Jason Motte recorded a league-best 42 saves as the Cardinals’ closer in 2012, but thanks to Tommy John surgery and other injuries, he hadn’t saved a game since. That changed today, when Motte handled the ninth inning in the Cubs’ 6-3 win over the Nationals. Hector Rondon had already been brought in to pitch the eighth inning (and a tougher part of Washington’s lineup) and Pedro Strop was unavailable, leaving Motte to finish things off. Motte entered Sunday with a 3.98 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 1.63 K/BB rate over 20 1/3 relief innings this season. Here’s some more from Wrigleyville…
- The Cubs announced that prospect Javier Baez suffered a non-displaced fracture in his ring finger and will miss 4-8 weeks of action. Baez was injured while attempting a steal during Triple-A Iowa’s game today. The one-time elite prospect was enjoying a very nice year in the minors (eight homers and a .314/.387/.540 slash line in 155 PA), though this injury, combined with defensive and strikeout concerns, will certainly hamper his chances of a return to the majors.
- The Cubs will require a designated hitter as they have seven games in AL ballparks over the next two weeks, and CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney suggests that calling up top prospect Kyle Schwarber would be a creative way to address this need. Schwarber is having a big year at Double-A, and promoting now would give him a taste of the majors without causing any real service time concerns (as presumably Schwarber would be sent back down once the Cubs are through their road interleague schedule). ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers doubts Schwarber will be called up since the team already has Chris Denorfia on hand, Schwarber has yet to face even Triple-A pitching and there’s obviously no guarantee that the rookie will be able to provide immediate help. “Are the Cubs willing to use 10 days for curiosity or the best chance to win?” Rogers rhetorically asks.
- Some clubs have ruled Brady Aiken out of their draft plans given the prospect’s recent Tommy John surgery, but Cubs amateur scouting director Matt Dorey tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that “it would be really irresponsible not to look at” Aiken’s latest medicals. If Aiken is healthy, the Cubs would potentially land a first-overall caliber talent with the #9 overall pick. On the flip side, Wittenmyer observes that Theo Epstein has drafted position players with his top pick in 10 of the 12 years he has spent running front offices.