Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Cubs Lineup: 5/11/15

Cubs vs. Mets – Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Mets Starter: Jacob deGrom, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Jorge Soler, RF
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

From the Pages of Vine Line: Margaret Donahue’s lasting impact on the Cubs and MLB

ladies_day

When the long winter hit Huntley, Illinois, a quaint farm town about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, the Donahue kids would take to a nearby sledding hill. Margaret, the oldest of seven, was routinely elected to head down the hill first to test the run. She was, after all, the de facto leader and therefore the one tasked with carving that first swath through the snow so her kin could follow safely.

And what a fitting allegory that would turn out to be.

In 1919, not long after those sledding days were finished and with very little formal schooling under her belt, Donahue blazed a new trail into baseball history as a pioneer for women in professional sports.

“She was the first [female] executive who actually worked her way up into the position throughout all of Major League Baseball,” said Cubs historian Ed Hartig.

Hired as a stenographer by then-team Vice President Bill Veeck Sr., Donahue was quickly elected club secretary by vote of the Cubs stockholders at a board of directors meeting. She held that role for a quarter century, until she was elevated to team vice president in 1950, becoming the first woman in the game to hold such a lofty position. But Donahue was much more than just a token female executive.

“The things she did helped change the way people appreciate baseball,” Hartig said.

Donahue is considered a vital part of the team’s storied history, gender notwithstanding. She is largely credited with championing the concept of season tickets, helping usher in record-setting attendance, and attracting generations of fans through her projects and promotions. Upon her retirement on Feb. 1, 1958, the Cubs board of directors gave her an ornately calligraphed farewell letter expressing, among other sentiments, that she “provided valuable service to the club as a capable and conscientious corporate officer, and as a nationally acknowledged authority on the intricacies of baseball rules and regulations.”

In June, a half-acre park in the Lakeview neighborhood, just a few blocks southwest of Wrigley Field, will be dedicated to Donahue’s memory, an honor her family, the Cubs and the city of Chicago worked together to bring to fruition.

“What a fitting tribute to a woman who was a great part of our history,” said Mike Lufrano, executive vice president of community affairs for the Cubs.

Donahue’s work and the elevated position she held, coupled with the era in which she held it, are incomparable, if not widely known. The Cubs won five National League pennants under her watch, and attendance hit the 1 million mark for the first time in any NL ballpark. Wrigley Field doubled in size, and the Cubs brand became synonymous with radio and television broadcasts.

Closing in on a century after she was first hired, women are still underrepresented in executive positions in sports. But Donahue more than did her part for gender equality.

***

In the tidy living room of a Victorian home a block away from small-town Huntley’s Main Street, three sisters spoke of their beloved, warmhearted, hat-loving aunt.

“Work did not scare her away,” said Barbara Ernesti, 87, the eldest of Mabel Donahue Emmer’s three daughters and Margaret Donahue’s only nieces. “She just got in there and did it.”

Ernesti was perched near her sisters, Mary Beth Manning, who turns 84 this month, and Margaret Manning, 77, (their husbands are unrelated) at the latter’s home on a warm mid-March day. Dozens of Donahue-related newspaper clippings, photos and mementos the sisters had collected over the years were spread atop the dining table.

“She was a great manager,” Mary Beth Manning said.

That talent, she surmised, may have been honed early in life.

Donahue was born on a Huntley farm on Dec. 13, 1892. Six other children swiftly followed. She had an older brother by one year, Daniel, but he died at age 7 when diphtheria swept through the town.

When Donahue was young, the family rented out the farm and moved into town so the kids would be closer to school. After graduating eighth grade, Donahue logged just one year of high school and a year at a business college in nearby Elgin, Illinois, before heading out into the workforce.

And that meant big-city Chicago.

Living with her aunt on the South Side, Donahue landed a job in 1919 at a chemical company that manufactured soap and laundry supplies. It was a brief employment, according to Margaret Manning, as Donahue lost her job to a veteran returning from the trenches of World War I.

