Cubs add relief pitchers
With Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez on the disabled list and other capable arms still rehabbing, the Cubs have added some experience to bolster the depth in the bullpen. They signed former Tigers reliever LH Daniel Schlereth to a minor league deal and claimed RH Anthony Varvaro off waivers from Boston. Schlereth was released by the Tigers in early April and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2012, spending the past two seasons in minors with Baltimore, Detroit and Pittsburg. A former first-round pick of the D-backs, Schlereth has appeared in 94 MLB games with a 4.35 ERA in 93 IP and a WHIP of 1.57.
Varvaro, 30, appeared in nine games for the Red Sox this season and has spent six years in the big leagues, four season with Atlanta. He relies on a fastball in the low 90s and also throws a curve and change-up. He had two solid season out of the biplane for Atlanta in 2013-14, appearing in over 60 games both season with an ERA below 3.00. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated LHP Joseph Ortiz for assignment. Ortiz was claimed off waivers from the Rangers last fall and has been pitching in Iowa—8 G, 10.2 IP, 5 BB, 1 K, 1.22 WHIP, 3.37 ERA.
Hitting Recap: CF Matt Szczur (.262) provided all the offense Iowa would need with a two-run homer in the third. He finished 1-for-2 with two walks.....2B Arismendy Alcantara (.277) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double and scored on Szczur’s homer. Alcantara is hitting . 308 over his last 10 games.....SS Javier Baez (.286) singled, walked, was hit-by-a-pitch, and stole his first base.....C Taylor Davis (.333) added a pair of singles.
Pitching Chart: With a possible call-up to Wrigley looming due to doubleheaders in the near future, Eric Jokisch isn’t off to the type of start he had hoped for. Making his debut last year for Chicago, the left-hander from Northwestern surrendered 15 hits and seven runs in his last two starts, not making it out of the 4th in either start. On Monday night against Nashville, Jokisch tossed six solid innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. He fanned five and threw 84 pitches in the outing, 56 for strikes.......Iowa’s bullpen was nearly untouchable. RHP Justin Grimm made his first appearance of the 2015 season as he’s in Iowa on a rehab assignment. Grimm worked a scoreless 8th with a walk and two strikeouts. He threw 17 pitches, nine for strikes.....Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless 7th and LHP James Russell earned his third save, pitching the 9th.
I-Cubs Notes: Cubs look to make it two in a row over Nashville when they send Carlos Pimentel (0-2, 7.47 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday night.
Southern League—AA— Birmingham (White Sox) 4, Tennessee 3—14 innings
Birmingham scored twice in the bottom of the 14th for the walk-off win in the deciding game of the best-of-five series.
Hitting Recap: LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.269) tied a Southern League record with five walks and was on base all seven times. The 23-year-old slugged a solo homer in the fifth and singled.....C Kyle Schwarber (.347) ran his on-base streak to 15 games with a single and walk in seven plate appearances.....DH Willson Contreras (.333) continues to handle AA pitching as the 22-year-old went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a walk....2B Stephen Bruno (.293) was 2-for-6 and 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.356) went 0-for-5 with a RBI.
Pitching Chart: Not sure any Cubs prospect has turned in back-to-back all-star performances the last two years without the fan fare as Felix Pena. The 25-year-old didn’t have his best command on Monday afternoon, issuing five walks and a balk plated the second run of the game. Pena only allowed two hits, got seven fly outs and threw 85 pitches, 49 for strikes, in 5.2 innings.....Smokies bullpen shut down the Barons for 6.1 innings behind Fernando Cruz (1.1 IP), Michael Jensen (2 IP) and Stephen Perakslis (3 IP).....Zach Cates (0-4, 6.14 ERA) only need three outs for the save after the Smokies took the lead in the 14th but could only get two outs. A walk, a wild pitch on strike three that would have ended the game, another wild pitch and a single made the Barons winners.
Smokies News: Smokies have not named a starter for Tuesday night’s game in Pensacola.
Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 14, Lynchburg 6
Myrtle Beach (14-9) pounded Lynchburg (9-15) pitching for 17 hits as every starter scored at least once to complete the sweep.
Hitting recap: Let’s start with 1B Jacob Rogers, whose three-run homer in the 6-run 4th gave the Pelicans the lead for good. Rogers finished 3-for-5 with 4 RBI..... Jeimer Candelario leads Carolina League in doubles with nine, as he added to that total, going 2-for-6.....RF Billy McKinney (.301) was 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI and LF Wes Darvill tripled and knocked in three runs....SS Carlos Penalver (.250) is heating up as the 20-year-old went 2-for-4, scored twice, and knocked in a pair. Myrtle Beach drew seven walks and were 7-for-19 with RISP.
Pitching chart: Jen-Ho Tseng had one of his toughest outings as a pro, lasting only three innings while throwing close to 70 pitches. Tseng allowed three runs on six hits and two walks....Josh Conway got tagged for three runs on three hits and two walks in the 4th, his only inning of work.....Michael Heesch (1-0, 1.29 ERA), a starter two years ago in Kane County, has adjusted to his role in the bullpen and ended any notions for a Hillcats comeback. The left-hander tossed three scoreless frames, allowing two hits while fanning three to earn the win.....Jasvir Rakkar picked up his third save with a pair of shutout frames.
Pelicans News: The Pelicans return home for a three-game series with Salem and send Jonathan Martinez (0-1, 2.12 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday night.
Midwest League—Low A—Great Lake 2, South Bend 0
Three Great Lakes pitchers blanked the South Bend to take the opening game of the series.
Hitting recap: The Cubs were held to five hits, getting four off Dodgers first-round pick and starter Grant Holmes. SS Gleyber Torres had his hitting streak snapped at seven games, going 0-for-3 with a walk...LF Charcer Burks (.313) and 2B Chesny Young (.322) both singled. Burks stole his 6th base.
Pitching chart: Jake Stinnett’s line doesn’t indicate how well he pitched on Monday night as five of the seven hits he allowed were infield singles. The right-hander worked five innings, allowing two runs, a walk, with five strikeouts......RH Francisco Carrillo kept the Cubs in the game with three shutout frames while LH Tyler Ihrig worked a scoreless 9th.
SB-Cubs News: South Bend sends Jeremy Null (2-0, 0.79 ERA), fresh off his Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month award, to the mound on Tuesday night as they try to even the series.