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Kyle Hendricks featureWhen the Cubs return to Wrigley Field from the current road trip, I’ll be there. I’m going to the game on Friday against the Braves, so stop by the right field bleachers (lower corner, by the LED board) and look for the guy in a blue BN shirt¬†with blue and yellow shoes on. I’d love to say hey. I’ll also update folks with any before/after game meeting plans.

  • The Cubs have confirmed that we’re going to see three “young” starters this week: Tsuyoshi Wada (33, but no big league experience) will start today as part of the doubleheader, Dallas Beeler will start on Wednesday, and Kyle Hendricks will make his big league debut on Thursday. I can’t wait to see all three, as each has a chance to emerge as a legit back-end option for the Cubs heading into 2014 (with Hendricks maybe having an outside shot at being more than that).
  • With the All-Star break on tap, we won’t quite yet know for sure which two of those three are taking full-time spots in the rotation (Wada will be sent back to Iowa after today’s game, since he is the “26th man”) – and, keep in mind, the Cubs have said that their hope is that Dan Straily will “catch his breath” at Iowa for a couple weeks and then join the big league rotation. Straily started last night for the first time at Iowa, allowing four runs (all unearned) over five innings. In other words, I’m excited to see these three guys this week, but I’m remaining open to the possibilities, in terms of what the Cubs’ rotation will look like over the final weeks of July, and then thereafter. It could change rapidly and dramatically.
  • As the Cubs.com game recap from last night indicates, Edwin Jackson has a .326 batting average against when he’s got two outs and a runner in scoring position. The aspiring saberist in me says that’s not really a “skill” problem so much as a “bad luck with sequencing” problem – if we believe that a team’s BA with runners in scoring position is not a repeatable “skill” (check out the Cardinals this year), the same should be true for pitchers. But, because of Jackson’s problems this and last year, I have a hard time just poo-poo’ing it away.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa is pitching in the Arizona Rookie League right now – this weekend he made his first game appearance in a long time – which could put him on the rehab outing trail. I wouldn’t expect to see him this month, though, and that’s even assuming he doesn’t have another setback in his Tommy John recovery.
  • Cubs pitching prospect Duane Underwood was the pitcher of the week in the Midwest League after a dominating six-inning outing in which he allowed no runs and no walks, gave up just three hits, and struck out six.
  • Jesse Rogers on Manny Ramirez’s impact at Iowa.
  • As we discussed yesterday, Starlin Castro was the subject of a great deal of discussion in New York over the past few days, and that led to Mets broadcaster¬†Keith Hernandez ripping Castro, during Sunday’s Mets/Rangers SNY broadcast: “We’ve seen enough of Castro to know that he’s just too unreliable, too loose …. He’s too lackadaisical in the field for my liking. I want the Mets to get guys that are hard-nosed, come to the ball yard every day and put their 100 percent in. And I don’t think Castro does that. I’ve seen enough of him.” Yeah, you’ve seen enough in the three times you’ve seen him over the past two years – before which, he was twenty-freaking-one-years-old. And you’ve seen enough to know he’s been working his ass off, in particular, every day since last October.
  • In case you missed my “farewell” piece about Jeff Samardzija from last night.
  • Patrick Mooney on the evolution of Jeff Samardzija, and his confidence to bet on himself.

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