She then decided to place an ad in the Chicago Tribune seeking a position as a secretary or stenographer. Bill Veeck, vice president and treasurer of the Chicago Cubs, spotted her ad and phoned her home while she was away at Sunday Mass. Her father took the call and told Veeck she’d be happy to meet with him.

But there was one problem: Donahue didn’t want the interview. She wanted a job in the Loop, where she had received other offers, not way out on the North Side. Her father persisted, and she met with Veeck on June 22, 1919. The following day, she reported to work at then-Cubs Park for the first time.

***

Donahue was a force of nature. She handled season tickets, press passes, stock transfers for the Cubs and all Wrigley Field events, Hartig said. She was the keeper of receipts and paid the players and umpires after the games, forking over cash out on the field before depositing the remainder in a downtown vault, her nieces said.

The only other woman in the small Cubs front office was the bookkeeper, who retired in 1920. Donahue assumed those duties too “temporarily” until they could hire someone new—which happened almost a decade later in 1929.

“Today you’d almost need a law degree to do all that,” Hartig said, adding that Donahue even advised her boss on the occasional trade.

Being an industrious sort (the office motto was “longevity, loyalty, versatility”), Donahue also took on some payroll duties for the Bears when they moved to Cubs Park in 1921. Two years later, she was promoted to Cubs assistant club secretary and would serve as acting secretary while John Seys, the man who held the position, was on the road. In late 1926, at the same board meeting that saw Cubs Park become Wrigley Field, she assumed Seys’ role as club secretary when he was advanced to second vice president of the team, according to Hartig.

“Baseball changed a lot in those 25 years she was secretary,” Hartig said. “It wasn’t the same job.”

In just a few short decades, the Cubs franchise experienced the advent of radio and television, integration, war, multiple World Series bids and the Great Depression, among other things.

What Donahue did would require the work of an entire office staff today. It seems almost any task fell within her domain, including the aforementioned handling of payroll and receipts, with which she was famously fastidious; drafting contracts and waivers; assisting injured players on the field; entertaining kids lost in the ballpark; and even washing the shirt of a fan who had an unfortunate run-in with some falling wet plaster.

“She was good at it,” Ernesti said. “She could keep her finger on a lot of things.”

Donahue is credited with popularizing and standardizing the practice of seat-specific season tickets, encouraging special pricing for children, and following through with the concept of Ladies Day, which had foundered at Wrigley Field and at other parks.

“For Margaret,” Hartig said, “it went gangbusters.”

The Cubs brass had a cautiously optimistic approach to Ladies Day, even though it hadn’t been successful in previous attempts. Before the Veeck-Seys-Donahue tenure, Cubs Park was a madhouse. Attendees were rowdy, often drunk and hardly polite—not the most hospitable environment for a mother and her children looking to have some wholesome fun. Veeck, who became team president shortly after Donahue was hired, spearheaded cleaning up the park, with uniformed ushers as well as improved concessions and trash pick-up. He then handed the weekly Ladies Day reins over to the executive secretary.

“She tried to make the games more family-oriented,” Ernesti said.

On Aug. 6, 1929, an otherwise unspectacular game against the Dodgers drew close to 50,000 fans, nearly 30,000 of whom were women looking to see the game for free. The Cubs had to turn roughly 10,000 people away at the gate.

The Cubs would continue with a Ladies Day promotion in some form until 1990, and eventually had to cap the number of free tickets at 20,000 per game due to its popularity. The team’s model under Donahue was considered the most effective promotion in Major League Baseball.

***

Of course, being a pioneering woman in professional sports did have its drawbacks. When Veeck died in 1933, Donahue supporters thought she could easily have been promoted, Mary Beth Manning said.

“If she had been a man,” Ernesti said, “she would have been the one to move up.”

Donahue made a healthy living, especially during the Great Depression, but she wasn’t without her detractors—some of whom were presumably uncomfortable taking orders from a woman.

“She had a couple of tough years,” Mary Beth Manning said, referring to occasional run-ins with management.

