(Photo by Stephen Green)
The Chicago Cubs today activated right-handed pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa from the 15-day disabled list. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Rafael Dolis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Fujikawa, 32, landed on the disabled list on April 13 with a muscular strain of his right forearm. In two rehabilitation games between Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee, he tossed three scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out two. He needed just 16 pitches to throw two scoreless innings in his final outing on May 8 against Double-A Birmingham.
In his first major league season with the Cubs, Fujikawa is 1-0 with two saves and a 12.46 ERA (6 ER/4.1 IP) in five relief appearances. He has held opponents scoreless in three outings, but allowed three runs apiece in his other two games.
Fujikawa pitched 12 seasons (2000, 2002-12) for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, compiling a 42-25 record with 219 saves and a 1.77 ERA (136 ER/692.1 IP) in 562 appearances, all but 14 in relief. He signed a two-year deal with the Cubs this offseason, including a vesting/club option for a third season.
As manager Dale Sveum recently named Kevin Gregg the team’s closer, Fujikawa will likely assume eighth inning duties.
Dolis, 25, has not allowed an earned run in two relief appearances (1.2 IP) spanning two stints with the Cubs this season. He has posted no record, one save and a 3.52 ERA (3 ER/7.2 IP) in eight relief appearances with Iowa.
The Cubs selected outfielder Ryan Sweeney from Triple-A Iowa Monday. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)
They might only be minor league numbers, but Cubs fans should still be impressed with what outfielder Ryan Sweeney accomplished in the Pacific Coast League this season.
The 28-year-old outfielder spent the first month of 2013 ripping the cover off the ball to the tune of .337/.396/.627 (AVG/OBP/SLG). In 83 at-bats, the lefty had six home runs, 16 RBI and an OPS of 1.022, good for eighth in the league. Now he’ll get a chance to see if he can keep that up at the major league level, as the Cubs selected him today from Triple-A Iowa.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native is a career .280 hitter (481-for-1,719) with 102 doubles, 12 triples, 14 home runs and 185 RBI in 535 games covering all or part of seven big league seasons with the White Sox (2006-07), Athletics (2008-11) and Red Sox (2012). He has a .338 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage, good for a .715 OPS. Sweeney has spent time at all three outfield positions, and his .994 fielding percentage ranks third-best among all major league outfielders since the start of the 2006 season.
Sweeney’s best season came in 2009, when he hit .293/.348/.407 in 134 games for Oakland. He was originally drafted by the White Sox in the second round of the 2003 draft.
The Cubs also recalled right-handed reliever Rafael Dolis to help the struggling bullpen. This will be Dolis’ second call-up to the major league level this season. He also threw 1/3 of an inning on April 14. The 25-year-old was on the major league roster for most of 2012, recording a 6.39 ERA over 38 innings and fanning 24. He had a 3.52 ERA in 7.2 innings in Iowa this season.
To make room for the pair, reliever Kameron Loe was designated for assignment, while outfielder Dave Sappelt was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
A little rain wasn’t going to stop Matt Garza. With elbow and lat issues keeping the the 29-year-old out of action since July and rehab stints getting pushed back by rain and a dead arm, it’s been awhile since he’s taken the mound in a competitive atmosphere.
“I didn’t think there was anything that was going to stop me from going out there,” Garza said of his rainy Wednesday return with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. “A long delay—I sat on a bike for a long time.”
Poor whether caused the game to be delayed for more than an hour and a half, and it was eventually called in the bottom of the fifth. But Garza had a successful, pain-free outing, going 2.2 innings (42 pitches), with one earned run on one hit and two walks. He was back at Wrigley Field on Thursday to check in with the major league squad before heading out to Iowa for his second rehab start on Monday.
“I was just glad to throw strikes, glad they were swinging. It’s a good sign,” Garza said. “I put the ball in the zone a lot, so that’s all I was looking for.”
The right-hander has been on the DL since July 21 of last season after aggravating his throwing elbow. Then early in the spring, he tweaked his lat, causing him to miss all of Spring Training. Manager Dale Sveum said the club would make some decisions about a potential return to the big league club after Garza’s third rehab start. Even though the ace can finally see the light at the end of a very long tunnel, he said his focus is solely on his Monday start.
“I’m just looking forward to [start] No. 2,” he said. “When I get to three, we’ll make those decisions. But right now, I’m just going to prep my body for No. 2, prep my mind for No. 2—going to go from there.”
Garza was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 103.2 innings for the Cubs in 2012.
(Photo by Rob Tringall/Getty)
The Cubs claimed outfielder Julio Borbon off waivers from the Texas Rangers Friday. Infielder Alberto Gonzalez has been designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster.
