In case the Bullets are your first stop in the morning when you check in at BN, I should tell you that there’s a Jeff Samardzija/Diamondbacks rumor you should check out. You should also check out Luke’s Minor League Daily, which, as the name implies, is something you should be checking out every weekday as well.
- Matt Garza was immediately pounded with trade rumor questions yesterday after his fantastic start against the Brewers – his third great start in a row (over a lesser team) – in front of a dozen scouts or more. He answered those questions as he always does, with a canned response about focusing on his next start. Kudos to Garza for keeping his head about him through the process. It can’t be easy when everyone is talking about you like a piece of meat (not in the sexual way; in the buy-and-sell way), and every question to you (and your catcher) is about being traded. None of which is to say that the questions aren’t legit, or the focus on Garza as a possible trade chip is not legit. That’s the reality of where the Cubs are right now. I’m just saying it’s gotta be hard for Garza.
- Alfonso Soriano projects to be the Cubs’ regular designated hitter over the next week of interleague games, and he says he’s fine with it. “I like it, especially in a stadium where I can have a batting cage behind the clubhouse and the dugout, that’s good,” Soriano said, per Cubs.com. “Between innings, I can work on my swing and be ready with my at-bats.” Unlike Wrigley Field, you’ll note, where there is nowhere for players to warm up their swing in-game (in any meaningful way, that is). I find it interesting that Soriano was given two days off in a row before heading into this DH stretch. He was slumping badly going into that Milwaukee series, and I wonder if there was some … organizational prodding to try and set him up for success during this week-long DH stretch. One week, alone, won’t change any minds as far as trades go, but if Soriano tears it up? Well, maybe it gets him going, and maybe it gets teams wondering just how good he could be if he DH’d half the time.
- Theo Epstein explained to reporters yesterday (see Cubs.com) that Jorge Soler’s shin injury actually first occurred back in Spring Training. It flared up a couple weeks ago, and that’s why it’s been tricky to pin down (it’s truly amazing how little information is readily available about minor league injuries – when Soler’s injury was first reported two weeks ago (not in Spring Training), it was described as a calf strain; I can understand why minor league injury information is heavily protected, though). Stress fractures, as Epstein put it, can be very difficult to see on an MRI, and the symptoms can come and go. Maybe it’s heartening that Soler was playing as well as he was with a stress fracture in his tibia. The Cubs will give him plenty of rest now to try and clear it up for good, with an eye toward Soler returning at some point in August and then playing somewhere this Fall/Winter. Epstein specifically suggested Soler could play in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League to make up for some of the lost at bats. Soler was probably going to play somewhere this Fall/Winter anyway, though, having played so little over the last two years as he defected from Cuba.
- A profile on third round pick Jacob Hannemann, the 22-year-old freshman center fielder from BYU whom the Cubs paid well over slot to sign. I always find the adjustment to using a wood bat to be fascinating. Some guys take to it right away like there’s no difference, and others take some time to get used to it.
- Fourth round pick Tyler Skulina has officially officially signed with the Cubs, the team announced. We discussed his signing a little while ago. Like Hannemann, Skulina, a righty starter out of Kent State, received a healthily over slot bonus.