The Chicago Cubs bullpen – actually not terrible in the last few games – may get a shake-up come next weekend’s series against the Cincinnati Reds. That’s because young righty Esmailin Caridad is expected to get the green light to rejoin the team following several weeks of rehab from a forearm strain.
“I would think if everything is right, he could be joining us by next weekend in Cincinnati,” Lou Piniella said Saturday. “That’s the plan if everything goes right.”
Caridad was projected as the Cubs’ primary set-up pitcher but with his injury, the team moved Carlos Zambrano into that role. That will remain unchanged when Caridad returns.
“I think it’ll make us a little deeper from the right side,” Piniella said of the bullpen makeup when Caridad comes back. “We haven’t discussed what we’re going to do, assuming he’s there next weekend. It’s still too far away. But it’ll be one of the young pitchers he’ll be replacing.” Muskat Ramblings.
If Caridad’s return is going to make the Cubs “deeper from the right side,” that necessarily means Caridad would be replacing a lefty. Surely Sean Marshall and (sigh) John Grabow aren’t going anywhere, which would mean that successful youngster James Russell would get the boot. Russell has had just one bad wind-aided outing.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lou rethink things a bit and instead send down Justin Berg or Jeff Gray – each of whom has arguably been outpitched by Russell.