Cubs Roster Moves: Hughes Returns, Velazquez Optioned

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Cubs Roster Moves: Hughes Returns, Velazquez Optioned

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs finally have a left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

One of last year’s breakout relievers, Brandon Hughes, is back on the team. He was activated from the Injured List today, with outfielder Nelson Velazquez optioned to Iowa to make room.

Hughes, 27, posted a 3.12 ERA last year over 57.2 big league innings, while also throwing 16.2 innings in the minor leagues. It was a very long season for him, and maybe no surprise that he wound up dealing with a knee issue in spring training, which slowed his ramp up. He definitely did not look right in the spring. Hughes is apparently ready to go now, and David Ross has a little more flexibility in his bullpen deployment.

There was no reliever to swap out for Hughes, who is now the 8th man in the pen (recall, Javier Assad was sent out for Velazquez). The Cubs also had Jeremiah Estrada available in L.A., but it now seems likely he’s been traveling with the team on this West Coast trip as a just-in-case.

As for Velazquez, he gets sent out even after his huge game earlier in the week, including that dramatic grand slam. I’m not necessarily SHOCKED by the move, but I would point out that with Miles Mastrobuoni already sent out, the Cubs have no obvious back-up center fielder on the roster now. It’s gotta be Ian Happ or Patrick Wisdom or Nico Hoerner or something equally ridiculous. Don’t get hurt, Cody.

Speaking of which, Bellinger is still figuring to go on the paternity list sometime soon, so I would be surprised if Velazquez ACTUALLY heads to Iowa. My guess is he stays with the team and is called right back up to take Bellinger’s spot when that happens.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.