Borbon, 27, is a career .283 hitter (194-for-685) with 16 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 73 RBI in 216 games covering parts of four seasons with the Rangers. The left-hander also has 40 stolen bases and 101 runs scored. Borbon has seen most of his major league action in center field, where he has played 169 games, but he’s versatile enough to play any outfield spot.
The six-foot, 195-pound former first-round draft choice made his major league debut as a 23-year-old in 2009 and batted .312 (49-for-157) with 19 stolen bases and a .376 on-base percentage in 46 games with the Rangers. He played in a career-high 137 games with Texas in 2010, batting .276 (121-for-438) with 60 runs scored, 11 doubles, four triples and 15 stolen bases, before splitting the 2011 campaign between Texas and Triple-A Round Rock.
The Starkville, Miss., native spent the entire 2012 campaign with Round Rock, where he batted .304 (162-for-533) with 23 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs, 78 runs scored and 20 stolen bases in 133 games. In 2013, he hit .317 (19-for-60) in 32 games with the Rangers during Spring Training and was hitless in one at-bat during the regular season before being designated for assignment on April 9.
Gonzalez batted .217 (5-for-23) in 11 games for the Cubs this season.
Kevin Gregg returns to the Cubs bullpen, where he was the club’s closer in 2009. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday afternoon. The North Siders brought Darwin Barney off the 15-day DL, and officially added relievers Kevin Gregg, Kameron Loe and infielder Cody Ransom to the major league fold.
Gold Glove second baseman Barney returns after lacerating his knee on the final weekend of Spring Training. During his three-game rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa, the 27-year-old went 5-for-10 with a double and four runs scored. Playing in 155 games at second base last season, Barney committed just two errors, including a stretch of 141 consecutive games without an error.
The 34-year-old Gregg has spent much of the last 10 years in the majors, including a stint as the Cubs’ closer in 2009. The right-hander has a career 4.13 ERA and 144 saves, including five straight seasons of 22 or more saves from 2007-11. Gregg was in Dodgers camp for Spring Training before being released on April 3. He has previously spent time with the Angels (2003-06), Marlins (2007-08), Blue Jays (2010) and Orioles (2011-12).
The Cubs claimed the 31-year-old Loe off waivers from Seattle on Sunday. The nine-year major league veteran moved into a full-time relief role in 2008. The right-hander has a career 4.44 ERA and owns a 33-41 overall record. He’s previously played with Texas (2004-2008), Milwaukee (2010-2012) and Seattle (2013).
The Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from the Padres. The 37-year-old has spent 11 seasons in the majors with the Giants (2001-04), Astros (2007), Yankees (2008-09), Phillies (2010), Diamondbacks (2011-12), Brewers (2012) and Padres (2013). His finest season came last year, when he hit .220 with 14 doubles and 11 home runs in 90 games. He is a career .215 hitter with 21 homers and 85 RBI.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Cubs designated infielder Brent Lillibridge and reliever Hisanori Takahashi for assignment and optioned reliever Rafael Dolis to Triple-A Iowa.
Lillibridge hit .042 with one hit in 24 at-bats this season, while Takakashi had a 6.00 ERA (2 ER, 3 IP). Dolis held the Giants scoreless in his lone relief appearance this weekend.
Daytona pitcher Ryan Searle was named the FSL’s pitcher of the week. (Photo by Rodger Wood)
Daytona captured its sixth win of the season, while Iowa and Tennessee both squandered sizable leads Monday. Kane County was once again rained out. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon. The Cougars have been postponed four of the last five days. Here are the highlights from Monday’s action:
Iowa Cubs (3-9)
Iowa led 4-0 after three innings, but surrendered eight unanswered runs, dropping an 11-5 decision to visiting Albuquerque.
- 2B Darwin Barney (.500 AVG) went 4-for-5 with a double (1) and two runs scored in the third game of a rehabilitation assignment.
- LF Ryan Sweeney (.387) went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in the third inning.
- CF Brett Jackson (.244) reached base twice, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a run and a stolen base (3).
Tennessee Smokies (5-6)
Tennessee couldn’t hold a 7-3 eighth-inning lead, falling to host Huntsville 8-7 in walk-off fashion.
- CF Rubi Silva (.394) went 3-for-4 with a double (3), a homer, two runs scored, a team-high four RBI (7) and an outfield assist.
- OF Jae-Hoon Ha (.368) reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double (3), a run scored and an RBI (7).
- 2B Jonathan Mota (.269) added two hits, going 2-for-4.
