Ian Stewart was projected as the Cubs regular third baseman this season before he was injured in Spring Training and now he is playing for Triple-A Iowa. However, Stewart is not high on the organization’s depth chart at third base. Stewart said Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, told him that Josh Vitters, the team’s No. 1 Draft pick in 2007, would be getting most of the at-bats.
“[Vitters] is the priority, put it that way,” Dale Sveum said Tuesday. “Who knows about third baseman of the future, but he’s a priority to develop as that guy. The guy was a first-round pick and the guy can swing the bat. We still have to develop him with the thought of him being our third baseman some day. He’s got power, he can swing, he can hit a fastball. But there’s a lot of development left in him.”
Where does that leave Luis Valbuena, who is getting the majority of at-bats at third with the big league team? Vitters is 23 years old, Valbuena is 27, and Stewart is 28.
“If Valbuena keeps playing the way he is, he’s our third baseman,” Sveum said. “He’s doing a very nice job. That’s just what you do in the Minor Leagues, you develop people to be in that spot. Whether it happens [with Vitters], who knows? That’s usually up to the individual who you’re trying to develop. They’ll force your hand, one way or the other.”
Vitters, who has been battling a sore quad, was batting .259 for Iowa with two home runs and seven RBIs.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the Cardinals. Sanchez, 24, will be assigned to Triple-A Iowa. He had one save and a 3.72 ERA in nine relief appearances for Triple-A Memphis, giving up four earned runs over 9 2/3 innings. He has spent part of the last two seasons in the big leagues with the Cardinals, combining to go 3-2 with five saves and a 3.40 ERA in 43 relief appearances. He has 48 strikeouts over 45 innings, and held opponents to a .166 batting average against. The right-hander made his Major League debut in 2011, and went 3-1 with five saves and a 1.80 ERA in 26 relief appearances.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs open a three-game series against the Pirates on Tuesday at PNC Park. Here’s the lineup:
* Right-handed reliever Michael Bowden was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Matt Garza, who will be making his first start in the big leagues since last July. He missed the second half of last season because of elbow problems, and has been sidelined this year because of a strained left lat, suffered in Spring Training.
* Also, the Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the Cardinals. He will report to Iowa.
– Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart had two hits and scored a run in Iowa’s 4-2 loss to Tucson on Saturday. Chris Rusin took the loss, giving up three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings. On Friday, Logan Watkins hit his third hom erun and Brett Jackson was 4-for-5 in Iowa’s 9-8 loss to Tucson. Josh Vitters had two hits.
Dallas Beeler gave up two earned runs over six innings in Tennessee’s 7-5 win over Chattanooga on Saturday. Arismendy Alcantara hit his fifth home run. On Friday, Kyle Hendricks gave up three runs over seven innings in Tennessee’s 4-3 win over Chattanooga. Matt Szczur had two hits and Christian Villanueva had three hits, including two doubles, and one RBIs. It was Hendricks’ fifth quality start.
Zach Cates gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings and Ben Carhart hit his first home run in Daytona’s 6-5 victory over Lakeland. On Friday, Jorge Soler and Dustin Geiger were a combined 8-for-8 and Yeiper Castillo gave up one run over seven innings in Daytona’s 5-1 victory over Lakeland in the first game of a doubleheader. Soler hit his sixth home run and posted his first four-hit game of the season. Geiger hit three doubles among his four hits and had four RBIs.
In the second game, Daytona won, 7-4, for the sweep. Soler was 3-for-6 with a double, and batting .297 for the season. Geiger went 3-for-4 with a double and RBIs. Javier Baez was 2-for-5 with a triple and scored three runs.
Pierce Johnson threw six shutout innings and struck out nine in Kane County’s 4-0 win over Cedar Rapids. Rock Shoulders and Oliver Zapata both homered, with Zapata finishing with three hits. On Friday, Dillon Maples gave up two runs over five hits in Kane County’s 4-3, 12-inning loss to Cedar Rapids.
Matt Garza picked up the win Thursday in Iowa’s 1-0 victory over Tucson. Donnie Murphy drove in the only run with a sacrifice fly in the second. Brooks Raley gave up two hits over three innings in relief for the save.
Ty Wright hit two home runs and drove in four runs to power Tennesseeto a 6-4 victory over Jackson. Arismendy Alcantara, Jonathan Mota and Rafael Lopez each had two hits. A.J. Morris picked up the win in relief.
