Ian Stewart had two hits and scored a run in Iowa’s 4-2 loss to Tucson on Saturday. Chris Rusin took the loss, giving up three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings. On Friday, Logan Watkins hit his third hom erun and Brett Jackson was 4-for-5 in Iowa’s 9-8 loss to Tucson. Josh Vitters had two hits.
Dallas Beeler gave up two earned runs over six innings in Tennessee’s 7-5 win over Chattanooga on Saturday. Arismendy Alcantara hit his fifth home run. On Friday, Kyle Hendricks gave up three runs over seven innings in Tennessee’s 4-3 win over Chattanooga. Matt Szczur had two hits and Christian Villanueva had three hits, including two doubles, and one RBIs. It was Hendricks’ fifth quality start.
Zach Cates gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings and Ben Carhart hit his first home run in Daytona’s 6-5 victory over Lakeland. On Friday, Jorge Soler and Dustin Geiger were a combined 8-for-8 and Yeiper Castillo gave up one run over seven innings in Daytona’s 5-1 victory over Lakeland in the first game of a doubleheader. Soler hit his sixth home run and posted his first four-hit game of the season. Geiger hit three doubles among his four hits and had four RBIs.
In the second game, Daytona won, 7-4, for the sweep. Soler was 3-for-6 with a double, and batting .297 for the season. Geiger went 3-for-4 with a double and RBIs. Javier Baez was 2-for-5 with a triple and scored three runs.
Pierce Johnson threw six shutout innings and struck out nine in Kane County’s 4-0 win over Cedar Rapids. Rock Shoulders and Oliver Zapata both homered, with Zapata finishing with three hits. On Friday, Dillon Maples gave up two runs over five hits in Kane County’s 4-3, 12-inning loss to Cedar Rapids.
Brad Nelson hit his sixth home run but Reno scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Iowa, 9-8, on Sunday. Chris Rusin started, and did not get a decision, giving up five runs on nine hits over five innings. Brett Jackson had his first three-hit game of the season and scored two runs. Dave Sappelt drove in three runs. Ian Stewart was 1-for-1 with a triple and two RBIs.
Kyle Hendricks threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in Tennessee’s 5-0 victory over Jackson. Matt Szczur had three hits and two RBIs. Arismendy Alcantara had two hits.
Daytona had Sunday off, and returns to action Monday against Charlotte.
Dillon Maples gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in Kane County’s 7-4, 10-inning loss to Clinton. Rock Shoulders hit a grand slam in the sixth and Jeimer Candelario had two hits, including his fourth home run. Dan Vogelbach drove in a run, and now has hit safely in six of his last seven games.
Guillermo Moscoso gave up one run on six hits and struck out seven over seven innings in Iowa’s 4-1 victory over Reno. Dave Sappelt hit a two-run homer and Brett Jackson had two hits and two RBIs. Ian Stewart was 0-for-3 with a walk. Blake Parker picked up his fifth save.
Matt Garza gave up three hits and walked two over 3 1/3 innings in Tennessee’s 5-4 win over Birmingham. Matt Szczur had two hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases, and Christian Villanueva had three hits, including two doubles, and one RBIs. This was Garza’s third rehab start, second with the Smokies, and he threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Daytona’s doubleheader against Dunedin was canceled because of unplayable field conditions.
Wilson Contreras had three hits, including his fourth home run, to help Kane County beat Clinton, 7-4. Michael Heesch picked up the win, giving up four runs on 12 hits over six innings. Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits.
The Cubs may have taken Ian Stewart off the 40-man roster, but they are hoping the third baseman can get back on track and contribute. Stewart missed all of Spring Training because of a strained left quad suffered in the first intrasquad game, Feb. 21. After his Minor League rehab time ended, Stewart was activated from the disabled list, and then optioned to Triple-A Iowa. In 15 games, he was 4-for-46, while Luis Valbuena has done well playing third for the big league team.
“We’ve been really patient with him,” GM Jed Hoyer said Saturday of Stewart. “Early in the rehab, you take numbers with a grain of salt, but I think later on, I think you’ve got to perform, especially with Valbuena doing what he’s doing. We’d be jumping up and down to get that kind of performance out of a third baseman. Valbuena has earned that job.”
Stewart, though, now seems to be behind Josh Vitters on the Iowa depth chart at third. Hoyer said it would be a “disservice” to not play Vitters, who was the team’s No. 1 Draft pick in 2007.
Does Stewart have a future in the Cubs organization?
“I’m not sure,” Hoyer said. “I hope there is. I do think there’s a lot of talent there. It’s been an unfortunate run with the injuries. He’s a left-handed hitter with power who plays good defense. I hope there’s a future here but at this point, it’s going to be about performance. We want him to perform.”
— Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart was activated from the disabled list and then optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Friday. But Stewart did not play this weekend, opting to take the 72 hours players are given. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said they discussed the options with Stewart, and the third baseman chose to take time off.
The Cubs had projected Stewart as their starting third baseman this season, and he injured his left quad in his first at-bat of an intrasquad game Feb. 21. He’s been rehabbing since.
“OF course we’re disappointed, Hoyer said of Stewart not being able to contribute. “Last year, we made a trade for him and he had a lot of injuries he was dealing with. This year, we never even had him. It was the first swing of the first game of an intrasquad scrimmage. That’s as early in the season as you can get. He hasn’t had a chance to help us. There’s certainly talent there, left-handed power, and he’s a good defender.”
Stewart was expected to join Iowa on its next road trip in Colorado Springs when the I-Cubs open a four-game series.
