Cubs president Hoyer steers clear of Stroman extension talk

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That pretty much summed up Jed Hoyer's thoughts on Marcus Stroman going public with hopes of signing a contract extension with the Cubs.

Stroman, who leads the National League with a 2.42 ERA, sent a tweet Friday that said: "My agent and I made multiple attempts to engage them on an extension. Club wasn't interested in exploring it now. Will see how it plays out! Love everything about the Cubs organization!"

Not surprisingly, Hoyer's 20-minute chat with reporters at Wrigley Field began with five questions about Stroman.

"Listen, I love the fact that he wants to be here and we've had conversations about it," said Hoyer, the Cubs' president of baseball operations. "Not going to disclose what we've talked about. But there's dialogue and we'll keep that in-house."

Stroman signed a three-year, $71 million contract in 2022, but he can opt out of the third year - which would pay him $21 million - to become a free agent.

With the Cubs still in the hunt in the NL Central, it will likely be some time before we see if Hoyer elects to trade Stroman or if he feels like this team has what it takes to make a playoff run.

"We have six full weeks really to get to the end of July," Hoyer said. "A lot (will) happen in that time."

Wait just a second:

Cody Bellinger started at first base for a second straight game at Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Manager David Ross told reporters Tuesday that he may use Bellinger at first when he returns to the Cubs so that Mike Tauchman can continue patrolling center field.

But Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer seemed to push back on that notion a bit, saying: "In a way it is a little bit of a waste of a really great athlete and a great outfielder. Certainly the hope is, over time, is he gets back out there. His biggest impact for the Cubs is playing center field.

"But as we ease him back into the lineup and get his legs back underneath him it just makes lot of sense (to play him at first). ...

"We're not doing this because we see him as our first baseman for the rest of the year, but more of a way of getting him back in the lineup."

Around the horn:

Ian Happ, who felt his calf grab during the Cubs' 11-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, was in the lineup as the designated hitter Wednesday. Christopher Morel took over for Happ in left field and batted sixth. ... David Ross said that Justin Steele "had a great bullpen" session Tuesday and that Steele is on track to start Saturday against the Orioles. Steele (6-2, 2.65 ERA) is on the injured list with left forearm tightness. ... Shortstop Dansby Swanson has gone 50 straight games without an error. Just two Cubs since 1901 have longer streaks at SS: Don Kessinger (54 games in 1969) and Mick Kelleher (60 games that spanned 1976-79). ... The Cubs' 11 runs Tuesday were their most since April 21 when they beat the Dodgers 13-0. ... Jack Suwinski, who is from Chicago and attended Taft High School, has 15 home runs on the season. Four came in the last five games. Suwinski helped Taft reach the Baseball City Championships in 2016 as a senior.

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