I’m a little late in blogging, but I just got back upstairs from a wonderful ceremony to honor Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams with a statue in his likeness. We’ll have a story for the paper. As always, Billy was pure class. “I’m living proof that with perseverance, we all can make a dream come true,” Billy said in his remarks. The statue has “Sweet Swinging” Billy in his follow-through, and he said the hit depicted in the statue is a grand slam.
You probably know by now the Cubs called up five players from Iowa: Sam Fuld, Bobby Scales, Brad Snyder, Jeff Samardzija and Justin Berg. Neither Scales nor Snyder was on the 40-man roster. To make room, the Cubs placed pitchers John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad on the 60-day DL.
It’s one more day off for Starlin Castro. I addressed it today in the previous blog, but because it’s new, I’ll rerun it here. Someone asked if manager Mike Quade would have handled a veteran differently for a “mental lapse.” As is the case with all managers, the answer was yes.
"Everything is different,” Mike said today. “You may challenge a veteran more. There's no question you handle veterans versus young players in different ways. Arguably, some of the lapses in concentration that Cassie's had, it's just got youth written all over them. You discipline your 6-year-old different than you discipline your 17-year-old or whatever. So it's case by case. I just think discipline and watching this kid play and giving him a break just all seemed to fit, to me. And we'll see We'll see how he responds."
Asked if he made the decision totally on his own or talked with GM Jim Hendry about it, Mike said: "Jim's been great and has given me leeway to do what I want. I think anytime you do something like this, if you make some serious lineup change that has somebody not playing for reasons just performance wise, it's not my nature just to do it and not talk to Jim or Randy or my staff. I get feedback from all over the place. I've been real happy because Jim's given me the opportunity to just do it. In these situations, I'm doing what I want to do."
Samardzija threw a side session today, and the Cubs will determine in the next few days when he gets a start or two for the big club.
Snyder was rewarded for his big year at Iowa. He had a line of .308/.381/.588 with 25 homers and 106 RBI. Scales was rewarded for his loyalty and as insurance for Aramis Ramirez, who continues to be day to day with the right-quad injury.
"Snyder had a really, really good year,” Hendry said. “A guy like that, we like to take a look at kind of to see where we're at with him by the end of the year moving into the off-season. He knocked in 106 runs, and we're always looking for left-handed hitting. He'll get some chances to see what he can do. It was a well-earned promotion. An older guy. If you don't bring him up, you're talking about a six-year free agent. You might have a hard time re-signing him. We'll take a good look at him now and make our decisions about him over the winter."
From the game notes, Geovany Soto’s 51 homers since the start of the 2008 season are third among catchers behind Brian McCann (64) and Mike Napoli (62).