UNDERWOOD MRI RESULTS
Top minor league pitching prospect Duane Underwood needed to have an MRI on Tuesday because of discomfort in his right pitching elbow. Underwood is currently in Myrtle Beach with the high a Pelicans and is rated as the Cubs 10th best prospect, so a possible elbow injury that could be serious enough to sideline him for a year or more because of Tommy John surgery is pretty scary. Shutting him down for the season was also a possibility, but after MRI results came back yesterday revealing swelling, but no structural damage, the Cubs announced that they do not plan to shut him down at this point, which is a relief. He’ll get some rest before he starts throwing again, as his last start with Myrtle Beach was on Saturday. I was glad to see yesterday that he doesn’t, at least for now, look like he’ll need extended time off or Tommy John surgery, and hopefully they have caught the problem before it could have developed into something much worse.
MANNY’S ROLE, MOTTE IS THE CLOSER?
I still scratch my head a bit at the fact that Manny Ramirez has the role with the team that he does. Not because I disagree with it, but because I never, ever would have seen it coming during his playing days. Apparently though, he’s been nothing but good for the team, and particularly for Starlin Castro. I have also heard that his work with Javier Baez has been especially important as well. Ramirez was one of the game’s best hitters in his day, so I can’t complain about him spending time with guys like Castro and Baez and helping them at the plate.
Speaking of roles on the team that have turned out differently than I would have expected, Jason Motte is the closer. At least for now. Motte has the pedigree for that role, but when Hector Rondon showed some struggles, I would have guessed that it would be Pedro Strop who would take that role. Motte hasn’t officially been named the closer, but Joe Maddon has said that he likes him in that spot, so he might get the title at some point.
If you watched the whole series opener in New York against the Mets last night, than kudos to you. In spite of my wife’s objections, we stuck it out through the end. Not that the game was that long, but a 0-0 tie that goes into extra innings is hardly riveting for most people. And Matt Forte was on a recorded episode of Celebrity Family Feud, so we had things to get to, you know. But, even without large quantities of runs being scored, it was a relief to see Jon Lester pitch as well as he did. So far, Lester has not quite been what I had hoped for, but I am happy to grant him a little grace for a while. Switching to a new team and a new league is a huge adjustment, and he’s been mostly good.
In the 11th, Castro ended up being the hero, as he drove in Anthony Rizzo for the game’s first run. Miguel Montero tacked on an insurance run just after that, sending Chris Coghlan in to score. From there, Justin Grimm took care of getting the save in the bottom of the 11th, as Motte had already been used in the 9th.
THIS DAY IN CUBS HISTORY
1934: At Wrigley Field, veteran ump Bill Klem’s delayed call of the infield fly rule leads the Cardinals to protest their game with the Cubs. The game is suspended with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Cubs ahead 5-1, and will be completed on the last day of the month with St. Louis losing with the final score of 7-4.
1967: After Chicago’s 4-1 victory over Cincinnati at Wrigley Field, many of the 40,464 patrons stay in the ballpark awaiting the outcome of the Cards/Mets game. When the results are posted with a New York win, which puts the Cubs in first place by half of a game, the enthusiastic fans refuse to leave the ‘Friendly Confines’ until the flags above the scoreboard are changed, a task usually done the next day, to reflect the home team’s position at the top of the standings.