“Man looks in the abyss. There’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”
The Cubs will add Travis Wood to the roster today so that he can join the rotation in Houston, but they’ll have a tough decision to make on a corresponding move. With just 11 pitchers on the roster right now, the obvious move would be to send down a positional player. But the Cubs are currently carrying three catchers because of Welington Castillo’s bad-enough-not-to-play, but not-bad-enough-to-send-to-DL knee injury. Unless the Cubs decide to DL Castillo, someone like Adrian Cardenas (who had a two double night last night) will have to head back to Iowa. The Cubs could also DL reliever Blake Parker (hamstring), but they’d have just six in the bullpen (maybe that’s not a bad idea until Castillo is ready to go, and Blake Lalli can go down). As for Wood, he’s excited to rejoin the rotation, but says he’s just going to try and stay relaxed this time.
Last night’s starter, Matt Garza, who suffered through one of his worst starts in a long time, offered vintage Matt Garza quotes after the outing. “It was way too much stuff and I left everything up,” Garza said to reporters. “Hanging slider to Castro, fastball middle, belt-high to Johnson. I was overthrowing everything. I put myself in holes and when you put yourself in holes, you can’t make a mistake and you have to be perfect, and not even perfect, but you can’t leave it out over the plate …. This was trying too hard, trying to stop [stuff] that’s been going on, and if you try too hard, you’re not going to stop it, you’re just going to continue it, and that’s exactly what happened. I’ll get ready for Pittsburgh and get right back at it and come out [ticked] off with a vengence. I don’t like it at all, I know my teammates don’t like it at all. This is not what I work for four days a week. I’ll get back at it and not change anything, just get back to work.” Pissed off with a vengeance sounds like a signature fragrance, doesn’t it? “Now from Matt Garza, a new cologne: Pissed Off With a Vengeance. Smell like Matt. Punch a grizzly bear.”
Bryan LaHair is just 1 for his last 19, and he’s probably going to get a day off today. Dale Sveum doesn’t like what he’s been seeing from LaHair lately. “Everything is a little deep and [past] him and he tries to speed his bat up,” Sveum said, according to Doug Padilla. “I think I’m going to give him a day off [Tuesday]. He hasn’t played this many days in a row in the big leagues and we’ll give him a little mental day off and come out for early work and see if that will help …. Cal Ripken used to have a different stance every week, Don Mattingly, you go on and on. You just want to see some effort for change whether it’s mechanics or the effort to take more pitches and not feel like the only way you have a chance is to hit the first pitch and if you don’t the at-bat is over. You want to see change and adjustments made, otherwise you have a hard time keeping the line moving if you don’t trust your neighbor.” Yeah, I don’t really understand the final comment, but his overall point is well-taken. Being a good hitter in the bigs is a process of constant adjustment. Pitchers are figuring LaHair out a bit, and he’ll have to adjust once again.
As for the kid who might come up and force LaHair to another position, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer isn’t ready to say Anthony Rizzo will be up any time soon. “I think it is important to remind ourselves, especially when we’re going through a rough patch, as we are now, that the complete development of our prospects is a top priority,” Hoyer said via e-mail to the Sun-Times on Monday. “The reason is that we want them to have the best possible chance of having long, productive careers with the Cubs. It’s something we’ve stressed from day one and will continue to stress, and to compromise our approach would not best serve our goal of building a championship organization.” In other words: we might call Rizzo up soon, we might not. But we’re not going to tip our hand to teams with whom we might want to deal (about Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair, for example), and we’re not going to tie ourselves to artificial timelines that might not be in the organization’s best interests.
Randy Wells doesn’t sound upset about being out of rotation consideration, and instead is just happy to be back up with the big club. “It gives me a chance to help the team and do something a little different,” Wells said to reporters Monday. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll be good at it …. One thing I like is the chance to play every day. I’ve [pitched in relief] my whole career until 2008. It’s something I’m comfortable with. I’m actually excited.” He pitched well in relief last night, so maybe he will indeed take a shine to it.
Sveum said he didn’t change up the top of the order yesterday, as he’d suggested he would, because he wants to give it one more week.
According to Arizona Phil at TCR, outfield prospect Reggie Golden’s knee injury was a torn ACL, for which he’s had surgery. He’ll be out until next Spring, which is obviously a huge bummer.
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