Cubs moves have present, future in mind
The Cubs made some roster moves Sunday, with those moves having long-term and short-term implications.
First, they welcomed catcher Welington Castillo off the disabled list. Castillo had been on the DL since June 2 with left-rib-cage inflammation. He had 2 singles, 2 walks and a stolen base Saturday in his second and final rehab game at Class AAA Iowa.
To make room for Castillo, the Cubs designated veteran catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment. If Whiteside clears waivers, there's a good chance he'll end up back at Iowa, where he began the season.
The interesting move came when the Cubs filled Whiteside's spot on the 40-man roster by selecting the contract of left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada from Iowa and optioning him to that club.
The 33-year-old Wada signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs in the off-season and had an opt-out clause in his deal. Adding him to the 40-man could signal that the Cubs see him as a replacement in the big-league rotation when and if they trade Jeff Samardzija and/or Jason Hammel.
Wada, who pitched in Japan for Fukuoka from 2003-11, is 7-4 with a 2.81 ERA at Iowa. He pitched parts of the last two seasons for Baltimore's Class AAA club at Norfolk. In 2012, he underwent Tommy John surgery.
Castillo's return should give the Cubs a boost on offense. As for Whiteside, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he hopes he stays in the organization.
"Absolutely," Renteria said. "Selfishly, he's done a nice job for us. He's an excellent receiver. He had a nice game for us last night. He helped transition while Welly went down. From a very selfish perspective, we as an organization hope he clears.
"When you can have anybody coming up in the position he did and fill that role and flawlessly come in with all the pitchers and call game games and receive and make it seem as if we're still moving forward, it's very, very important to have those guys, and hopefully, we'll continue to have him."
Outfielder Jorge Soler (hamstring) played in the season opener Saturday for the Cubs' Rookie League affiliate in Mesa, Arizona.
Soler went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Injuries have limited Soler to just 7 games at Class AA Tennessee.
Infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio (oblique strain) is working out at Wrigley Field. He has been on the DL since Jun 13.
"We're still in the wait-and-see," Rick Renteria said. "He's feeling better. He's not feeling any discomfort anymore. He's doing some exercises. We're still waiting to see when the strength starts to come back and how we'll proceed with it."
Cubs pitcher Jason was hit by a comebacker off the bat of the Pirates' Josh Harrison in the third inning. It seems to have hit Hammel in a good spot as he was OK.
"It got me right on the meat of the butt," he said. "I'm lucky I have a nice bum, so I'll be good to go."