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Word broke late last week (and then picked up steam over the weekend) that Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Andrew Cashner, recently placed in the AAA Iowa bullpen, would be called up this week. As Tom Gorzelanny was moved to the bullpen – making it a four-lefty pen – we all knew that one of the lefties would go to make room for Cashner.

It wasn’t going to be Sean Marshall or Tom Gorzelanny, so that left rookie James Russell (whose ERA has been around 2.00 all year) and John Grabow (whose ERA has been around 9.00 all year). The Cubs took the cop out route, and I thank them.

Chicago Cubs left-handed reliever John Grabow was put on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with knee tendinitis, and in a corresponding move, the team has selected the contract of top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner from their Triple-A Iowa roster.

Cashner will be brought along in the bullpen so that he can find a comfort level, according to manager Lou Piniella in statements before Sunday’s game. The 23-year-old first round pick (19th overall) of the 2008 draft had been a starter at Triple-A until last Thursday. Since then he has thrown two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, one last Thursday and one on Saturday.

Cashner was a closer at Texas Christian. Cashner is projected as a closer eventually or possibly a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Grabow missed time earlier this month with the same knee problem. The veteran pitcher, who signed as two-year contract with the Cubs in the offseason, has been ineffective most of the 2010 season. Grabow’s role was to be the primary sertup man for closer Carlos Marmol. That role has been taken over by Sean Marshall. ESPN Chicago.

Whether Grabow’s knee is actually hurt, it matters not. The Cubs simply could not boot Russell in favor of keeping Grabow, regardless of Grabow’s bloated two-year contract.

Now, we’ll just hope that Grabow’s knee actually is bothering him and affecting his performance, that he’ll rehab it nicely and slowly, and he won’t come back until/unless he’s moderately effective again.

As for Cashner, the Cubs obviously hope he can be the late-inning righty they’ve been missing all year. He’ll be eased into the role, but if he can throw strikes, he’s got the stuff to handle it. His stint in the Iowa pen was incredibly short, but obviously the Cubs felt like they couldn’t wait.

  • jstraw

    *weeping with joy*

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