Kyle Schwarber has done exactly what the front office wanted him to do in his ‘pit stop’ from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa, he has hit the baseball.
Before Schwarber’s second game as the team’s DH, Joe Maddon said the only way he would stay with the team beyond Sunday was if the Cubs moved to the American League. Schwarber proceeded to go 2-for-4 with his first home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Schwarber got the ball back and is 6-for-10 in three games with a home run, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored.
The Cubs have said publicly there is nothing Kyle Schwarber can do to prevent him from being optioned to Triple-A Iowa after Sunday’s game. The Cubs are committed to him catching, a position Schwarber has a passion for and wants to excel at in the majors. According to Comcast SportsNet, Schwarber is “not looking to transfer to left field next week, even if it meant playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Wrigleyville.”
Kyle Schwarber agrees with the team’s plan for him and admitted ” if it takes more time, it takes more time” for him in the minors to develop his skills as a catcher.
Jorge Soler might be getting close to a rehab assignment.
Ron Coomer reported during Thursday’s broadcast that Soler was hitting in the cage and he thought Soler was nearing a “three or four game” rehab assignment.
According to the Sun-Times, Soler is out of the walking boot and Thursday “did some light jogging for the first time since the injury.” Soler suggested to the Sun-Times a “return next week could happen.”
The Phillies announced Thursday that LHP Cole Hamels will not make his scheduled start Friday. Hamels was scratched due to a mild right hamstring strain.
The Phillies are downplaying the injury for obvious reasons. Hamels has been very good this year for a bad team. Hamels has been charged with 32 runs, 31 earned, on 74 hits with 31 walks and 103 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings over 14 starts. Outside of Philly, Hamels is 3-3 in seven starts with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP (19 runs on 42 hits with 16 walks and 53 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings).
Cole Hamels is not expected to be placed on the disabled list.
Joe Maddon and ‘B.A.’ Wada
Joe Maddon talked to the beat writers and explained why Tsuyoshi Wada greeted the media following his win Wednesday night with, “I am a badass.”
Maddon met with Wada earlier in the week. He got Wada to smile, which he said was the first step. Maddon then told his lefty, “Next time out you’re going to use your fastball, you’re going to pitch seven innings, you’re going to win and when you get done I’m going to buy you a nice bottle of wine, but when you talk to the press I want you to tell them, ‘I am a bad ass.” Maddon reminded Wada about what the two discussed after Wada left Wednesday’s game.
Wada did not know what he was saying. He had to write it down so he would not forget. And there was apparently an attempt to translate it, but ‘I am a badass’ does not translate from English to Japanese.
Maddon explained Wada is a nice guy but maybe just too nice on the mound. He was trying to change his mindset, the same way Tommy Lasorda did with Orel Hershiser when he started calling Hershiser ‘Bulldog.’
Joe Maddon got the results he was looking for and seeing how Wada responds the next time out with likely less run support will be very telling.
Assael Aquino and Luiz Escanio
RHP Assael Aquino and RHP Luiz Escanio, two Cubs’ minor leaguers were suspended 72 games for PED violations Thursday. Aquino and Escanio pitched for the organization’s Dominican Summer League team and were suspended without pay for testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
Aquino turns 23 next month (July 16) and was 1-1 in 18 relief appearances last season with a 2.11 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Escanio also turns 23 in July (July 31) and was 0-2 in 15 relief appearances last year with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
According to Jesse Rogers, neither player was considered a prospect and may not be with the organization much longer.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Addison Russell’s dream came true. Russell’s diving stop Wednesday night was voted the best defensive play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Addison Russell said being in the top 10 “is pretty cool,” being No. 1 “is surreal.”
• Jonathan Papelbon pitched in his second save situation Thursday since May 20. Papelbon picked up his 13th save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included a strikeout. Papelbon is 1-1 in 26 games with a 1.01 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP … and a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities for Ryne Sandberg.
• Junior Lake started at first base Thursday for the Iowa Cubs, his first action at first base since he played two games there in 2007 in the Dominican Summer League. Lake went 1-for-2 at the plate with a sac bunt, a walk and a run scored.
• Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game. Zach McAllister hit Castro in his left forearm with a 96 mph fastball. Castro was in obvious pain but stayed in the game. Jesse Rogers reported Castro “had a huge bruise on his left forearm” after the game.
• According to Bruce Levine, the White Sox could be close to backing up the truck and Jeff Samardzija is among the players Rick Hahn could trade.
• The Cubs rookies are a rare group according to Jason Hammel … and he should know based on the teams he has played on throughout his career.
• Joe Maddon talked about how he would handle the Pablo Sandoval situation prior to Thursday’s game.
• The Cubs like their beefed up catching depth throughout the organization according to the Tribune.
And, last but not least, the Caretaker’s Cottage was moved back to Wrigley on Thursday … click here for a photo.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Reds pitcher Paul Wilson took exception to a pitch inside from Kyle Farnsworth while he was trying to lay down a bunt. Wilson charged the mound and was pummeled by Farnsworth.
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Tony Fossas
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Brad Arnsberg
1991 – Christian Villanueva, born
1985 – Blake Parker, born
1978 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Bill Earley
1967 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jim Colburn
1964 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Don Kessinger
1913 – Wilbur Good hit the first pinch-hit home run in Cubs’ history in the eighth inning. The Cubs lost the game 2-1 to Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Phillies at West Side Grounds.
1900 – Pitcher Clark Griffith drove in the winning run while tossing a complete game as the Cubs topped Rube Waddell and the Pirates 1-0 in 14 innings at West Side Grounds. This was the longest shutout win, inning wise, in Cubs history at the time.