Chicago Cubs have some 'good' decisions to make soon
The Chicago Cubs are closer to getting catcher Miguel Montero and infielder Tommy La Stella off the disabled list.
When those things happen, they will have some roster crunching to do and some decisions on whom to play and when to play them.
"I don't think it's a crunch," general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday before the Cubs opened a big series against the Giants at Wrigley Field. "I think it's a really good thing. I think some players could play a little bit less than they are. I think that's a huge positive for us.
"We've talked a lot about not running guys into the ground. It's good to add depth. That means we can match up a little better and give guys more rest. I think that's a big positive, given that we're in August and guys are getting tired. I think it's a big positive and given how Joe (manager Maddon) uses the roster, he'll use everyone.
"Try to get some more platoon advantages and some more rest for guys. We'll probably have some injuries that happen along the way."
Some of the Cubs' younger players may be feeling the effects of their first season in the big leagues.
Kris Bryant was 3-for-16 on the just-concluded road trip, and Addison Russell was 5-for-24.
"You hope the adrenaline kicks in a little bit as we stay in the race and you get into September and they're really meaningful games," Hoyer said. "There's no doubt that six months are really hard, hopefully even beyond that, a seventh month for guys who haven't done that."
Montero was supposed to DH on Thursday for Class AA Tennessee, and La Stella was getting a day off before playing in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday at Tennessee. Both players are on minor-league rehab assignments.
Letting Baez play:
Infielder Javier Baez also figures to be in the mix at some point. He has played well at Class AAA Iowa since coming back from a finger injury suffered early in the season. He missed time at the start after the death of his sister.
Baez had a line of .306/.379/.557 with 11 homers and 43 homers entering Thursday.
"It's a constant assessment," Jed Hoyer said. "The biggest thing is his season has been so truncated. He missed April, basically. Then he had the hand injury.
"He hasn't had a natural season. We'd love to get him going and not just a week to 10-day hot stretch but really let him establish. Get in a rhythm down there and get playing. That's what we're focused on now. I have no idea what the future brings that way."
He said it:
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was praising the way his young players were handling the pennant race before Thursday's game.
"The entire infield is going to be under 25, including the catcher, for two more days, and then (Anthony) Rizzo is going to screw the whole thing up," Maddon said.
Rizzo turns 26 on Saturday.