The Cubs made a roster move today, obtaining catcher Anthony Recker from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for catcher Blake Lalli. The Cubs optioned Recker to Class AAA Iowa. To accommodate Recker on the 40-man roster, they designated lefty reliever Scott Maine for assignment. We've got some updates here and some "inside-baseball" talk, so give us a new read here.
At Sacramento, Recker had a line of .265/.358/.435 in 52 games with 9 homers and 25 RBI. Last year, he hit 16 homers for Sacramento. Recker has appeared in 18 big-league games for the A’s between this year and last, going 7-for-48. He played for the Kane County Cougars in 2006 after being drafted in the 18th round in 2005.
Lalli made his big-league debut for the Cubs this year after being up for a short time in late May.
UPDATES: There had been some concern over No. 1 draft pick Albert Almora, who seemed to twist his ankle as he hit the bag awkwardly the other day for Class A Boise. Scouting and player-development chief Jason McLeod tells me Almora is is seeing the doctor in Boise today and that the Cubs should know more later. Jason said Almora was doing better yesterday and that the Cubs hope he can play in another day or two.
On a question on our blog about Juan Paniagua, Jason said the Cubs slowly would work him into a starting role to build experience and innings. He added it's too early to determine his future role but that "he has a very good arm with makings of solid secondary stuff."
In the pregame, Dale Sveum was asked about patience at the plate in general and Ryan Braun in specific. So let's get into another of our "inside-baseball" segments here.
On the Brewers' Braun, Dale said: “When he came up, he swung at more pitches out of the strike zone than anybody in baseball his first two seasons.
“Like I’ve said before, it’s not the easiest thing to teach because you’re still trying to create slugging percentage, guys that have the ability to hit home runs. You have to remember that Braun went to a major college and played a long time. He was able to make some adjustments, but he came to the conclusion that he was strong enough, fast enough and confident enough that he was going to hit any fastball in any count. A lot of times, young players don’t have that confidence in their abilities to hit a fastball in any count, so they speed things up. But obviously, he’s changed things. He’s able to hit 0-1 without panic. He doesn’t swing at a lot of 2-0 pitches. He doesn’t swing at 3-1 pitches. But that comes with a tremendous amount of confidence.”
On teaching young players to be patient, Dale said: “It’s very difficult unless you tell them to take pitches. That’s a very difficult. About the time you do that, there’s a ball right down the middle, and then they get frustrated, and the whole system breaks down. The system of on-base percentage and OPS, obviously, it’s the stat that we all judge everybody by offensively. But you’ve got to remember that curve is brought up by the Yankees and Red Sox and the Rangers, all these guys are 28-32-year-old hitters. That’s why that scale is so high.”
Chris Rusin went back to Iowa and turned in a good performance yesterday despite taking the loss as Oklahoma City beat the I-Cubs 4-3 in the home finale in Des Moines. Rusin worked 7 innings and gave up 4 hits and 3 runs while walking one and striking out seven. He’s 8-9 with a 4.55 ERA. For Rusin, it was his 11th quality start. Jim Adduci was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Here’s an interesting note from the Des Moines Register about the home finale:
“The Iowa Cubs traditionally honor the team’s most valuable player, pitcher of the year and newcomer of the year before the season’s final game at Principal Park. The 2012 home season ended Sunday with a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma City, but no individual awards were passed out.”
GM Sam Bernabe told the paper: “The candidates that were being considered are all in the big leagues at the time, or they haven’t been here long enough to qualify.”
Tennessee (AA) got a quality start from Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch, who got no decision in the Smokies’ 4-3 win over Mobile. Jokisch worked 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and 3 runs while walking one and striking out four. He has a 2.97 ERA and should be in the running for the Cubs’ minor-league pitcher of the year award. Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-for-4. Dundee-Crown’s Elliot Soto was 2-for-3. Trey McNutt got the win in relief, pitching 2 scoreless innings.
Daytona (A) was off. Peoria (A) beat Wisconsin 10-3. Jeffy Antigua worked 7 scoreless innings of 3-hit ball, walking none and striking out seven. He improved to 2-2 with a 1.53 ERA. First baseman Jacob Rogers homered for the Chiefs. Jorge Soler was 2-for-5 with a double and 2 RBI.
“I was looking for something good to hit,” Rogers told the Peoria Journal Star. “I was struggling lately and looking for a pitch I could drive. I got all of it. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit one that far, but it felt good.” Rogers was the Cubs’ 40-th-rounder this year.
Boise (A) lost 5-1 at Vancouver to finish an 11-game road trip 7-4. Felix Pena took the loss, working 4.1 innings and giving up 5 hits and 4 runs. He’s 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA. Stephen Bruno, playing left field, extended a hit streak to 17 games, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. He’s 28-for-68 (.412) during the streak. Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-3.
Mesa (Rookie) beat the A’s 5-2. Juan Paniagua got the win in relief, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out three. Duane Underwood started and worked 2.1 innings, giving up 2 hits and no runs while walking two and striking out one. Trevor Gretzky was 3-for-4.