Making the Cubs better never takes a rest and even on a Wednesday morning they found time to work out a Cuban free-agent, claimed a one-time top pitching prospect off waivers, and made another 40-man roster move.
Cubs work out Rusney Castillo
The Cubs worked out 27-year-old Cuban Rusney Castillo at Wrigley on Wednesday. Castillo is an outfielder and there’s some debate whether he projects as a center or left fielder. He has above average speed, an average arm, and showed some new found power from his 5-foot-9, 205-pound frame during a recent workout in Miami. Because of his age, he doesn’t count against the international spending cap, and the Cubs are able to bid on the free agent. If the plan is to keep Kris Bryant at third, the Cubs need outfield help, especially at the major league level, and according to most reports, Castillo is ready for the big leagues now.
Cubs Claim Jacob Turner off waivers
Don’t count your Turner’s before they are hatched, or something like that. The Cubs claimed Miami’s Jacob Turner off waivers and now the two teams have 48 hours to make a trade or several scenarios could unfold, including the Cubs not getting the pitcher at all. However, I’m going to assume the Cubs would never have bothered with a dog-and-pony show for 48 hours, have a deal in place, will have him in Cubbie blue soon. Heading into the 2012 season, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was the Tigers top prospect, (9th overall pick in 2009) sporting a four-seam fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, a developing curve ball, and one of the top change-ups in the Tigers system. Touted as a top of the rotation arm for Detroit’s future, shoulder tendinitis slowed the start of the 2012 season and after making three starts for the Tigers was dealt to Miami in a trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. He made seven starts for Miami (1-4, 3.38 ERA) after the trade and took the mound 20 times last year (3-8, 3.74 ERA, 118 IP, 54 B, 77 K). After one start for the Marlins this year, Turner went on the DL with a strained right shoulder, missing a month. He had a few quality outings in his return, including 6.1 shutout frames vs, Brewers on May 24, but lost his spot in the rotation and made eight relief appearances. He got back-to-back wins as he returned to the rotation at the end of July but after allowing five runs in four innings against Cincinnati on Aug. 3 was designated for assignment.
Roster Moves, News, Notes
After signing as a free agent in 2013 but requiring Tommy John surgery after 12 games, Japanese relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa is ready to return to the Cubs line-up. The Cubs designated outfielder Nate Schierholtz for assignment and took the 34-year-old Fujikawa off the 60-day disabled list. Fujikawa’s rehab included four games in Mesa (4 IP), two in Kane County (1.1 IP), and six appearances in Iowa (6 IP). He had 13 K and allowed one earned run between the three affiliates. After hitting .251/.301/.470 and a career-high 21 homers in 2013, Schierholtz has struggled this season, batting .192/.240/.300 in 99 games with six homers.........Iowa’s Jorge Soler was named Cubs Minor League Player of the Month and Kane County’s Jen-Ho Tseng was named the Pitcher of the Month for July.........
Had the day off and head into Oklahoma City with a five-game series with the Red Hawks (Astros), who are three games behind the I-Cubs. Carlos Pimentel (3-7, 4.56 ERA), Dallas Beeler (7-5, 3.70 ERA), and Dae-Eun Rhee (1-1, 4.50 ERA) are the scheduled starters for the first three games.
AA—Tennessee 5, Mobile 0
Felix Pena was his first AA game as five Smokies pitchers combined for the shutout.
At the Dish: 3B Christian Villanueva (.248) knocked in two runs and LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.234) had two hits, scored twice and added a RBI. SS Addison Russell (.295) was 2-4, scored and added a RBI double while 1B Lars Anderson (.341) delivered a RBI double and walked twice.
On the Hill: Felix Pena (1-1, 4.82) made his second AA start after allowing five runs in four innings in his debut on July 31. The 24-year-old Dominican made 19 starts for Daytona (4-6, 3.19 ERA, .240 BAA) and was selected to play in the FSL All-Star game. Pena fanned eight and blanked the BayBears for 5.1 innings. He allowed three hits, walked two, and threw 85 pitches, 56 for strikes. Tony Zych kept both inherited runners from scoring in the sixth, getting the final two outs. Andrew McKirahan tossed 1.2 innings and P.J. Francescon got the final out of the 8th. Frank Batista worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
Smokies Notes: Corey Black (5-6, 2.85 ERA) gets the start on Thursday night against Mobile.
