With the Chicago starting pitchers failing to go deep into games lately, the bullpen has been a bit taxed. To that end, the Cubs reached into AAA Iowa to pull up an arm to provide some relief (get it!?), and called up righty Mitch Atkins.

To make room on the roster, left-hander James Russell was optioned to Iowa. Russell was 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 20 relief appearances.

Atkins was 4-2 with one save in 14 games (six starts) for Iowa, striking out 33 in 48 innings. He had been used as a starter in his last six games, and last pitched June 5 against New Orleans. In that game, he gave up one run on three hits in six innings.

“We need a pitcher in here with a fresh arm,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Saturday. cubs.com.

Interesting that Jeff Samardzija did not get the call – he’s got a 2.16 ERA for Iowa right now. But he just started for Iowa on Friday, so maybe the Cubs felt he couldn’t provide immediate depth.

Atkins, 24, appeared twice for the Cubs last year, and has a 2.62 ERA at Iowa this year, with a razor-thin 1.062 WHIP.

  • hawkboy64

    its only mid-june and it looks like were done derek lee says we cn trn it around just exactly how he dosent know but lets look at it ramirez is hurt(myb) WHO KNOWS IF HELL DO ANYTHING probably will do something once it truly wont matter anymore lee isnt hitting either, soriano is 2 streaky to help a lot theriot doesent walk and only hits singles fukudome doesent hit past may, soto is falling back in2 last years bad habits byrd has really been the only consistent hitter so where will the offense come from . yu know another thing the pitchers fr the most part hve done a good job bullpens been shaky hmm whos fault is that jim hendry heres an idea fire lou, jim, and bring in every1 associated with the blackhawks and see wht they can do