Matt Garza returns tonight
Garza is back and ready to go tonight, bumping Villanueva to the bullpen. The Cubs say Villanueva will be used in long relief, but given how their late inning options have sucked lately I'd rather see him in the late inning mix with Fujikawa and Transformed Kevin Gregg. Suddenly the Cubs pen doesn't looks quite as bad as it did. The Cubs are reportedly DFAing Michael Bowden to make room on the roster. Too bad it's not Shawn Camp instead. He'll be on a 85-90 pitch limit, per Sveum (via Sahadev Sharma).
Dale Sveum: "We're not a young team"
Not really sure what prompted this quote, other than maybe people writing off bad play to the inexperience of youth. Sveum went on to say that Rizzo has played a year in the majors, plus a bunch of minor league seasons, so he's not a Young Player either. The only player I can think of that would be considered young under his criteria is Bryce Harper (laughing). Or Castro three years ago.
Department of There Is No News to Report
One of the big stories over the last few days involved a fan throwing a beer on her spouse in the bleachers following a HR. Not going to link anything because this news is dumb. I've seen lots of people joking that spilling perfectly good beer is grounds for divorce. Luckily Old Style fits neither the adjectives "good" or "perfect" so that relationship is safe.
Kevin Gregg must have blue-colored goggles
‘I love the vibe that’s here,’’ Gregg said of his desire to return to the Cubs. ‘‘I love the attitude, the approach. I wish everybody else had the same opinion. I think people on the outside look at us as a rebuilding team because of last year, so a lot of fans and media are looking at what is two or three or four years down the road. Well, as players, we’re about now. We want to do it now. We see potential in this clubhouse now.’’
It's hard to believe that Gregg might even be trade bait at the deadline.
In case you missed it
There was spirited debate over the weekend about who the Cubs should pick in the draft. Count me in the Mark Appel camp, if he's available. Generally speaking I'd go with bats > arms, but since Appel is already so close it seems like a no brainer to me. I wouldn't be surprised if there's relatively less praise on him this year because all of the draft evaluators already discussed him at length last year.
Albert Almora is headed to Kane County
Given how relatively disappointing the team has been this year, it will be nice to have another guy with a good shot to succeed.
Ian Stewart speaks on his plummet down the depth chart
Sounds like he's happy to just kick back on the bench and earn his $2m. This piece over at the Des Moines Register also says he's taken Vitters under his wing, and discusses briefly his thoughts on his CBA-bargained 72 hour mini vacation (in short – no big deal).