With the bullpen fried, the Chicago Cubs today called up for reinforcements in the form of Brian Schlitter. He replaces Matt Szczur on the roster, which means the Cubs have exactly *one* non-catcher position player on the bench right now, Jonathan Herrera. Even with a burned bullpen, that strikes me as a touch insane, but it’s likely to be for no more than a day. Perhaps Tommy La Stella will be back by tomorrow, even.
Schlitter was the subject of much frustration earlier this year, and he returns to a 9.53 ERA and 7.39 FIP over 5.2 big league innings. At AAA Iowa, Schlitter was basically perfect in six innings of work.
As for Szczur, the move is curious. La Stella, when he does come back, didn’t figure to replace an outfielder – the Cubs had just one on the bench as it is – so there will be more movement coming in the next few days. Carrying 13 pitchers was already a little tough, especially with two catchers on the bench. Carrying 14 pitchers is almost unspeakable if it’s for more than a day. So if the Cubs look to bring a positional guy or two back tomorrow, now Szczur can’t be back for at least 10 days unless there’s an injury.
So, long story short: that bench is going to be virtually invisible today. The bullpen has its reinforcements, but hopefully they aren’t needed, and Jon Lester goes deep.
From there, expect more movement tomorrow.