We can only hope Sammy’s OK and ready to go, although this is really a no-lose situation. The Cubs averaged just over 4 runs per game in Sammy’s absence, but were held to 3 or fewer runs in 8 of the 17 games he missed. Besides his bat, though, Sammy brings with him the added bonus of pushing Tom Goodwin back to the end of the bench where he belongs; half of Goodwin’s at-bats this year (well, OK, 26 of 53) have come in the three weeks since Sammy hit the DL. Even if Sammy can’t quite hit the ground running, he’ll draw some walks and hit the occasional homer and just generally see more than one pitch per at-bat. In other words, he’ll provide much more offense than the two-headed monster named Trom O’Goodwin has, and every little bit helps with the way the pitching staff is going.
Norton was expected to be the first to go, as he was never more than a temp LOOGY and pitched about as well as you would expect a temp LOOGY to pitch. I assume his demotion means that Guthrie’s activation is forthcoming, as it leaves the Cubs with only one lefty in the pen, but it hasn’t been officially announced yet.
Davis has bounced around, playing for the Mets, Rockies, Brewers, and Indians, and compiling a 6.01 ERA in 97.1 major-league innings. His minor-league numbers aren’t much better, either, as the only level he’s posted a career ERA under 5.00 is single-A. He’s pitched well in the independent Atlantic League for Camden this season, though. I’d guess that the Iowa pen was a bit short-handed, since Francis Beltran is apparently starting again, so this signing looks like AAA filler and nothing more.
The Cubs have placed Mark Guthrie on the 15-day DL and purchased the contract of Phil Norton from Iowa
Guthrie has tendonitis. He’s pitched pretty well so far this year, more or less in the LOOGY role even though he’s been better than the more-heralded offseason lefty acquisition Mike Remlinger. I got back from Tulsa this afternoon in time to hear Chip say that if it were September, Guthrie would probably be able to pitch through it, and while that may or may not be true, it sounds like Guthrie will be back before too long.
Norton actually played in 2 games with the Cubs in 2000, and was pretty bad. If you recall Darren Dreifort’s 2-homer game against the Cubs that year, Norton started that one. He presumably becomes a strict LOOGY guy now with seven guys in the pen; that was his role today against Saint Louis. He’s pitched pretty well in Iowa, allowing a 4.19 ERA that is somewhat misleading since 6 of the 11 runs he gave up were in one game.
It’s not hard to imagine a trailer for a movie about Will Cunnane:
In a bullpen. Filled with expensive veterans. (cut to footage of Mike Remlinger and/or Alfonseca) And hotshot rookies (footage of Cruz, even though he’s not a rookie) Nobody counted. On him. (dramatic shot of Cunnane, glaring at the camera)
Unfortunately for Cunnane, and perhaps for Hollywood, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. I’d hesitate to say that Cunnane just needed an opportunity, since he’s thrown over 200 major-league innings, but he’s got a better chance of becoming Joe Borowski ca. 2002 than Joe Borowski ever did.
He’ll get another go at it with someone else, though, and chances are that he’ll be a perfectly adequate, low-priced middle reliever, and who knows? With a career K/9 over 9 in his AAA career, he may even end up a decent closer if he can learn to not give up so many homers as soon as he’s promoted to the bigs, his m.o. so far. With the Cubs, even though he was pitching well in Iowa this year, the sheer number of young arms simply made him expendable.