7/14 Cubs Inbox
It’s been tough to sqeeze the Cubs Inbox onto Cubs.com, so I’ll try to keep up here. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com and please include your name and hometown.
Q: With Bryan LaHair crushing the ball in Triple-A and Carlos Pena struggling with consistency, are the Cubs giving any thought to bringing LaHair up to the big league team? — Nick I., Evansville, IN
A: LaHair could get a look depending on what happens at the trade deadline. Pena has drawn interest from teams in contention (Angels, for example). LaHair will likely be up in September when rosters expand.
Q: I don’t understand why Darwin Barney was moved to the No. 8 spot. He hit .290 in the two-hole. I see the logic in the move when Fukudome is in the lineup but when Reed Johnson is, I don’t get it. Johnson has a career .341 OBP, identical to Castro’s. I realize Johnson is hot right now but what’s going to happen when he cools off? Ryan S., Rochester, MI
A: There’s a couple reasons. One, Barney is coming back from a knee injury. If he’s batting second, he’ll be expected to run more. They’re trying to avoid stress on the knee. Two, Starlin Castro has done better hitting one-two. With Fukudome doing well as the leadoff man, moving Castro up a notch seems to help him. Three, Barney can help turn the lineup over in the bottom of the order. His role changes depending on pinch-hitters behind him. As for Johnson, his starts are primarily against lefties.
Q: I was looking through some of the Cubs’ Minor League rosters and was happy to see Angel Guzman has logged innings at Daytona and Peoria. I also noticed he’s starting each game he appeared in. Are the Cubs grooming him to be a starter again or is this part of his rehab? — Henry F., Batavia, IL
A: Guzman, coming back from shoulder surgery, is starting in the Minor Leagues as part of his rehab. It’s easier to control when he can pitch if he starts the game rather than having him enter a game in relief. This way, he’s guaranteed two innings, or however many pitches they are limiting him to. If he returns, it will be as a reliever.
— Carrie Muskat