The Rundown: Kyle Schwarber Will Head to AAA After 6 Games with Cubs, Neil Ramirez to Begin AA Rehab Assignment, Cubs Sign 1st-Round Pick Ian Happ

Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks on their third championship since 2010. I was in attendance at the United Center last night and it was unbelievable. I can only hope to be witnessing something similar at Wrigley Field sometime soon.

I will also settle for a World Series winner on the road — I’m not too picky.

There was no Cubs game yesterday due to some gnarly Chicago weather, but it was by no means a quiet Monday on the news front.

First things first, yesterday’s postponed game against the Indians has been rescheduled for Aug. 24. The rotation will just be pushed back a day, meaning Jake Arrieta will be on the bump tonight.

Unfortunately, both the Pirates and Cardinals won yesterday (do they ever lose?), so the Cubs fall back another half-game to each team.

However, the biggest bomb to drop was the news of super prospect Kyle Schwarber joining the Cubs for their upcoming games in American League ballparks. It’ll only be for six games, after which the big-hitting prospect will be sent to Triple-A.

Last year, Theo Epstein said the Cubs wouldn’t be giving the fans “cookies,” i.e., promoting prospects before they’re ready just to please fans. Epstein is more interested in cooking and serving the entire meal.

The brief Schwarber promotion does have a cookie feel to it, but if he comes up and shows he’s not over-matched — and then continues to dominate in Iowa — the young catcher definitely has a chance to be a part of that meal as soon as this season.

Ramirez update

More good bullpen news: Neil Ramirez will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday.

Ramirez is a huge piece to the Cubs bullpen, and will provide some more stability to the 7th or 8th inning role.

Despite the uncertainty with the closer role, the Cubs bullpen has been very effective lately. With Ramirez working his way back, and recently signed free-agent Rafael Soriano waiting in the wings, this could be a very strong bullpen.

This shouldn’t be too surprising, however. Coming into this season, the bullpen appeared to be a strength, before injuries to Justin Grimm and Ramirez. Now things are coming into focus.

Ian Happ signs

The Cubs have signed 2015 first-round pick Ian Happ, and view him as another polished college bat that will be able to move quickly through the minor leagues, writes Patrick Mooney.

Happ looks like a very versatile player who can switch-hit and get on base.

He will likely spend a short while at the Cubs Arizona complex and then head to short-season A-ball in Eugene, OR.

Preseason expectations

After getting off to a 32-33 record, the San Diego Padres fired manager Bud Black yesterday. Definitely a surprising move, as Black is very respected around baseball. Dave Roberts will take over on an interim basis.

Hearing the news, I thought back to this offseason. Who were the teams that “won” the offseason? The Padres were very likely on the top of that list, acquiring Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, James Shields and Craig Kimbrel.

The Red Sox spent big bucks to acquire Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. And the White Sox made a ton of moves as well, acquiring Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche.

The Cubs, who signed Jon Lester and acquired one of the best managers in the game, received plenty of praise for their offseason as well.

At this point in the season, the Cubs are the only team playing well. It’s still early, and some of the other teams could turn things around, but this just goes to show the unpredictability of baseball.

It certainly appeared, before the season started, that the Cubs had vastly improved. I’m just glad their play is backing it up.


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