Upon her promotion to executive secretary, people were shocked, Hartig said. But the stockholders voted her in year after year, a feat her family called amazing.

A 1941 Chicago Tribune article about women executives in baseball titled “Men Beware! Women Prove They Can Run a Team” mentions Donahue as “helping run the club, in one capacity or another, since 1919.” Donahue was also a fan of the game and had played a bit as a teenager. She was a novelty back home, her nieces said, where she would hold conversational court with women and men at family gatherings.

“She would always be very much talked to by the men, about baseball and so forth,” Ernesti said.

While taking in a game for fun was a rarity—she usually gave her box seats away—Donahue worked a lot and was often the first one in and last one out of the office each day. She never married, but she shared a Rogers Park apartment with, at times, upward of three siblings. She also played hostess to two of her nieces for years. She sent money home to care for her parents and took one vacation per year every February, often inviting a relative to join her. Sundays were reserved for church.

In 1950, she was elected team vice president, a position she held while continuing as executive secretary. She retired in 1958 at age 65 with close to 40 years as part of the Cubs front office under her belt. At that point, she lived in Evanston with siblings but eventually moved back home to Huntley, where she died in 1978.

“It’s quite amazing what she did,” said Mary Beth Manning, her eyes falling to the table heaped with the archives of her aunt’s life and work. “It really is.”

Other than her gravesite, there is no public marker in Donahue’s hometown commemorating her achievements. But the city of Chicago, the Cubs and her nieces are seeing to it that her life will be remembered near the place where she lived so much of it.

The large public park in her name has been designed to attract folks across ages and interests in the hopes of beautifying the community as well as providing a teachable moment about its namesake.

“We realize that so many of our fans are women,” Lufrano said. “Margaret was a part of making that happen.”

—Kerry Trotter

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/10/15

Only two games were played Sunday, but both Iowa and Myrtle Beach secured victories. Tennessee and South Bend had the day off. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league Cubs action:

Iowa Cubs (15-15)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.5)

Iowa scored eight runs in the fourth inning to roll past visiting Colorado Springs, 14-2.

  • RHP Carlos Pimentel (4.28) picked up the win, giving up no earned runs while striking out five in 5.2 innings. He’s allowed just one run in his last 19.2 innings of work.
  • C Taylor Teagarden (.333) went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, a walk, a run scored and four RBI.
  • RF John Andreoli (.293) went 3-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and an RBI.
  • LF Junior Lake (.283) drove in three runs as part of a 2-for-4 outing. He also walked.
  • 2B Javier Baez (.238) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
  • SS Jonathan Mota (.333) went 2-for-4 with a walk, two doubles, two runs and three RBI.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (19-12)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach collected 10 hits to defeat host Winston-Salem, 4-3.

  • RHP Jonathan Martinez (2.25) gave up one earned run and struck out two in 5.0 innings in the no-decision.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.333) collected his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, two runs scored and an RBI.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.299) went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.261) went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Fourth Homestand Promotions and Guests: 5/11/15-5/17/15

Pinkout

Fans supported last year’s Pink Out event in the bleachers. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Budweiser Bleacher seating option will return to Cubs fans for the first time in 2015 as the North Siders host the Mets from May 11-14 and the Pirates from May 15-17. The bleachers in left field and center field open for occupancy starting May 11.

The homestand opener coincides with Cubs Charities’ “Pink Out” presented by Advocate Health Care on the first Cubs home game following Mother’s Day. Each guest in the Budweiser Bleachers will receive a “Pink Out” T-shirt to promote breast cancer prevention awareness while celebrating moms and women everywhere who are survivors. Fans who aren’t sitting in the bleachers but would still like to participate may visit Gate F, where wives of Cubs players and coaches will accept donations in exchange for a “Pink Out” shirt. These donations will help provide mammograms for under- and uninsured women through Cubs Charities and Advocate Charitable Foundation.

In support of the event, Cubs players will wear pink batting practice jerseys that will later be available by auction through Cubs Authentics, with proceeds also funding mammograms for under- and uninsured women. The bases used on the field—also available through Cubs Authentics—will feature commemorative #PinkOut base jewels, and guests are encouraged to share pictures from the evening using the hashtag to promote breast cancer prevention awareness.

