#Cubs extra bases: Hammel, CJ, Blackhawks & Lake
* The Cubs have switched their starting pitchers for the remaining two games against the Royals to give Jason Hammel one extra day to heal a cracked fingernail on his right hand.
Hammel was originally scheduled to start on Saturday in the second game of the three-game Interleague series but instead will flip with lefty Tsuyoshi Wada. Hammel now will start Sunday in the series finale.
“It’s nothing awful,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Hammel. “We’d thought we’d buy an extra day.”
* The Cubs players and coaching staff plan on wearing their Blackhawks jerseys on Saturday, and may wear them during batting practice to show support for the NHL team, which is playing Game 7 on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks. Maddon wasn’t sure if the jerseys were conducive to hitting, but said they’d try.
“I’m working on whether or not it’s a functional piece of clothing where you can actually throw and hit,” Maddon said. “I know you can shoot a hockey puck and fight in these things, but I don’t know if you can swing a baseball bat.”
Cubs reliever James Russell is a huge Blackhawks fan. He’s counting on the fans who sit near the bullpen to keep him up to date.
“You can always make friends with people in the stands, especially close to the bullpen who can look up the score,” he said. “You come in, go to the bathroom, take a quick peek.”
* Carl Edwards Jr., ranked No. 2 among MLB.com’s list of top Cubs prospects, was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa. Edwards has been used strictly in relief this season at Tennessee, and will continue that role with the Iowa team. In 13 games, he has a 2.66 ERA, and has struck out 36 over 23 2/3 innings.
* Junior Lake started in left field Friday, and has impressed Maddon so far. The Cubs manager admitted he’d heard some things about the outfielder, including that he would “swing at the rosin bag.”
“Now I’m watching this guy run the bases, play defense, his at-bats, his power, I don’t know what’s there not to like,” Maddon said. “Junior’s proven that he’s made some adjustments which is not easy to do at this particular point in his development. I think it’s outstanding. He’s got a clue on the field. He does some really smart things out there.”
In 10 games, Lake was batting .259.
— Carrie Muskat