Anthony Rizzo gives Cubs a scare with catch
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter July 20, 2014 9:28PM
Updated: July 20, 2014 9:40PM
PHOENIX — As if the Cubs already weren’t beat up and short-handed, they were forced to stand helplessly in the sixth inning Sunday as their top hitter tumbled head first into a camera well near the first-base dugout while catching a foul pop.
“My heart sank down pretty deep,” manager Rick Renteria said of first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s crash landing. “He got up right away, and he’s a big, strong man and we’re very fortunate he came out of that OK.”
Rizzo wasn’t even sure after the game how or where he landed.
“I have no idea. You tell me; you saw the replay,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where instincts take over. And it was just lucky.”
The play underscored the way things have gone for the Cubs lately. Because the catch carried Rizzo out of play, the runner at third — who had tagged and appeared to score on a sacrifice fly anyway — was awarded the plate by rule.
It was the go-ahead run in a game eventually won by the Diamondbacks 3-2.
Rizzo seemed frustrated with the result after the inning.
“You want to stay in [play] there,” he said. “Then again, [batter] Aaron Hill had two good at-bats, and you want to eliminate the really big inning. I don’t think there’s any Cubs fan that wanted me to miss it and any Diamondback fan that wanted me to catch it.”
Said Renteria: “It was the freaking greatest effort. He always does that. Those are the types of efforts he gives you.”
Renteria said left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, the veteran Japanese starter who made his big-league debut two weeks ago in Cincinnati, will be called up from Class AAA Iowa again to start Wednesday against the Padres.
Rookie left-hander Kyle Hendricks already was picked to start Tuesday as the Cubs look to fill the rotation holes left by the trade of frontline starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics on July 4.
Right-hander Dan Straily, a 10-game winner in 2013 who was acquired in that deal, is expected to finish the season in one of those slots, but Renteria said the staff hasn’t decided when Straily will make his debut. He’s scheduled to make his first start of the second half this week for Iowa.
Starter Jake Arrieta, who pitched two outs into the seventh inning Sunday for his eighth consecutive quality start, had been ill recently and said he still was battling the stomach flu when he took the mound.
◆ After the game, rookie left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup was optioned to Iowa to make room for Hendricks.
◆ Rehabbing leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio (oblique) could add another wrinkle to the Cubs’ roster maneuvering this week as he nears a return from the disabled list.