Ginny Cooper, a 10-year survivor, will serve as MLB’s Honorary Bat Girl and deliver the game’s lineup card. She was selected based on her story about “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer.” She will be joined by other breast cancer survivors and volunteers who will throw the game’s ceremonial first pitch, sing the National Anthem and lead the seventh-inning stretch. Overall, Advocate will bring more than 50 survivors to enjoy the game in the stands.

In addition to Monday’s “Pink Out,” Cubs Charities will continue this year’s Let’s Give campaign by supporting the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s Third Annual Cook-Off for Cancer on May 14. The event will feature upscale versions of ballpark food prepared by notable Chicago chefs and served by Cubs players at Revel Downtown. Tips and event net proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research as well as provide support to children and their families battling the disease. For more information, visit cubs.com/cook.

On Friday, May 15, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue his Respect Community charity T-shirt initiative by representing Cubs Rookie League Baseball during his postgame press conference.

Tickets remain available for the upcoming homestand at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). Highlights of the homestand follow:

Promotions
The homestand will begin May 11 with all fans in the Budweiser Bleachers receiving a Cubs Charities “Pink Out” T-shirt presented by Advocate Health Care. On Saturday, May 16, the first 20,000 fans will receive a Cubs Reusable Tote Bag presented by MLB Network. The first 1,000 kids 13-and-under can run the bases postgame Sunday, May 17.

Food Specials
This homestand, the Decade Diner located in the right-field concourse will serve a Turkey Club Sandwich—a triple decker with toasted bread, sliced turkey, bacon, sliced tomatoes, crisp lettuce and mayo—as well as the Reuben Sandwich with warm pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and Louie dressing on toasted marble rye bread.

Homestand Recap and Guests, May 11-17
Monday, May 11 vs. New York Mets, 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Charities “Pink Out” T-shirt presented by Advocate Health Care, all Budweiser Bleacher fans
  • First pitches and seventh-inning stretch: Breast cancer survivors
  • MLB Honorary Bat Girl: Ginny Cooper, 10-year breast cancer survivor
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Tuesday, May 12 vs. New York Mets, 7:05 p.m.

  • First pitch: WNBA Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley
  • Broadcast: CSN+, MLB Network, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Wednesday, May 13 vs. New York Mets, 7:05 p.m.

  • First pitch: Chicago Bears defensive end David Bass
  • Broadcast: WGN, ESPN, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Thursday, May 14 vs. New York Mets, 1:20 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: DePaul Men’s Basketball Coach Dave Leitao
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com
  • Postgame: Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation’s Third Annual Cook-Off for Cancer

Friday, May 15 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:20 p.m.

  • First pitch and seventh-inning stretch: UIC Men’s Basketball Coach Steve McClain
  • Broadcast: CSN, MLB Network, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Saturday, May 16 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Cubs Reusable Tote Bag presented by MLB Network, first 20,000 fans
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Former Cubs infielder Bill Madlock
  • Broadcast: WLS-TV, FS1, WBBM 780-AM, ESPN Radio, Cubs.com

Sunday, May 17 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:20 p.m.

  • Broadcast: WGN, MLBN, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com
  • Kids Run the Bases post-game, first 1,000 kids 13-and-under

Cubs Lineup: 5/8/15

Hammel

Jason Hammel takes to the mound as the Cubs take on NL Central rivals Milwaukee Friday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs vs. Brewers – Miller Park
First Pitch: 7:10 CST
Cubs Starter: Jason Hammel, RHP
Brewers Starter: Jimmy Nelson, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Miguel Montero, C
5. Jorge Soler, RF
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. Chris Coghlan, LF
8. Jason Hammel, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/7/15

Iowa battled back to claim a victory, and Myrtle Beach and South Bend each came away winners in one-run games on Thursday. Tennessee, on the other hand, was unable to retain its early lead. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Cubs minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (13-14)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.0)

Iowa rallied in the seventh inning to come from behind and top Nashville, 4-1, in the series finale.

