And now Cubs' Ramirez is on disabled list
After three days, the Cubs changed course on relief pitcher Neil Ramirez.
Instead of sending him to the minor leagues, they're putting him on the 15-day disabled list with sore right triceps.
Many eyebrows were raised Saturday when the Cubs announced they were sending Ramirez to Class AAA Iowa to give him a rest. Ramirez has been one of the Cubs' most effective, if not their most effective, relief pitchers all season.
He has a record of 1-1 with 3 saves, an ERA of 0.96 and a WHIP of 0.93. In 28 innings pitched, he has struck out 36.
The move seemed odd, given Ramirez's effectiveness and the Cubs' vague explanation.
Before Tuesday night's game against the Rockies, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the Cubs were shifting Ramirez from the minor leagues to the major-league DL. Ramirez most recently pitched Friday against the Cardinals.
"All year we've been talking about giving some of these guys a rest," Hoyer said. "You convert a bunch of starting pitchers to the bullpen. They've never done it before. We've been talking through giving guys a rest, and that's what the intention was, to give them a rest.
"We've tried our hardest to be careful with him as far as getting up and down, being used back-to-back days.
"He was sore the day after. I think he'll be back right when the DL stint ends. We assume that. Definitely the right way to handle it once he was sore."
When asked if the Cubs got some negative blowback from the players association, Hoyer said: "We talked to these guys (the players) a little bit. Once he was sore the next couple of days … the biggest thing is he is tired as we get toward the end of the season.
"We're trying to get him through the whole season, try to get him through August and September given the fact that he's never had to get up and down in the bullpen and do that. That was really most important thing."
The Cubs received a wrist slap a couple of years ago when they stashed Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo on the DL and in the minor leagues on a rehab for much of the season.
No rest for Castro:
Shortstop Starlin Castro will keep playing, according to manager Rick Renteria. Castro entered Tuesday with less-than-stellar numbers in July: .225/300/.270 with no homers and 7 RBI. He has started every game this season, but talk surfaces now and then of giving him a day off.
Castro always fights to stay in the lineup.
"We were talking about it to him yesterday," Renteria said. "He's been playing every single day. I think his at-bats, even though the results haven't quite been what he had been putting together previous, his at-bats have still been pretty good.
"I'm not worried about Starlin. I said, 'Maybe I'm thinking about giving you a day off.' He went out and took a half-hour of groundballs like it was the end of time. He came back in and said, 'Do I look tired?' I said no.
"I think when you have someone that's really driven and continues to drive himself to perform, he deserves the courtesy of me being able to talk to him and say, 'Let's get together. Let's talk about what might be a good day if there's a day, and we'll sit down and talk about it and pick it.' "