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#Cubs notes: 2nd half prep talk, Soriano & more

* Manager Joe Maddon met with the Cubs players prior to Friday’s game for his post All-Star break/pre-second half talk. If the season ended at the break, the Cubs would have secured a Wild Card spot.

“I wanted to be more specific,” Maddon said of his message. “[It was] very honest, very open and honest — what I’m seeing, what I think, what it’s going to take. It was more like a discussion as much as anything but they didn’t say anything back at me. It was what I think.”

The Cubs were 47-40 at the All-Star break, the 14th time the team had reached 47 wins at that point in the season. They now have 17 consecutive games against teams with sub .500 records.

“I wanted to point out that if the playoffs started, today we’d be in the playoffs, and now it’s up to us at the end of the season that the same thing can be said,” Maddon said. “Our goal is to win the division, not just simply to qualify.”

* Catcher Miguel Montero saw a hand specialist Friday in Chicago and was expected to get a second opinion with another doctor in Arizona next week. Montero has a sprained left thumb, but the team does not have a timetable for his return.

* Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, who had to come out of his last start because of a strained left hamstring, threw on the side Thursday, and said he was good to go for his next start Tuesday against the Reds.

* The Cubs announced the Aug. 9 game against the Giants will start at 1:20 p.m. CT. It had been listed as “to be determined” on schedules.

* Rafael Soriano struck out three in one inning of relief Thursday night in his first game with Triple-A Iowa, and could be ready to join the big league team soon.

“I heard he’s throwing really well,” Maddon said Friday. “I’ve gotten nothing but good reports. … I know Rafael really well. The numbers I’m hearing are good numbers. I know when he’s throwing like that, he’s feeling really good.”

Maddon and Soriano were together in 2010 when the right-hander was the Rays closer, compiling a 1.73 ERA and 45 saves in 64 appearances.

The Cubs’ bullpen has been performing well. Won’t it be difficult to make a roster move?

“Of course it’ll be a tough decision,” Maddon said, “and it’s not going to be mine.”

— Carrie Muskat

Schwarber to bat 2nd for #Cubs vs Braves

Kyle Schwarber will make his first start at catcher in the big leagues Friday when the Cubs open the second half against the Braves. Kyle Hendricks gets the start. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber C

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soler RF

Coghlan LF

Castro SS

Hendricks P

Russell 2B

* Hendricks enters the game with a 22 1/3 inning scoreless streak, dating to the fourth inning, June 24 vs. the Dodgers. It’s the longest scoreless streak by a Cubs pitcher since Ryan Dempster’s 33-inning run in June-July of 2012. It’s the second-
longest active scoreless innings streak, trailing the Dodgers Zack Greinke’s 35 2/3 scoreless innings stretch.

Hendricks’ 22 1/3-inning scoreless streak is the longest by a Cubs pitcher age 25 or younger since Greg Maddux had 25 2/3 scoreless innings in 1990.

Hendricks is one of three big league pitchers this season to sport a 3.55 ERA or better with four or fewer victories in at
least 17 starts, joining the Indians’ Corey Kluber (4-10, 3.38 ERA) and the Orioles’ Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78).

* Schwarber does have one inning as a catcher in the big leagues when he subbed June 16.

* Here are the pitching matchups for the series at Turner Field:

Friday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.55) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (6-4, 4.56)
Saturday: LHP Jon Lester (4-8, 3.59) vs. LHP Manny Banuelos (1-0, 0.75)
Sunday: RHP Jake Arrieta (10-5, 2.66) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (5-5, 2.38)

#Cubs Minor League report: Olt 2R double

Thursday’s games

Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run on five hits over six innings in Iowa’s 4-1 win over Memphis. Mike Olt hit a two-run double to break a 1-1 tie. Junior Lake hit a solo home run in the third. Rafael Soriano made his first appearance with Iowa, striking out three and giving up one hit.

Ivan Pineyro gave up six earned runs over five innings in Tennessee’s 9-2 loss to Montgomery.

Jonathan Martinez threw seven shutout innings in Myrtle Beach’s 1-0 win over Potomac. Martinez struck out four and did not walk anyone, scattering four hits. Jeimer Candelario drove in the only run.

