The Cubs have designated reliever Neil Ramirez for assignment, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. The move clears roster space for outfielder Matt Szczur, who was activated today. Jason Heyward’s MRI on his injured side revealed only a contusion, so he’ll only need to miss three to five days and won’t require a stint on the disabled list.
Ramirez, 26, got off to a rough start this season for the Cubs, surrendering a whopping eight walks in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed a more modest run total (four) while racking up an impressive 10 strikeouts, though, and has overall been an asset for the Cubs dating back to his debut with the team in 2014. Even with this season’s struggles factored in, Ramirez has posted a terrific 2.20 ERA, 10.74 K/9 and 4.27 BB/9 in 65 1/3 frames with Chicago. The team has 12 pitchers without Ramirez, however, and decided it made more sense to risk losing him than reserve catcher Tim Federowicz, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers (Twitter link).