— Carrie Muskat
Late Friday, the Cubs activated third baseman Ian Stewart from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. Stewart has been on a Minor League rehab assignment at Iowa, recovering from a strained left quad suffered Feb. 21. Major League players are limited to 20 days per rehab assignment, and Stewart’s time expired on Friday. In 13 games with Iowa, Stewart was 4-for-44 (.091) with one double and four RBIs. He’s struck out 16 times and walked eight times.
“[Luis] Valbuena and [Cody] Ransom are our third basemen, that’s the way it is now,” Dale Sveum said.
— Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart does not appear to be ready to be activated from the disabled list, and Theo Epstein said the third baseman could be re-certified to remain in the Minor Leagues. Major League players are limited to 20 days per rehab assignment. Stewart’s time expires on Friday. Epstein said that’s a “soft deadline.”
“He’s had bumps and bruises along the way, getting hit by a pitch, and having some soreness,” Epstein said of Stewart, who is rehabbing with Triple-A Iowa. “We’ll just monitor it daily and see what he’s doing. He didn’t have a Spring Training so we look at this [time] as Spring Training.”
Stewart strained his left quad in an intrasquad game Feb. 21, and did not play in Spring Training.
“There’s nothing real good going on with his swing right now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “I think he’s seeing a lot of pitches and he is taking some walks but there’s no hard contact going on.”
In 12 games with Iowa, Stewart was 4-for-40 (.100) with one double and four RBIs. He’s struck out 15 times and walked eight times.
“He doesn’t have his timing,” Epstein said. “He’s not been performing that well and his timing isn’t there yet. He needs to keep playing.”
Stewart does have an option remaining.
— Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs have had 12 players hit at least one home run so far this season, the most among National League teams and tied for second-most in the Major Leagues with the Indians and Rays. Alfonso Soriano is one of the dozen players, but the Cubs had hoped he’d have more than one home run at this point.
“Last year, he was a victim of the wind blowing in every single day at home,” manager Dale Sveum said. “This year, you can’t say that. He’s swung the bat really well off lefties. Hopefully last night, hitting off that tough righty [the Padres’ Brad Brach], that double, that was his best swing off a righty all year. Hopefully that can catapult him.”
Soriano last homered on April 18; in 2012, he didn’t connect until May 15. In April 2011, he set a club record with 10 homers in April. Sveum expects Soriano, 37, to deliver.
“That media guide doesn’t lie when you have 600 plate appearances at the end of the year,” Sveum said.
* Ian Stewart, on a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa, was 4-for-40 in 12 games.
“He’s got to start swinging the bat better, have more consistent at-bats,” Sveum said of the third baseman. “We’ll wait and see.”
Major League players are limited to 20 days per rehab assignment. Stewart’s time expires on Friday.
“Right this second, I don’t think I’m ready,” Stewart told the Des Moines Register on Tuesday. “That’s just me being honest and knowing myself as a player.”
* The Cubs still don’t have a designated closer and Sveum said Tuesday they’ll probably stick to the closer by committee approach when Kyuji Fujikawa returns from the disabled list. Fujikawa, sidelined with a strained right forearm, was to throw a bullpen on Thursday, and if all goes well, he would make a rehab outing Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.
On Monday, Kevin Gregg picked up his fourth save of the season. The Cubs have three pitchers with multiple saves so far, the first time that’s happened in the first month in franchise history since the save became an official stat in 1969. Besides Gregg (four), Fujikawa has two and Carlos Marmol has two. Sveum said he’ll base his decision in save situations on matchups.
“I got [a closer],” Sveum said. “I just don’t know who it’s going to be every night.”
* Looking ahead, Scott Feldman will face former Cub Andrew Cashner on Wednesday, and Travis Wood will close the series Thursday against the Padres’ Eric Stults.
— Carrie Muskat
Brent Lillibridge hit a solo home run and Brad Nelson added a two-run shot to lift Iowa to a 7-2 victory Tuesday over Round Rock. Brian Bogusevic was 3-for-4, hitting two doubles. Ian Stewart was 0-for-4 in his 12th rehab game. Guillermo Moscoso, activated from the DL prior to the game, gave up three hits over five innings and struck out six for the win.
Drew Carpenter gave up eight runs on nine hits over three innings in Iowa’s 13-2 loss to Omaha on Saturday. Logan Watkins had two hits and one RBIs, and Brett Jackson hit a RBI double. Ian Stewart was 0-for-3, and made an error in the ninth game of his rehab assignment.
On Sunday, Ryan Sweeney, Brett Jackson, Brent Lillibridge, and Brian Bogusevic each hit home runs to power Iowa to a 10-6 win over Omaha. Lillibridge and Bogusevic were both 3-for-4, and Bogusevic finished with three RBIs. Brooks Raley picked up the win, giving up four runs on six hits over six innings. Logan Watkins got it started for Iowa with a leadoff triple, and he scored on Jackson’s groundout. After Ian Stewart walked, Sweeney hit a two-run home run. Iowa added four more runs in the second on Jackson’s two-run homer and Bogusevic’s two-run single.
Tennessee’s games against Pensacola Saturday and Sunday were postponed because of weather. The Smokies will try to play a doubleheader on Monday.
Austin Kirk gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings in Daytona’s 5-1 loss to Lakeland. John Andreoli and Ben Carhart each had two hits.
Tayler Scott gave up two runs on seven hits over six innings in Kane County’s 5-3 come from behind win over Fort Wayne. Wes Darvill had two hits, and has had multiple hit games in four of his last five starts. Sunday’s game at Lake county was postponed because of rain.
— Carrie Muskat