Today’s fill-in starting pitcher from AAA Iowa is 25-year-old righty Donn Roach, about whom you can read more here. Short version? Work those groundballs, Mr. Roach.
To open up a spot on the 25-man roster, Roach takes the spot of righty reliever Yoervis Medina (Muskat, Gonzales), who had pitched well in limited duty since being called up 10 days ago. He posted a 0.00 ERA, a 1.91 FIP, and a 3.30 xFIP over his 5.0 innings of work (3 appearances), and I suspect he’ll be back at some point. With Tsuyoshi Wada hurting but not on the DL, if the Cubs decide in the coming days that he won’t make his next start, they can simply put him on the DL and immediately recall Medina.
If, however, Roach is sent back down after tonight’s start, Medina will not be able to replace him (a player optioned out cannot come back for 10 days).
For tonight, then, the Cubs will work with a seven-man bullpen. I doubt that lasts too long, even if it’s a perfectly reasonable volume of relievers.
No word yet on the corresponding 40-man roster move, though the Cubs could just transfer Neil Ramirez or Tommy La Stella to the 60-day disabled list, since they’ve already been out at least that long.
UPDATE: To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated catcher Rafael Lopez for assignment. With Kyle Schwarber reaching AAA (and Willson Contreras emerging at AA), and with Lopez not taking a big step forward this year, DFA’ing Lopez makes some sense. The Cubs will have 10 days to trade, waiver, or release Lopez. Unless there’s a trade out there to be had, the Cubs may just hope they can keep him through waivers and outright him.
Before you openly wonder why the Cubs would risk losing a player when they could just transition someone to the 60-day disabled list, keep in mind: eventually, those 60-day DL guys come back, and a spot has to be opened up for them. Now, instead, might have been the better time to make the move on Lopez.
Lopez, 27, was hitting just .276/.333/.340 at Iowa.