Today, as expected, the Chicago Cubs called up outfielder Lou Montanez from AAA Iowa, where he was hitting a robust .369/.429/.573, and playing a fair bit of center field. You may remember Montanez as that-kid-the-Cubs-drafted-third-overall-back-in-2000-but-who-flopped-horribly. He’s working his way back, and although he’s not yet found significant Major League success, he could prove a decent fourth/fifth outfielder type. He’s 29.

The move, as you know, was precipitated by the extended absence of center fielder Marlon Byrd, who will be out for some time with a number of facial fractures.

The choice of Montanez is interesting for a couple reasons – but not because he was selected over Tyler Colvin, who was ineligible to return until May 27. Instead, it’s the selection of Montanez over Fernando Perez that’s interesting. Perez, unlike Montanez, is already on the 40-man roster. He’s also out of options, so if the Cubs would ever want to send him back down, he’d have to pass through waivers. The choice, therefore, indicates – in addition to the Cubs preference for Montanez – that the Cubs expect Montanez to stay up with the big team for some period of time. It also indicates that the Cubs are satisfied with Tony Campana as the “speed/defense” guy on the bench. None of this is surprising – just interesting.

The corresponding move hasn’t yet been announced, but with 13 pitchers on the roster, it will be one of the young relievers going down. Odds are strong that it’s Scott Maine or Justin Berg.

  • Steve

    I can’t see a serious decline in the team’s confidence in Colvin. I know, I know…the 27th. Mark my words…don’t be shocked if you don’t see Colvin in Chicago until September call-ups.

  • Jeff

    A possible silver lining in all this? If Marlon Byrd is going to miss months as opposed to weeks, it pushes the door wide open a little earlier for a certain Tennessee Smokie center fielder that I hear is pretty good. It would be even better if he wasn’t currently MIA.

    By the way, Tyler Colvin is looking good at Iowa.

    • Ace

      The timing of Brett Jackson’s pinkie injury is obviously frustrating. He was expected back last week. He’s rehabbing in Arizona apparently, and (same ‘ole story) is expected back this week.

  • Serio

    This is such a disaster

  • pfk

    Given the quality of players we are shuffling back and forth to Iowa, it sure is an indictment of the farm system. There’s not an ounce of talent in anyone of them. We do have some good looking prospects in AA that have potential but we won’t see them until Sept if at all this year. It will be interesting to see how they mature. It won’t be long before Wilken is on the hot seat if they don’t start producing. Hopefully they will.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Excellent post! I haven’t been impressed by the Cubs’ system. I’ve read that at the lower levels they have as much talent as anybody. I hope so. And I hope it continues to develop.

    • Ace

      You’re quite right – AAA is as barren as AA is loaded.

  • auggie1955

    The worst thing about all these injuries is it gives Hendry an alibi for the Cubs record. Most fans knew going into the season that this Cubs team wasn’t that good. As soon as the Cubs are 10 games under .500, that crybaby Hendry will start appearing in the press box with Len and Bob talking about the injury bugaboo. So Len, when trying all those tasty snacks at the park, please remember to bring a few extra napkins.

    As far as Byrd goes I wish him the best of luck. He’s a heck of person and teammate, but despite what they’re saying I don’t expect him to play anymore this season. You know how this organization has repeatingly lied about how long a player will be out. That’s another tihng I hate about Hendry. Not only does he make poor free agent signings, but also he’s a SOBing liar to the fans.

    • Ace

      I thought I was the only one who noticed that about injury estimates. Well said (albeit a little harsh).

    • Michigan Goat

      Great points. Hendry will use this and I’m always suspect when information is scarse and empty statements like “sometime this year” tells me don’t count on it.

  • VanSlaw

    Instead, it’s the selection of Montanez over Fernando Perez that’s interesting.

    Baiting the hook, are we?

    • Ace

      What, me? Never.

    • miggy80

      VanSlaw when ever I see your name I think of ex-third baseman Vance Law. LoL!

      • TWC

        Migs, baby, that *IS* Vance Law! What the hell else is he doing other than posting comments on BN?

        mmm… Vance Law Dogs…

        • miggy80

          TWC he’s Head Coach @ BYU and has a winning record. Never had a Slaw Dog, but I remember in 88′ when he made the all-star game with Sandberg, Dawson, Dunston, Maddux, and wait for it wait for it Rafael Palmerio!

          • TWC

            Huh. Well, awesome for him. Next time I pass through Provo, I’ll ask him to sign my ’89 Fleer card.