NEWS & NOTES

  • I’m not sure if Carlos Villanueva would be better equipped to be a productive member of the starting rotation by growing the handle bar mustache back, but it does seem like he’s lost his super powers since he shaved. I don’t, honestly, believe in messing with juju like most players in baseball do, but it’s funny to think of him like that. His outing last night was subpar at best. Just a 50% first strike rate and lots of hittable pitches led to 7 ER over just 4 IP. His last outing, which was his first full start since returning to the rotation, was much better so we’ll see which pitcher emerges in the next few weeks. I don’t see him being part of the future rotation, but I do see him being a valuable piece to the puzzle if he can continue to be that long reliever / starter swing man.
  • The legend of Junior Lake continued as the youngster had some good and had some bad. He reached base in his first two at bats of the game, once via a single and once on a walk. Both were good at bats. On the bad side, he misplayed a ball in centerfield on a bad read, but did also contribute a nice catch it the 4th. They key with any young player is to not get too hyped or too down on them either way. Things will level out. He’s not the savior. He shouldn’t be treated as if he is.
  • Last year I rode Luis Valbuena pretty hard. I apologize now for those comments. He’s turned into a nice piece for this team. He hit leadoff yesterday, which frustrated me when I saw the lineup, but he saw 31 pitches in his five plate appearances, had quality at bats each time up and contributed with another home run and a run scoring single as well. Definitely a good night for him. As long as he hits like this, expect to see Lake in CF.
  • According to this report, the Braves are in the market for left-handed relief help, and James Russell is on the wish list. The Cubs dealt with the Braves last year so we know Theo has Frank Wren’s phone numbers. If you can’t get a nice haul for a middle reliever, you do it in a heartbeat. I like Russell a lot, but relievers should be cultivated and grown from the farm. They should not be acquired via trade or free agency unless absolutely necessary and even then on the cheap.
  • Cuban defector pitcher, Alfredo Gonzalez, is expected to sign with a Major League team sometime next week. He’s 26 years old and the Cubs are listed as one of many teams interested. I take that as genuine interest because of how hard the Cubs have been working the international market. His signing is not part of the international budget set forth in the new CBA.
  • Forgot to mention this yesterday, but Henry Rodriguez, who was DFA’d the other day has cleared waivers and been outrighted to AAA.
  • Kris Bryant was awarded the Golden Spikes award as the best player in amateur baseball.

DOWN ON THE FARM

  • Newly acquired, Jake Arrieta pitched for the Iowa Cubs and posted 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Josh Vitters went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored
  • Marcos Mateo tossed two scoreless relief innings for the Smokies
  • Javier Baez went 2-for-5 with a double
  • Ivan Pineyro tossed six scoreless innings for the Daytona Cubs and has not allowed a run in his first 11 innings since coming over from Washington in the Scott Hairston trade.
  • Dan Vogelbach was 2 for 2 with a double and a walk.
  • David DeJesus was 0 for 1 with a walk before the rain washed the game away for the Arizona Summer League Cubs

TWEET OF THE NIGHT

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail