Reliever Chavez does well in Chicago Cubs debut
Relief pitcher Jesse Chavez arrived at Wrigley Field Saturday, joining his ninth major-league team after the Cubs obtained him late Thursday in a trade with the Texas Rangers.
He was asked about being on nine teams.
"I didn't think it would be nine years, either," he replied.
Actually, the 34-year-old right-hander has been in the big leagues for parts of 11 seasons. He originally was a 39th-round pick of the Cubs in 2001 (when they chose Mark Prior in the first round), but he did not sign. He signed with the Rangers the next year after being taken in the 42nd round.
This year with the Rangers, he was 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA and a WHIP of 1.24 with 50 strikeouts 12 walks in 56⅓ innings.
Chavez made his Cubs debut in Game 1 of Saturday's day-night doubleheader, a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. He worked the final two innings, pitching perfect ball, striking out one and getting four groundball outs.
The Cubs will use Chavez out of the bullpen, but he has made 70 starts in his career. Manager Joe Maddon has cited Chavez's versatility as a strong point.
"I guess versatility is just being able to bounce back and being able to go multiple innings without being built up like a starter is," Chavez said. "Normally you would be at this point of the year.
"I like starting just because you get the repetition and stuff like that. Relieving, the adrenaline, the situation is what gets you going a little bit. It's kind of different."
The Cubs will need a starter for Monday night's series opener against the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. But Chavez won't be that guy, according to Maddon.
"He comes with great recommendations regarding (being a) teammate, personality, that kind of stuff," the manager said. "So I had an easy conversation with him, very easily engaged, engaging young man."
More roster moves:
The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves Saturday.
In addition to adding Jesse Chavez to the roster, they placed reliever Anthony Bass on the 10-day disabled list with a right mid-thoracic strain. Reliever Dillon Maples was recalled from Class AAA Iowa, and reliever James Norwood was optioned to Iowa. Right-handed pitcher Luke Farrell was added to the roster as the 26th man for the day-night doubleheader.
After one flashy play by shortstop Javier Baez in Game 1 of the doubleheader, second baseman Ben Zobrist applauded from his spot on the infield.
"I think part of you just wants to get caught up just because he's so much fun to watch, especially that one where he bobbled it in short left field and still threw Yadi (Molina) out," Zobrist said. "It was like, 'Come on, that just doesn't happen.' You kind of sit back in those moments and try to really take it in a little bit before you turn the page. I was talking to (umpire) Teddy Barrett out there at second base, just about sometimes it's just amazing to stand out there and get to watch that from a few feet away. It's pretty cool."