  • LHP Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one earned run in 5.2 innings, striking out six in the no-decision.
  • LF Arismendy Alcantara (.233) blasted a two-run homer in the seventh-inning, walked once and swiped a base.
  • DH Mike Baxter (.314) went 2-for-4 and scored once. It marked his second multi-hit game of the series.
  • SS Jonathan Mota (.315) had a pair of hits.
  • RHP Gonzalez Germen (3-0, 0.00) tossed 1.1 hitless innings to collect his third win at Iowa. He has not given up a hit in five games (6.0 innings).

Tennessee Smokies (15-12)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Tennessee got off to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, but was unable to hold on, falling to Pensacola, 5-4.

  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.232) hit a double, drove in three and scored once.
  • SS Elliot Soto (.284) went 2-for-3 with an RBI. It marked his seventh multi-hit game this season.
  • RHP Corey Black took a no-decision after 5.0 innings of work. Black has fanned 22 batters over his last three appearances (15.2 innings).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (17-10)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

LF Billy McKinney (.313) blasted a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to beat Salem, 2-1. The Pelicans have won seven of their last eight games.

  • McKinney also walked a career-high four times and scored twice. He has earned at least one RBI in the last six games and has recorded a hit in five of his last six appearances.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.286) plated a run in the sixth inning to tie the game at one.
  • RHP Duane Underwood (1.29) tossed a quality start, giving up just one run on three hits, walking one and fanning four batters in 7.0 innings of work.

South Bend Cubs (15-13)
Midwest League (High-A)
T-Third Place (-2.0)

South Bend opened up a three-game road set at Bowling Green with a 3-2 victory.

  • LF Charcer Burks (.341) went 1-for-3, drove in two runs and walked twice. Burks extended his hitting streak to five games (10-for-20/.500).
  • 3B Jesse Hodges (.232) hit his fifth double, scored once and walked once.
  • DH Justin Marra (.170) also knocked a double and walked once. He has recorded a hit in his last five appearances.
  • CF Rashad Crawford (.273) picked up his 12th RBI for the SB-Cubs.
  • RHP Zach Hedges (2.77) fanned a season-high four batters in 5.0 innings of work to pick up the win. He allowed no earned runs.

 

Cubs early season rainout rescheduled for July 7

The April 7 game between the Cubs and Cardinals that was postponed due to weather is scheduled to be made up on Tuesday, July 7, as the first game of a split doubleheader at Wrigley Field. The makeup game will be played at 12:20 p.m. and will be followed by the regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m.

Tickets to the April 7 game at Wrigley Field will be honored for the 12:20 p.m. July 7 game. No ticket exchange is necessary.

Separate tickets are required for each game, and gates will reopen approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Tickets for both July 7 games are available for sale at cubs.com, by phone at 1-800-THE-CUBS or at the Wrigley Field ticket windows.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/6/15

Tennessee secured both games of a doubleheader, and Myrtle Beach was able to salvage a split with a victory in its second game of the day. Iowa and South Bend both dropped games on Wednesday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league Cubs action:

Iowa Cubs (12-14)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.0)

Iowa’s bats were silenced in a 6-0 loss to the Nashville Sounds.

  • 3B Chris Valaika (.238) tallied two of Iowa’s five hits, going 2-for-4.
  • LHP Joe Ortiz (3.09) tossed a scoreless frame. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last three games (4.0 IP).

Tennessee Smokies (15-11)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+1.5)

GM 1: Tennessee ended a two-game skid with a 2-1 victory at Pensacola.

  • CF Albert Almora (.313) went 2-for-3.
  • RHP Frank Batista tossed his third straight quality start, giving up no earned runs in 6.0 innings of work. He’s holding opponents to a .176 average (19-for-108) this season.
  • RHP P.J. Francescon (0.90) earned his third save of the year with a scoreless seventh inning.

