Javier Baez and Josh Vitters each homered to back Eric Jokisch and lead Iowa to an 11-2 win over New Orleans. Jokisch gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings and struck out five. Baez finished with three RBI. Mike Olt had two hits, including a bases-clearing double. It was the first game that Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler played in together, batting 3-4-5.
Pierce Johnson gave up two hits over six shutout innings in Tennessee’s 4-2 win over Mississippi. In his first game with the Smokies, Lars Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
Daytona and St. Lucie were postponed because of rain, and will try to play a doubleheader Friday.
Jacob Rogers hit his 11th home run to help Kane county beat South Bend, 5-3. Jen-Ho Tseng gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings for the win. Shawon Dunston had two hits, a stolen base, and one RBI.
Danny Canela and Justin Marra each homered to help Boise beat Everett, 7-3. David Bote had two hits.
Mesa blew a 5-1 lead and lost 7-6 to the Athletics. Kevonte Mitchell had two hits, including a triple, and one RBI.
Travis Wood takes the mound Friday as the Cubs open a three-game homestand against the Cardinals, who are battling for the top spot in the NL Central. Emilio Bonifacio gets the day off and still no Justin Ruggiano, who has been slowed by tightness in his groin. Here’s the lineup:
It’s Jack Brickhouse day at Wrigley Field on Friday. The first 10,000 fans at Friday’s Cubs vs. Cardinals game will receive a Jack Brickhouse Bobblehead with an audio chip of Brickhouse calling Ernie Banks 500th home run, presented by Advocate Health Care. Pat Brickhouse, Jack’s widow, will toss a ceremonial first pitch and sing the seventh inning stretch. Jack Brickhouse broadcast Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948-81, and received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. He died in August 1998.
Looking ahead to the Cubs series this weekend against the Cardinals, here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: LHP Travis Wood (7-9, 5.12) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (2-1, 2.84)
Saturday: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-2, 2.12) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (7-8, 4.25)
Sunday: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 2.77) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (12-5, 2.02)
Arismendy Alcantara and Emilio Bonifacio are switching places on the field, with Alcantara starting at second base Thursday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Padres. Edwin Jackson gets the start. Here’s the lineup:
Dae-Eun Rhee gave up one unearned run over six innings in Iowa’s 13-4 win over New Orleans. Lars Anderson homered, and was then sent to Tennessee to make room for Mike Olt. Anderson, Kris Bryant and Ryan Kalish each had three RBIs. Kyuji Fujikawa struck out two in one inning of relief.
Eduardo Figueroa gave up one run over five innings in Tennessee’s 6-3 win over Mississippi. Stephen Bruno and Christian Villanueva each had two hits and two RBis.
Dan Vogelbach hit two home runs to help Daytona beat Palm Beach, 6-2. It was Vogelbach’s third multi-homer game. Rob Zastryzny threw six shutout innings for the win. Billy McKinney extended his hit streak to six straight games, and now has hit in 11 of his last 12 games since joining the D-Cubs.
Kevin Brown had three hits and two RBIs in Kane County’s 5-2 win over South Bend. Duane Underwood gave up two runs on three hits over five innings, striking out seven. Gerardo Concepcion threw three scoreless innings.
Boise’s game vs. Everett was postponed because of rain.
C.J. Edwards gave up one hit over two innings in his first start since coming off the DL, pitching for the Mesa Rookie League team. Edwards walked one and struck out two. Mesa won, 10-0, over the Rangers. Seven Mesa hitters had two hits apiece.
There has been plenty of speculation by commenters here about whether or not Jorge Soler or others will be called up in September. On Wednesday, Theo Epstein was asked whether Soler would be promoted because the outfielder was on the 40-man roster.
“The 40-man is a real consideration when it comes to promotions,” Epstein said. “If a player is already on the 40 or has to be protected this winter and has to be added to the roster [because of the Rule 5 Draft], it just makes it easier to call them up than if you have to prematurely add a player to the 40-man just for September.
“We haven’t made those decisions yet,” Epstein said. “We talk about the different possibilities and discuss the pros and cons. We don’t start to focus on it until the last week of August, and even then, we hope that [Triple-A] Iowa will be in the playoffs and we hope they go deep. That affects the calculus if you’re only looking at a couple weeks left in the Major League season.
“Yes, the 40-man does make a difference, and the need to be added for Rule 5 protection, does make a difference.”
For a list of who is on the 40-man roster, you can go to Cubs.com, and click on “Roster.”
– Carrie Muskat
* With Mike Olt optioned to Triple-A Iowa, Luis Valbuena will get the majority of playing time at third base, manager Rick Renteria said. Valbuena made his 51st start at third on Wednesday; Olt had started 47 games at third.
* Olt will play first base and be the designated hitter while at Iowa. He was batting .139 in 72 games, but did lead all NL rookies with 12 home runs. He also has struck out 84 times in 187 at-bats.
“He acknowledged he’s gotten into a few bad habits at the plate, and bad habits that he couldn’t break out of at the big league level,” Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “I think playing every day down there will be good for him.”
* Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa, struck out two of the three batters he faced Wednesday. Fujikawa, who had Tommy John surgery in June 2013, threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes, in his second outing with the team.
* Manny Ramirez, a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a right calf strain. Ramirez pinch-hit on Wednesday and was batting .176 (6-for-34) in 11 games with the Minor League team.
– Carrie Muskat
The Trade Deadline is approaching, but Theo Epstein says the Cubs aren’t frantically trying to make changes to the roster.
“We’re not in a rush to make moves,” Epstein said Wednesday.
The Cubs made their splash on July 4 when they dealt Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s. Epstein said they are evaluating the current roster to determine who they’d like to keep, who can help the team going forward, and what they can do on the field with the next generation coming up.
“There’s value to keeping players who have roles here for the sake of continuity and leadership and performance on the field,” Epstein said. “We’re not in any rush to make trades for the sake of making trades.”
– Carrie Muskat
When Anthony Rizzo crossed home plate after hitting his 24th, and then his 25th home runs, he touched his fingers to his lips and then pointed to the sky. It was a message to a 22-year-old cancer patient who the Cubs first baseman had met earlier in the day.
On Tuesday, Rizzo made his monthly visit to the cancer ward at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and met one of the patients, Mike, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Mike is a “huge Cubs fan,” Rizzo said Wednesday, and the first baseman didn’t exactly promise he would hit a home run, but said he’d try.
Rizzo not only hit one, but notched his seventh career multi-homer game, and third this year, and has set a career high in homers this season, topping the old mark of 23, set last year.
Meeting Mike brought back some memories for Rizzo, 24, who was diagnosed in 2008 with Hodgkins lymphoma, and battled back.
“This one hit more at home for me,” Rizzo said about meeting Mike, his mother, and his girl friend. “I usually don’t get flashbacks, but I did this time.”
– Carrie Muskat