After battling a sore right side for a while now, infielder Tommy La Stella has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to April 9.
Taking his place is LHP Zac Rosscup, who will help out a heavily used bullpen. But the move leaves the Cubs with an extremely short bench — one featuring three catchers.
With third baseman Mike Olt ailing after being hit by a pitch on the hand last Saturday, the natural question becomes: Will the Cubs call up top prospect Kris Bryant on Friday — the day that would mark an extra year of control?
Because the Cubs last year called up hyped prospects Javier Baez and Jorge Soler while the team was on the road, many people guessed a April 20 target date, when the Cubs will start a series in Pittsburgh.
But it could be sooner.
Before last night’s game, Theo Epstein was non-commital. “We don’t know yet,” he told Patrick Mooney. “Every day, check in with the trainers, check in with the manager, check in with the development guys, watch the video, see where we’re at and put it all together.”
I’m thinking this is going to come down to the health of Mike Olt. If he can get back into the lineup this weekend, I think the Cubs will hold off on bring up Bryant until the Pittsburgh series (or maybe the following series in Cincinnati).
Olt pinch-hit and stayed in the game on Sunday, but then was scratched from the starting lineup Monday night. He made a late-inning appearance in last night’s game as well, so hopefully that hand is progressing.
If it’s not, we might see Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field this weekend. And that would be a lot of fun.
I know it’s early, but this Cubs team feels noticeably different from the past couple years. This is an obvious statement considering the additions of a new manager and ace pitcher.
But even without that ace pitcher coming through yet (only two games), the Cubs are finding themselves in games (and winning games) that would have been out of the question in the past.
Now, instead of feeling like a mountain, a three-run deficit is nothing — as we saw twice on Monday night. And they almost did it again last night. With an extremely short bench.
A lot of factors are at play here. The bullpen has been unbelievable, the Cubs are getting on base at a nice clip, etc.
But it really feels like the X-factor is Maddon. Carrying three catchers seems like it would be a pretty big burden, but he’s making it work. Welington Castillo, a former starter now cast off to the bench, has had two huge pinch-hit at-bats in as many nights.
Maddon deployed a lineup on Monday that basically featured three automatic outs, yet they still made two three-run comebacks and won in extra innings.
As Evan wrote the other day, this team is fun. But they’re also looking pretty damn good.
#Cubs Maddon: "If we keep giving that kind of effort all year long, I'll be very happy. Good things are going to happen"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 15, 2015
Maddon on the Score
I was pretty excited to hear that Joe Maddon would be making a weekly appearance on 670 the Score on Tuesdays. Yesterday was his first visit with the Spiegel and Goff Show, and it didn’t really go as I anticipated.
Maddon seemed somewhat irritated at times during the interview, particularly when Jason Goff questioned the Cubs manager about the decision to send Javier Baez to Triple-A Iowa to begin the year.
He sounded grumpier than I’ve heard in most other interviews previously. I’m not sure if he was annoyed with the questions or if it was the cough/cold he admitted to having. But it’ll be interesting to monitor going forward. Maddon will be on the show every Tuesday at noon throughout the season.
* The Iowa Cubs were rained out yesterday. So no Kris Bryant home runs. (Rip-off.)
* One of the Cubs’ top low-level prospects, shortstop Gleyber Torres, is heating up after starting the year 0-for-8. After going 2-for-3 with a walk, RBI and stolen base yesterday, the 18-year-old is hitting .348/.423/.391 for the South Bend Cubs.