The Cubs added another arm to the bullpen mix, acquiring right-hander Fernando Rodney from the Mariners for a player to be named or cash consideration. Rodney was to join the Cubs Friday in Los Angeles.
“I was there for that year when he had the best in history,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the right-hander’s 2012 season when he compiled an 0.78 ERA in 76 games with 48 saves. “He has the kind of stuff to get out both righties and lefties. I know he had trouble or struggled a bit this year but I’m eager to see him in person and find out what’s going on.”
Maddon talked to Rodney on the phone after Thursday’s game against the Giants.
“He still has a good fastball, outstanding changeup and a great teammate,” Maddon said. “He’s a lot of fun to have on the team. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Cubs didn’t feel a need to add another arm because reliever Jason Motte is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, Maddon said.
“The more the merrier,” Maddon said.
To make room on the roster, lefty Zac Rosscup was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter was designated for assignment.
Rodney, 38, is a two-time American League All-Star, having earned the honor in 2012 and last season with the Mariners. He has 236 career saves and is 35-55 with a 3.77 ERA in 686 relief appearances with the Tigers (2002-03, 2005-09), Angels (2010-11), Rays (2012-13) and Mariners (2014-15).
This season, Rodney was 5-5 with 16 saves and a 5.68 ERA in 54 games for the Mariners before he was designated for assignment on Aug. 23.
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler said he may borrow catcher Miguel Montero’s gear to protect himself in his next at-bat. In three games over three days, Fowler has taken a foul ball off his right hand, his left elbow and his right shin, and he did not start Thursday in the series finale against the Giants.
X-rays of Fowler’s shin on Wednesday were negative, and his status for the upcoming series against the Dodgers is questionable.
“I’m not 100 percent sure yet [if he’ll play Friday],” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Fowler. “He’s still pretty sore. There’s a shot at it, yes.”
Maddon overloaded the outfield with right-handed hitters Thursday against Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, which included moving Kris Bryant from third to right field for his first start there. Bryant has made one start each in center and in left.
“I know [Bryant] has not played there a lot but he’s very comfortable out there and I’m very comfortable with him being there,” Maddon said. “I know it looks awkward from a distance but internally it’s not that bad.”
Fowler planned on being better prepared for his next game.
“I’m just going to go up there with catching gear on,” Fowler said.
— Carrie Muskat
Manager Joe Maddon overloaded Thursday’s lineup with right-handed hitters against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner for the Cubs series finale in San Francisco. Here’s the lineup:
This is Bryant’s first start in right field. He had started one game each in left and center.
Dexter Fowler remains day to day with a sore right shin. He also has a sore right hand and sore left elbow, all from foul balls over the course of three games. X-rays of Fowler’s shin were negative.
Dan Haren gets the start. The right-hander is coming off a no-decision Saturday vs. Atlanta, a 9-7 Cubs win. Haren gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings. He is making his fifth start for the Cubs, and is 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA so far.
Carlos Pimentel gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings in Iowa’s 3-2 win over Fresno. Javier Baez had two hits and two RBI and now is batting .317. In a rehab outing, Rafael Soriano struck out one. Pimentel is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in five August
Ryan Williams gave up one earned run over six innings in Tennessee’s 8-4 win over Chattanooga. Albert Almora Jr. and Dan Vogelbach both homered. Almora finished with four RBI. Vogelbach hit his third homer in eight games.
Myrtle Beach’s game vs. Winston-Salem was cancelled because of rain and will not be made up. Daury Torrez starts Thursday vs. Wilmington.
South Bend gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 4-3, to West Michigan. Tommy Thorpe gave up two hits
over seven innings. Ian Happ hit a triple and one RBI.
Oscar De La Cruz gave up one hit over seven innings in Eugene’s 4-1 win over Spokane. De La Cruz struck out 13 and walked one. The run scored as a result of a dropped third strike and throwing error. Andrew Ely had two hits.
Mesa had the day off and returns to action Thursday night against the D-backs.
Kyle Hendricks will start Wednesday night for the Cubs in the second game of their three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants. Dexter Fowler is not starting, and Kyle Schwarber is batting leadoff. Here’s the lineup:
The Cubs have won 21 of their last 25 games for the first time since June 6-July 4, 1936. In those 25 games, the Cubs have hit 44 home runs while averaging 5.6 runs per game.
The Cubs’ 55 homers since the All-Star break are tied with the Blue Jays and Mariners for most in MLB.
Nine of Kyle Schwarber’s 18 hits in August have been home runs. He has 23 RBI in 21 games this month, most in the NL. Schwarber is 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and nine RBI in his five games vs. the Giants this season.
