The Cubs had little choice but to send struggling third baseman Mike Olt to the minor leagues. They did that after Tuesday night's game, optioning Olt to Class AAA Iowa.
Olt went 0-for-4 in that game, as his season hitting line dropped to .139/.222/.353 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI. However, Olt struck out 84 times in 212 plate appearances for a strikeout rate of 39.6 percent.
"We spoke to him for quite a while last night, and he wants to get back on track," said manager Rick Renteria. "I think he felt, actually, pretty comfortable about what we're going to try to do with him. Get him down there and try to get as many at-bats as he possibly can. Probably end up playing some first base, DHing. He wants to get down there and work. He wants to go and get better."
Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer obtained Olt last July 22 in the big mulit-player trade with Texas that sent pitcher Matt Garza to the Rangers. Olt had a tough year last season as well. He battled vision problems, but the Cubs said that's not been a problem this year.
"Mike actually took the news extraordinarily well," Epstein said. "He acknowledges that he's gotten into a few bad habits at the plate, bad habits that he couldn't break out of at the big-league level, especially playing sporadically. I think playing every day down there will be good for him.
"We think that he's got a chance to right himself just by playing every day and being a little bit more relaxed and taking some of the things he's practiced in the cage into the game and right himself and get back up here. I think it was the appropriate move at the appropriate time, and he handled the news very well. I think he looks at it as an opportunity."
Trade deadline approaching:
The nonwaiver trading deadline is July 31, and the Cubs could field interest from clubs seeking left-handed relief pitchers or infielder-outfielders.
The Cubs made their big splash on the Fourth of July, trading pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for prospects.
"We're not going to rush to make moves," Theo Epstein said. "Obviously, if there's a chance to acquire talent that's going to help us in the future, we're always in that.
"But at the same time, especially with respect to the players we control beyond this year, we have to factor into the calculus how well those players fit going forward or how helpful they are in the clubhouse, what they can do for us on the field, how they mesh with the next generation of call-ups that might be coming up, especially for complementary type players. There is value to keeping players who have roles here."