Lefty Rosscup adds spice to call-up mix
There were hints Monday that the Cubs would go outside of the 40-man roster for their additional September call-ups. They did just that today, selecting the contract of left-handed reliever Zach Rosscup from Class AAA Iowa. To make room on the 40-man for Rosscup, the Cubs designated outfielder Dave Sappelt for assignment. Sappelt had been playing at Iowa.
The Cubs also recalled right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm, left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley and catcher J.C. Boscan from Iowa. Grimm came over from the Rangers in the July 22 Matt Garza trade. He will work out of the bullpen, as will Raley. Boscan was up for a day in August but did not see action.
The additions of Raley and Rosscup give the Cubs two more lefties in the pen to take some of the workload off James Russell. Rosscup, 25, came to the Cubs from Tampa in the January 2011 trade that also brought Garza to the Cubs.
Rosscup began the season at Class AA Tennessee, where he went 2-1 with 3 saves and a 2.49 ERA. At Iowa, Rosscup did not allow an earned run in 9 appearances, striking out 17 in 17.2 innings. At both minor-league stops, he struck out 83 in 51 innings, making him an intriguing possibility for next year.
“It will be nice to see Rosscup and Grimm in action, see what they got at the big-league level in person,” said manager Dale Sveum.
Grimm went 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA with the Rangers. At Iowa, he went 2-3 with a 4.68 ERA.
“Just excited to get in, meeting new people and see how this organization works and hopefully getting out there and showing them what I’ve got,” Grimm said.
Right-hander Scott Baker returned to Wrigley Field today after working a season-high 5.2 innings Monday for the Kane County Cougars in his final rehab stint from Tommy John surgery. Sveum said the Cubs will evaluate Baker’s situation over the next couple of days. When and if they activate him, Baker will go to the bullpen.
The Cubs named Kris Bryant their minor-league player of the month for August and right-hander Pierce Johnson their minor-league pitcher of the month. Bryant was the Cubs’ first-round draft choice this year. In August, he batted .381 (32-for-84) with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs and 21 RBI in 24 games between Boise (A) and Daytona (A). He had a .438 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage, good for an OPS of 1.199, second highest in minor-league baseball.
Johnson went 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA (2 earned runs over 17.2 innings) in 4 August games, 3 starts, for Daytona. He walked nine and struck out 22, limiting opposing hitters to a .186 average.
Class AAA Iowa dropped its season finale at Nashville 2-1, finishing with a record of 66-78. Kyle Hendricks took the loss as he worked 6 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs while walking one and striking out one. He finished 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA at Iowa. Tim Torres went 2-for-3 with a homer. Dave Sappelt finished the season with a 10-game hitting streak. He was 2-for-4 Monday and hit .385 (15-for-39) during the streak.
Class AA Tennessee finished its regular season with a 4-3 loss to Chattanooga. The Smokies will begin the Southern League playoffs with a best-of-five North Division championship series Thursday at Birmingham. In Monday’s game, Northwestern’s Eric Jokisch worked 5.2 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned. He walked none and struck out seven. Jokisch went 11-13 with a 3.42 ERA. Third baseman Christian Villanueva hit his 19th home run.
Daytona (A) had Monday off. The Cubs return to action today in Game 1 of the Florida State League Championship Series against Dunedin.
The Kane County Cougars finished with a 5-4 victory over Peoria and finished 55-80 in their first season as a Cubs affiliate. We had Scott Baker’s line in today’s paper for his rehab start: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB and 4 SO. Baker did not issue a walk in his last 2 starts. Oliver Zapata hit his seventh homer of the season. Jeimer Candelario and Giuseppe Papaccio each had 3 hits.
Boise (A) dropped its regular-season finale, 10-6 to Hillsboro. The Hawks will host Salem-Keizer in the best-of-three Northwest League South division series beginning tonight. Paul Blackburn starts for Boise. In Monday’s game, Michael Wagner took the loss, working 3 innings and giving up 5 hits and 4 runs. Rony Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with 2 walks, double and 3 RBI. Kevin Encarnacion finished the season as the Northwest League leader in batting average (.355 on 59-for-166 hitting) and in slugging percentage (.566).
As far as the playoffs go, Blackburn sounds ready.
“I know their hitters,” he told the Idaho Statesman. “I’ve thrown well against them. … Salem doesn’t want to play us. We’ve played good against them the whole year. The offense comes around when we play them, so it will be a good series.”