April 2014

4/25 C.J. Edwards update

Cubs Minor League pitcher C.J. Edwards, ranked No. 4 on MLB.com’s list of top 20 Cubs prospects, underwent an MRI on Friday, which revealed some fatigue and inflammation in his right shoulder. The good news is there was no structural damage. Edwards, 22, was examined in Chicago on Friday. He will rest for a couple weeks before starting a throwing program.

The right-hander had a 2.61 ERA in four starts for Double-A Tennessee. On Sunday, he gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over six innings against Birmingham. Edwards felt some discomfort in his shoulder during a side session. He was one of four players acquired from the Rangers for Matt Garza last July.

Edwards made one start in Spring Training for the Cubs, and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.

4/25 Minor matters

* Tsuyoshi Wada threw five shutout innings in Iowa’s 9-0 win over Colorado Springs. Wada struck out six and lowered his ERA to 0.68. Chris Valaika had four hits, including a double, and one RBI. Christian Villanueva had two hits, both doubles.

* Kris Bryant hit his sixth double but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost 3-1 to Huntsville. Stephen Bruno had two hits, including a triple.

* Dan Vogelbach had four hits, including a home run, and two RBIs in Daytona’s 7-3 win over Brevard County. Albert Almora added two hits. Ben Wells picked up the win in relief. Vogelbach told reporters he’s been working with hitting coach Mariano Duncan on simplifying his approach at the plate.

“I was thinking dead-red fastball,” Vogelbach said. “‘Dunc’ always preaches sitting on the fastball and that’s what I got.”

* Trey Martin had two hits and two RBIs in Kane County’s 10-8 win over Beloit. Jordan Hankins and Daniel Lockhart each had a hit and two RBIs.

4/25 Cubs lineup

The Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Carlos Villanueva faces Matt Garza in the opener. Chicago was 3-7 at Miller Park last season, and 6-13 overall against the Milwaukee. Starlin Castro is batting fourth for the second time in his career. In the only other time, he was 3-for-5. He needs to pick it up on the road. Castro is 18-for-52 (.346) at Wrigley Field, and 5-for-32 (.156) on the road. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio 2B
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Lake LF
Sweeney CF
Castillo C
Villanueva P

4/25 Women’s lacrosse at Wrigley

Wrigley Field has hosted baseball, football, boxing, hockey, soccer and even ski jumping. On Saturday, the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team will play USC at the ballpark. The Wildcats have won seven NCAA titles in the last nine seasons and takes a 9-5 record into the game. It will be the first lacrosse game at Wrigley. All tickets are $10 with first-come, first-served seating. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (888) 467-8775, or bought Saturday at the Wrigley Field ticket office.

4/25 Edwards to be checked

C.J. Edwards, ranked No. 4 on MLB.com’s list of top 20 Cubs prospects, was to undergo tests on his right shoulder in Chicago on Friday. Edwards, 22, had a 2.61 ERA in four starts for Double-A Tennessee. On Sunday, he gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over six innings against Birmingham. Edwards felt some discomfort in his shoulder during a side session.

The slender right-hander was one of four players acquired from the Rangers for Matt Garza last July. Edwards made one start in Spring Training for the Cubs, and gave up three runs on four hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.

– Carrie Muskat

4/24 Minor matters

Iowa had Wednesday off, and resumes action Thursday at Colorado Springs. Tsuyoshi Wada takes the mound.

Corey Black threw six shutout and hitless innings to lead Tennessee to a 9-1 win over Birmingham. Black struck out eight and walked three. Rubi Silva hit his second home run.

Daytona lost to Clearwater, 6-3. Gioskar Amaya had three hits, including a double, and one RBI.

Shawon Dunston Jr. hit his first home run, a three-run shot in the seventh, to lead Kane County to a 10-4 win over Beloit. Dunston finished with two hits. Will Remillard was 4-for-4 with three RBIs.

4/24 Who’s closing? It’s organic

After Jose Veras blew a save situation on April 11, he was removed as the Cubs closer. The Cubs had their first save opportunity since then on Wednesday, and blew it. So, who does manager Rick Renteria turn to now?

“It depends on who’s available today,” Renteria said, adding he wanted to talk to pitching coach Chris Bosio first.

Pedro Strop appeared to be in line for the job, and he entered the game on Wednesday with a 5-2 lead in the ninth. But the inning unraveled quickly as Strop walked leadoff batter, Chris Owings, and Tony Campana reached on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro.

Strop faced four more batters, and ended up with the loss as Arizona rallied for a 7-5 win. The right-hander was pulled so lefty James Russell could face Miguel Montero, who delivered a RBI single.

“Once he got to 31 pitches, that’s a lot of pitches, so you have to be mindful of that situation,” Renteria said. “We had Russell available for Montero. You can never assume in that role. You’re still very mindful of protecting them as much as you can and not letting them get too extended in their pitch count.

“In that situation, if [Strop] has 25 pitches under his belt, he’ll face Montero,” Renteria said. “But he had 31. I can’t assume a two or three pitch at-bat. I’ve got to prepare for the worst, and I don’t wnat to put him in that situation.”

So, who’s the Cubs closer?

“Right now, it’s organic,” Renteria said.

The Cubs added two relievers on Thursday, recalling Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup from Triple-A Iowa. Neither was used in save situations on a regular basis at Iowa.

“I’m ready for anything,” Ramirez said. “Whatever they want me to do I’ll be ready to go.”

The Cubs began this season feeling their bullpen was one of their strengths. But with Veras not being used as the closer, the situation is evolving.

“I still feel very confident in the arms we have,” Renteria said. “I guess it’s finding that nice sync that gets us through the latter part of the ballgame — closing out a ballgame, the reality is you win and lose ballgames in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/24 Cubs lineup

The Cubs can win the series with a win today against the Diamondbacks. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Valbuena 2B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Castro SS
Olt 3B
Castillo C
Kalish LF
Jackson P

4/24 Roster moves

The Cubs recalled left-handed pitcher Zac Rosscup and right-hander Neil Ramirez from Triple-A Iowa, placed outfielder Justin Ruggiano on the 15-day DL, and optioned Blake Parker to Iowa. Manager Rick Renteria says he’ll go with 13 pitchers for the time being. Ruggiano has a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring and will be out three to four weeks. He felt a pop in his leg as he approached the bullpen mound trying to chase down a ball on Wednesday in the ninth. Renteria says they don’t need another outfielder because they can use Emilio Bonifacio in center.

4/24 Cubs vs. Brewers

Looking ahead to the Cubs’ weekend series against the Brewers, it’ll be an interesting matchup on Friday when Matt Garza faces the Cubs.

Friday: RHP Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 10.93) vs. RHP Matt Garza (0-2, 4.50)
Saturday: LHP Travis Wood (1-2, 2.52) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.66)
Sunday: RHP Jason Hammel (3-1, 2.60) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (3-0, 2.19)

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