Sure enough, Neil Ramirez is “not OK” – he’s heading to the disabled list with abdominal soreness (Bruce Miles, Cubs, Cubs); which is, on the one hand, good that it’s not his shoulder. On the other hand, core injuries can be very short or very long issues. Ramirez hasn’t pitched since Saturday, so his stint can be backdated a few days if this is a short-term thing. Either way, maybe a couple weeks off to rest up will do him some good.
Taking his place in the bullpen is Yoervis Medina (able to return so rapidly after being optioned to Iowa because he’s replacing a player headed to the DL). The potential is there. The past success in the big leagues is there. But the success with the Cubs has very much not been there. He keeps getting the call, though, so the Cubs must like something they see.
Yesterday’s spot starter Dallas Beeler was optioned to Iowa, where he’ll continue starting there. Absent a rash of injuries, I doubt we see him make another start for the big league team this year. After this season, we’ll see if he sticks around as depth.
The new face coming up to the mix is righty submariner Ben Rowen, signed to a minor league deal earlier this month. Because of a flukey transaction situation, Rowen became a free agent in the offseason, even as the Rangers may have wanted to keep the 26-year-old who’d dominated in the minors. He wound up landing with the Orioles and pitching well in the minors. They didn’t call him up, however, and he opted out in favor of signing with the Cubs. At Iowa, Rowen has yet to give up a run in 9.1 innings. Because of his unique style – submarine, extremely low velocity – he doesn’t notch many strikeouts, but he gets a ton of groundballs. For that reason, he’s always had much more result-success (i.e., ERA) than advanced metrics would predict (higher FIP). He had only a brief look in the big leagues with the Rangers last year, so he’s not yet had a chance to demonstrate whether his still – which makes him something akin to a ROOGY – would play in the bigs. Now the Cubs will get to see, and I’m pretty interested.
Rowen was not on the 40-man roster, so a spot will need to be opened up for him. It could be a looming trade, given the time of year, but it is more likely to be a depth guy getting DFA’d or an injured guy getting shifted to the 60-day DL.
UPDATE: Sure enough, it’s a depth guy getting DFA’d:
#Cubs DFA Mike Baxter to open roster spot on 40 man
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 29, 2015
To make room for Rowen on the 40-man roster, INF/OF Mike Baxter has been designated for assignment.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2015