Jake Stinnett gave up one run on five hits over five innings in South Bend’s 10-6 win over Lansing. Yasiel Balaguert and David Bote each hit home runs. Balaguert finished with four hits and scored three runs. Bote had three hits and three RBI.

Eugene totaled four hits in a 4-0 shutout loss to Hillsboro. Ian Happ hit a double, and now is 10-for-25 in his last six games.

Dylan Cease gave up two hits over three innings and Alex Bautista hit a home run, a two-run shot, in Mesa’s 2-1 win over the D-Backs.

Rafael Soriano joins #Cubs AAA team

Rafael Soriano, who signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs in June, was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. Soriano, 35, recorded five scoreless outings with Tennessee. He gave up one unearned run on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts over five innings.

The Iowa Cubs also announced that outfielder Anthony Giansanti was place on the 7-Day disabled list (hamstring) and left-handed pitcher Jeffry Antigua was reassigned to Tennessee.

Additionally, catcher Cael Brockmeyer has rejoined Iowa from Tennessee, Carl Edwards Jr. has been activated from the Temporary Inactive List, and Iowa has activated infielder/outfielder Mike Baxter. Edwards was on the list so he could take part in the Futures Game.

The I-Cubs need another catcher following the promotion of Kyle Schwarber to the big league team. Brockmeyer, 23, was hitting a combined .260 with six home runs and 40 RBIs in 77 games across four levels this season. He appeared in 63 games for Class A South Bend before a promotion to high A Myrtle Beach on June 29. After a four-game stint with the Pelicans, he was promoted again on July 4 to Tennessee where he’s played in four games for the Smokies. He had a two-day stint with Iowa, July 10-11, before going back to Tennessee for four days. This is Brockmeyer’s third career stint with the I-Cubs. He went 1-for-6 with a walk in two games for Iowa in 2013.

Edwards Jr., 23, recorded two outs and struck out one in the eighth inning to help the U.S. Team defeat the World Team, 10-1, in the Futures Game. With Iowa this year, the right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA (6ER/17 2/3 IP), one save and 23 strikeouts in 11 games.

Schwarber to join #Cubs; Montero to see specialist

Catcher Kyle Schwarber will be called up to the Cubs on Friday while Miguel Montero may be out an extended amount of time with a thumb injury.

Montero, who jammed his left thumb last Saturday in the first inning, was to see a hand specialist on Friday. He was expected to miss more than 15 days, so the Cubs decided to go with three catchers, including Schwarber, Taylor Teagarden, and David Ross, who was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday.

The Cubs’ No. 2 prospect, and No. 38 overall, Schwarber will not be the team’s every day catcher. His bat will certainly come in handy. Named the Futures Game MVP this past Sunday in Cincinnati, Schwarber was batting a combined .323/.430/.591 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs in 75 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season, his first full one as a professional.

He was promoted to the big leagues in June for a six-game stint, including five games in American League ballparks where he was the designated hitter, and Schwarber went 8-for-22 with a home run, a triple and six RBIs.

Montero underwent an MRI last Saturday, and the Cubs had hoped the injury was not too serious. The team expected more details after Montero sees the specialist Friday.

Last Sunday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the team had not discussed promoting Schwarber, but obviously, that changed with the medical diagnosis on Montero.

“Schwarber’s always in consideration for what we’re doing in the future,” Maddon said last Sunday.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Minor League report: Happ 3 Hs

Thursday’s games

Iowa’s Carlos Pimentel gave up one run on two hits over two innings and struck out four for the Pacific Coast League All-Stars, who lost, 4-3, to the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Iowa’s Arismendy Alcantara was 1-for-4 with a double.

Tennessee lost, 4-1, to Montgomery. Jacob Hannemann hit a double and scored a run. Felix Pena took the loss, giving up three earned runs on five hits over five innings.

Myrtle Beach beat Potomac, 5-2. Chesny Young, Kevin Brown and Jacob Rogers each homered. Brown’s blast was a two-run shot in the third. Jen-Ho Tseng gave up one earned run on four hits and three walks over seven innings for the win.

