David Ross was back behind the plate Saturday night and in his first game since July 1 due to a stint on the 7-day concussion DL, he helped Jon Lester, Hector Rondon and Jason Motte complete the staff’s 12th shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the Braves.
Ross’ influence on these Cubs cannot be measured by a statistic as Nick Cafardo pointed out. Cafardo reported he has heard “Ross has been an unbelievable leader for a young team.” Nine times out of 10 when a player talks about the leadership in the clubhouse David Ross is usually the first name mentioned and if not, he is a close second. Ross is also pretty good at what he does behind the plate and while his slash line will never be among the league leaders, his defense usually is.
According to Nick Cafardo, Ross ranks fifth in baseball at getting called strikes on pitches just beyond the edge of the strike zone. Ross (52%) ranks behind Buster Posey (56.1%), Jason Castro (55.1%), Yasmani Grandal (52.7%) and Andrew Susac (52.1%).
While it is easy to point to a batting average, on-base percentage and the amount of home runs he hits as a measuring stick for how good a player is, there is more to winning games than can be read in a box score.
Javier Baez has been on the DL since June 8 with a non-displaced fracture of his left ring finger. Joe Maddon did not have an update on Baez to pass along before Saturday’s game. Baez is working to get back on the field at the team’s facility in Mesa.
The Des Moines Register asked Iowa’s manager Marty Pevey about a timetable for Baez to return to the team. Pevey told Tommy Birch if he had to guess it would probably be two and a half or three weeks.
Javier Baez has missed six weeks, and it was originally thought he would be out for eight. If Pevey’s guesstimate is correct, Baez will have been sidelined for nine weeks of the season.
Rafael Soriano made his second appearance for the Iowa Cubs on Saturday night in the 10-4 I-Cubs victory over the Redbirds. Soriano retired all three batters he faced in the seventh inning on seven pitches, six for strikes. Soriano did not strikeout a batter.
Soriano has pitched in seven games in the Cubs’ system (five for Double-A Tennessee) and he has allowed one unearned run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings (0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP).
Rafael Soriano should be added to the Cubs’ roster, if not for the finale in Atlanta, at some point over the first two days in Cincinnati.
Jason Hammel completed a 50-pitch bullpen session prior to Saturday’s game. And he said afterwards that his knee is fine and he will be able to start Tuesday as planned. Hammel indicated Friday that his workout Thursday went well and he was good to go for Tuesday.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Hammel will wear “a brace on his left leg as a precautionary measure.” Kyle Schwarber caught Hammel’s bullpen and is expected to catch him Tuesday.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Starlin Castro told Carrie Muskat, “You’ll see the real me in the second half.” Castro is looking for a strong end to what was a disappointing first half of the season.
• According to Ken Rosenthal the starting pitching market is rather deep and “could get deeper.” Rosenthal pointed out Saturday that Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Mat Latos and Dan Haren are already available. And Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo and possibly David Price could soon be added to the list. Rosenthal thinks a GM trying to move a starter should act sooner rather than later.
• Joe Maddon is looking to keep RHP Kyle Hendricks spiffy for September so he can help the Cubs in the stretch run according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• The LA Times posted its MLB trade deadline primer.
• Kris Bryant agreed to a multiyear autograph and memorabilia exclusive with Fanatics according to Darren Rovell.
• According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Luke Carlin was at Principal Park on Saturday. The Cubs recently signed Carlin to a minor league contract. Carlin was not added to Iowa’s roster yet. Marty Pevey said Carlin needs a little time to get into game shape.
• The Sun-Times reported what the reaction was in the Cubs’ dugout when Jon Lester all of the sudden was shooting for a no-hitter on Saturday night. And Lester did not know right away about the scorer’s decision. According to ESPN Chicago, no-hitter or not, Jon Lester was at the top of his game on Saturday night.
And last, but not least, Joe Pepitone admitted he used to hide his drugs in the ivy at Wrigley Field.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs purchased Justin Germano from the Boston Red Sox
2009 – Cubs signed free agent B.J. Ryan
2007 – Pirates purchased Cesar Izturis from the Cubs
2000 – Ed Lynch stepped down as General Manager of the Chicago Cubs. Lynch was replaced by Team President Andy MacPhail.
1982 – Phil Coke, born
1978 – Yorvit Torrealba, born
1940 – Hank Leiber hit a grand slam in the first inning and Bill Nicholson hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Cubs pounded the Dodgers 11-4 at Wrigley Field. A bench clearing brawl erupted in the eighth inning after Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau threw his bat at Dodgers pitcher Hugh Casey after Casey hit Passeau in between his shoulder blades. Passeau was ejected from the game but still picked up the win.
1916 – Phil Cavarretta, born