When Joe Maddon started talking about shuffling his lineup around the same time Chris Coghlan started working out at second base, the writing was on the wall that Starlin Castro’s days as the Cubs’ starting shortstop were numbered. And the change was made Friday. Castro was not in the lineup.
Maddon met with Castro and discussed the decision with him. Castro was told Friday was more than just a day off and that he could not make any promises on how he will be used moving forward. Castro was told to “stay ready off the bench.” Castro reportedly took the news well in a professional manner. And his agent, Paul Kinzer, told Bruce Levine, that Castro respected the way Maddon “came to him with his decision.” Kinzer said Castro “will work hard to regain his status.”
Maddon stressed to the beat writers that he likes Castro a lot and if he was hitting he would not have lost his starting job. Maddon had to find a way to keep Kyle Schwarber in the lineup on the days when he was not catching. With Castro not producing, the Cubs decided to move Addison Russell to shortstop and move Chris Coghlan to second base.
Chris Coghlan will also see time at third base and in both left and right field.
Theo Epstein supported Maddon’s decision and pointed out that Castro has not been benched permanently. With the Cubs looking to play in the post-season tournament, Maddon has to run out the best lineup he can on a daily basis.
Epstein was asked about Castro’s future with the Cubs. Epstein said, “He’s a big part of what we have going on here. A 25-year old, three-time All-Star who has been the shortstop on, right now, a playoff worthy team and certainly we think will play better baseball going forward than he has for the last four months and a week.”
After Friday’s game, Maddon confirmed Addison Russell will be at shortstop Saturday and his lineup will be similar to the one he used Friday. Miguel Montero is expected to be behind the plate with Kyle Schwarber in left field.
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Javier Baez batted third and played short in the Iowa Cubs 4-0 win over Omaha on Friday night. Baez went 0-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Baez did not strikeout but he did steal two bases. Baez also committed another throwing error.
Baez is 12-for-51 (.235/.304/.529) with four doubles, a triple and three home runs for a .833 OPS in the 11 games with Iowa since he returned from the DL. Baez has walked three times with 17 strikeouts.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella played all nine innings in the Smokies 6-5 win over the Generals. La Stella played third and went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
La Stella is expected back in the Smokies’ lineup Saturday. La Stella will be evaluated Sunday so the Cubs can determine what his next step is.
In five games, Tommy La Stella is 6-for-17 with two doubles, two walks and a strikeout.
Chase Utley was activated from the DL on Friday and hit leadoff for the Phillies in the 4-3 victory in 12 innings over San Diego. Utley was 1-for-5 with a strikeout. Utley singled to center in the seventh inning.
News and Notes
• A team source confirmed Friday that Jacob Turner had surgery on his elbow last month as Sahadev Sharma reported. Turner did not have Tommy John but will not pitch again this season.
• Jon Lester gave Kyle Schwarber a huge compliment following Friday’s game. Lester said, “He’s a baseball player. There’s not many guys who are like that.”
• RHP Pierce Johnson has pitched rather well in the 10 starts he’s made for Double-A Tennessee since coming off the DL. Johnson is benefiting from the advice he received from Jake Arrieta during Spring Training according to a report from the Tribune.
• Cubs’ first round pick Ian Happ went yard for the first time Friday since his promotion to Low-A South Bend. Happ is 12-for-48 in 12 games with South Bend and has hit three doubles and a home run (.250/.321/.375). Click here for video of Happ’s home run.
• Albert Almora Jr. had his third straight three-hit game Friday. Almora Jr. is batting .275/.350/.451 in his last 24 games with seven doubles and three home runs for a .800 OPS. Almora has as many walks (10) as strikeouts (10) in his last 91 at bats.
• The Orioles recalled OF Junior Lake from Triple-A prior to Friday’s game with the Angels. Baltimore designated Travis Snider for assignment to make room for Lake. The Orioles issued Lake No. 48 and he went 1-for-4 in his debut for Baltimore.
• The Astros acquired LHP Oliver Perez from the Diamondbacks for LHP Junior Garcia. The Cubs were linked to the veteran southpaw two months ago as the front office explored ways to improve the bullpen.
And last, but not least, Joe Maddon’s scheduled theme trip back from the West Coast at the end of the month is Onesies and PJs according to Paul Sullivan.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs acquired Jacob Turner from the Marlins for Jose Arias and Tyler Bremer
2003 – Cubs released Jose Silva
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Dalesandro
1997 – Cubs traded Brian McRae, Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell to the Mets for Lance Johnson and two PTBNL. Mets sent Matt Clark (Aug. 11) and Manny Alexander (Aug. 14) to the Cubs to complete the trade.
1989 – Anthony Rizzo, born
1988 – The Cubs and Phillies played the first night game in the history of Wrigley Field. 91-year old Cubs fan Harry Grossman flipped the switch on the lights at Wrigley. Rick Sutcliffe started the game, Ryne Sandberg homered and the game was rained out in the third inning. The Cubs and Mets completed the first full night game at Wrigley Field the next day.
1984 – Cubs completed the four-game sweep over the Mets with a 7-6 victory at Wrigley Field. Keith Moreland collected three hits, drove in four runs.
1965 – Pinch-hitter Ed Bailey was walked twice as the Cubs rallied for six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Mets 14-10 in the second game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. Cubs won the opener 7-6.
1947 – Shortstop Lennie Merullo and first baseman Eddie Waitkus combined on a triple play in the seventh inning (Merullo grabbed a liner, stepped on second and threw to first) and Bill Nicholson hit a home run in the 11th inning as the Cubs nipped the Reds 2-1 at Wrigley Field
1929 – Rogers Hornsby cracked a fourth-inning home run, one of four hits, in a Cubs 1-0 victory over the Reds at Wrigley Field. Charlie Root picked up the win after allowing seven hits.