Vizcaino is Odd Man Out

As expected, the Chicago Cubs shook up their bullpen a bit Thursday, recalling top pitching prospect Jeff Samardzija from Class AAA Iowa and designating right-hander Luis Vizcaino for assignment.

Samardzija made three appearances, including two starts, at Iowa prior to the call-up. He allowed five runs and six hits in 12 innings for a 3.75 ERA, striking out 11 batters to go with four walks.

The right-hander last pitched on April 18, working six innings in a start against Round Rock. He allowed two runs and one hit and struck out five batters.

Samardzija entered the season ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the Cubs' farm system by InsideTheIvy.com. He made his big league debut a season ago and was 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 26 relief appearances.

The Cubs like Samardzija as a starter in the long-run, but for now his role depends on the needs of the major league club.

"I like him as a starter for the future, but at the moment, when you're trying to win in Chicago, we use our pitchers however we need to use them to help them win," said Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins.

"I think what Jeff needs to work on is just consistency with his pitches. Every pitcher at Triple-A that comes back from the big leagues or is trying to get up there, they have to show that consistency with their location and their pitches day in and day out."

In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated Vizcaino for assignment. He pitched in four games for Chicago, totaling 3 2/3 innings. He allowed no runs or walks, surrendering two hits while striking out three batters.

The Cubs acquired Vizcaino from Colorado for RHP Jason Marquis last off-season. Vizcaino is owed $3.5 million this season and has a $4 million club option for 2010 with a $500,000 buyout, according to MLB.com. After a 72-hour waiver period, the Cubs will have seven days to either trade or release Vizcaino.

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