South Bend lost, 6-4, to Lansing. Yasiel Balaguert, Kevin Encarnacion, David Bote and Jeffrey Baez each had two hits. Starter Erick Leal gave up two earned runs over six innings. Jordan Minch took the loss in relief.

Eugene beat Hillsboro, 8-4. Ian Happ was 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI, and four other players had two hits including Eloy Jimenez and Frandy Delarosa. Francisco Carrillo picks up the win in relief, giving up one run on four hits over 3 2/3 innings.

The Mesa Cubs lost, 5-3, to the Royals. Zac Rosscup started in a rehab assignment, and struck out two over one innings. Enrique De Los Rio took the loss, giving up three earned runs over three innings. Robert Garcia and Michael Foster each had two hits.

#Cubs HR Derby

0714HR

#Cubs Minor League report: Rogers 3 RBIs

Monday’s games

Iowa had Monday off for the All-Star break.

Tennessee lost, 9-2, to Biloxi. Rob Zastryzny gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings and took the loss. Rafael Soriano walked two and struck out one in one inning of relief. In five games, he’s given up three hits, walked three and struck out four over five innings.

Myrtle Beach shut out Carolina, 5-0. Jacob Rogers was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Paul Blackburn gave up two hits over three innings and Brad Markey struck out four and gave up two hits over 4 2/3 innings in relief.

South Bend beat Lake County, 8-1. Jeffrey Baez went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, hitting a two-run homer in the sixth and a double. Charcer Burks, Gioskar Amaya and David Bote each had two hits. Zach Hedges gave up one run on four hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out seven.

Eugene lost, 5-4, to Tri-City. Matt Rose hit a RBI double, and the Emeralds took advantage of errors to score. Justin Steele gave up three runs — none earned — on four hits and three walks over three innings. Eloy Jimenez had two hits.

Mesa lost, 6-1, to the Royals. Jose Paniagua had two hits. James Norwood gave up three runs on six hits over three innings.

#Cubs Rizzo to start for NL All-Star team

Anthony Rizzo will start for the National League team in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Rizzo, who is participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, will be the designated hitter and bat sixth. He’ll be the first Cubs All-Star starter since catcher Geovany Soto and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome did in 2008. That year, the Cubs had eight players on the NL team.

Here’s the lineup for Tuesday’s game:

Andrew McCutchen CF
Todd Frazier 3B
Bryce Harper RF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Buster Posey C
Anthony Rizzo DH
Jhonny Peralta SS
Joc Pederson LF
DJ LeMahieu 2B

Zack Greinke P

#Cubs Minor League report: Johnson 3 RBIs and W

Sunday’s games

Iowa is off until Thursday for the All-Star break. In case you missed it, catcher Kyle Schwarber and pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. participated in the Futures Game. Schwarber was named MVP after throwing out a runner and hitting a two-run triple to lead Team USA to a 10-1 win. Edwards struck out one in a scoreless eighth.

Tennessee won its second straight game, beating Biloxi, 8-2. Pierce Johnson gave up one run on five hits and four walks over five innings for the win. He also drove in three runs. Rafael Soriano threw a scoreless seventh inning in relief. He’s given up one unearned run on three hits over four innings for Tennessee.

Myrtle Beach split a doubleheader against Carolina, winning 9-0 in the first game and losing, 2-1, in the second. Kevin Brown had two hits, including his second home run, and drove in four in the first game. Michael Heesch picked up the win in relief. In the second game, Jeremy Null gave up two runs over six innings but took the loss. Jeimer Candelario drove in his 36th RBI of the season.

South Bend totaled five hits in a 3-1 loss to Lake County. Trevor Clifton took the loss, giving up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. Rashad Crawford had two of the hits. Dillon Maples struck out two in 2 1/3 innings in relief.

Carson Sands gave up six runs — none earned — on four hits over 2 2/3 innings in Eugene’s 15-2 loss to Tri-City. Ian Happ had two hits, including his first career triple, and now is batting .259.

Austyn Willis gave up three hits over five scoreless innings in Mesa’s 1-0 win over the White Sox. Shawon Dunston Jr. drove in the only run.

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