Kris Bryant will make his Major League debut on Friday and bat fourth for the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the Padres. Here’s the lineup:
Cubs fans eager to see Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field will get their chance on Friday. The team’s top prospect was expected to be promoted, and not just because the timing works for his service time. The Cubs need a third baseman.
Mike Olt, who was hit on the right wrist by a pitch last Saturday in Denver, saw a hand specialist on Thursday and has a hairline fracture, which will sideline him for a minimum of three weeks, according to a source. The Cubs would not confirm that Bryant was coming, but the source said it was likely considering Olt’s situation.
Bryant hit his third home run in seven games with Triple-A Iowa on Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader against New Orleans, a three-run shot. He was batting .321.
Theo Epstein has maintained they wanted Bryant to open the season in the Minor Leagues so he could get into a good rhythm.
“His development is an important factor and the needs of the big league team as well,” Epstein said earlier this week.
Olt’s situation has forced the Cubs decision. They have been using Jonathan Herrera and Arismendy Alcantara at third while Olt heals, and even inserted Chris Coghlan there — the first time he’s played the position since 2013. So far, Chicago’s third basemen are batting .148 (4-for-27), worst in the National League, with one home run and one RBI, plus a .233 on-base percentage.
The countdown for Bryant’s promotion began in spring when he batted .425 and led the Major Leagues with nine home runs — and hit two more in games that didn’t count. The hot topic has been service time. By delaying his promotion 12 days into the season, the Cubs gain an additional year of service time. The 12-day countdown ends Friday.
ESPN Chicago was first to report that Bryant was to be called up Friday.
— Carrie Muskat
For those of you keeping tabs on Kris Bryant’s whereabouts, the third baseman and top Cubs prospect was batting third for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader in New Orleans. What may be even more interesting about Iowa’s lineup is that Addison Russell was playing second base. Javier Baez has yet to rejoin the team following the passing of his sister.
As most Bryant watchers know, by delaying his promotion 12 days into the season, the Cubs gain an additional year of service time. The 12-day countdown ends Friday. When will Bryant be with the Cubs?
“I have not had a date given to me by anybody, Jed [Hoyer, general manager] or Theo,” manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday.
Here’s the lineup for Iowa’s first game Thursday:
Adron Chambers CF
Addison Russell 2B
Kris Bryant 3B
Chris Valaika SS
Mike Baxter 1B
Rubi Silva RF
Rafael Lopez C
Kevin Brown LF
Eric Jokisch P
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez, forced to leave Wednesday’s game after throwing three pitches because of right shoulder discomfort, underwent an MRI exam on Thursday. The Cubs expected to have test results Friday. The Cubs are currently carrying 13 pitchers with the call-up of lefty Zac Rosscup on Tuesday. They have an off day Thursday to decide what to do with the roster.
Ramirez started the ninth inning against the Reds, and threw three pitches to Joey Votto, all balls. His last pitch bounced on the plate.
“It was like he was trying to get it there,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “Something wasn’t right.”
The Cubs already have reliever Justin Grimm (right forearm inflammation) on the DL.
— Carrie Muskat
* Jonathan Mota and Chris Valaika each had two hits in Iowa’s 3-2, 10-inning loss to New Orleans on Wednesday. Donn Roach gave up one hit over six shutout innings but did not get a decision. Kris Bryant was 0-for-3 with a walk and scored a run. Iowa was scheduled to play a doubleheader Thursday at New Orleans.
* Tennessee’s home opener against Pensacola Wednesday was postponed because of rain. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Friday. Corey Black was scheduled to start Thursday.
* Myrtle Beach’s game vs. Salem was postponed because of rain, and the two teams will play a doubleheader on May 6. Duane Underwood was scheduled to start Thursday at Winston-Salem.
* Cael Brockmeyer had two hits and one RBIs in South Bend’s 10-7 loss to Fort Wayne. Brockmeyer is batting .409 with six doubles and five RBIs in six games. Jake Stinnett started, and gave up five earned runs on three hits and seven walks over 2 1/3 innings.
Travis Wood threw seven shutout innings and Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the first, his first of the season, to lead the Cubs to a 5-0 victory Wednesday night over the Reds and clinch the series. Wood picked up his first win at Wrigley since May 18 when he beat the Brewers. Joe Maddon gave Wood and shortstop Starlin Castro the stars of the game. Castro turned a key double play in the eighth, and also had two hits and drew a walk. The Cubs have now homered in five straight games for the first time since an 11-game stretch, Aug. 16-27, last year.
* Neil Ramirez had to leave Wednesday’s game after throwing three pitches in the ninth. Maddon said the right-hander has “right shoulder discomfort” and will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
“The 90 mile an hour fastball was well below his thing, so something was obviously not well with him,” Maddon said, adding the news was “not real positive.”
The Cubs are currently carrying 13 pitchers.
* After an off day Thursday, the Cubs play host to the Padres at Wrigley Field. the pitching match ups will be:
Friday: Jason Hammel vs. James Shields
Saturday: Kyle Hendricks vs. Tyson Ross
Sunday: Jon Lester vs. Andrew Cashner
— Carrie Muskat
Arismendy Alcantara and Jonathan Herrera will switch positions but stay in the same spot in the batting order on Wednesday. Alcantara was to start at second, but now will play third base in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds. Herrera was to play third, but will start at second and bat ninth. Here’s the revised lineup:
T. Wood P
Travis Wood gets the start Wednesday night in the series finale against the Reds. It’s Jackie Robinson Day and all players will be wearing No. 42. Here’s the lineup:
Chris Valaika and Jonathan Mota each had two hits, and Mota and Kevin Brown each drove in a run in Iowa’s 3-2 loss Wednesday to New Orleans. Kris Bryant was 0-for-3, drawing a walk, and scored a run. He’s batting .333 so far. Donn Roach started and threw six scoreless innings, giving up one hit. Drake Britton took the loss.
* In other Cubs Minor League news, left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny was placed on Double-A Tennessee’s disabled list, retroactive to April 13, and lefty Jeffry Antigua was transferred from Triple-A Iowa to Tennessee.
Iowa’s game at New Orleans was postponed because of rain. The teams played a day game Wednesday (Kris Bryant is in the lineup) and a doubleheader on Thursday.
Tennessee had Tuesday off. The Smokies were to play host to Pensacola in their home opener Wednesday but nature intervened and that game was postponed because of rain. Tennessee will begin its home schedule now on Thursday night with Corey Black slated to start.
Jen-Ho Tseng gave up two runs over five innings to pick up the win in Myrtle Beach’s 5-3 win over Salem in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Myrtle Beach totaled four hits and lost, 3-1. Billy McKinney drove in the only run.
Ryan Williams gave up one run on one hit and struck out seven over six innings in South Bend’s 3-2 loss to Dayton. Cael Brockmeyer hit his fifth double and scored a run. Gleyber Torres had his third multi-hit game.