The Cubs open the second half of the season tonight in Atlanta. And according to multiple reports Thursday afternoon, Kyle Schwarber has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Miguel Montero is headed to the disabled list and could be out for six weeks. Montero is scheduled to see a hand specialist Friday about the left thumb he jammed last Saturday.
The Cubs have not addressed the plans for Kyle Schwarber. He will reportedly be the team’s third catcher and see time in the outfield. David Ross and Taylor Teagarden are expected to see the majority of the playing time behind the plate.
Joe Maddon will provide all of the details in his pre-game media session.
Unless the Cubs have made other decisions about the roster that were not leaked Thursday, Joe Maddon will begin the second half with a 13-man pitching staff (five starters, eight relievers) and 12 position players on the 25-man roster. Additional roster moves are expected early in the coming week when Rafael Soriano is ready to be added to the bullpen.
RHP Rafael Soriano was bumped up to Triple-A Iowa prior to Thursday’s game against Memphis. Soriano made his I-Cubs’ debut in the seventh inning and was very good. Soriano struck out three of the four batters he faced. The only blemish, an infield single to shortstop Jonathan Mota. Soriano’s slider was sharp Thursday night.
After making five appearances for Double-A Tennessee, Soriano has now appeared in six games in the Cubs’ system. Joe Maddon said Soriano would need seven or eight appearances in the minors before he was ready to be added to the Cubs’ roster. In six games and six innings, Soriano has allowed one unearned run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
According to the Tribune, Rafael Soriano could be added to the Cubs’ pen next week.
Cubs Starting Rotation
The Cubs rotation out of the break is: RHP Kyle Hendricks, LHP Jon Lester, RHP Jake Arrieta, LHP Clayton Richard and RHP Jason Hammel. Hendricks, Lester and Arrieta have the three games in Atlanta and Richard and Hammel are scheduled to start the first two games in Cincinnati.
The Cubs will likely call-up RHP Dallas Beeler for the day-night doubleheader on Wednesday at Great American. If the Cubs do not alter the rotation, Hendricks will pitch the other game.
With the Cubs on the All-Star break there have not been any updates on Jason Hammel since Sunday. Hammel is penciled in to start Tuesday against the Reds. If Hammel is unable to go, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada started Thursday at Principal Park and had a solid outing for the I-Cubs. Wada would be on regular rest if he has to sub for Hammel.
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada completed six innings Thursday night for the Iowa Cubs. Wada allowed one run on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Christian Villanueva made three sensational plays behind Wada Thursday at third base that helped keep him out of trouble. Wada was scheduled to pitch five to six innings or around 85 pitches according to the Des Moines Register. Wada made 71 pitches, 48 for strikes, and recorded eight groundball outs.
Over his last two starts, Tsuyoshi Wada has allowed three runs, two earned, on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 10 innings (1.80 ERA, 0.66 WHIP).
Cubs Rumors Links Corner
• Theo Epstein told Patrick Mooney trade deadline deals “rarely work for buyers.” Jed Hoyer said the Cubs “have made a lot of phone calls” but he doesn’t “think things have sort of kicked off yet.” And after the decision to call-up Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs are waiting for more impact at the trade deadline.
• Five things to watch in the second half according to ESPN Chicago.
News, Notes and Rumors
• WLS signed radio deals with the White Sox and Bulls. As Robert Feder reported it is just a matter of time before the Cubs are moved from WBBM to 670 The Score.
• The Cubs tweeted a reminder about how good Jake Arrieta was before the break … 10-5 in 18 starts with a 2.66 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 2.60 FIP. Arrieta gave up 40 runs, 36 earned, on 95 hits with 25 walks and 123 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings. Arrieta ranked fourth in the NL in innings, tied for fifth in quality starts (14) and strikeouts, eighth in ERA and sixth in WHIP.
• The Cubs have two of the 10 prospects that Jonathan Mayo thinks will make an impact in pennant races … Kyle Schwarber and Carl Edwards Jr.
• Anthony Rizzo is the heart and soul of the Cubs’ franchise according to Bob Nightengale. Rizzo wants to set the standard for the organization and recently told Nightengale, “Honestly, it’s not about playing baseball, anymore. It’s about winning. Everything has shifted since I got here. We’ve got the talent. It’s time. We can do this.”
• LHP Zac Rosscup began a rehab assignment with the AZL Cubs on Wednesday night. Rosscup started Wednesday’s game and completed one inning. Rosscup struck out two of the four batters he faced.
• According to the Des Moines Register, INF/OF Chris Valaika has a torn ACL. Valaika is going to try to play through the injury and not have surgery. Valaika is batting .251/.320/.377 in 70 games with 15 doubles, four home runs and a .696 OPS.
• Jesse Rogers asked, will the Cubs’ strong first half lead to a playoff spot?
• And the Sun-Times asked, will Maddon magic be enough in Cubs’ second half … or too much?
• The Cardinals are still on top in the NL Central, but according to Bernie Miklasz, the race is on now.
• And Bernie Miklasz broke down the trade winds in the National League Central.
• According to T.R. Sullivan, there does not appear to be any “traction between the Rangers and the Phillies as fast as Cole Hamels.” The Rangers “like the pitcher but not the contract or the asking price as far as prospects.” One of Sullivan’s sources told him if the Rangers were going to make a deal for Hamels it would have been done by now.
• Jonathan Papelbon thinks the Cubs would be a great landing spot according to a report from Tony Andracki.
• Justin Upton told Jerry Crasnick he believes the Padres can turn the season around and keeps A.J. Preller from selling off players before the deadline.
• Larry Bowa said Ryne Sandberg quit because he felt disrespected by his players.
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This Day In Cubstory
1966 – Billy Williams hit for the cycle behind Ken Holtzman in a Cubs 7-2 victory over the Cardinals.
1964 – Major League Baseball made its debut on pay TV when subscription television carried the Cubs-Dodgers night game in Los Angeles. Don Drysdale struck out 10 in a Dodgers 3-2 victory.
1949 – Herb Hutson, born
1942 – Don Kessinger, born
1918 – Lefty Tyler pitched a complete game in a Cubs 2-1 win over the Phillies in 21 innings.
1908 – Joe Tinker hit an inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning as the Cubs and Mordecai Brown edged the Giants and Christy Mathewson 1-0 at West Side Grounds.