Not long after the team announced Jason Hammel was penciled in to make his next start and he is not expected to miss any time after the MRI on his left hamstring did not reveal any damage, the Cubs provided updates on Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella.
Baez and La Stella have resumed “some baseball activities” at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa. Baez has been out for a little over a month with a non-displaced fracture of his left ring finger. Baez has been cleared to swing a bat and appears to be close to the eight week timeline the Cubs were optimistic about when he was placed on the DL.
Tommy La Stella has been sidelined for basically the entire season. La Stella is dealing with a strained right oblique. La Stella suffered a setback on a rehab assignment with Double-A Tennessee in May.
The Cubs did not provide a timetable on when either player will begin a rehab assignment or in Baez’s case, return to Iowa. But getting Baez and La Stella back on the field and ready to compete will give the big league team more options to choose from over the last two-plus months of the season.
According to multiple reports, David Ross said Friday he has passed all of the post-concussion tests.
Ross is not expected to be activated until after the break. And when he returns, Ross will be Jon Lester’s catcher according to a report from the Sun-Times. Lester said he is comfortable throwing to Miguel Montero. It is Joe Maddon’s decision to keep pairing the two. Lester admitted he preferred Ross early in the year but now it does not matter to him.
RHP Rafael Soriano made his third appearance for the Smokies in Friday night’s 6-4 loss in 11 innings to Biloxi. Soriano gave up the lead after allowing one unearned run on two hits in one inning. Soriano faced five batters and made 21 pitches, 15 for strikes.
Soriano has not allowed an earned run in three appearances. Soriano has given up three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in three innings (0.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP).
Jed Hoyer told the beat writers that INF/OF Mike Olt “still has a future with the Cubs.” The front office views Olt as a “really good player.” Hoyer said Olt may get some time in the outfield, which was expected to happen in Spring Training. Olt told the Des Moines Register last month that he is open to playing any position that would give him a chance to help the Cubs win games at the Major League level.
Hoyer pointed to Kris Bryant being in front of him as the reason the Cubs optioned him to Iowa on Friday.
Olt went 2-for-4 in his return to the lineup Friday night. Olt hit a home run in the second inning of Iowa’s 5-3 victory over Omaha in 10 innings.
Mike Olt raised his slash line to .214/.254/.393. Olt is 12-for-56 in 15 games with Iowa that includes four doubles, two home runs, two walks and 16 strikeouts.
Cubs Rumors Links Corner
• Cubs’ trade talks remain slow according to a report from the Tribune.
• ESPN Chicago reported despite offensive slump, Cubs still looking for pitching.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Dexter Fowler’s wife was not happy about the strike zone her husband received Friday … and she took to Twitter to voice her displeasure.
• And Jesse Rogers reported that Dexter Fowler’s frustration was showing after the game. Those that would like to know what is going on with Dexter Fowler should read this report.
• According to Buster Olney, if the Padres go “into full-blown sell mode, James Shields could be a really interesting target for teams like the Cubs and Dodgers as mid-range solution.” If the Padres trade Shields or Craig Kimbrel, according to Olney it would be for financial flexibility.
• From Christopher Kamka: Addison Russell became the first Cubs player with three or more walks without an official at bat in a game since Mark Grace on Aug. 1, 1998.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs offense was absent in non-fortuitous Crosstown opener.
• Anthony Rizzo made Tom Verducci’s 25-and-under All-Stars team in the National League.
• RHP Pierce Johnson developed his change-up while he was on the disabled list rehabbing at the facility in Mesa. Johnson has been working on one since college and did not have any success with the pitch until this season.
• INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara hit is team-leading 11th longball of the season Friday night. It had been close to a month since Alcantara went deep. Alcantara hit a pair of home runs back on June 15 at Werner Park in Omaha. Alcantara is batting .248/.306/.452 in 74 games with 13 doubles, seven triples and 11 home runs for a .759 OPS.
• LHP Zac Rosscup is rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa and according to Carrie Muskat, he is throwing live batting practice. Rosscup has been on the DL since June 17 with left shoulder inflammation.
• RHP Gonzalez Germen, who the Rockies claimed off waivers from the Cubs on Tuesday, made his Rockies’ debut in a starting role. Germen started the game against the Braves and pitched three scoreless innings. Germen gave up a hit and a walk with a strikeout on 34 pitches, 22 for strikes.
• Clark Spencer reported the Marlins are shopping RHP Mat Latos, RHP Dan Haren, LHP Brad Hand and INF/OF Jeff Baker. The Cubs have been connected to Haren and are believed to be interested. One player Jon Heyman linked to the Cubs on Friday, Martin Prado is not available. The Marlins plan to keep Prado. And Mat Latos value may have taken a hit. Latos was scratched from his start on Saturday with a foot injury.
And last, but not least, a Cubs-White Sox sketch just in time for the Crosstown series courtesy of Pure & Weary.
This Day In Cubstory
2003 – Mark Prior collided with the Braves’ Marcus Giles in the second inning. Prior pitched six innings but would not pitch again until August 5.
1992 – Cubs acquired Steve Buechele from the Pirates for Danny Jackson
1987 – Cubs traded Gary Matthews to the Mariners for a PTBNL. The Cubs received David Hartnett from Seattle on July 12 to complete the deal
1978 – The Cubs’ Bruce Sutter retired all five batters he faced, including striking out AL home run leader Jim Rice, and picked up the victory in the NL’s 7-3 win over the AL in San Diego.
1972 – Billy Williams went 8-for-8 in a doubleheader split with the Astros. Williams went 3-for-5 and 4-for-5 the next two games as part of a 22-for-38 run.
1969 – Ferguson Jenkins lost 1-0 to the Mets, his fourth 1-0 loss of the season.
1960 – Ernie Banks doubled and homered while driving in two runs in the NL’s 5-3 victory over the AL in the season’s first All-Star Game at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium
1944 – Phil Cavarretta set an All-Star Game record by reaching base five consecutive times. The Cubs first baseman singled, tripled and walked three times in the NL’s 7-4 victory over the AL.
1924 – Cubs first baseman Lee Cotter tied a Major League record for total chances when he made 21 putouts and one assist in a game against Brooklyn.