Happy Memorial Day, and it’s a nice one here at Wrigley. We had a 42-degree day last week. We figure to add up to 50 degrees to that today. It’s another day, another roster move. We reported last night that DJ LeMahieu was coming from Class AA Tennessee and that Jeff Baker was going on the DL.
That has indeed happened, with DJ reporting today. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated reliever Jeff Stevens for assignment. That leaves only John Gaub from the DeRosa trade as far as the 40-man roster goes. The Cubs used Chris Archer to get Matt Garza.
On LeMahieu, manager Mike Quade said: “Why not? The first thing I got to do is figure out how to spell his name.”
I told him that was easy: DJ.
But seriously, I also asked if they’d find a start for the kid. Welington Castillo pretty much sat the whole time he was here
“We’ll look at that,” Q said. “He’ll have to wait his turn much the way I thought Campy would because the three guys are playing so well. He’s versatile enough that he could fill in at first if I wanted to give Los (Q's nickname for Carlos Pena) a day against a tough left-hander. We’ll look at a variety of things. As much as you’d like to get a guy involved, I won’t do it at the expense of three guys that are playing well and are healthy.”
Q was talking about second baseman Darwin Barney, shortstop Starlin Castro and third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He added it wasn’t out of the question LeMahieu could back up at first base. LeMahieu has played second and third for Tennessee. He had a hitting line of .358/.386/.492 with 2 homers, 27 RBI, 15 doubles, 2 triples, 11 walks and 22 strikeouts.
Originally, the Cubs were going to promote him to Class AAA Iowa, but with Baker being hurt, LeMahieu got even better news.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to get that call,” he said. “You dream about it as a kid, like everyone says. Once you play in Double-A, you kind of know that the call might be coming, but I don’t know if you can really prepare yourself for the actual call. It was a great call. I’m really excited to be here.”
“Brian Harper (Tennessee manager) called me and said, ‘You’re going to Iowa.’ I was really excited. I was pumped. Two hours later, I was actually fishing with a couple buddies on a lake in Tennessee. Oneri Fleita called me and said, ‘Change of plans; you’re going to go to Chicago.’ I was like, ‘Did I get traded?’ He said, ‘You ever hear of Wrigley Field?’ It was pretty cool, a pretty cool moment.”
Had a chance to see Matt Garza throwing on the outfield grass today. He got the distance up to about 120 feet. Q says he’ll get up on the mound Wednesday and may do two side sessions. So it’s not a given he’ll start in St. Louis.
A colleague asked if the Cubs’ lack of walks was a concern. Q said no.
“No, I think the emphasis has been on having quality at-bats with people in scoring position,” he said. “I think our on-base percentage is way more than last in the league. That has a lot to do with the fact that we get our share of hits. I don’t to put the cart before the horse. We just like to have quality at-bats, particularly with men in scoring position, continue to set the table the way we’ve been doing it. I do believe that if those quality at-bats get better that there will be walks involved. But right now, I just want to see people continue to get on base and give us a chance to drive in runs.”
Got this note today:
Cubs players will be wearing New Era’s “Stars and Stripes” caps to honor veterans. This effort is done in support of the Welcome Back Troops Fund:
It’s an organization that provides support to veterans and their families when they come home from war.
Had a quick word with Oneri today. The Tennessee club has put pitcher Rob Whitenack on the DL with the elbow strain. Oneri said Whitenack would throw today and that the pain has not come back. Brett Jackson will return to Tennessee’s lineup at Huntsville. Outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha has been sent back to Daytona (A) from Tennessee with Jackson coming back. With Welington Castillo back at Iowa, catcher Steve Clevenger will go back to Tennessee from Iowa.
Iowa lost 9-8 at Round Rock. Recently promoted Alberto Cabrera worked 4 innings, giving up 10 hits and 3 runs while walking four and striking out three. Clevenger hit his third homer, and Jonathon Mota hit his third. Tyler Colvin was 2-for-4.
Tennessee was off. Daytona won its 12th straight, beating Bradenton 6-4. The Cubs are 39-12 and 22-6 in May. Brett Wallach worked 5 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned, while walking one and striking out five. Junior Lake extended a hitting streak to 14 games, going 2-for-4.
At Peoria (A), Matt Szczur hit his first professional homer in an 8-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Graham Hicks got the win, working 5 innings of 1-hit, 1-run ball while walking one and striking out five. Anthony Giansanti hit a pair of homers.