The Cubs, no matter how many reports and rumors suggest otherwise, are not trading Kyle Schwarber. Theo Epstein addressed the countless rumors that have surfaced in recent days.
Epstein made a point to tell the beat writers with an emphatic statement he’s looking forward to seeing Kyle Schwarber playing for the Cubs on Opening Day next year.
“I’m looking forward to Kyle Schwarber … who got hurt in a Cubs uniform and is working his ass off in a Cubs uniform … coming back and hitting a very big home run in a Cubs uniform sometime very early next season,” Epstein said.
Anyone that listens to Epstein and the front office talk about Schwarber knows he is on a list of untouchable players.
The Cubs are talking to teams. Epstein said they are not close on anything and no trades are imminent. The front office is trying to see “who might be available” and which teams they could matchup with on trades. Epstein thinks the market for the most part will be slow moving.
As for internal options for the bullpen, Epstein said he’s received positive reports from Mesa on lefties Brian Matusz and Jack Leathersich.
“It’s pretty rare that you rebuild a bullpen midseason through big-ticket items. Last year was actually more typical. They don’t all work out … that’s not what I’m saying. But if you have a plan and a process … and you’re willing to kind of cycle through guys and ride things out … you often get rewarded in the end,” Epstein said to Comcast SportsNet. For a postseason bullpen, if you’re thinking that far in advance, you’re not talking about eight guys. You’re talking about three or four guys that you can lean on heavily. It’s being open-minded, being willing to let guys ride through their downturns and make adjustments, so that they can find it.”
While the Cubs are exploring ways to improve the bullpen, once again, Kyle Schwarber will not be traded, and certainly not to acquire a reliever.
Thursday was a tough loss for the Cubs. Leading 3-1 in the seventh inning, a team has to find a way to close out the game. The Cubs have issues in the bullpen the front office is looking for ways to address. The players and Joe Maddon were not happy about losing to the Mets because they feel they beat themselves. The Cubs also kept the game in the proper perspective … it was one loss on last day of June.
The Cubs will begin play Friday with an 11-game lead in the division.
Here are the post-game reports and recap …
- CCO – Cubs Throw One Away
- The Sun-Times – Cubs blow lead against defending NL champs in first rematch since NLCS ouster
- ESPN Chicago – Lack of contact, bullpen failings and John Lackey irked in another Cubs loss to Mets
- Comcast SportsNet – Cubs aren’t sweating loss to Mets of NLCS flashbacks: ‘Big-Boy games are totally different’
Jason Heyward was out of the starting lineup for the second game in a row because he is dealing with a sore left side. According to multiple reports, Heyward hurt his side making throws from the outfield. Heyward told the beat writers the “muscle pain is not serious.”
Heyward pinch-hit Thursday, stayed in and played right field. Heyward is expected back in the starting lineup Friday night.
Adam Warren completed his second start for Triple-A Iowa on Thursday in game one of the twin bill with Round Rock. Warren allowed two runs on three hits without a walk and three strikeouts in five innings. Former Cubs outfielder Justin Ruggiano took him deep for a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
Warren retired nine batters in a row before giving up a double to Joey Gallo and the two-run homer to Ruggiano. Warren made 73 pitches, 47 for strikes.
The Cubs plan to recall Warren from Iowa and he will start against the Reds at Wrigley on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start Monday’s opener on July Fourth against the Reds.
Tommy La Stella
Tommy La Stella started game one of Iowa’s doubleheader on Thursday against Round Rock. La Stella played second base and hit second in Marty Pevey’s lineup.
La Stella went 1-for-4 and in three rehab games he is 4-for-10 with a home run.
According to Mark Gonzales, La Stella will stay on the minor league rehab assignment at least through Friday.
Joe Nathan made his third appearance out of Double-A Tennessee’s bullpen on Thursday night. Nathan retired all three batters he faced (one groundout, two fly outs). Nathan made 11 pitches, eight went for strikes.
In three games, Nathan has allowed one run on one hit (solo home run) in three innings. Nathan has not walked a batter and struck out three.
Theo Epstein said Thursday that Joe Nathan will stay with the Smokies “for most, if not all, of his rehab assignment” according to Mark Gonzales.
A recognizable name in the Cubs system has continued to struggle this season and was demoted Thursday from High-A Myrtle Beach to Low-A South Bend.
RHP Dillon Maples has dealt with injuries this season but has not been effective when he’s pitched. Maples appeared in nine games for the Pelicans, all in relief, and allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits with seven walks and six strikeouts in seven innings (7.71 ERA, 2.28 WHIP).
One possible option for the Cubs, lefty reliever Sean Doolittle landed on the DL with a strained left shoulder. Doolittle told Susan Slusser he is “incredibly frustrated by his most recent injury” but he’s thankful that he will not need surgery.
Doolittle has “some labrum inflammation” and will not throw for a while. The A’s did not give a timetable on when he will return.
The Dodgers, and Major League Baseball, received a big blow Thursday when it was announced Clayton Kershaw was placed on the disabled list with a mild herniated disc. The Dodgers think he will be able to avoid surgery. Kershaw received an epidural Wednesday.
The Dodgers are 14-2 in games Kershaw starts, 29-35 on the other four days.
With Clayton Kershaw out and injuries taking the toll on the starting staff, the Dodgers acquired RHP Bud Norris from the Braves. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are still very interested in the Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez, but the Norris was a deal that could be made as the team placed Kershaw on the DL.
