The Cubs officially parted ways with Ian Stewart on Tuesday, granting the third baseman his unconditional release. Stewart was playing for Triple-A Iowa, and issued a 10-game suspension for violating the loyalty clause in his contract when he made disaparaging comments about the Cubs and manager Dale Sveum on Twitter. His suspension, which ended last Saturday, was upheld.
“The release is probably best for all parties involved,” said Larry Reynolds, Stewart’s representative. “After a lengthy rehab, Ian was starting to get back to playing the way we all had hoped. We will move on and I expect that Ian, with hard work, will find himself back in the big leagues at some point in the near future.”
Stewart had not played since June 11 at Oklahoma City. He was batting .168 (19-for-113) with five home runs and 20 RBIs in 40 games before serving his suspension.
Stewart, who later posted an apology on his Twitter account, has hit .232 with 59 homers and 204 RBIs over parts of six seasons in the Majors. He was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal with Chicago.
— Carrie Muskat
Third baseman Ian Stewart was reinstated from the suspended list, and rejoined the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. The Minor League team also placed outfielder Brett Jackson on the disabled list with a right calf strain, and outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha was promoted from Double-A Tennessee.
On Friday, the Cubs traded infielder Brent Lillibridge to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations, and on Saturday, left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi was dealt to the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Both began the season with the Major League team.
Stewart was suspended 10 games for violating the loyalty clause in his contract after he made disparaging comments about the Cubs and manager Dale Sveum on Twitter. He last played June 11 at Oklahoma City, and was batting .168 (19-for-113) with six doubles, five home runs, and 20 RBIs in 40 games before he was suspended.
Jackson was batting .223 with seven doubles, three homers, and 23 RBIs in 61 games. He had an earlier stint on the DL with turf toe.
Ha joins Iowa after batting .284 with one homer, 14 RBIs, and eight stolen bases in 28 games with the Smokies.
The Cubs also announced that catcher Steve Clevenger, whose Minor League rehab assignment was to end Saturday, was experiencing some tightness in his oblique area. Clevenger will rest, and then be re-evaluated by the Cubs’ medical staff. In 15 games, he batted .327 with five doubles, three home runs, and 11 RBIs.
— Carrie Muskat
* One year ago, Starlin Castro was batting .302, and headed to his second All-Star Game. The Cubs shortstop entered Thursday’s game batting .235 for the season.
“By his numbers alone, he’s regressed, there’s no question about it,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “You’re getting way, way down as far as all the other shortstops in baseball as far as the offensive part. He’s under .600 OPS. That would go without saying that he’s regressed.”
Castro has played every game, and Sveum said he hasn’t given the shortstop a breather yet because he hasn’t found a good day. Castro has done well defensively. If he did sit, Cody Ransom would sub at shortstop.
Part of the problem has been Castro’s mechanics at the plate.
“He knows the formula,” Sveum said. “The rest is up to him. He knows the issues and the mechanical things that are different than when he first got up to the big leagues. It’s up to him to get all of that ironed out.”
* Third baseman Ian Stewart will rejoin Triple-A Iowa this weekend. Stewart’s 10-day suspension ends Saturday, and he will join the Cubs’ Minor League team when it begins a four-game series at Memphis. Stewart, 28, was suspended by the Cubs after venting his frustrations about his situation and Cubs manager Dale Sveum on Twitter on June 10.
* The Cubs have eight relievers, and could make a roster move this weekend to add a position player. They’ve been carrying an extra pitcher since outfielder David DeJesus went on the disabled list last Saturday. One option would be to activated catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger, who was rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa and was on the 60-day disabled list. Clevenger’s rehab time ends Saturday.
— Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart was given a 10-day suspension on Friday for violating the loyalty clause in his contract. Stewart has appealed the suspension.
The Cubs suspended Stewart without pay Tuesday for venting on Twitter about the team and manager Dale Sveum. Stewart is on the Triple-A Iowa roster, and said the Cubs were making him “rot” in the Minors.
Stewart signed a $2 million contract this season, but was injured in the first intrasquad game, and did not play in Spring Training. After completing his Minor League rehab assignment, he was outrighted to Iowa. The Cubs are trying to negotiate an out in which Stewart would be granted his free agency without getting his salary.
If the 10-day suspension is upheld, Stewart would lose more than $110,000.
Brett Jackson and Ian Stewart each homered in Iowa’s 8-5 loss to Oklahoma City. Jackson extended his hitting streak to three games, going 1-for-4. Steve Clevenger was 1-for-5 and scored a run.
Eric Jokisch gave up two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in Tennessee’s 3-2 loss to Mobile. Matt Szczur had two hits, and was batting .325 this month.
Daytona’s game against Fort Myers was postponed because of wet grounds. They were scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday.
Wilson Contreras hit his sixth home run in Kane County’s 7-6 loss to Burlington. The Cougars totaled 13 hits. Jeimer Candelario had three hits and one RBIs.
Ian Stewart has been suspended without pay from Triple-A Iowa by the Cubs after his rant on Twitter about his status in the organization.
Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, said the length of Stewart’s suspension would be announced either later Tuesday or early Wednesday.
“There is a loyalty clause in his contract that requires a certain standard of personal conduct and he didn’t adhere to that so he’ll be suspended,” Epstein said Tuesday.
