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wrigley right field bleachersFor the second year in a row, I watched our city’s fireworks from my driveway, laptop in hand, writing about the Cubs. Last year, it was a little more critical, as the Samardzija/Hammel/Russell deal was breaking. This year, I probably could have let the Enhanced Box Score slide, but the game was so close to being over, I thought I could bang it out really quickly before I missed too much. Instead, a couple late pitching changes (*shakes fist non-seriously at Joe Maddon*) drug things out just enough that, by the time I clicked publish, the grand finale had just banged its last bang.

  • Clayton Richard had a very solid outing yesterday, albeit an easier assignment than Donn Roach got in his fill-in shot last week in St. Louis. The 32-year-old lefty has been coming back from 2013 shoulder/thoracic outlet surgery, and he just wants another shot to pitch in the big leagues (Cubs.com). It’s unclear whether Richard will get another start with the Cubs before (or even after) the All-Star break, since there’s an off-day coming on Thursday. The bet here is that the spot is skipped. Further, Bruce Miles reports that Tsuyoshi Wada will make a rehab start tomorrow at AA Tennessee, so he could be ready to go by the next time the Cubs need a fifth starter.
  • Richard’s minor league deal with the Pirates had a unique clause that allowed him to come to the Cubs if they were willing to put him on the 25-man roster, so I’m not sure what other unique tidbits could be in there with respect to roster management. He’s got minor league options remaining, but, because of his big league service time, he’d have to consent to being optioned to the minors. Would he?
  • Speaking of rotation fill-ins and looking ahead, the Cubs will need an extra starter on Tuesday for their doubleheader against the Cardinals. As Tsuyoshi Wada¬†won’t yet be ready to go, the Cubs could tab Donn Roach for another outing (facing the Cardinals again, though). The Cubs could also go with a bullpen day, or could bring up someone else to fill in – like maybe Dallas Beeler? His normal day in the rotation for the Iowa Cubs would be today, but their starter hasn’t yet been announced. After an erratic start to his year thanks to an injury in Spring Training, he’s been solid for his last five outings. Beeler is already on the 40-man roster.
  • David Ross discusses his concussion (CSN), which put him on the 7-day DL and forced the Cubs to bring up Taylor Teagarden from Iowa. Hopefully he’s feeling 100% by next week, because it’s not something to mess around with, as Ross, himself, knows well – he came back too soon from a concussion two years ago, took a foul ball off of his mask, and was out for two months.
  • And, yes, that does mean that Miguel Montero will catch Jon Lester tomorrow. Since it’s against the Cardinals, here’s hoping Ross wasn’t too much of a security blanket for Lester, and, if he pitches well, maybe that opens things up a little bit.
  • If you missed this morning’s roundup of the latest from the farm system.
  • Jorge Soler is coming back today! And he gets to square up against a familiar face: Mat Latos. That’s the guy Soler was facing in his first big league at bat when he sent the ball some 425 feet out to center.
  • Post-game fireworks at Wrigley Field last night:

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