#Cubs sign Bonifacio, Berry; Russell update & more
Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t ready to name which starting pitcher would start a one-game Wild Card playoff game but he is thinking ahead to what he wants for his postseason roster. The Cubs signed Quintin Berry and Emilio Bonifacio to Minor League contracts, and both reported to Triple-A Iowa. Both will be considered as extras on the bench for the postseason, specifically as pinch-runner options.
The Cubs could use some speed. Berry, 30, was batting had 35 stolen bases in 106 games at Triple-A Pawtucket this season. Bonifacio, 30, was released Aug. 18 by the White Sox after batting .167 in 47 games. In 2014, he batted .279 for the Cubs before he was traded to the Braves in July.
“Speed plays,” Maddon said. “When you have the expanded rosters, you can be really specific for what you’re looking for.”
* Addison Russell was expected at AT&T Park in time for Tuesday’s game. The rookie shortstop was in Chicago to be with his fiance, Melisa Reidy, for the birth of their son, Aiden Kai Margallo Russell. The time off came at the right moment as far as Maddon is concerned.
“A baby and a little bit of tightness [in his groin] got him off his feet,” said Maddon, who was trying to find a way to give Russell a breather. “I’m glad it was that and we’ll take advantage of the moment.”
* With reliever Jason Motte on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, who will fill his role in the bullpen? Maddon said right-hander Tommy Hunter or lefty Clayton Richard can step in. Motte led the Cubs relievers with eight wins, and was six-for-seven in save opportunities this year.
Neither Motte or outfielder Jorge Soler (strained left oblique) were with the Cubs in San Francisco. Soler, placed on the disabled list Monday, was expected to miss at least one month. Motte will take seven to 10 days off, then resume a throwing program.
— Carrie Muskat