#Cubs Minor matters: Sunday’s roundup

Kris Bryant hit his second homer in as many days and drove in three runs and Addison Russell went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, hitting his first Triple-A home run, to lead Iowa to a 7-2 victory over Memphis on Sunday. Jonathan Mota also homered for Iowa, which plays at New Orleans Monday night. Drake Britton earned the win Sunday in relief.

Dan Vogelbach went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Tennessee’s 6-3 win over Mississippi. Christian Villanueva had two hits and three RBIs and Albert Almora hda two hits and scored two runs. The Smokies totaled 16 hits and went 6-for-19 with RISP.

Tyler Skulina gave up one run on three hits over five innings but took the loss as Myrtle Beach was beaten, 5-0, by Wilmington. Chris Denorfia went 1-for-2 with a double in the first game of a rehab assignment.

Zach Hedges gave up two earned runs over five innings for the win as South Bend beat Dayton, 8-3. Five players drove in a run for the South Bend Cubs, including Rashad Crawford, who had three RBIs.

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Looking ahead, when Denorfia is ready to come off the DL and when Bryant is ready to be called up, the Cubs will have to lose two guys off their current 25-man roster. Barring any injuries that require a trip to the DL, my guess is that Matt Szczur will return to Iowa when Denorfia is ready, and Jonathan Herrera will return to Iowa when Bryant is ready (although Herrera can switch hit and play multiple infield positions, so maybe Mike Olt could be a possibility as well).

Aloha Doug- This is the tough part of the game since everyone wants to be a part of this team. I like Szczur a lot but as you mentioned there is no room for Bryant and Denorfia to come on unless 2 are taken off. Olt is another I wish could turn it around because his defense is solid. I have also thought a little bit ahead when Wada comes off the DL and the possibility of Addison coming up too. There will definitely be some personnel changes coming soon. Hope Lester can get into a groove early and shut down the Reds tonight! Mahalo.

Hello k.g.! I agree with your sentiments. Also, Denorfia and Ross are a couple of head scratching additions made by Hoystein. Ross for Lester’s well being is the accepted reason for his addition (although was he REALLY needed if Lester is the ace we think he is?) but Denorfia seems to be an odd choice with Szczur and Alcantara more than capable of playing multiple outfield positions. I can’t help but think the Cubs would actually be better without them….I hope both players prove otherwise. Have a great day k.g.

I’m guessing they won’t bring Wada up without sending him on a rehab assignment first, and given that he barely had a spring training, they’ll probably use the maximum amount of time for his rehab assignment, which I believe is 15 days. So when Wada gets sent on his rehab assignment, the Cubs will have two weeks to evaluate him and figure out what they’re going to do when his assignment is up. Right now there doesn’t seem to be an opening for him, but a lot can change in 2+ weeks.
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As for what fonzie says, Szczur only had 62 Major League at bats coming into this season and Alcantara had only played in 70 games and carried a .205 batting average into this season. Sure they both can play multiple positions, but they both are young and completely unproven. Denorfia is a veteran who provides depth to the roster and can allow Szczur to develop on a steady pace. And on a young team, you need some veterans in the clubhouse to lead and show the younger players how it’s done. That’s also why Ross was brought in. Sure, a big part was to work with Lester, but it’s hardly the first time an ace has had a preferred catcher who is not the best catcher on the team. Javy Lopez was one of the best catchers in baseball in the 90s, yet he almost never played when Greg Maddux was pitching because Maddux liked working with Charlie O’Brien and Eddie Perez instead. Second, Ross is a veteran leader and his knowledge and experience can help the entire pitching staff, not just Lester. And his knowledge and experience could help next year too when a young catcher named Kyle Schwarber will be on the verge of making the big league team.
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Lastly, just because Denorfia is about ready to come back and Szczur is the one who will probably be sent down, doesn’t mean the Cubs don’t think highly of Szczur and plan on sticking with Denorfia for the stretch run. Remember in 2013 when the Cubs signed Scott Hairston to be their 4th OF. Hairston did not start off well with the Cubs and eventually they decided to trade him away and get more playing time for Junior Lake. So if Denorfia is not playing well and Szczur is playing well at AAA, the Cubs have proven before that they won’t be afraid to make a move to better the team. But they couldn’t just go into the season assuming that Szczur would be good and that they don’t need a veteran presence in the clubhouse.

Aloha Doug- True about Szczur and his actually playing time in the bigs and by him getting a taste of what it could be one hopes if he is sent down it will make him more hungry to come back. Yes to the veteran aspect, we wrote a lot about this last season. One reason I at the time had hoped for the addition of a Martin. But am happy with Ross along with getting back Hammel, adding in Lester and coaches such as Blanco & Martinez. This is a good problem to have as an organization, with so much talent, now the juggling begins! Mahalo!

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