Today, the Chicago Cubs activated lefty Brian Duensing from the disabled list, and put righty Carl Edwards Jr. on the bereavement list (Sahadev Sharma).
There’s no word yet on the reason for Edwards’ departure, but, whatever the case, thoughts go out to his family, and hopefully things will work out as best they can.
Duensing, 34, was signed by the Cubs in the offseason to be something approximating a lefty-matchup guy, but he was set back by back spasms in the spring, and began the season on the disabled list. The timing was unfortunate, perhaps, for Duensing, but you’ll recall that it allowed the Cubs to keep both of Tommy La Stella and Matt Szczur on the big league roster out of the spring.
I wouldn’t say the Cubs’ pen is worn out at this early point in the season, but with Hector Rondon unavailable (knee), and the bullpen at just seven pitchers right now, having a fresh lefty arm up is probably going to be a nice boost. Duensing threw three clean innings of relief at Iowa while rehabbing.
When Edwards is ready to return from the bereavement list (minimum three games, maximum seven games), the Cubs will have to make another decision about the roster. Duensing does have minor league options left, but because of his service time, he has the right to reject an optional assignment and instead can become a free agent (would he do that, though, and lose his $2 million contract with the Cubs?).
It’s possible things will have resolved themselves organically at that point (maybe Rondon goes to the DL, or maybe the Cubs’ bench shrinks by one), but it’s something to have on your radar.