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fujikawa cubsThe Cubs finalized their Opening Day roster today by adding Emilio Bonifacio, Ryan Kalish, John Baker, and Brian Schlitter to the 40-man roster, while also putting pitchers James McDonald, Jake Arrieta, and Kyuji Fujikawa on the disabled list. After the moves, the 40-man roster is full, and the 25-man roster is ready to go for tomorrow.

I hinted shortly after he left a Spring start when his shoulder felt a bit off that the Cubs would be taking it very conservative with James McDonald, who missed almost all of 2013 with shoulder issues. Even I didn’t expect it to be quite this conservative: today, the Cubs put McDonald on the 60-day DL, meaning that he won’t be eligible to pitch with the team until about May 21, at the earliest.

The loss to the Cubs there isn’t too great, as the bullpen is full and the rotation spot will be ably handled by Carlos Villanueva and Jake Arrieta. It’s a bummer that there will almost certainly now be no real shot to gain any flip value from McDonald, but it’s mostly just a bummer for McDonald, himself. Maybe he’ll be able to get back to where he needs to be by late May, or maybe he ends up contributing out of the pen this year. For now, the reality is that he’ll fade a bit into the background.

Unlike McDonald, and somewhat surprisingly, reliever Kyuji Fujikawa does not go on the 60-day DL, just the 15-day DL, retroactive to March 21. That means the Cubs are theoretically holding out hope that he could return to the team before May 21, which would be on the quick end of a Tommy John return (he had his surgery last year on June 11, so even a late May return would have been good speed, even for a reliever). Occasionally you do see relievers return in 10 or 11 months, so it’s possible Fujikawa is ready to go within a few weeks. That would be quite a boon to the bullpen, assuming he’s regained the effectiveness that made him such a weapon in Japan before he came to the Cubs last year.

That said, keep this in mind: the Cubs needed just one more 40-man spot at this point, and, with McDonald going on the 60-day DL, the Cubs got what they needed. Might as well put Fujikawa on the 15-day DL for now, even if you think it’s highly unlikely he’s ready before May 21. At any point in the next few weeks when you need a 40-man spot, Fujikawa can be moved to the 60-day DL.

Arrieta goes to the 15-day DL, also retroactive to March 21, which was expected. He’ll continue getting ready for the season, and could be back in the rotation by mid-to-late April. Carlos Villanueva will hold down Arrieta’s rotation spot until he is ready to go.

  • Kyle

    Been calling that Fujikawa move for awhile. He seems to be on pace for a late-April debut.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Why would you say it out loud?

  • nkniacc13

    Brett, I think your correct no reason to open up a 40 man spot if you don’t need it at this point.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Kalish winning CF job and lead off spot by May 1 could make team exciting to watch – trade Sweeney for pitching and Cubs could be redo of 59 Go Go White Sox

    • Voice of Reason

      Trade Sweeney for pitching and we’ll contend?

      You thinking Sweeney for Kershaw?

      • jp3

        Kershaw not worth the money and Sweeney

  • Spriggs

    Baez 3 singles in AAA exhibition vs Angels in Mesa. Vitters HR, double, walk.

    In AA exhibition on another diamond, Edwards and Rivero pitched well (though Edwards struggle with control a little). Bryant was pulled from the game after getting hit by a pitch (on the ankle). He was carted off to the clubhouse, but later returned to watch the rest of the game, so I’m sure he’s fine. Soler was there, but not in uniform.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Spriggs. Something must be a little wrong with Soler – AZ Phil says he’s “limited activity only” right now.

      Hopefully Bryant’s OK.

  • Allen

    Brett,who would you say the “starting” outfielders are? Or are none of the 5 going to start more then the others?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Couldn’t call a single one of them a “starter” – how about that? Ha. It’s crazy to think about, but I think it’s true. I suspect we’ll see Schierholtz and Lake the most, at least in the early going, but not every day, or even 90% of the time.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Think platoon and you will be able to relax- same with IF

  • Diehardthefirst

    Last minute deal? Sweeney to the Red Sox as insurance against injury prone Victorrino

    • OCCubFan

      I’ve got a better idea: Diehard to the Red Sox as insurance against insanity of Cub fans.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Nah I’d miss his BellyFire and sCRAP factor

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo still knows where there are hidden gems in their system and BoSox nervous about his health issues- good GM strikes when least expected

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      So the BoDox would trade away a “hidden gem” for a player the recently cut? Oh the Die a Hardian Universe is a fun place to visit.

      • DarthHater

        The most incomprehensibly stupid moves are also the least expected. That’s what makes them great.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Good point…. so Die Hard for GM?

          • Fishin Phil

            I thought he already was.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Watching Cashner – cant say wouldn’t rather still have him and not Rizzo but Cahner looks tough

    • gocatsgo2003

      Always has… When healthy.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Or when he is pitching at Petco but let’s not let facts get in the way here ;)

        • bbmoney

          Cashner has serious stuff.

          I’d definitely still rather have Rizzo, but if he can stay healthy (still a pretty big if) I think he’s got the stuff to be a legit #2. All his pitches move….a lot.

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Yes he does but his home/road splits can’t be ignored, he’s great at the best pitcher ballpark but okay on the road.

            • bbmoney

              Yeah, that’s been true for 1 year. If it stays true, I won’t ignore it, but I’m not ready to say its a fact moving forward. His stuff is good enough to play anywhere.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Why does Puig appear to be a M Bradley clone ? Body language? Don’t know but something’s not right with the kid

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Bradley is just truly bipolar possibly schizophrenic as of right now Puig is just a baseball version of Linsey Bieber… too much wealth and freedom at too young an age.

      • itzscott

        Dude… I’m 62 years old and even I know it’s not “Linsey”

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Dude it’s kinda a joke

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