Before yesterday’s game against the Houston Astros, the Chicago Cubs made a minor move by sending reliever Jeff Stevens back to AAA Iowa, and calling up pitcher Mitch Atkins. The move was much less a statement about Stevens – he’s actually pitched will in 6+ innings of ML work this year – as it was about getting a rested arm up to the pen, which has been taxed lately.
Given how many wildly successful relievers the Cubs have had in Iowa, the call to Atkins was a bit surprising.
The Cubs’ 2008 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Atkins was 6-10 with a 6.92 ERA in 20 starts for Iowa. He’s been a little inconsistent. On July 19 against Nashville, Atkins gave up three runs on five hits over six innings and struck out five. In his next start, July 24 against Albuquerque, he took the loss, serving up five runs on eight hits in three innings. cubs.com.
Perhaps Atkins will find himself better suited for the pen, as he pitched a perfect ninth yesterday against the Astros.
Which brings me to my point: how pissed must Justin Berg be? He’s called up for several days, doesn’t get in a game, and Ryan Dempster’s return ships him out. The very next day, the Cubs send down Jeff Stevens – a guy they could have sent down instead of Berg – and call up Mitch Atkins, who immediately sees big league action.