Chicago Cubs' Chatwood 'excited for opportunity' to start
Tyler Chatwood has maintained since spring training that last year's woes are well behind him. He gets another chance to prove that when he starts Thursday night's series opener against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.
Chatwood is 3-1 overall with a 3.60 ERA. He made a spot start on April 21 and pitched 6 scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory over Arizona at Wrigley Field.
If Chatwood needs early help, he may get it from pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay.
After Wednesday night's 7-3 victory over the White Sox, the Chicago Cubs said they were designating reliever Tim Collins for assignment and bringing Alzolay from Class AAA Iowa. With starter Kyle Hendricks on the injured list, it's possible the 24-year-old Alzolay could get a start next time through the rotation.
For now, Chatwood is excited about starting.
"It's cool," he said. "Like I told you guys in spring, I feel better. Everybody has a bad year. Mine just happened to be my first year with this team. I feel ready. I'm excited for the opportunity."
Because of poor command, Chatwood lost his spot in the starting rotation last year.
"My mechanics are different," he said. "Last year my mechanics weren't very good. It's tough to worry about mechanics and worry about getting big-league hitters out. Right now, I'm not really worried about my mechanics."
Kris Bryant offered a mea culpa Tuesday night when he made it only to first base on high flyball that dropped among White Sox outfielders in the eighth inning of a game the Cubs lost 3-1. Bryant was erased on an inning-ending double play.
"I'm disappointed in myself," Bryant said after the game. "I probably should have been on second base. That's my fault. It's not going to happen again because that's something (running the ball out) I take pride in."
Manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday he doesn't have to say much to players who take accountability for mistakes.
"We'll talk about it, but when our guys are accountable, which I believe our guys are, it goes a long way," he said. "When people really admit to their mistakes, it's pretty easy to move along. When somebody fights that stuff, it's obviously more difficult. I believe our guys are accountable. We talk about that all the time.
"Recently I've heard our other players say different things regarding accountability and I love it. It doesn't surprise me that KB had done that. I'll say something to him. I'll say something to him in the dugout right before his at-bat. But I'm certain he's aware he won't do it again."
Next for Kimbrel:
Craig Kimbrel is scheduled to pitch again in relief Friday for Class AAA Iowa. He tossed an 8-pitch inning Tuesday in his Iowa debut.
The Cubs signed Kimbrel on June 7 to be their new closer. He has not pitched in the big leagues since last year's World Series with Boston.
Cubs sign draft pick:
The Cubs have signed infielder Chase Strumpf, the club's second-round selection (64th overall), in this year's amateur draft.
Strumpf, 21, batted .279 (65-for-233) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, 44 RBI, a .416 on-base percentage and 48 walks in 63 games for UCLA.