High A—Clearwater 4, Daytona 0
Clearwater no-hit Daytona into the 8th and blanked the visitors on two base knocks.
At the Dish: A single from Billy McKinney in the 8th and a double for Kyle Schwarber in the 9th were the only hits for Daytona as their offensive woes continue. It was the fourth time they have been shut out in five games. McKinney and Schwarber both walked as did Gioskar Amaya.
On the Hill: RHP Juan Paniagua (1-1, 4.50 ERA) made his third start in the FSL, coming off six shutout frames against Brevard County. The 24-year-old faced two batters at Charlotte on Aug. 3 but the game was called. Paniagua only allowed three hits but two of them left the yard, a solo shot in the second and a two-run blast in the 4th. Paniagua finished with a line of 4.1 IP, 3 H 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 k....Austin Kirk tossed 2.2 shutout frames and Michael Jensen worked a scoreless eighth.
D-Cubs Notes: Tayler Scott (6-8, 4.50 ERA) gets the ball Wednesday night in Clearwater. Daytona still holds a 4.5 game lead over Brevard County.
Low A—Kane County 4, Peoria 2
Paul Blackburn won his ninth game and two relievers shutdown the Chiefs over the final four innings.
At the Dish: Jeffrey Baez delivered a RBI single in the fourth, one of two hits, and Jeimer Candelario went 3-4 and scored once. Kevin Brown got the Cougars on the board with a sac fly in the second and a wild pitch in the fourth put Cougars up 3-1. Benjamin Carhart added a sac fly in the fifth, scoring Trey Martin, who led off inning with a double.
On the Hill: Paul Blackburn (9-4, 3.21 ERA) returned to the mound off the inactive list to make his 20th start (96 IP). Working for the first time since July 26, the 20-year-old allowed two runs on four hits and a walk over five innings. He fanned five and threw 66 pitches, 41 for strikes......Jose Arias fanned five in three scoreless frames for his fifth hold and Tyler Bremer recorded the save for the second straight night, his 12th of the season with 2 K in the ninth.
Cougars Notes: Jonathan Martinez (8-5, 3.40 ERA) makes his second start for Kane County after being acquired as the player to be named later in the Darwin Barney deal.
Boise had the day off but spent it on a bus as they traveled to face Salem-Keizer for three games. Josh Conway (0-0, 2.82 ERA), Trevor Graham (3-3, 5.50 ERA) and Dillon Maples (0-0, 7.50 ERA) are the scheduled staters for Boise. The Hawks are 6-7 in the second half, currently in last place in the four-team South Division but only three games out.
Arizona Rookie League—Reds 10, Cubs 4
Reds had 12 hits and the Cubs committed four errors in the loss.
At the Dish: Ho-young Son went 3-4 and knocked in a pair while Adonis Paula added a two-run single. Ricardo Marcano had two hits and scored twice.
On the Hill: Michael Knighton, the Cubs 17th round pick out of Central Alabama Community College, made his pro debut, allowing a two-run homer in one inning of work....Jesus Castillo allowed a run over three innings and Jose Paulino surrendered five runs. Hector Perez pitched a scoreless inning and Andin Diaz got the final out.......Cubs relief pitcher Neil Ramirez made his first rehab appearance in Mesa, allowing a run on two hits and a walk in .2 innings.
Dominican Summer League—Tigers 7, Cubs 4
Tigers (39-18) scored six times in the fifth and hung on to beat the Cubs (36-21).
At the Dish: Cubs had 11 hits but didn’t score until the seventh. LF Robert Garcia (.323), DH Frandy Delarosa (.273), SS Miguel Ruiz (.259) and 2B Franklin Tineo (.218) all knocked in runs. Tineo, 3B Antonio Valerio (.227), CF Jenner Emeterio (.315) and RF Jose Paniagua had two hits each.
On the Hill: RH Oscar De La Cruz (6-1, 1.97 ERA) tossed four shutout frames but didn’t make it out of the fifth, getting charged with six runs, the final two coming on a double off reliever Aneuris Rosario. De La Cruz gave up four singles, hit a batter and walked one in the fifth. Rosario allowed another run in the sixth and Dilson Vasquez tossed two scoreless frames.