Faced with too many infielders, Cubs release Simmons
Faced with a crowded roster of infielders, the Cubs designated shortstop Andrelton Simmons for assignment before Saturday's game.
Simmons had been on a rehab assignment with Iowa after recovering from a right shoulder strain. He last played in a major league game on July 10 in Los Angeles.
"There's no room for him, to be honest," manager David Ross said. "Andrelton was nothing but a pro. It's just this year has not gone the way any of us expected."
When the Cubs signed Simmons, 32, to a one-year deal in March, it seemed possible he could be the team's semiregular shortstop. He's a four-time gold-glove winner and had some productive years with the Braves and Angels.
But he started the season on the injured list with a similar shoulder issue and didn't make his season debut until May 15. In the meantime, Nico Hoerner has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the majors and the Cubs brought up Christopher Morel, who earned a spot in the lineup.
Now second baseman Nick Madrigal is back from an injury and the Cubs added infielder Zach McKinstry from the Dodgers before the trade deadline. The Cubs already sent veteran David Bote to Iowa to clear spots for those two.
Simmons hit just .173 this season, collecting as many strikeouts as hits (13). If he clears waivers, he could conceivable return to Iowa, but that seems unlikely.
Madrigal finds old habits:
Nick Madrigal is hoping the worst is over. He dealt with a long recovery from a torn hamstring suffered last season when he played for the White Sox.
Since being traded to the Cubs, he's played in just 33 games with a variety of injuries, most recently a groin strain. But he had 2 hits Friday and was on base in front of Willson Contreras' game-winning home run in the eighth inning.
"I think it's just getting back to what I've been doing my whole life," he said. "That starts in the cage, all my routines. I feel like for a second, I got away from that and kind of was searching a little bit.
"I've never really lost my confidence, it's just nice to be back out there, though, and helping the team. That's the most fun I've had all year today. Just being out there with the guys and enjoying the game. Not worrying about anything else."
Steele on strikes:
Justin Steele has had games where he's been able to induce soft contact from opposing hitters. Then there have been a few high-strikeout games like Friday, when the left-hander piled up 10 strikeouts in just 4 2/3 innings against Miami.
"Still trying to figure that out," said Steele, who left after throwing 93 pitches. "Obviously want to go more than 4.2 innings in a start. Need 5 to at least qualify for the win. They were fouling off really good pitches, so I was having to make more good pitches to just compete.
"In between starts, I was really focused on staying over my back leg longer and finishing out in front with my arm and that led to more consistency locating my four-seam."