Stewart apologized for his comments Tuesday afternoon. He tweeted: “I want to apologize to the entire Cubs organization for my comments on twitter.” Stewart said, “I let my frustrations get the best of me and in no way want to be a distraction.”
“I am focused on getting back to the big leagues and am working everyday to make that happen,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart faces a fine and possible suspension by the Cubs for his rant on Twitter about his status in the organization. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that the team would deal with Stewart’s punishment privately.
“We spent the entire morning dealing with an issue that doesn’t help us get better as an organization,” Hoyer told the Tribune. “That’s not how we want to spend our time. What he did was really unprofessional and there are going to be consequences. Beyond that, I’m not going to comment.”
Stewart, 28, who started at first base Tuesday for Iowa against Oklahoma City, was 1-for-3 with a RBI double Monday night for Triple-A Iowa. After the game, he vented on Twitter. A fan asked when Stewart if there was “any word when you’re heading back to Chicago.” Stewart replied: “Probably never.”
Another person responded to Stewart, saying he should quit baseball. Stewart’s response: “Why should I quit? I’m making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting”
Stewart signed a one-year, $2 million contract last December after the Cubs non-tendered him.
Someone else said that if Luis Valbuena was hurt, Stewart would be called up. Stewart’s response: “I honestly believe if Valbuena were to get hurt cubs wouldn’t cal me back up just MHO”
He then added: “I said that because the cubs are done with me … there (sic) going to let me rott (sic) in AAA all season and then non tender me after.”
Stewart suggested the Cubs “might as well release” him so he could sign with another team. Stewart said Cubs manager Dale Sveum was the reason he won’t play for the big league team. Stewart said: “I think dale doesn’t like me and he’s running the show.”
— Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart hit three home runs and drove in all eight runs in Iowa’s 8-5 win over Round Rock in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. Stewart’s last four hits have been home runs. He’s batting .170 overall. Nick Struck started and gave up four runs over 6 2/3 innings.
In the second game, Brent Lillibridge hit his fifth homer and Junior Lake was 3-for-4 in a 5-4 victory to complete the sweep. Barret Loux started and gave up one run over three innings.
Rafael Lopez had two hits, including his fourth home run, in Tennessee’s 3-2, 10-inning loss to Mobile. Kyle Hendricks gave up one run on four hits over six innings and did not get a decision. Christian Villanueva had two hits. It was Hendricks’ sixth quality start. He’s 3-0 with a 1.01 ERA in his last four games.
Daytona’s game against Brevard County was postponed because of rain. The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader Sunday.
Albert Almora had four hits, including his first home run, and Michael Heesch gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings in Kane County’s 15-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Almora was one of four players to homer, joining Jeimer Candelario and Dan Vogelbach. Almora drove in four runs and is now batting .435.
Brad Nelson, Ian Stewart and Brian Bogusevic each homered to help Iowa post a 10-2 win over New Orleans, snapping a six-game losing streak. Brooks Raley started but had to leave after 3 1/3 innings when he was hit by a line drive. Logan Watkins had three hits. Steve Clevenger was 2-for-4 with a double in his second rehab game.
* Junior Lake was expected to join the Iowa Cubs Thursday. He’s been rehabbing at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa, Ariz., from a rib injury suffered in Spring Training.
Ronald Torreyes hit his second homer and Ty Wright belted his third in Tennessee’s 8-6 win over Jackson. Matt Szczur had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs. Chad Noble had four hits and one RBIs.
Ben Wells threw five shutout innings, giving up two hits, in Daytona’s 1-0 win over Bradenton. John Andreoli and Tim Saunders each had two hits. Andreoli, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Dustin Geiger were all named to the Florida State League’s first half North All-Star team. Baez and Soler bought pizzas for the Daytona team after Tuesday’s game to celebrate. Baez also was invited to take part in the All-Star home run derby, and agreed. The Florida State League All-Star game will be played June 15 in Dunedin, Fla.
Kane County had Tuesday off, and returns to action Wednesday against Burlington.
Ian Stewart was projected as the Cubs regular third baseman this season before he was injured in Spring Training and now he is playing for Triple-A Iowa. However, Stewart is not high on the organization’s depth chart at third base. Stewart said Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, told him that Josh Vitters, the team’s No. 1 Draft pick in 2007, would be getting most of the at-bats.
“[Vitters] is the priority, put it that way,” Dale Sveum said Tuesday. “Who knows about third baseman of the future, but he’s a priority to develop as that guy. The guy was a first-round pick and the guy can swing the bat. We still have to develop him with the thought of him being our third baseman some day. He’s got power, he can swing, he can hit a fastball. But there’s a lot of development left in him.”
Where does that leave Luis Valbuena, who is getting the majority of at-bats at third with the big league team? Vitters is 23 years old, Valbuena is 27, and Stewart is 28.
“If Valbuena keeps playing the way he is, he’s our third baseman,” Sveum said. “He’s doing a very nice job. That’s just what you do in the Minor Leagues, you develop people to be in that spot. Whether it happens [with Vitters], who knows? That’s usually up to the individual who you’re trying to develop. They’ll force your hand, one way or the other.”
Vitters, who has been battling a sore quad, was batting .259 for Iowa with two home runs and seven RBIs.
— Carrie Muskat