It’s a Fourth of July miracle!
Jason Heyward has healed up from his 3rd degree burn like cut on his hand, played in a couple of Minor League games over the past two days, and is making his triumphant return to the Major Leagues.
Per multiple reports on Twitter:
Jason Heyward activated from DL, LHP Jack Leathersich activated from AAA, Peña and Candelario down to Iowa.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 4, 2017
Heyward returns to a .258/.315/.399 (88 wRC+) slash this season, which is much better than the 72 wRC+ he posted in 2016. To be fair, he had been hitting slightly better just before he was hurt, .273/.319/.409, but he still hasn’t quite had the turn around we hoped for. In any case, the Cubs are glad to have him, his base running, leadership, and, of course, glove back in the outfield.
But, as you can see from the Tweet, his return comes with a few other moves.
Namely, Jeimer Candelario is heading back to Triple-A Iowa, which probably would’ve been the move even if he wasn’t hit by a pitch on the left knee on Thursday (he did get a pinch hit appearance on Saturday, but hadn’t started since). Candelario slashed .167/.286/.500 in his brief stint with the Cubs this time around.
His offensive potential continues to outshine his actual production at the Major League level, but I have no doubt he’ll succeed with some consistent at-bats.
And finally, the Cubs are swapping out righty Felix Pena, who’s been up and down this season, with Jack Leathersich. Pena’s tossed five straight scoreless innings for the Cubs, but didn’t have as much success early (4.50 ERA overall).
Leathersich, 26, is a left-handed reliever who’d been struggling a bit in Triple-A Iowa (4.56 ERA, 3.82 FIP), but has a really promising 37.5% strikeout rate. The Rays have struggled with left handers mightily this year (89 wRC+, 22nd in MLB), so perhaps the Cubs wanted an extra lefty for this series. This’ll be Leathersich’s Cubs debut.
So that’s that, Heyward and Leathersich to the Cubs, Candelario and Pena back to Iowa. Roster moves.