Daytona Cubs (6-5)
Daytona won its second game in a row, using a 13-hit attack to topple host Clearwater 8-1.
- RHP Ben Wells (1-0) tossed six scoreless innings, striking out four to earn the win.
- 2B Stephen Bruno (.395) went 2-for-4 with a double (5) and a run scored. He extended his hitting streak to nine games (.432), including seven multi-hit affairs.
- CF Zeke DeVoss (.233) reached base three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple (2), three RBI (10) and a stolen base (5).
- RF John Andreoli (.341) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
- DH Ben Carhart (.244) went 3-for-4 with a double (3), two runs scored and an RBI (6).
- 3B David Bote (.286) reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double (1), two runs scored and two RBI (2).
- RHP Ryan Searle (1-0, 0.00 ERA) was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending April 14. He made two appearances out of the bullpen during the week, tossing 8.1 shutout innings (3 H, 1 BB, 10 K). He leads the league in WHIP (0.48) and boasts the third-lowest batting average against (.107).
Kyuji Fujikawa gave up three earned runs Friday in the Cubs comback win over the Giants. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty)
The Chicago Cubs today placed right-handed pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa on the 15-day disabled list with a muscular strain of his right forearm and recalled right-handed pitcher Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa.
Dolis, 25, has posted no record and a 3.86 ERA (1 ER/2.1 IP) in three relief appearances with Iowa this season. He has seen action with the Cubs each of the last two seasons, going 2-4 with four saves and a 6.18 ERA (27 ER/39.1 IP) in 35 career big league relief appearances.
The right-hander made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster last season and had three stints with the club, going 2-4 with four saves and a 6.39 ERA (27 ER/38.0 IP) in 34 relief outings. Dolis held left-handed hitters to a .141 batting average (9-for-64), but right-handed batters hit .388 (31-for-80) against him. With Iowa last season, Dolis went 0-1 with three saves and a 2.51 ERA (4 ER/14.1 IP).
Fujikawa, 32, has started his Cubs career 1-0 with two saves and a 12.46 ERA (6 ER/4.1 IP) in five relief appearances. He signed a two-year deal with a vesting/club option for a third season this past offseason.
Zach Putnam pitched well for Triple-A Iowa Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
The Kane County Cougars captured a walk-off win Tuesday, while Daytona had its three-game win streak snapped and Iowa continued to struggle. Tennessee was off and will host Chattanooga Wednesday. Here are the highlights from Tuesday’s games:
IOWA CUBS (0-6)
Iowa suffered its sixth-straight loss to open the season, dropping a 4-2 decision at Round Rock. The 0-6 mark is the worst start in franchise history.
- LF Darnell McDonald (.313) went 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second inning He’s hit safely in all five games he’s appeared in.
- RF Brett Jackson (.280) recorded his second-consecutive, multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.
- DH Ty Wright (.222) went 2-for-4 to snap a four-game hitless skid.
- RHP Zach Putnam (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) and RHP Rafael Dolis (1.0 IP, 1 H) each worked a scoreless inning of relief.
DAYTONA CUBS (3-2)
Daytona had its three-game winning streak snapped, as the D-Cubs committed four errors in a 5-4 setback against visiting Clearwater.
- DH Zeke DeVoss (.300) went 1-for-5 with a solo home run.
- RF Jorge Soler (.450) extended his hitting streak to five games, including three straight, multi-hit affairs, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a RBI.
- LF-CF John Andreoli (.471) reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base. He owns a five-game hitting streak and back-to-back multi-walk efforts.
- LHP Sheldon McDonald (0-1, 3.38) worked 2.2-scoreless innings of relief, surrendering two hits while walking two and fanning one.
KANE COUNTY COUGARS (2-4)
Cougars third baseman Jeimer Candelario smacked a game-winning single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 walk-off win against visiting Clinton.
- SS Jeimer Candelario (.241) finished 2-for-5 with the game-winning RBI.
- DH Rock Shoulders (.480) extended his hitting streak to six games, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, a home run and one RBI. He has recorded two or more hits in four-straight games.
- 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.310) recorded his second three-hit game of the campaign, going 3-for-5.
- RF Bijan Rademacher (.294), SS Marco Hernandez (.136) and 2B Gioskar Amaya (.269) collected two hits apiece.
- RHP Eduardo Orozco (1-1, 6.00) picked up his first win of the season despite allowing two unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Josh Vitters will man the hot corner for the Iowa Cubs. (Photo by Stephen Green)
By just scanning down the 2013 Opening Day roster, it’s apparent that the Iowa Cubs have some major league experience. Though the lineup doesn’t include a top prospect of Anthony Rizzo’s pedigree and Jeff Samardzija’s days of shuttling back and forth between Chicago and Des Moines are a thing of the past, this Iowa side has enough talent and experience (17 of the 26 players on the Opening Day roster played in the majors last year) to make things interesting in the Pacific Coast League this season.
