MILWAUKEE _ We had a few news items come out of an already busy day up here. We’ll get to those plus a few observations and a minor-league roundup. With a big homestand coming up, we’ll be blogging every day, so stick around.
The Cubs effectively shut down pitcher Matt Garza today, transferring him to the 60-day disabled list from the 15-day DL so they could add lefty Chris Rusin to the 25- and 40-man rosters. Rusin will start tonight against the Brewers. The Cubs also activated lefty reliever Alex Hinshaw, whom they claimed off waivers from San Diego this past Sunday. To make room, they optioned reliever Jeff Beliveau and infielder Adrian Cardenas to Class AAA Iowa. Both Beliveau and Cardenas are likely September call-ups.
Garza’s original DL stint is retroactive to July 28. It’s conceivable he could pitch again this season, but manager Dale Sveum said Garza is “shut down.” With beginning a new throwing program and nowhere to go for a minor-league rehab after Labor Day, there’s really no sense in chancing anything with Garza.
“I’m not lying; I’m never going to be fine with it,” said Garza, who is as willful a competitor as there is on the Cubs. “But I kind of have to. You have to accept it.”
Rusin will be the 16th rookie to be used by the Cubs this season. He’ll be the 10th to make his major-league debut. Rusin also becomes the 47th player to be used by the Cubs, four shy of the club record, set in 2000.
You’ll read more in the Daily Herald about the impending move of the Cubs’ Class A Midwest League team from Peoria to Kane County. The Cubs had no comment on the move, but there’s no doubt they’d love to have a farm club right in their backyard.
It makes all the sense in the world: Rehabbing major-league players can take the drive to west suburban Geneva to play their games. The Cubs are a commute away from looking at whatever top prospects would be at Kane County. And if there’s a medical issue with a prospect, he can get to Chicago quickly (well, sometimes, depending on the traffic). The Cougars have been a model franchises for the past two decades, but having the Cubs as a parent team won’t hurt.
In this Internet age, there’s more interest than ever in minor-league players, and I have to believe Cubs fans would flock out to Kane County just to get a glimpse of an Albert Almora or Dan Vogelbach.
The Iowa Cubs had a visitor in Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, who told the Des Moines Register that fans should not focus on the big club’s won-loss record this season.
“Look beyond this season,” Ricketts told Randy Peterson of the Register. “In the long run, I think it’s going in the right direction.”
The I-Cubs lost 11-3 last night to Memphis, as Iowa’s pitchers gave up 11 walks. The Register pointed out Iowa’s 50-80 record and the big club’s 47-74 mark.
“Obviously, it’s not the year we wanted on the field, but there’s a lot of transition in the organization,” Ricketts said to Peterson. “I talk to a lot of fans. I walk around every game.
“Rizzo, Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Luis Valbuena, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Adrian Cardenas — guys who have been on the Iowa roster this season — have been big contributors in Chicago. If you’re committed to player development, like we are, that’s what you want to see.”
The Register mentioned Tony Campana, who eventually lost his big-league job with the call-up of Brett Jackson earlier this month.
“You had to get Brett up there and give him a chance to see what he can do, and I understand that,” Campana told the Register. “For me, it was getting more at-bats. I think I had eight at-bats in my last month. Down here, I can get a month’s worth at-bats, 100 or so, and that’ll end up helping me out a little in the long run.”
Class AA Tennessee beat Chattanooga 5-1. Nick Struck got a no-decision, working 6 innings and giving up 6 hits and 1 run while walking two and striking out three. He also hit a double and scored a run. Junior Lake, playing third base, extended a hit streak to four games, going 2-for-4 with a double.
Daytona (A), which has had way too many games rained out, had a day off yesterday. Peoria (A) fell 8-1 to Wisconsin. Joe Zeller took the loss, working 6 innings and giving up 10 hits and 7 runs, 5 earned. He’s 2-4 with a 3.61 ERA. Shortstop Tim Saunders extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 2-for-4.
Boise (A) lost 8-7 to Yakima. Starter Ian Dickson worked 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 unearned runs. Dan Vogelbach hit his ninth homer, going 3-for-4 with a walk. Marco Hernandez hit his fifth homer.
Mesa (Rookie) lost 5-1 to the Padres. Paul Blackburn started and went 4 innings of 2-hit shutout ball, walking one and striking out four. Carlos Penalver was 2-for-4 with a steal.