Each of Tsuyoshi Wada and Rafael Soriano had been pitching at AA Tennessee in an effort to get back to the big leagues – Wada, rehabbing from a shoulder injury, Soriano, gearing up from a long layoff from competitive baseball.
Having acquitted themselves well enough at Tennessee and demonstrated readiness for the next step, each pitcher moved up to AAA Iowa, and pitched there last night.
The start was Wada’s third since going on the disabled list last month with a sore deltoid muscle in his left shoulder, and he went six innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits, no walks, and he struck out five. Wada was incredibly efficient, needing just 71 pitches to go those six innings.
After, he told Tommy Birch that he felt good, and, more importantly, ready to return to the big leagues. For now, the Cubs plan to use Clayton Richard for at least one more start coming out of the break, but if Wada’s pitch count reaches 90ish in his next start with Iowa, it’s possible he could be ready to return thereafter. The two potential tricky bits: (1) the Cubs might make a trade in the interim to bring in another starter; and (2) the Cubs have a doubleheader on Wednesday, July 22, so it’s possible the Cubs could hold Wada back so he could start one of those two games in Cincinnati. Otherwise, I’m guessing you’d see Dallas Beeler get one of those games, and Wada could then return the next time through the rotation. Again, assuming another starter hasn’t been acquired yet.
Soriano, who made five appearances with the Tennessee Smokies, pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit, and striking out the side. He was sitting in the 91-92mph range with his fastball, but the stuff must have been working for him. The results aren’t as important as the velocity, stuff, and command, but, so far, Soriano seems to be fooling AA and AAA hitters. That’s a good first step in demonstrating his readiness to come back to the big leagues. Presumably, that could come at any time at this point.