Javier Baez took the first step Thursday to returning to the Iowa Cubs. As expected, Baez suited up and played for the AZL Cubs in a rehab game at Sloan Park. Baez batted third, played short and went 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored. Baez did not walk or strikeout in three plate appearances.
Baez has been sidelined since June 8 with a non-displaced fracture of his left ring finger. Baez suffered the injury sliding headfirst into second base on June 7.
Jaron Madison recently told the Des Moines Register that Baez should be back with the I-Cubs at some point next week (July 26-Aug. 1).
The Cubs promoted OF/2B Ian Happ to Low-A South Bend on Thursday. Happ was the team’s first round pick in last month’s draft.
The switch-hitter batted .283/.408/.491 (30-for-106) in 29 games for Short-Season Class-A Eugene. Happ hit eight doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .898 OPS. And Happ walked (23) almost as many times as he struck out (28). Happ finished his time in the Northwest League ranked second in walks (23), third in runs scored (26) and fourth in home runs (4).
Non-Waiver Trade Deadline
Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is seven days away and the first two deals were complete Thursday … one involved a pitcher the Cubs were linked to and the other a former third baseman that played on three division champions and hit a rather memorable homer for the Cubs eight years ago.
The Astros acquired LHP Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s for RHP Daniel Mengden and C Jacob Nottingham. The two prospects Billy Beane received for a little over two months of Kazmir were not included in Baseball America’s pre-season ranking of the rather stacked Houston Astros’ system.
Twelve years to the day the Cubs acquired Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates, Ramirez was traded back to the Pittsburgh where he is expected to finish his career. The Brewers included around $2.7 million in the deal and received a rather raw bullpen prospect in RHP Yhonathan Barrios.
Dexter Fowler had a rough first half after a very good April (.299/.372/.442) and he’s been pretty good since the break. Fowler is batting .246/.364/.292 in 17 games this month with 12 walks and 12 strikeouts. Fowler has four stolen bases and has been caught one time.
In the six games after the break, Fowler is 8-for-24 with a double, seven walks and three strikeouts (.333/.484/.375).
Over the course of his career, Dexter Fowler has produced better at the plate in the second half (.277/.367/.414) than before the All-Star break (.260/.357/.413).
Addison Russell has looked a lot more confident at the plate since the four-day All-Star game break. And the numbers back up the eye-test. Russell is 7-for-19 with a double, four walks and five strikeouts in six games (.368/.478/.421). Russell’s outs have been rather loud and he is driving the ball to the opposite field, all good signs that Russell is getting more comfortable in the big leagues.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs designated LHP Clayton Richard for assignment Wednesday. According to the transactions page on Cubs.com, Richard was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. Richard has been added to the 40-man roster on Cubs.com. The Cubs have not announced that Richard was re-signed or that he cleared waivers … Stay Tuned.
• RHP Zack Godley made his Major League debut on Thursday night for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Godley pitched six innings and picked up the win against the Brewers. Godley allowed four hits without a walk and no runs with seven strikeouts. The Cubs selected Godley in in the 10th round of the 2013 draft and was included in the deal, along with RHP Jefferson Mejia, for Miguel Montero.
• Jesse Rogers reported rookies Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell look to improve in the second half.
• Hotel packages for the 2016 Cubs Convention (Jan. 15-17) at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers are now on sale.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were among the 10 most popular player jerseys from the first half.
This Day In Cubstory
2008 – Rays purchased Darin Downs from the Cubs
2006 – Cubs release Phil Norton
1974 – Jim Marshall replaced Whitey Lockman as Cubs manager. Lockman became Cubs Director of Player Development
1972 – Whitey Lockman replaced Leo Durocher as Cubs manager
1969 – Ken Holtzman beat Don Sutton for the fourth straight time, third time that season, as the Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-3. Sutton lost to the Cubs for the 13th straight start.
1967 – Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-1 in St. Louis and moved into a tie with the Cardinals atop the National League
1939 – Cubs claimed Rabbit Warstler off waivers from the Boston Bees