Hinshaw finds Cubs offer much familiarity

MILWAUKEE -- It’s the first day and already it has been an easy transition for new Chicago Cubs reliever Alex Hinshaw.

One of Hinshaw’s new teammates is Justin Germano, his classmate at Claremont (Calif.) High School. And as a current resident of Beaverton, Ore., he sometimes works out in the winter with another Beaverton resident, Darwin Barney.

“It’s always nice to have familiar faces around a new organization,” said Hinshaw, who was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres over the weekend. “Coming in this late in the season you want to get as acclimated as possible. When you know somebody as long as I have known Justin it helps the acclimation a little easier.”

So now that the initial adjustment is ahead of schedule it’s just a matter of settling in on the field. About as specific as the Cubs get with their plans for Hinshaw are to use him out of the bullpen and in middle relief.

“He’s a left-handed guy with a good arm and we’ll evaluate for the next 40 days or so,” manager Dale Sveum said.

With the Padres this season he was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA over 28 innings. His 36 strikeouts gave him an 11.6 strikeouts-per-nine-innings average. Now he waits to see how he is used.

“I really have no expectations (of a role), whatever the skipper has in mind,” Hinshaw said. “I’ll work with the pitching coach and whenever they call my name to get ready it’s my job to get outs regardless of the situation. It’s always the way I’ve gone about being a reliever is regardless of the situation I have to treat it as that’s the out that I need to make.”

With the Cubs in rebuilding mode, Hinshaw knows that success can put him in the team’s plans moving forward with the chance at a long-term opportunity.

“I’d love to be able to be considered for something like that,” he said. “Chicago is obviously a very historic franchise. Even when I played in Wrigley as a visitor it was always nostalgic for me to be able to touch the ivy and everything. Now I’m honored to be able to contribute to this organization for this year and hopefully for many years to come.”