The Cubs have won each of Hendricks’ last five starts. He’s 2-0 in that span despite a 5.61 ERA. The Cubs have supported Hendricks with 32 runs scored in those five games.
Maybe the key to the Cubs’ success is that the kids are so young and naive, they don’t know about the so-called pressure they should be dealing with.
“What I can appreciate is how well these guys are acclimating themselves to this kind of competition so quickly,” Jake Arrieta said of the young Cubs. “That’s the most exciting part for me about our team is how they’re able to make adjustments so quickly and be successful on a ballclub that is however many games over .500 and playing extremely well and being a huge part of what we’re doing here. I don’t think they put much thought into it, which is exactly the way they should be approaching it. Having that mindset allows them to come here and not necessarily feel pressure but come out here and play.”
Kyle Schwarber is a good example. The rookie hit a three-run homer on Tuesday in the Cubs’ 8-5 win over the Giants, and is the first Cubs player in the modern era (since 1900) to hit 12 homers in his first 42 games.
“We’re so young, we really don’t know what we’re doing,” Schwarber said. “Right now, it feels like we’re in a playoff game every game. You saw it when Jon [Lester] was pitching against [the Indians’ Corey] Kluber. I felt it was a playoff game. Like today, we’re winning 8-1, and [the Giants] make that push back and things start getting tight again. We’re trying to maintain focus throughout the game and keep that playoff mentality.”
So, just enjoy the ride.
“That’s probably the biggest part,” Schwarber said. “Just stay in the moment and enjoy it and have fun and take care of business at the same time. If you put too much pressure on yourself, bad things will happen. Just enjoy the moment. Keep that mindset.”
— Carrie Muskat
Iowa split a doubleheader against Fresno, winning the first game, 3-2, and losing the second, 7-3. Javier Baez was 2-for-7 for the day with one RBI. He’s now hit in 11 straight games, and was batting .448 in that stretch. Matt Szczur hit a solo home run in the first game. Mike Baxter had two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs in the first game. Mike Olt had two hits in the second game.
Tennessee lost, 4-3, to Chattanooga. Felix Pena gave up one earned run over six innings. Willson Contreras had two hits and one RBI. Albert Almora had two hits and one RBIs, and has hit in six straight games.
Jen-Ho Tseng gave up two runs over seven innings in Myrtle Beach’s 4-2 win over Winston-Salem. The Pelicans scored four runs in the seventh for the win. Jason Vosler had two hits and one RBI.
South Bend lost, 7-2, to West Michigan. Trevor Clifton took the loss, giving up three runs over five innings. Gleyber Torrez, named the Midwest League Prospect of the Year, went 2-for-4. Rashad Crawford had two RBI.
Eugene swept a doubleheader against Spokane, scoring 11 runs in the two games. Eloy Jimenez hit three home runs and drove in five runs in the two games. He’s now batting .285. Donnie Dewees had two hits and a stolen base in the second game.
Mesa’s doubleheader against the Angels was cancelled because of rain.
Before Tuesday’s game, one of the Cubs coaches walked into manager Joe Maddon’s office at AT&T Park
wearing a silver medieval helmet. Maddon, who has been known to do a few outrageous things in the past, wasn’t startled at all.
“I said, ‘You need to wear that to the bullpen,'” Maddon said. “I thought for sure that would’ve happened.”
But the coach — who shall remain nameless — instead wore it in the dugout before Tuesday’s game against the Giants began. Another coach was wearing a helmet as well, and a photographer caught the moment. It wasn’t that clubhouse manager Tom “Otis” Hellmann had packed the armor.
“We’re just fortunate that Otis packs what we need,” Maddon said.
Nope, the Giants visiting clubhouse staff apparently keeps its own props.
“It’s a pretty good clubhouse when they have that kind of head gear around,” Maddon said.
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
Jake Arrieta takes the mound Tuesday night at AT&T Park as the Cubs open a West Coast road trip with three games against the Giants. Here’s the lineup:
La Stella 2B
Arrieta will go for his MLB-leading 16th win of the season. He would be the first Cubs pitcher with 16 wins in
a season since 2008 (Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster each won 17). Arrieta has three scoreless outings in four August starts, going 4-0, 0.66 ERA this month.
He’s thrown 12 consecutive quality starts, the longest streak by a Cubs pitcher since Greg Maddux (14 QS) in his 1992
NL Cy Young season. Arrieta is 9-1 with a 1.26 ERA and just one home run allowed during that 12-game stretch.