The Cubs made some in-game lineup changes Monday night. Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto were both pulled from Monday’s game, but the Cubs would only confirm that Johnson and Paul Maholm were headed to the Braves. Soto is reportedly being traded to the Rangers, although that deal was still pending approval.
Johnson, 35, started in center field against the Pirates and scored two runs but was pulled for a pinch-hitter for his second at-bat. He went through the dugout and shook hands with his teammates, hugged a few of the players, and then exited. The veteran was batting .302 this season, including a .333 average against left-handed pitching. Soto, 29, who has been in the Cubs system since he was drafted in 2001. He was pulled after the Pirates sixth inning, and also greeted in the dugout by handshakes and hugs from his teammates. Soto was batting .199 this season in 52 games this season. He missed time because of a torn meniscus in his left knee. Maholm is 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA in his last six starts, and 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA overall.
“You hate to be pulling guys out of games,” Hoyer said. “It isn’t comfortable to go down there and make moves. I don’t like to make lineup changes.”
“I can’t lie to you, it was the first time I’ve ever gone through that,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs will receive Minor League right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman from the Braves in return. Chapman, 25, was 3-6 with seven saves and a 3.52 ERA in 40 games with Triple-A Gwinnett. Vizcaino, 21, may be the prize in the deal. A power arm, he was ranked as the second-best prospect by Baseball America. He made his big league debut with the Braves last season, and was 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in 17 relief outings. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery which he had in March.
“We’ve been really clear all along that we’re not contending right now and we need to take assets that are shorter term and turn them into longer term assets,” Hoyer said Monday night.
The Trade Deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT.
— Carrie Muskat