Clint Frazier’s appendix attacked him, like a jerk, but at last Frazier has overcome the scheme.
That is to say, the we’re-still-hoping-he-can-rebound outfielder is back with the Cubs, activated off the 10-day IL. Bringing him back required a good bit of maneuvering, though, because Michael Hermosillo – who had previously been on the 10-day IL with a quad injury was then subsequently on the COVID IL – was eligible to return from the latter. So that means the Cubs had to remove one of their COVID replacement players, and doing so would also open up the 26-man roster spot for Frazier.
Long story short, reliever Brandon Hughes, who was up as a COVID replacement (and not yet technically even on the 40-man roster), goes back to Iowa because Hermosillo is off the COVID-IL (but is still on the 10-day IL), and Frazier is activated from the 10-day IL taking Hughes’ 26-man roster spot.
Hughes, 26, showed plenty in his big league stretch to justify a big league bullpen spot, but the roster maneuvering is what took him out for now (five appearances, 7.0 innings, 2.57 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 34.6% K rate, 3.8% BB rate). We knew that was likely to happen given all the guys coming back and the general lack of roster flexibility with a number of other veteran arms in the bullpen. Trades are going to have to be coming at some point, but in the meantime, the Cubs are just going to have more big-league-caliber arms than spots in the bullpen. We’ll see Hughes again plenty soon enough.
As for Frazier, like I said at the top, you want to see him rebounding with the Cubs – he’s still just 27, has had significant big league success in the past, has the pedigree of a top prospect, and seemingly sank with the Yankees only because of concussion issues that he might now be over. I would like to see him getting regular starts so that the Cubs know what they have in him, but until/unless the Cubs are willing to put Ian Happ in center field (where, admittedly, he’s much less effective than he is in left), there aren’t a lot of obvious starts available for Frazier in the outfield. At DH, you’ve got Frank Schwindel and Willson Contreras getting the bulk there, though maybe Frazier can sneak in soon.