The Cubs get back to work Friday night in Oakland at the wonderful park the A’s play their home games.
Several Cubs will face their former team for the first time this weekend. Jon Lester was traded to the A’s from Boston in 2014 and that move likely paved the way for him signing with the Cubs as Patrick Mooney reported. Chris Coghlan was traded to the A’s in Spring Training and played 51 games for Billy Beane and Bob Melvin before the Cubs sent Arismendy Alcantara to Oakland for him on June 9.
Ben Zobrist played the first 67 games of his season a year ago for the A’s before Billy Beane traded him to the Royals for Aaron Brooks and Sunday’s scheduled starter LHP Sean Manaea. The A’s traded Brooks to the Cubs for Coghlan in February.
Jason Hammel is not expected to be with the Cubs this weekend in Oakland after being placed on the bereavement list and leaving the team to attend to personal matters.
Addison Russell will play his first games in Oakland more than two years after many thought he would be the A’s Opening Day shortstop in 2014. Russell was considered the A’s future shortstop and Friday he plays first game at the Coliseum, not in green and gold but in Cubs’ blue. Russell already has an All-Star Game on his resume and this is just his first full season in the majors
Everyone knows by now, Russell was traded to the Cubs on the Fourth of July two years ago, along with Billy McKinney and Dan Straily, for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Cubs have since used Dan Straily in a deal to acquire Dexter Fowler. McKinney was part of the package sent to the Bronx for Aroldis Chapman and Hammel re-signed with the Cubs the off-season after he was dealt to the A’s.
Addison Russell became the Cubs’ starting shortstop almost a year ago to the day. And he enters play this weekend against the organization that selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft hitting .241/.329/.401 with 15 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs for a .730 OPS.
Jorge Soler may be closer to returning from the DL than previously reported.
The Cubs are not sure he is ready to be activated from the disabled list. Soler’s timing is not where it should be. Soler had a good night at the plate Wednesday. Soler did not play Thursday and wasn’t with the Smokies.
Soler went 2-for-3 with a walk on Wednesday and was a combined 3-for-7 with three walks in his last two games with the Smokies. In nine games with Double-A Tennessee, Soler went 5-for-30 with 11 walks and 11 strikeouts (.167/.381/.167) for a .548 OPS.
According to the Tribune, Soler flew from Birmingham to Chicago “apparently for an examination.” The Cubs have said Soler is healthy. If the report from the Tribune is accurate, Soler could be activated this weekend and the timing would make sense.
The Cubs sent Soler on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on July 20. Soler’s rehab was transferred to Double-A Tennessee two days later (July 22).
A position player, by rule, can be on a rehab assignment for 20 days. Soler’s rehab assignment would end Monday. The Cubs have Monday off before starting a 10-game homestand with the Angels, Cardinals and Brewers on Aug. 9.
By activating Soler from the DL for the series in Oakland, Joe Maddon could use Soler as a designated hitter in two of the three games and ease him back to the majors. Maddon could give him Saturday off with Sonny Gray starting the middle game of the series. The Cubs face lefties Dillon Overton (Friday) and Sean Manaea (Sunday).
Stay tuned. The Cubs have decisions to make and roster moves that will be made in the very near future.
Kyle Hendricks makes his next start Sunday in Oakland. Hendricks currently owns the second best ERA in baseball at 2.22, behind only Clayton Kershaw (1.79 ERA). Hendricks passed Madison Bumgarner this week.
Hendricks is 10-7 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.06 WHIP after 21 games, 20 starts. Hendricks has allowed 39 runs, 31 earned, on 98 hits with 35 walks and 108 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings. At Wrigley, Hendricks is 8-1 in 12 games, 11 starts, with a 1.19 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. On the road, Hendricks is 2-6 in nine starts with a 3.75 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.
Kyle Hendricks is second in ERA (2.22), tenth in WHIP (1.06) and fifth in OPS (.593) in all of baseball.
Questions were asked Wednesday about Ben Zobrist bunting in the eighth inning instead of swinging away with two on and no outs. Joe Maddon said he called for a bunt on one of the pitches of the at bat, but not all of them. Maddon liked the bunt and applauded Zobrist for his self-awareness.
As it turns out, Ben Zobrist has terrible numbers against Fernando Rodney (0-for-12) and he admitted that he has trouble seeing the ball out of Rodney’s hand. So instead of possibly making an unproductive out, he thought it was best to bunt the tying runs into scoring position.
The Cubs released RHP Scott Frazier.
The Cubs selected Frazier in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. Frazier appeared in 18 games, all in relief, between Short-Season Eugene and Low-A South Bend this season. Frazier was 1-0 with an 8.87 ERA and 1.88 WHIP. Frazier allowed 22 runs on 20 hits with 22 walks and 23 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.
