Chicago Cubs: Adrian Cardenas
The Cubs designated Recker to make room on the 40-man roster for right-hander Carlos Gutierrez, who the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
In addition to losing Recker, the Cubs also outrighted four players to Triple-A Iowa: infielder Adrian Cardenas, as well as right-handers Miguel Socolovich, Jason Berken and Marcos Mateo. All four are now off the 40-man roster.
CHICAGO – The first wave of reinforcements for the Chicago Cubs were in the house Saturday, but the team’s tough schedule down the stretch figures to limit their playing time.
Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas and Dave Sappelt were all added as rosters were expanded across baseball for the final month. Recently claimed pitcher Miguel Socolovich will be added Sunday and pitcher Chris Russin and catcher Anthony Recker will join the Cubs on Tuesday.
Manager Dale Sveum’s reluctance to use them, though, isn’t necessarily because he doesn’t want them to be exposed against teams like the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals, all of whom loom during the final month.
Because Sveum wants to field a competitive team against contenders he expects to use his regulars more often in September.
“The core of the lineup will be pretty much the same all the time,” Sveum said. “It’s not something where I’m going to play these guys a lot. It will just be periodic, matchups, but like I said before, when we’re playing these teams in first place, we’re going to put our core guys out there every day.”
Six games remaining with Houston and three with Colorado will give Sveum more of a chance to see what the newcomers are made of, but the regulars are still being evaluated as well. Just because the Cubs are teetering on a 100-loss season, doesn’t mean the manager can’t see what some of his guys are made of.
“With the way our record is and the end of the season coming up, you can find out a lot about people,” Sveum said. “Are they that guy who grinds it out on a daily basis and an at-bat basis and all that, compared to caring that the season’s ending? You come to play and beat somebody’s butt every day. You don’t know that Oct. 1 is nearing.”
One move was already made Friday when left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau was called up to replace Brooks Raley, who is being shut down for the year after reaching his personal 150-innings limit.
Three moves are scheduled for Saturday with Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas and Dave Sappelt all coming up to the major leagues.
In other roster additions, pitcher Miguel Socolovich will be called up Sunday and pitcher Chris Rusin and catcher Anthony Recker will be added Tuesday.
Socolovich and Recker were both claimed off waivers recently and optioned to Triple-A and can’t come up for 10 days after they were originally assigned to a club. Rusin will be added to the rotation to take over the spot Raley had occupied.
Left-hander Alex Hinshaw, who was claimed off waivers from the Padres on Sunday, is expected to be activated, as is lefty Chris Rusin, who will start the night game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The likely candidates to be sent down in order to make roster space are left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau and left-handed hitting infielder Adrian Cardenas.
Beliveau had been effective in his short stay in the major leagues until Monday when he gave up two home runs while only facing three Brewers hitters. Before Monday’s outing, Beliveau had been on a run of seven consecutive scoreless outings.
Hinshaw, who was in the big leagues this season for the first time since 2009, was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA over 31 outings with the Padres. Rusin will be making his major-league debut on Tuesday.
CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster’s shadow was still in full view at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night just seven hours after the popular Cub was traded to Texas for two prospects.
After the news of his move to the AL came out, Dempster briefly meet with Chicago media members. When asked how he would have pitched if he had not been traded, he deadpanned: “I think I would have thrown a no-hitter tonight.”
As Dempster made his way to the airport to join his new club, Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett picked up the joke where Dempster left off, no-hitting the Cubs through 7 2/3 innings. Pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas line-drive single broke it up as the Pirates pitcher settled for a complete game one hit shutout.
In some ways, it was as if the game was being replayed Tuesday night, although instead of starting at third base like he did in that May 25 game at Pittsburgh, he watched from the bench after being recalled to the Cubs earlier in the day.
Cardenas finally took center stage as a pinch hitter with two outs in the eighth inning and managed to break up Burnett’s no-hit bid with a sharp single into right field.
“I faced him before; I won’t forget that game,” Cardenas said. “It’s the game I made two errors at third base. A.J. Burnett pitched that game. But I remembered him and I remembered how he was pitching throughout the game.”
