Cubs bring back a couple of absent players for playoff roster
The Cubs released their roster for the wild-card series before Game 1 and it contained one relative surprise.
Josh Phegley is back as a third catcher. He started the season with the Cubs, but hasn't played in a game since Aug. 25 and has been at the South Bend alternate site for most of September. Phegley, 32, went 1-for-16 at the plate this season, with his only hit a home run.
"It gives me some insurance if somebody happens to go down in a position that is a little more dangerous than others," said Cubs manager David Ross, a former catcher. "I think the way I've used Vic Caratini and pinch-hit for him at times, Josh gives me good depth in that position."
Caratini was in the starting lineup as DH on Wednesday and typically catches when Yu Darvish is on the mound.
Ildemaro Vargas is active as a reserve infielder after being sidelined since Sept. 19 with an injury. In the bullpen, starters Alec Mills, Jose Quintana and Adbert Alzolay are all on the active roster. Reliever Duane Underwood Jr. is not.
Meanwhile, Cubs player representative Ian Happ talked before the game about which of the new rules for the shortened season might stay permanently.
"I think the DH probably first and foremost is something that I think both sides have liked," Happ said. "Probably three-batter minimum (for relief pitchers). As a player, I think the extra inning rule has been great for speeding up games and the seven-inning doubleheaders, I think those have been great for keeping guys healthy. I liked a lot of those.
"As far as the (16-team) playoff format, I don't know if it's something you're going to see approved because there's so many factors as far as fans in the ballpark, as far as the way that the postseason shares are distributed and how it's calculated.
"I think after the next CBA you might see a new playoff structure and a lot of those rules adopted. But before that, I'm not quite sure."