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8/29 Cubs injury roundup

* Outfielder Justin Ruggiano is done for the season after undergoing a debridement on his left ankle. In his first season with the Cubs, Ruggiano batted .281 in 81 games with six home runs, 13 doubles and 28 RBIs. He was placed on the disabled list Aug. 23, and had returned to Dallas to see a specialist, where he had the procedure done.

* The Cubs had more encouraging news regarding outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who was headed to Arizona to begin a rehab assignment at the team’s complex. Sweeney has been on the DL since Wednesday with a left hamstring strain.

* Manny Ramirez, who was a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa, was placed on the Minor League team’s disabled list with a knee injury. GM Jed Hoyer said they were impressed with how Ramirez mentored the young players, particularly Jorge Soler and Javier Baez.

“We feel really good about the way that the entire experience went,” Hoyer said. “He was outstanding in Iowa. People focus on Soler and Baez, but Kris Bryant, [Chris] Valaika, and the coaching staff sing his praises. I don’t know what our relationship will be going forward. It’s too early to speculate on that. I’m really happy for Manny. It seems like he’s in a really good place.”

Would Ramirez consider being a full-time hitting coach? Hoyer said the 42-year-old outfielder still wants to play.

“Until a guy is willing to admit he’s done, it’s hard to have those conversations [about coaching full time],” Hoyer said.

– Carrie Muskat

8/29 Bryant to finish season at Iowa

Cubs fans eager to see Kris Bryant in the same lineup as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro will have to wait. GM manager Jed Hoyer repeated that Bryant, the No. 1 prospect on’s top 20 list, will finish his season at Triple-A Iowa and not be one of the players added when big league rosters expand on Monday.

Hoyer would not say which players will be called up. Iowa has four regular season games remaining and has a chance to make the playoffs.

Bryant, 22, batted .355 with 22 home runs and 20 doubles at Double-A Tennessee, and was batting .300 with 21 homers and 14 doubles in 66 games at Iowa. The second player taken overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, he is not on the Cubs’ 40-man roster.

“He’s not on the roster, so right away [if he was called up] that would knock off another player off the roster,” Hoyer said Friday. “We’re going to be really tight with the roster, and we know that. We feel in his first full season, he’s going to get 140 plus games, he’s played exceptionally well — nothing has changed on that front [as far as calling him up].”

The fact that Bryant has done so well in his first year of professional baseball has made Cubs fans giddy about the prospect of seeing the third baseman at Wrigley Field.

“The most impressive thing about his season has been the consistency,” Hoyer said. “The slumps have been really quick. He deserves a lot of credit for being able to make adjustments quickly. I think he’s very level-headed as a person. He doesn’t get too down.

“We’ve never waivered on [the decision to leave him in the Minors],” Hoyer said. “We feel it’s the right thing for him — first full season, not on the roster, and we’ll enjoy the guys we have up here now.”

Are the Cubs hesitating to avoid starting the clock on Bryant’s service time? Hoyer said that wasn’t a factor.

“That’s not the reason or a concern,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

8/29 Cubs lineup

Anthony Rizzo was not in the Cubs lineup Friday, missing the third straight game because of lower back tightness. Kyle Hendricks gets the start. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez 2B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Soler RF
Castillo C
Alcantara CF
Valaika 1B
Hendricks P

8/29 Cubs to honor JRW kids

On Monday, the Cubs will honor the Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers who won the U.S. title in the Little League World Series. The kids will meet the Cubs players during batting practice, be recognized on-field before the game, throw a ceremonial first pitch, and lead the seventh inning stretch from the field.

The Chicago team lost to South Korea in the Little League world championship game, played in Williamsport, Pa. Cubs pitchers Wesley Wright and Edwin Jackson both contributed to travel expenses so the kids’ families could go to the series.

Fans coming to Wrigley Field Monday through Wednesday also can take home a Hall of Famer’s autograph for a charitable cause. Fergie Jenkins will sign autographs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at the Cubs Store across from Wrigley Field on Monday, and inside Clark’s Clubhouse Tuesday and Wednesday to raise money for the Ron and Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation. Vicki Santo and Logan Burke, who was the first recipient of an alert dog from the foundation, will throw a ceremonial first pitch on Wednesday.

8/28 Reds 7, Cubs 2

* Jake Arrieta did not have his command, or ability to stop the Reds running game Thursday. Cincinnati collected six hits and drew four walks off Arrieta, and then stole six bases over four innings.

“I was bad at controlling the running game today,” Arrieta said. “That’s my fault, not giving Baker any opportunity to throw those guys out. Putting them in scoring position sets them up for some of those hits.”

Five of the Reds runs came with two outs, and he couldn’t get the strikeout in big situations when needed.

“Arrieta, we knew, was going to be very hard to score on,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “So I felt we needed to create some scoring opportunities by running. He’s a little bit slower and more deliberate to the plate, and we were able to take advantage of that.”

Said manager Rick Renteria: “He just didn’t have his ‘Jake like’ command today.”

* With the loss, the Cubs are 20-34 against NL Central teams, and 5-11 against the Reds.

8/28 Rizzo still sidelined

Anthony Rizzo did not start for a second straight day Thursday because of tightness in his lower back but hoped to return to the Cubs lineup for the start of a three-game series against the Cardinals. Rizzo said he couldn’t get his back loose after a 50-minute rain delay Tuesday against the Reds, and asked to come out of the game as a precaution.