Center fielder Brett Jackson will be the centerpiece to this season’s squad. The organization’s No. 4 overall prospect (according to MLB.com) struggled putting the ball in play last season, striking out 217 times combined in Triple-A and in the majors. He spent the offseason reworking his swing, with the hopes of cutting his K total down. If it works, he’ll receive a call-up, or—at worst—there could be an increase in his 15 homers and 47 RBI in 106 Triple-A games from a year ago.
Josh Vitters also returns to the fray after struggling with an August 2012 call-up. He crushed Triple-A pitching last season though, hitting .304/.356/.513 in 110 games, with 17 homers and 68 driven in. He spent much of the offseason working on his patience at the plate, looking to see more pitches and be more selective.
Ryan Sweeney will give the organization a boost as well. The new Cub (signed April 2) has spent seven seasons in the majors, and owns a career .280 average, including hitting .260 with the Red Sox in 2012. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native will get an opportunity to play in front of his home fans before a hopeful return to the bigs.
Much like the other minor league affiliates, the pitching staff doesn’t have a top-level arm. But that’s not to say there aren’t intriguing pitchers.
The rotation boasts three players with 2012 big league experience in lefties Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley and right-hander Drew Carpenter. Rusin’s numbers are the most notable of the three, starting eight games last year and compiling a 6.37 ERA. But during the spring, the 26-year-old surrendered just five runs during 23.1 innings.
The organization’s minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck and Barret Loux both received promotions from Double-A, and round out the rotation. Struck went 14-10 in Double-A Tennessee last year, with an ERA of 3.18 in 155.2 innings, fanning 123. Loux, a former first round pick, recorded a 14-1 record with a 3.17 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A Frisco of the Rangers’ system.
Marty Pevey will take over as manager of the I-Cubs. Here’s the full roster he’ll have to start the season:
Esmailin Caridad RHP
Drew Carpenter RHP
Jaye Chapman RHP
Casey Coleman RHP
Rafael Dolis RHP
Jensen Lewis RHP
Barret Loux RHP
Yoanner Negrin RHP
Blake Parker RHP
Zach Putnam RHP
Brooks Raley LHP
Chris Rusin LHP
Nick Struck RHP
Cory Wade RHP
The Smokies return slugger Justin Bour. (Photo by Rodger Wood)
Coming off of a 2011 Florida State League title, many believed the Tennessee Smokies were destined to repeat in 2012. But that didn’t happen, as the team hovered around .500 for much of the year, finishing 72-68.
This year’s Smokies might not have the hype of the 2012 squad, but after retaining 17 players and adding a few highly touted prospects, a league title could again be in their sights.
The 2013 offense is fronted by a few key returnees in Justin Bour and Matt Szczur. Bour, a 24-year-old first baseman, was the rock in the middle of the order last season, hitting .283/.360/.455 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 17 homers and a franchise-record 110 driven in. If he’s not moved up, he could near that RBI total again, especially considering Szczur and newcomer Arismendy Alcantara will bat ahead of him in the lineup.
Former fifth-round pick Szczur was all over Single-A hitting before his call-up last season. Though he struggled at Double-A (.210/.285/.357 in 35 games), he performed well in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .264 and drawing 14 walks in 105 at-bats. He also stole nine bases.
The 21-year-old Alcantara was promoted after a stellar 2012 in Daytona, where he hit .302/.339/.447 with 13 doubles and swiped 25 bags. The versatile infielder will likely line up at short, and he’s a tough out at the plate.
Alberto Cabrera is a Tennessee newcomer who will head a rotation that features three returnees. The 24-year-old Cabrera pitched in relief for the first time in his career last season and reached the majors, where he went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 21.2 innings. Eric Jokisch, Dae-Eun Rhee, Dallas Beeler and call-up Kyle Hendricks round out the starting staff.
Buddy Bailey returns to manage the Smokies, who play Friday night at 7 p.m. CST. Here’s the roster Bailey will have to work with to start season:
Frank Batista RHP
Dallas Beeler RHP
Alberto Cabrera RHP
Marcus Hatley RHP
Kyle Hendricks RHP
Eric Jokisch LHP
Trey McNutt RHP
A.J. Morris RHP
Kevin Rhoderick RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee RHP
Zach Rosscup LHP
Brian Schlitter RHP
Tony Zych RHP