Cleat Geeks

Wrigley Weekly Wrap-up

JeimerCandelarioOn Sunday, the Cubs placed outfielder Chris Coghlan on the disabled list with a right rib cage strain and promoted third baseman Jeimer Candelario from Triple-A Iowa. Candelario didn’t get much time to celebrate because he was in the lineup, making his Major League debut in the series finale against the Mets. He led off the seventh inning against Noah Syndergaard with a single to right field. The 22-year old is ranked seventh among’s list of top Cubs prospects. He was batting .333 at Iowa with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 25 games. Just the other day, he was named to the World Team for the All-Star Futures game. “He’s a very interesting player — switch-hitter, has pop from both sides, has a really nice approach at the plate,” Joe Maddon said. “He’s a young kid with a great body and big upside, a switch-hitter with pop. All that stuff is very exciting.” Maddon was impressed with Candelario in Spring Training where he batted .350 in 15 games with three home runs. He began this season at Double-A Tennessee, where he batted .219. A lot of us thought Candelario was a player that would be called up in September, not July. But the same might be said about Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, who are currently on the Cubs roster. “You thought it’d be spread out a little bit,” said Maddon, who is trying to keep the Cubs on top of the division despite injuries to players. “We’ve held our own and made some mistakes. We’ll learn from all that.” Maddon added: “[The young players] are very talented and it does speak well for the present and the future. I have a lot of confidence they’ll play well. You didn’t expect all of them at one time and this early in the year. Normally, this is the kind of group who comes up in the latter part of the year, maybe one at a time, you fit them in. Here comes September and they’re here to give guys rest. To be here in May and June, that’s kind of unusual.” According to Coghlan, he was battling a sore right side for a couple of days. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning during Saturday night’s game. “It’s tough to gauge when you don’t know how much to push, how much to back off,” said Coghlan, who had never experienced this type of injury before. “I was trying to protect it and felt like I could go.” The Cubs felt that Tommy La Stella’s rehab assignment wasn’t quite there yet so they kept him in Iowa. No word on Dexter Fowler still, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on the 4th of July, but he most likely won’t play in the Reds series.


Last week, the Cubs selected the contract of veteran right-handed pitcher Joel Peralta from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs optioned rookie left-hander Gerardo Concepcion to Iowa in a corresponding move. Peralta was signed to a Minor League contract on June 13th after he was designated for assignment by the Mariners on June 2nd. He posted a 5.40 ERA in 26 appearances for Seattle. The 12-year veteran owns a 4.00 ERA over 615 career games and 644 innings for the Angels, Royals, Rockies, Nationals, Rays, Dodgers and Mariners. Peralta played for Joe Maddon during his time with the Rays and posted a 3.32 ERA over 227 appearances there. “I’m going to tell you one thing, whatever is left, it’s [Maddon’s],” Peralta said. “Whatever’s left, he’s going to have it all. It’s a sign of appreciation for him. I’m going to try to do my best to be in shape and be ready for every day. If I’m doing good, he knows that he can throw me out there every day.”


Jon Lester was named the National League Pitcher of the Month on Saturday. This is his fourth career Pitcher of the Month honor and his first in the National League. In six starts in June, Lester went 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA and had 44 strikeouts. He also tied for first in the Majors in innings pitched during the month (44 2/3) and was tied for first among National League pitchers in wins.

We all know that the Cubs need bullpen help and they will be getting that help in the second half of the season. But you shouldn’t think that they’ve made a trade already. Once Adam Warren completes his assignment as the sixth starter in the rotation, he’ll be back in the bullpen and left-hander Clayton Richard should return soon from the disabled list. The Cubs also have other options. Joe Nathan isJoeMaddon rehabbing with Double-A Tennessee and Jack Leathersich, who also underwent Tommy John surgery, is pitching for the Minor League team, as well. Brian Matusz is at the team complex in Mesa, Arizona getting in shape. It’s probably more likely that one of them will join the Cubs’ bullpen later this season than any of the Yankees’ relievers who have been linked in recent trade rumors. According to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, a trade isn’t expected. He also shot down any reports that have Kyle Schwarber being moved for more pitching. “I’m looking forward to Kyle Schwarber — who got hurt in a Cubs uniform and is working his [butt] off in a Cubs uniform — coming back and hitting a very big home run in a Cubs uniform sometime very early next season,” Epstein said. Schwarber, of course, is rehabbing from two torn ligaments in his left knee, an injury that he suffered in the third game of the season. The Cubs are expected to look for internal options like Carl Edwards Jr. and Spencer Patton, for example. Sure, the Cubs’ bullpen has its’ problems but they have totaled the fewest innings pitched in the National League. They also rank second in batting average against. “I’m very happy with where we’re at,” Maddon said of the team overall. “We talked about getting off to a good start so we could absorb some tough moments. A tough moment for us right now is playing .500. Not bad.” The Cubs are also waiting to get Dexter Fowler and Tommy La Stella back. “Don’t forget we’ll be getting some significant players back,” Maddon said. “We’ve been able to hold serve while we’ve had some injuries. We’re holding serve with a lot of inexperienced dudes. It’ll pay dividends down the road with these kids.” In April, the Cubs’ bullpen compiled a 2.72 ERA then posted a 3.80 ERA in May and a 3.96 ERA in June. Obviously, that isn’t the way you want the numbers to go. Last summer, when the Cubs signed Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill, neither were considered a major deal. But both of them were key contributors out of the bullpen in October.

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