Mitch Atkins was making his way to Wrigley Field from O’Hare airport an hour before the White Sox-Cubs game was set to start.
Atkins incurred long weather delays that impeded his trip from Indianapolis. Any player who’s recalled from a minor-league team must sign a major-league contract when he gets to the ballpark. That contract must be faxed to Major League Baseball headquarters in New York and filed in their computer system before the said player is eligible to play a major-league game.
Atkins arrived in time, and lefthander James Russell was sent back to Triple-A Iowa.
Atkins was set to start last night’s game for the Iowa cubs before being scratched and told that his contract had been selected by the Cubs.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella doesn’t see any reason why his team can’t get back to a competitive state sometime soon.
“Why not? Why can’t we?” Piniella said. “You know we’ve only been to .500 four times. We haven’t been above .500 all year. There’s no reason why we can’t. I’m hoping, I’m optimistic, but we have to get it done on the field. Nobody’s quit here. We have to stay at it and keep grinding.”
The Cubs have lost seven of their last 10 games to teams all below .500 in the standings.
“Every day I come to the ballpark, I’m hopeful that we can start a winning streak and get ourselves moving toward .500.,” Piniella said. “Yeah, we’re trying like heck.”
News and notes: The Cubs have lost to the White Sox eight of the last 10 games… The Cubs fell to seven games under .500 for the first time this season after their loss to the White Sox on Friday. The last time the Cubs were eight games under .500 was June 5, 2007 (24-32)… The Cubs are 92-99 all-time in interleague play.