GM 2: Tennessee scored four runs in the top of the seventh to sweep the doubleheader with a 4-1 win.

  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (.358) went 3-for-4 and had a three-run double in the seventh to lift the Smokies.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.231) went 1-for-2 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI.
  • RHP C.J. Edwards (1-2, 3.55) tossed a scoreless inning to earn his first victory of the year.
  • RHP Michael Jensen (0.71) worked a scoreless seventh inning to record his first save of the season.

Myrtle Beach (16-10)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

GM 1: Myrtle Beach had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 5-4 loss to visiting Salem.

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.271) went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a double.
  • C Victor Caratini (.231) went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
  • LF Mark Zagunis (.260) and 2B Wes Darvill (.190) each walked twice.

GM 2: Myrtle Beach avoided a doubleheader sweep with a 4-2 win over visiting Salem.

  • 2B Wes Darvill (.217) went 2-for-4 with a first-inning solo home run.
  • DH Mark Zagunis (.272) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
  • RHP Zach Cates (1-0, 0.00) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the win.
  • RHP Jasvir Rakkar (0.90) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings to earn his fourth save of the year.

South Bend (14-13)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Fourth Place (-3.0)

Visiting Great Lakes scored a run in the top of the ninth inning to beat South Bend 4-3.

  • LF Charcer Burks (.341) went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases (8).
  • 3B Jesse Hodges (.228) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double (4).
  • 2B David Bote (.282) and 1B Gioskar Amaya (.177) each had one RBI.

Cubs Lineup: 5/6/15

Cubs vs. Cardinals – Busch Stadium
First Pitch: 7:15 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Cardinals Starter: Lance Lynn, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Chris Coghlan, LF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Jorge Soler, RF
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Addison Russell, SS

Cubs active RHP Grimm; recall OF Szczur

Grimm

Justin Grimm returns to the Cubs after a stint on the DL. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs activated right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm off the 15-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Matt Szczur from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Outfielder Junior Lake has been optioned to Triple-A and right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro has been designated for assignment.

The 26-year-old Grimm returns to the Cubs after landing on the disabled list on April 10 with right forearm inflammation. He made one rehab appearance as part of his return, tossing a scoreless inning with a walk and two strikeouts on Monday for Iowa. Grimm made Chicago’s Opening Day roster for the second season in a row, but has yet to make his 2015 debut.

The right-hander went 5-2 with 11 holds and a 3.78 ERA (29 ER/69.0 IP) in 73 relief appearances last year with the Cubs, his first full season in the majors. Grimm tied for ninth in the National League in appearances while striking out 70 batters and walking only 27 in 69.0 innings. Overall, he stranded 25 of 30 inherited runners last year and posted a 2.60 ERA in 29 games following the All-Star break.

Grimm joined the Cubs as part of the five-player deal that sent pitcher Matt Garza to the Rangers on July 22, 2013. He was the American League Rookie of the Month with Texas in April 2013, and posted a 2.00 ERA (2 ER/9.0 IP) in 10 relief appearances with the Cubs following the trade that summer.

Szczur, 25, joins the Cubs for the second time this season. He was a member of Chicago’s Opening Day roster and batted .200 (2-for-10) with one double and one RBI in eight games before being optioned to Iowa on April 19. With Iowa, Szczur has batted .262 (11-for-42) with two homers, a triple and seven RBI in 11 games this season.

The outfielder made his major league debut with the Cubs last August and batted .226 with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in 33 games. Szczur has played 14 games in left field, nine games in center field and 13 games in right field during his big league career. Overall, he has batted .222 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 41 career major league games.

Lake, 25, is hitting .286 (4-for-14) with one double and one RBI in four games with the Cubs this season. He is batting .289 (13-for-45) with two doubles and eight RBI in 13 games with Iowa this year.

Varvaro, 30, was claimed off waivers from Boston on Sunday and was added to the 25-man roster yesterday. He did not appear in Tuesday’s game. He was traded to the Red Sox on Dec. 17, 2014, and went 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in nine relief appearances this season before being designated for assignment on April 29.

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