Sunday brunch blog: Clevenger to DL; Loe claimed
Another busy Sunday at the ballpark. Steve Clevenger got the bad news that he’ll miss a minimum of six weeks with a strained left oblique muscle, suffered when he struck out swinging to end Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Giants. The Cubs placed Clevenger on the 60-day disabled list along with claiming right-handed reliever Kameron Loe off waivers from Seattle. They also signed former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg to a minor-league deal.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Clevenger said. “At the same time, I’m determined not to let it get to me. I’ll be getting my work in and try to get back as soon as possible.”
Clevenger said he knew it was bad from the get-go.
“Yeah, as soon as I swung, it felt like somebody stuck a knife in my side,” he said. “The reason I wasn’t moving (was that) I couldn’t really breathe too good, so I stayed down, trying to catch my breath as quick as possible. It took awhile to catch my breath.”
Clevenger suffered a right-oblique injury last year. He was on the DL for that injury from April 28 (retro to April 26) to May 29.
For the team, the injury takes away some flexibility for manager Dale Sveum, who had three catchers on the roster, with Clevenger, Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro. Managers generally are reluctant to pinch hit with a catcher when they’re carrying two for fear that they’ll be without a catcher if one gets hurt and the other pinch hits.
“You probably have to be a little choosier,” Dale said. “Sometimes you just have to, if it’s going to win you a game in the seventh inning, you’re just going to have to say, ‘Hey, Castillo, don’t get hurt.’”
Today’s lineup vs. Tim Lincecum:
With Clevenger’s injury, backup infielders Alberto Gonzalez and Brent Lillibridge are safe for now. But when Darwin Barney comes off the DL Tuesday, something will have to give. It’s possible Gonzalez or Lillibridge will be designated for assignment. The other backup infielder is Luis Valbuena, but his job is safe.
Navarro gets the start in place of Castillo. Navarro had never hit a pinch-hit home run before Friday. Now he’s got 2 in two days, and 1 from each side of the plate.
“So far in 11 games, our catchers have been very productive. We got the right guy up yesterday (Castillo in a bases-loaded situation). He’s hitting .400 against right-handers. He’s really been swinging the bat well. We had the right guy up there. Unfortunately, he hit into a double play. Navarro’s hit 2 huge home runs off the bench in the last two days. He brings you that ability to switch hit and be a quality hitter from both sides of the late and obviously still be able to receive and catch, too.”
The Cubs today also said they have signed veteran reliever Kevin Gregg to a minor-league contract. That one seemed to light up the Twitter world. Relax. The Cubs have not signed Gregg to be their closer. They were looking to add an arm to the inventory, especially with pitchers getting hit hard at Class AAA Iowa in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Gregg will go to Mesa and throw before most likely heading to Iowa.
From the game notes: The Cubs have played in five 1-run games, this season, going 2-3. That’s the second-most in the majors. The White Sox have played six … The Cubs have allowed 5 home runs, the fewest in the big leagues. Cubs pitchers have not allowed a HR in 45 innings, after Atlanta’s Dan Uggla hit a solo shot in last Sunday’s eighth inning off Hisanori Takahashi … Castillo’s .364 batting average ranks seventh in the NL while Nate Schierholtz’s .355 is 10th … The Cubs have 6 quality starts, and Cubs starters have held opponents to a .215 batting average.
The Kane County Cougars’ Dan Vogelbach tweeted today that the Cougars have been snowed out again in Wisconsin. Yesterday, the Cougars split a doubleheader at Wisconsin. Vogelbach homered in the first game, a 7-6 loss. The Cougars won the nightcap 3-1. Ian Dickson took the loss in Game 1, giving up 8 hits and 7 runs. Rock Shoulders recorded a hit in his eighth consecutive game to start the season. In Game 2, Felix Pena worked 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 unearned run. Willson Contreras homered, a 2-run shot after entering the game in the seventh.
Class AAA Iowa beat Albuquerque 6-1. Barret Loux got the win, working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 1 run. Logan Watkins hit his second homer.
Class AA Tennessee beat Chattanooga 8-6 after getting out to an 8-1 lead. Kyle Hendricks got the win with 6 innings of 5-hit, 1-run ball. He walked three and struck out one. Arismendy Alcantara hit a homer, going 2-for-5. Rubi Silva doubled, tripled and drove in 2, going 3-for-4.
Class A Daytona committed 3 errors, losing 9-4 at Tampa. P.J. Francescon started and took the loss. He worked 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Javier Baez doubled, tripled and drove in 2.