A little knowledge went a long way, as Cardenas’ hit meant the Cubs’ streak of 7,441 games without being no-hit remained intact.
“I was able to get that hit, and it was good but it was very short-lived because to no avail, we lost 5-0,” Cardenas said. “It’s definitely sweet to break up the no-hitter here at our place. That’s something you don’t want to be a part of.”
Dempster wasn’t pitching Tuesday after he was traded to the Texas Rangers, but Cardenas had been thinking about him.
“I wish I was able to say goodbye to Dempster,” Cardenas said. “He was one of the best teammates I ever played with. He actually pitched the game I made two errors in, and I remember him encouraging me after I made a good play after the error where anybody could have shown me up, especially somebody like him with his years, and he never ever did that. ... He was just a great person.”
CHICAGO – In the wake of two trades Monday night, the Cubs recalled three players from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.
Casey Coleman, Adrian Cardenas and Welington Castillo all joined the big league roster. A fourth player is still to be added after the Ryan Dempster trade on Tuesday. That player is expected to be a relief pitcher.
Cardenas takes the spot of Reed Johnson, who was also moved to Atlanta. He can give the Cubs some coverage in the infield and the outfield and supplies a left-handed bat off the bench.
Castillo will take the roster spot of Geovany Soto, who was traded to the Texas Rangers. Manager Dale Sveum said that for now he will split the catching duties evenly with Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
Cardenas is the player the Cubs will send down Tuesday when Rizzo is officially called up to the major leagues.
Cardenas, a left-handed hitting utility player, saw limited action after he was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on May 7. Counting his at-bat Monday, when he reached on a three-base error, he was 7-for-37 (.189), with five of those hits going for doubles.
Cardenas was informed of the move following Monday’s game and said his goodbyes to teammates in the postgame locker room. He made just six starts with the Cubs. At Triple-A Iowa he was hitting .319 with seven doubles, three triples, two home runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games.
CHICAGO -- The ascension of Anthony Rizzo from the minor league’s top slugger to Wrigley Field should take place sometime in the next week. As for what to expect from the 23-year-old first baseman, many of his former Iowa teammates are anticipating great results.
“There is no question about it, he has that great confidence in himself,” said infielder Adrian Cardenas. “He has a presence about him, make no mistake about it. But he is just one of the guys not cocky in a bad way, but confident in a positive way.”
Rizzo’s minor league numbers have been off the charts. Over a period of two years covering 157 games, he has 49 home runs and 110 RBIs to go along with a .343 batting average.
“He can hit any pitch and his plate discipline has improved,” said pitcher Casey Coleman. “Guys have tried to get him to chase pitches, but he doesn’t and ends up hitting in more favorable counts, often getting the pitch he wants.”
Team executives have said since acquiring Rizzo for Andrew Cashner this past winter, that once he is back in the major leagues, he will play first base every day.
“The one thing that is not talked about enough is Rizzo’s defense. He goes after everything out there and he has a great glove. He scoops everything up at first,” Coleman said. “When I got to play next to him at Iowa, I found out that as good as he is on offense, he is even that much better on defense.”
Added Cardenas: “That is really special for a great hitter to take so much pride on defense. It’s going to be fun watching him when he gets here.”
Rizzo was frequently bested by big league pitchers in his first exposure to the majors last summer (posting 46 strikeouts in 144 at-bats).
“He was this big strong guy last year that could handle the low pitch and be pitched to up high,” Coleman said. “This spring he lowered his hands at the plate and the results are less swing and misses.”
The clock is ticking and the beginning of what could be a big-time career may be just a few days away for Rizzo.
“He is a young guy who has a lot of energy and plays hard,” said reliever Scott Maine. “He does all the right things and I really think Chicago fans are going to love him. The statistics speak for themselves, so he is going to go hard on the field, and I think do a great job.”
Geovany Soto finished up a minor league rehabilitation assignment Sunday and although manager Dale Sveum wouldn’t confirm it, the belief is that he will join fellow catchers Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo on the roster.
That would free up Clevenger to be used as a pinch hitter and as a first baseman for double switches on the days he isn’t in the starting lineup.