Over four seasons in the Cubs’ system, Frazier was 3-4 in 47 games, two starts, with a 8.12 ERA and 1.84 WHIP.
News and Notes
• No turning back, the target is squarely on the Cubs back and Joe Maddon still has his team embracing the target according to ESPN Chicago.
• It’s been one year since Addison Russell became the Cubs’ everyday shortstop. Russell talked to Carrie Muskat about his first full season in the big leagues. And Joe Maddon talked about the improvement he’s seen the 22-year old make in a short-time.
• Jon Heyman provided his grades for each team’s trading deadline … and the Cubs received an A-minus. And according to Heyman, the Yankees also asked about Javier Baez as part of a package for Andrew Miller.
• Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez are more than luxuries for the Cubs according to Ryan Davis.
• Pierce Johnson told the Des Moines Register he will continue pitching out of the bullpen. Johnson does not know if the shift from a starting pitcher to a reliever is permanent. It’s been a rough season for Johnson when he’s not been on the DL. Johnson is 1-6 in 14 games, 11 starts, with a 7.28 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. As a reliever, Johnson has allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (4.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP).
• Matthew Trueblood explained the brilliant meaning of July 2, 2013.
• From Christopher Kamka: Since the All-Star break: Jason Heyward has one home run with a .494 OPS in 70 plate appearances. Bryce Harper has one home run with a .483 OPS in 74 plate appearances.
• John Lackey had two doubles Wednesday in the finale of the Marlins series. It was his first multiple extra basehit game of his career. In fact, Lackey had four career extra basehits before Wednesday. Christopher Kamka dug deeper into the stats and discovered Lackey became the oldest Cubs pitcher with a multi-hit game since Greg Maddux (July 10, 2005). And Lackey became the oldest Cubs pitcher with two extra basehits in the same game since Grover Cleveland Alexander (June 20, 1925). Alexander had a double, triple and home run.
• Jim Bowden posted a report on the 10 players (actually nine and an entire team) that he thinks could be traded this month.
• In the must read of the day … Mark Prior said he has no regrets and no one to blame with the way his career turned out. Prior has not thrown a pitch in the majors for 10 years, think about that for a minute. Click here to read Prior’s article.
And last, but not least, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and David Ross talked to the Players’ Tribune about Grandpa Rossy’s Yearlong Retirement Party.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Javier Baez made his Major League debut. Baez went 1-for-6 in a 6-5 Cubs win in 12 innings at Coors Field. Baez hit the game winner, a solo home run in the top of the 12th inning.
2013 – Cubs selected Thomas Neal off waivers from the Yankees
2012 – Darwin Barney set the Cubs’ All-Time record for consecutive games by a second baseman without committing an error. Barney was not charged with an error for the 91st straight game. Barney went onto set the NL mark of 127 straight errorless games by a second baseman, surpassing Cubs Hall of Famer and his former manager Ryne Sandberg.
2012 – Cubs traded Jeff Baker to the Tigers for a PTBNL. Detroit sent Marcelo Carreno and cash to the Cubs on Oct. 16, 2012 to complete the trade
2009 – Cubs released B.J. Ryan
2009 – Cubs released Jason Waddell
2007 – Tom Glavine beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field for career win No. 300
2000 – Sammy Sosa became the first player in Cubs history to collect 100 RBI in six consecutive seasons. Sosa broke the franchise record of five set by Hack Wilson (1926-30).
1987 – Tim Federowicz, born
1981 – The Cubs traded Rick Reuschel to the Yankees for Doug Bird, Mike Griffin and $400,000.
1979 – Hack Wilson, Willie Mays and Warren Giles were inducted into the Hall of Fame
1979 – Cubs honor Jack Brickhouse for the 5,000th television broadcast of a game.
1977 – Eric Hinske, born
1977 – The Phillies signed amateur free agent Bobby Dernier
1945 – Cubs pounded out 22 hits in game one of a doubleheader against the Reds. The Cubs took the opener of the twin bill 12-5 behind three doubles and a single from Stan Hack and four hits from Phil Cavarretta. Claude Passeau picked up the win in game two, 2-1.
1943 – Cubs traded Bill Lee to the Phillies for Mickey Livingston
1913 – Cubs traded Ed Reulbach to the Brooklyn Superbas for Eddie Stack and cash
1911 – Frank Chance suspended Joe Tinker for indifferent play and fined Tinker $150.00. Tinker was reinstated the next day.
1894 – With Cap Anson at bat in the sixth inning, a fire broke out in the grandstand at West Side Grounds. With 10,000 on hand, a stampede injured hundreds as the crowd tore through the barbed wire fence that was installed to prevent the 25-cent bleacher fans from mobbing the umpires. The game was called after six innings with the Chicago National League team posting an 8-1 victory.