#Cubs notes: Ramirez, Schwarber, Rowen & more

* Neil Ramirez sneeze on Sunday, and felt a sharp pain on his left side. The right-hander now is on the disabled list because of what’s being described as abdominal soreness, which he felt warming up Tuesday night.

“Abdominal soreness via the sneeze — I don’t know where it’s all at,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday.

Ramirez felt good warming up Tuesday night, but threw a slider, felt some pain and had to stop.

“I couldn’t fight through it,” Ramirez said. “With everything I do to stay healthy and strong, it’s baffling that it’s an oblique.”

The right-hander was sidelined from April 17-June 28 with inflammation in his right shoulder, and has only pitched in 13 games this year.

“It’s been a tough year — I’m not going to lie and say it hasn’t,” Ramirez said. “I’m not going to say it’s the end of the world. Hopefuly, it’s something quick.”

* The Cubs added two fresh arms to the bullpen on Wednesday, recalling right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina and selecting the contract of right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen from Triple-A Iowa. To make room for Rowen on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder Mike Baxter was designated for assignment. Right-hander Dallas Beeler, who started on Tuesday night, was optioned to Iowa.

Rowen, 26, joins the Cubs after combining to go 4-0 with one save and a 1.93 ERA in 34 relief outings for three affiliates between the Orioles and Cubs organizations. He was a non-roster invitee this spring with the Dodgers before being acquired by the Orioles as part of a four-player deal on April 9.

A sinkerball pitcher, Rowen was surprised to get the call Tuesday night.

“It’s been interesting,” the right-hander said of his season. “I think this is my fourth or fifth team now. It’s been a fun year.”

“It’s nice to have the guy who can come in middle innings, get the ball on the ground, get two outs with one pitch,” Maddon said.

Plus, the Cubs manager likes the idea of having a side-arm pitcher in the mix.

“I love funk,” Maddon said. “I’ve always been a funk guy. The funk’s good.”

* Rookie Kyle Schwarber made his first start in the outfield on Wednesday. He felt the switch from catcher to outfield wouldn’t be a problem, especially after doing some early work with coach Dave Martinez.

“You have to get to know your steps and your breaks and make sure there’s no back pedals and things like that,” Schwarber said. “I’m trying to get the new things out of the way.”

Maddon wants to get the rookie’s bat in the lineup somehow, and said Schwarber, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2014, isn’t quite ready to handle all of the Cubs pitchers.

Is he ready for the brick outfield wall?

“There’s going to be some bounces,” Schwarber said.

* Left-hander Clayton Richard gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, and was expected to be added to the Cubs roster and fill the fifth starter spot in the rotation. The Cubs have been rumored to be looking for a fifth starter by Friday’s Trade Deadline.

“I know our guys are hunkered down in the war room going over the different options,” Maddon said of the front office. “We have options regarding the fifth starter in-house. We’ll see how it plays out.”

* Infielder Tommy La Stella was headed to Double-A Tennessee to begin a rehab assignment. He’s been sidelined since April 9 with right rib cage inflammation.

— Carrie Muskat


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