Since he was called up to the major leagues on May 7, Cardenas has received limited chances. He has played in just 23 games and started five of them. He is just 5-for-33 (.152) at the plate, but all five of those hits are doubles.
The Cubs are expected to activate Soto on Monday before the opener of a three-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Called up to the major leagues Monday for the first time in his career, Cardenas marveled at how big Lake Michigan is and admitted that it is his first ever visit to the city. The promotion came nearly three months to the day that he was claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the Oakland Athletics.
“I had a chance to come here this offseason when I got claimed and I elected not to, sort of because I realized if I had the opportunity to get here I wanted the first time to be for a call up,” Cardenas said. “It worked out.”
The proverbial kid in the candy store, Cardenas spent the afternoon taking in the old ballpark at Clark and Addison.
“It’s awesome," Cardenas said. “The ivy, I pushed it a little bit and didn’t realize it was that thick. I tried to stick a ball in there to see what happens. I’m just a little overwhelmed. Anything I say right now would be cliché so I’ll spare you the clichés. But it’s great.”
The Chicago Cubs announced Monday that Wood was sent back to Triple-A Iowa, one day after he had been recalled and delivered a solid six innings on the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers in place of a flu-ridden Matt Garza.
Infielder Adrian Cardenas was recalled in Wood’s place and will essentially take over the spot left vacant when Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment Sunday to free up a roster spot for Wood.
The Chicago Cubs left-hander will not have to face the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp, who was a late scratch Sunday with left hamstring tightness. The less imposing lineup probably still isn’t enough to prevent him from heading back to Triple-A Iowa very quickly.
Wood, who was activated to the big league roster Sunday so that he could start in place of a sick Matt Garza, is expected to be headed back to the minor leagues after the game.
“We’ll see what happens,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We’re probably still going to have to do some kind of move there after the game because he won’t be available [to pitch] for three or four days.”
By midseason, the Cubs should have one of the youngest and cheapest infields in the major leagues. First baseman of the future Anthony Rizzo is set to begin the season at Triple-A Iowa. That said, do not be surprised if he is promoted by the middle of May. The infield of Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Ian Stewart will be very young -- with an average age under 25 -- and cost an average of $1 million per player. Pacific Coast League MVP Bryan LaHair will be the Cubs’ starting first baseman on Opening Day.
First base: The 29-year-old LaHair hit 38 home runs last season at Iowa while driving in a minor league-high 109 runs. LaHair is a nice story about a player who refused to accept the notion that he was an extra player at best. He will get a window of time to prove just that to the Cubs' new front office and manager. Rizzo is waiting in the wings for his chance to play.
Second base: Barney played his way on to the Cubs' roster and into the starting lineup with guts and heady play, batting .276 last season as a rookie. After fading the last two months of 2011, Barney tried to add muscle mass in his offseason workouts. He will be pushed by new addition Adrian Cardenas, who was picked up in February off Oakland's roster. Cardenas has a solid bat and will factor somehow in the teams infield mix.Blake DeWitt was designated for assignment, but he could still show up as a non-roster invitee.
Shortstop: Castro, 21, will have to put off-the-field issue behind him -- he was accused of sexual assault last fall -- as he tries to become one of the elite players in the game. Castro, who led the National League in hits with 207, should begin to hit for more power and settle in to the third slot of Dale Sveum's lineup. Although he is a free swinger, the sky is the limit for the talented Castro. Do not be shocked by an MVP-like season from this young superstar. Third base: Former Rockies first-round draft choice Stewart will man the hot corner for the Cubs coming out of spring training. Stewart had two injuries that hampered his performance in 2011 when he batted .156 in 122 at-bats. Stewart, who hit 25 home runs with 70 RBIs in 2008, came to the Cubs in a trade that sent Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to Colorado. A steady defender, Stewart will be hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's pet project this spring. Veteran Jeff Baker backs up Stewart as well as Barney and LaHair. Baker is a super utility guy who can play anywhere in the infield or outfield. Josh Vitters, a 22-year-old prospect, made some progress in the minors last year, hitting 14 home runs and driving in 81. The Cubs' top draft pick in 2007, Vitters is not yet a finished product and still needs to upgrade his defense to advance to the majors.