russell is in St. Louis and will be available to Joe Maddon for Tuesday’s game.
RHP Blake Parker was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for James Russell. Parker was on the 7-day minor league DL with an elbow injury and rehabbing at the Cubs facility in Mesa.
With Tuesday’s roster moves, the Cubs 40-man roster stands at 40 players.
The Cubs will have 13 pitchers and 12 position players on the 25-man roster for at least Tuesday’s game. Matt Szczur will stay in St. Louis on what Jed Hoyer labeled a “taxi squad” until the team decides how long it wants to stick with a 13-man pitching staff. The Cubs want to see how many innings Kyle Hendricks gives them Tuesday before deciding to keep 13 pitchers on the active roster and return Matt Szczur to Iowa.
The Cubs are also deciding on when to activate RHP Justin Grimm from the 15-day DL or if he needs another rehab outing first. Grimm is close to returning but completed his first, and only, rehab outing with Iowa on Monday night.
Jed Hoyer provided an update on RHP Neil Ramirez and he is scheduled to throw off a mound on Wednesday for the first time.
Both James Russell, who will wear uniform number 40, and Anthony Varvaro, who will wear uniform number 48, will be available for the Cubs tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
James Russell, 29, rejoins the Cubs after spending nearly all of his first five big league seasons with the Cubs (2010-14) before being traded to the Atlanta Braves last July 31. Overall, he is 10-16 with 50 holds, three saves and a 3.74 ERA (123 earned runs in 296 1/3 innings) in 338 major league appearances, all but six as a starter.
Last season, Russell combined to go 0-2 with six holds, one save and a 2.97 ERA (19 earned runs in 57 2/3 innings) in 66 appearances (one start) between the Cubs and Braves. He posted a 3.51 ERA (13 earned runs in 33 1/3 innings) in 44 outings with the Cubs before his trade to the Braves, where he posted no record and a 2.22 ERA (six earned runs in 24 1/3 innings) in 22 appearances (one start). Russell was designated for assignment by Atlanta on March 29 and signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in early April. With Iowa, Russell went 2-0 with three saves in seven scoreless relief outings covering 9 2/3 innings.
James Russell was originally selected by the Cubs in the 14th round of the 2007 Draft and earned a spot on the 2010 Opening Day roster after attending Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. In 2012, he went 7-1 with 13 holds, two saves and a 3.25 ERA (25 earned runs in 69 1/3 innings) in 77 relief outings. Russell had a career-high 19 holds in 74 relief outings in 2013.
Anthony Varvaro, 30, was claimed off waivers from Boston on Sunday. He is 7-9 with 20 holds, one save and a 3.23 ERA (66 earned runs in 183 2/3 innings) in 166 major league relief appearances with Seattle (2010), Atlanta (2011-14) and Boston (2015). Varvaro combined to go 6-4 with one save and a 2.74 ERA (39 earned runs in 128 innings) in 123 appearances covering the last two seasons in Atlanta. In his career, Varvaro has limited left-handed hitters to a .201 batting average (58-for-289) while righthanders have batted .268 (107-for-400).
The six-foot, 190-pound Varvaro was traded to the Red Sox last December 17 and went 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA (five earned runs in 11 innings) in nine relief appearances this season before being designated for assignment on April 29.
Chris Denorfia, 34, lands on the disabled list for the second time this season, as he began the year recovering from a left hamstring strain. He was activated on April 17 and is hitting .429 (9-for-21) in 12 games with the Cubs this season.
Gonzalez Germen, 27, has posted no record and a 7.50 ERA (five earned runs in six innings) in six relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He has tossed four scoreless appearances for Iowa this season, going 2-0 with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
Blake Parker, 29, had no record and a 2.70 ERA (one earned run in 3 1/3 innings) in three outings with Iowa this season. He is 2-3 with one save and a 3.68 ERA (30 earned runs in 73 1/3 innings) in 74 relief appearances covering three seasons with the Cubs (2012-14).