Jen-Ho Tseng and Rob Zastryzny: thanks for the innings last night, now head on back to AAA Iowa.
Such is the nature of being those guys who are good enough and experienced enough to be on the 40-man roster and fill in when there’s a need on the 25-man roster, but not quite there in terms of establishing themselves as big league regulars. So, I say it sincerely, not sarcastically: like Cory Mazzoni and Luke Farrell and Efren Navarro, thanks for chipping in. See you next time.
In Tseng and Zastrynzy’s places, the Cubs are calling up outfielder Mark Zagunis and reliever Justin Hancock, who’ll be added to the 40-man roster, which is now full.
Zagunis, 25, can hit at AAA without issue, and most suspect he’s got a big-league-caliber bat at least as a 4th/5th outfielder. The trick for him has been whether he’d have enough power to be starting-caliber in a corner outfield spot. That remains TBD, but he’s a very nice player to have available on the big-league-minor-league shuttle. And since the Cubs won’t need another starting pitcher until Yu Darvish’s turn comes up next, they get to have an extra position player for a few games. Neat!
Hancock, 27, was the Cubs’ acquisition in the Matt Szczur trade last year. The 27-year-old had just started a conversion to the bullpen, which was taking very well – he has hit triple digits on his fastball. He’s flashed impressive numbers at AAA this year (31.2% K rate, 6.6% BB rate among them), and has earned a chance to make his big league debut.
For now, Hancock is just the latest 8th man in the bullpen, covering for an injured Eddie Butler. But, until Butler is ready to return, any of these guys could show a little something and hold down the job for a while.