Injury-filled inning spurs spate of moves by Cubs
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 8, 2013 7:55PM
Updated: September 10, 2013 6:29AM
PHILADELPHIA — Waiver claims, trades, repeated bullpen overhauls, castaway lineups.
And now a five-minute sequence in one inning Wednesday night that might yet put three potentially key Cub players on the disabled list?
“I don’t think I’ve seen that in a game before,” said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who got to reintroduce himself to two more players Thursday as he continued a more thankless than usual week of overseeing the big-league side of Theo Epstein’s organizational rebuilding.
After the series of injuries suffered in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s victory over the Phillies, the Cubs on Thursday:
† Placed outfielder Thomas Neal — acquired via waivers on Monday — on the DL after he strangely dislocated his shoulder on throw.
† Placed pitcher Matt Guerrier on the DL after he suffered a possibly serious elbow injury on a curve ball to Chase Utley, the first of five batters he faced.
† Called up reliever Eduardo Sanchez and 33-year-old catcher J.C. Boscan from AAA Iowa.
† Treated catcher Dioner Navarro for a bruise and possible sprain of the ankle he injured when Utley plowed him over in a home-plate collision, as they awaited the swelling to subside enough for an MRI exam later in the week.
“I was pretty scared. I thought it was going to be worse than what it was,” said Navarro, who’s probably will yet wind up on the DL. “I tape my ankles when I play, so I guess the tape did its job, and I’m really fortunate today.”
Guerrier, whose injury has all the initial signs of a Tommy John injury, went straight to the 60-day DL, which opened a 40-man roster spot for Boscan.
Sveum said the club’s just glad it appears to have dodged a serious injury to Navarro, who might be the club’s most valuable bench player.
“Especially after going out there and hearing him say he thought it was broken, and he heard a pop,” Sveum said. “I think we’re all happy that it just seems like a normal, pretty good sprain, like you’d get in a basketball game or something.”
When Boscan — who has played 11 big-league games for Atlanta the last three seasons — makes his 2013 debut, he’ll be the 50th Cub to play this season.
That’s three short of last year’s franchise-record total for the season — with seven weeks to play.
Navarro said he had no problem with Utley’s knee-to-knee, elbow-to-neck collision.
“I watched the replay. It was a good baseball play,” he said. “We both did what we needed to do. I got the worst out of it.”
† No. 3 hitter Anthony Rizzo is down to .181 (21-for-116) this year with men in scoring position after two hitless tries Wednesday.
“I’m not as concerned with his [.239] average as driving in runs,” Sveum said. “If he’s hitting .300 with men in scoring position, you’re looking at probably 80 RBIs instead of . His RBI totals and men-in-scoring-position numbers have to get better.”
† Travis Wood’s 19th quality start put him one behind Clayton Kershaw for the major-league lead.
† Since sweeping the Giants on the road, the Cubs are 2-9 as they head to into a nine-game stretch against NL Central contenders St. Louis (six) and Cincinnati (three). The Cubs are 16-31 against division opponents.