Dustin Geiger went 3-for-5 and hit his fourth home run but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost, 12-7, to Charlotte. P.J. Francescon gave up 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits and five walks over five innings. Geiger now has 30 RBIs, tops on the team.
Kane County scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat Peoria, 5-0, in the first game of a doubleheader. Gioskar Amaya and Marco Hernandez each had three hits, and Amaya drove in three runs. In the second game, Hernandez hit his first home run but Peoria scored six in the third to win, 6-2. Jeimer Candelario had two hits, both doubles. Kane County committed six errors in the second game.
Edwin Jackson goes for his second win on Friday when the Cubs play host to the Mets at Wrigley Field. First pitch is 1:20 p.m. CT on WGN Radio and WGN TV. Here’s the lineup:
E. Jackson P
* The Cubs are 12-10 since April 23, and have won six of their last nine games after losing five of six, April 30-May 5.
* With 40 games played, the Cubs are roughly a quarter of the way through the season. They’re batting .249 with 93 doubles, 44 homers, 160 runs scored and 28 stolen bases, and on pace to finish the season with 377 doubles, 178 home runs, 648 runs scored and 113 stolen bases. The club record for doubles in a season is 340, set both in 1931 and in 2007. Last year, the team hit .240 with 265 doubles, 137 home runs, 613 runs scored and 94 stolen bases.
* In 24 quality starts, Cubs pitchers have recorded a 1.92 ERA yet have just 10 victories. Only three NL teams have more quality starts than the Cubs: the Cardinals (28), Phillies (27) and Nationals (25). The Cardinals starters have 18 wins in their quality starts, the Phillies have 13 and the Nationals 16.
* The Cubs are batting .339 (19-for-56) with runners in scoring position in their last five games dating to May 11. However, the team’s .208 season average with RISP is lowest in the Majors. Nate Schierholtz leads the Cubs with a .323 average (10-for-31) with RISP.
* Here are the pitching matchups for the Cubs vs. Mets series:
Friday: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-5, 6.02) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.44)
Saturday: RHP Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53) vs. RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13)
Thanks to fans, Chicago Cubs Charities raised more than $330,000 in support of breast cancer awareness and the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. On May 8, fans participated in a “Pink Out” at Wrigley Field. The 50/50 raffle that day raised $8,700 to help fund mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women through Advocate Charitable Foundation.
On May 11, about 6,000 runners turned out for the 8th Annual “Race to Wrigley” 5K Run presented by Athletico. The top fundraising team honors went to Zakk Attakk with $6,975 and top individual fundraiser was Megan Carrier with $3,385. Total fundraising for the event was approximately $65,000, and the race itself drew more than $256,000. Fans can continue to make donations until May 25 at http://www.racetowrigley.com.
As far as Matt Garza is concerned, he’s ready to return to the Cubs rotation. On Thursday night, Garza gave up two hits, struck out six, hit a batter and did not walk anyone over six scoreless innings for Triple-A Iowa. It was his fourth rehab start, and second with Iowa.
“I don’t need another start down here,” Garza told the Des Moines Register after the game. “There’s no reason for me to stay in the Minor Leagues.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the plan is to re-evaluate Garza after Thursday’s outing to decide whether he needs another. Sveum said they wanted him to go 85-95 pitches, and he threw 75, 53 for strikes.
If it’s up to the Garza, he’s ready now.
“I don’t need another one here,” Garza said. “They might differ on opinion but I think all in all, it comes down to what I want and the way I feel. The organization — they’re going to make the call at the end of the day but I think we’re going to collaborate and come to some sort of compromise.”
– Carrie Muskat
Iowa had Wednesday off. The I-Cubs return to action Thursday, playing host to Tucson. Matt Garza is scheduled to start, making his fourth Minor League rehab start, second with Iowa.
Jair Fernandez hit his first home run in Tennessee’s 8-4 loss to Jackson. Eric Jokisch gave up two runs over 6 2/3 innings and did not get a decision. Matt Szczur extended his hitting streak to seven games, and was batting .455 in the stretch.
Austin Kirk gave up six runs on seven hits over four innings in Daytona’s 7-1 loss to Charlotte. Javier Baez singled, and now has hit safely in five of six games. He’s batting .238 overall.
Tayler Scott threw 7 1/3 shutout innings, giving up two hits, in Kane County’s 4-0 win over Peoria. Scott walked two and struck out two. Wilson Contreras had two hits and two RBIs, and Bijan Rademacher and Dan Vogelbach had two hits apiece. Scott now has a 1.47 ERA in three May starts.