The Dodgers sent minor leaguers LHP Phillip Pfeiffer and RHP Caleb Dirks to the Braves for Norris, OF Dian Toscano, a PTBNL and cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Ian Thomas was designated for assignment.
Bud Norris was 2-1 in six games, five starts, in June with a 2.08 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. In 22 games, 10 starts, for the Braves this season, Norris was 3-7 with a 4.22 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.
Leave it to the Marlins to set the market for relievers.
The Marlins acquired RHP Fernando Rodney from the Padres on Thursday for RHP Chris Paddack.
Rodney had an excellent stay in San Diego and has been really good since working with Chris Bosio (42 games, 0.44 ERA, 10.6 K/9). Rodney will help the Marlins win games in the second half.
The Padres were holding out for a high-end prospect for Rodney and received it. Paddack might not be high on the pre-season rankings but he’s a legit prospect. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper thought the return was very good, especially from the Marlins’ thin system.
The 20-year old Paddack is 2-0 in six starts this season in the Sally League (Low-A ball) with a 0.95 ERA and 0.38 WHIP. Paddack has allowed three runs on nine hits with two walks and 48 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jorge Soler made the trip to New York to continue the rehab process. As of Thursday, the Cubs have not provided a timetable on when he will begin a rehab assignment with one of the minor league affiliates. Soler went through another round of tests before Thursday’s game according to Mark Gonzales.
• According to the Tribune, Joe Maddon confirmed Reds’ drilling of Kris Bryant infuriated him. The Reds are at Wrigley starting Monday.
• FanGraphs: The Great Yankees Bullpen … Sale
• ESPN posted the week in interesting and unusual Cubs stats.
• Jason Hammel was next in line to play left field in ‘The Maddon Game.’ Hammel told MLB Network Radio on Thursday he had a glove and was ready to go in but admitted his “heart was pounding probably more” than when he pitches. Hammel was able to do something really cool. Hammel taped a guest DJ segment Thursday for Pearl Jam Radio (SiriusXM Radio). Hammel wasn’t sure when it would be broadcast. Hammel is a huge Pearl Jam and ‘90s Grunge/alternative music fan (Pearl Jam’s Alive is his walk-up music) and got to pick the music that was played.
• Tony Andracki posted five things we learned about the Cubs in June on Comcast SportsNet.
• RHP Duane Underwood Jr. posted his first quality start of the season. Underwood Jr. allowed one unearned run on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in six innings. Underwood Jr. made 87 pitches, 56 for strikes, in a game the Smokies won 2-1 in 10 innings.
• The White Sox re-signed the recently released OF Tony Campana.
• LHP Eric Jokisch, now in the Marlins’ system, will start Friday night against Double-A Tennessee.
• The Rangers are interested in Rays’ starter Matt Moore according to Hardball Talk citing Marc Topkin as its source. The Rangers have a loaded farm system and are expected to add impact players, via trades, before the deadline. The Rangers are one of many teams that will take a shot at acquiring Andrew Miller and/or Aroldis Chapman.
• Jay Bruce would likely waive his no-trade rights and approve a deal to the Indians according to Jon Heyman. Bruce, unlike Brandon Phillips, sees what is going on in Cincinnati and he wants to win.
And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to former Cubs’ reliever Michael Bowden for throwing the 13th no-hitter in the history of the Doosan Bears. Bowden is pitching in South Korea this season.
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted Chad Tracy free agency
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Travis Miller
2002 – Cubs released Luis Ordaz
1973 – Ron Santo recorded five hits in five at bats and Randy Hundley hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning as the Cubs edged the Mets 6-5 in the second game of a twin bill at Wrigley. 43,105 showed up at the Friendly Confines to see the Cubs split a pair with the Mets. Santo had two hits in the first game, the Cubs lost 6-5.
1958 – Tony Taylor got an inside-the-park home run after Giants’ lefty Leon Wagner is confused while getting instructions from the Cubs’ bullpen as to the whereabouts of the ball, which rolled into a drain. The Cubs topped the Giants 9-5 at Wrigley.
1957 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Jim Woods
1955 – Hank Sauer, Randy Jackson and Gene Baker homered in the second inning in an 11-7 win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Ernie Banks also went yard in the victory.
1936 – Dick Drott, born
1935 – The Cubs played their first night game and beat the Reds 8-4 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati behind Roy Henshaw. Billy Herman led the way with two triples, two doubles and a single.
1933 – Frank Baumann, born
1928 – Hersh Freeman, born
1921 – Cubs traded Dave Robertson to the Pirates for Elmer Ponder
1912 – Frank Schulte homered in the 12th inning and beat Marty O’Toole and the Pirates 1-0 in Pittsburgh. Jimmy Lavender pitch the complete game shutout.
1909 – Cubs purchased Eddie Stack from the Joliet of the Independent League.
1906 – Cubs traded Fred Beebe, Pete Noonan and cash to the Cardinals for Jack Taylor.
1903 – Cubs signed free agent Jack Doscher
1891 – Jimmy Ryan hit for the cycle in a 9-3 win over Cleveland behind Bill Hutchinson at West Side Park.
1886 – Jim McCormick won his 16th straight game as the Chicago National League Ball Club topped New York 7-3 at West Side Park.
1885 – Fred Pfeffer, Abner Dalrymple, Tommy Burns and John Clarkson homered as the Chicago National League Ball Club beat Boston 24-10 at West Side Park.
1861 – John Clarkson, born