“There wasn’t one thing I did that hurt it,” Rizzo said. “It just grabbed me. I’m not too worried about it. It’s just frustrating.”

He was able to loosen up on Wednesday, and received treatment most of the day. He woke up Thursday feeling better.

“Hopefully, I can get it loose and keep it loose for a while,” he said.

Rizzo said his back bothers him when he extends it, which is what he does on his swings.

“Obviously, going through a swinging motion grabs at it, too,” he said. “Hopefully, today it gets a lot better. I don’t think it’s going to get any worse. I’ll just gut through it, worse case.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/28 Cubs lineup

Jake Arrieta gets the start in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds. No Anthony Rizzo. He’s still bothered by tightness in his lower back. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez 2B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Soler RF
Alcantara CF
Valaika 1B
Baker C
Arrieta P

8/28 Minor matters – Wednesday’s games

Jae-Hoon Ha and David Bote each homered for Iowa in a 3-2 win over Tacoma. Dae-Eun Rhee threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, striking out six. Kris Bryant hit his first triple. Iowa has an off day Thursday, then begins a key series Friday. With four games left to play, the I-Cubs are four games behind Oklahoma City in the American Northern Division. Iowa plays host to the RedHawks in a four-game series starting Friday night in Des Moines. While the Cubs must win all of their remaining games, Omaha also has to lose at least three of their five games against Colorado Springs at home this weekend in order for Iowa to win the division. Chris Rusin (8-13, 4.24) will start Friday night.

Tennessee had Wednesday off, and returns to action Thursday against Chattanooga.

Wilson Contreras homered to back Juan Paniagua in Daytona’s 8-2 win over Dunedin. Paniagua gave up one run over five innings. Kyle Schwarber extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Dan Vogelbach, who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League, had three hits and an RBI.

Jen-Ho Tseng gave up one run over six innings in Kane County’s 3-2 loss to Cedar Rapids. Four of the Cougars five hits were doubles (Mark Zagunis, Jeimer Candelario, Victor Caratini and Trey Martin).

Boise scored six runs in the second inning en route to a 12-8 win over Everett. Alex Tomasovich had three hits, including a double and a triple, and drove in four runs. Charcer Burks had three singles and drove in three runs.

Mesa split a doubleheader against the Athletics, losing 4-3 in the first game, and winning, 3-2, in the second. In the first game, Tyler Alamo had two hits and drove in a run. In the second game, Tyler Pearson had two hits, including his second home run. Kevonte Mitchell hit a triple and Eloy Jimenez had a double.

8/27 Reds 7, Cubs 5

* In his first career start with the Cubs, Jacob Turner gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings. He was on a pitch count limit because he had not started since Aug. 3.

“I would’ve liked to have gotten a little deeper in the game,” Turner said. “That part is definitely frustrating. At the same time, you’ve got to build the pitch count up, too.”

* Jorge Soler made a good first impression, hitting a solo homer in his first Major League at-bat, and adding a RBI single in the eighth. He finished 2-for-4.

“I’m real, real happy about it,” said Soler, who admitted to being a little nervous. “First time in the big leagues, first at-bat. I was very excited and happy about that.”

He’s the first Cubs player to homer in his first at-bat since Starlin Castro did so at Great American Ball Park on May 7, 2010.

* Castro made one of three errors by the Cubs in the game. In the eighth, the Cubs tallied against Jonathan Broxton on a two-run double by Javier Baez. Castro then smacked a long hit off the center-field wall, but only made it to first base while sending Baez to third. It may have proved costly as Soler then drove in Baez from third on a single before Welington Castillo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

“He feels bad,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Castro, who returned from the bereavement list on Tuesday. “He knows. He’s apologizing to everybody about not getting over there. He’s got a lot of things on his mind, and he’s out there doing the best he can.

“When a young man tells you he’s made a mistake, it’s very hard to do anything other than accept it,” Renteria said. “Quite frankly, there were a host of things prior to that and part of that whole ballgame that put us in the position we were in.”

Baez nearly made up for the mistake with two outs and two on in the ninth when he flew out to deep center.

“It sounded good,” Renteria said.

“I had to take a couple of steps back and I got a little scared; it sounded so loud and it was really high, but, the ball jumps off his bat no matter where he hits it to,” Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton said. “I was just talking to [someone] about how his foul balls go up in the third deck every time he hits a foul ball off to the right. The guy has some power. And he had power coming in at him; all he had to do was touch it a little bit. But we got the win and we did a good job.”

* The Cubs have homered in 11 straight games for the first time since Sept. 8-17, 2007.

– Carrie Muskat

8/27 Soler power

Jorge Soler didn’t waste any time proving he was ready for the Major Leagues. The Cubs prospect homered in his first big league at-bat in the second inning Wednesday, crushing a 2-1 pitch from the Reds Mat Latos to center field.

Soler is the first Cubs player to homer in his first at-bat since Starlin Castro did so, also at Great American Ball Park, on May 7, 2010. Castro finished that game with six RBIs.

Javier Baez also homered in his Major League debut on Aug. 5, but his blast came in the 12th inning against the Rockies, not his first at-bat. Told that he had to match Baez, Soler smiled.

“I’ve waited two years for this moment,” Soler said before the game.

– Carrie Muskat


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