Cubs’ Hoyer, Sveum not thinking about a sell-off just yet
BY GORDON WITTENMYER AND DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
If there was any optimism within the organization a week ago that the Cubs might avoid another summer sell-off, it seems to have all but disappeared in the six-game losing streak that followed.
“I still feel like we were playing really well before this last week,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “You always hold out hope that you string things together and make a run. It’s really hard in this division, I’ll say that. You’ve got three teams playing really well.”
The Cardinals, Reds and Pirates entered Monday with .620-or-better winning percentages — the Reds and Pirates taking advantage of a 5-1 combined week against the Cubs along the way.
“But it is fairly early. You do want to still see these guys fight through it and hopefully go on a run,” said Hoyer, who acknowledged the sellers-or-buyers decision starts coming into focus as the season shifts into June.
“But, at some point, there’s a finite amount of time between now and July 31, and every week that goes by, we get closer.”
“We’re not there yet, and we’re not worried about that,” manager Dale Sveum said. “If it happens, it happens. But it’s not something I even think about.”
Cubs add Burnett
The Cubs took a look at the options in the minors and instead opted to claim right-hander Alex Burnett off waivers from the Orioles to take the bullpen spot vacated when Kyuji Fujikawa was put on the disabled list Monday with an elbow injury.
Fujikawa, who told Japanese reporters he heard something pop in his elbow on a pitch to Joey Votto on Sunday, is to have an MRI exam for symptoms similar to the soreness that put him on the DL for four weeks already this season.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that it’s going to be the same thing that he had before,” Hoyer said of the forearm strain.
Hoyer said the club is likely to take a longer approach with Fujikawa’s rehab process this time.
Burnett, 25, spent the last three seasons with the Twins and is 8-11 with a 4.73 ERA in 176 career relief appearances.
Cubs outfield prospect Albert Almora, the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s draft, left Monday’s game for Class A Kane County with an apparent hamstring injury after turning awkwardly to make a play on a line drive.
Almora, who was off to a .519 start in his first seven games back from a hamate injury, downplayed the seriousness of the injury on Twitter late Monday afternoon: “No worries! I’ll be back in a day or 2!!”
Back in black
Tyler Flowers said his back was better after missing three games. Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano stole on Flowers, but shortstop Alexei Ramirez was late to second base on Castro’s steal in the first.
Adam Dunn has been playing through a sore back for more than a week. “It’s all right, not great, not terrible,’’ Dunn said. “It’s good. It’s not an issue.”
Flowers (twice), Dunn, Alex Rios, Jeff Keppinger and Jake Peavy have dealt with back issues.