The Rundown: RHP Anthony Varvaro Claimed Off Waivers, Justin Grimm Heading to Iowa for Rehab, Javier Baez Breaks Out

Yesterday was a tough loss, where things could have gone differently with some luckier bounces. The Brewers made some excellent plays on defense and Aramis Ramirez’s two-run single on a tough pitch was the difference.

It was a pretty frustrating weekend all around for the Cubs’ offense. But I’m still feeling good about where this team is right now.

We need to remember how young this team is. It’s going to take a little while for everything to come together. This team is going to start hitting home runs in bunches, worry not.

The unfortunate thing at the moment is that the Cardinals keep winning. Luckily the Cubs can put an end to that, as they open a four-game series tonight in St. Louis.

And if there was one manager that I’d want in charge of motivating this team to keep their heads’ up, it’s Joe Maddon. After Sunday’s loss, Maddon had the team decked out in personalized Blackhawks jerseys.

I love this, and not just as a longtime Blackhawks season-ticket holder. The Cubs just went through a tough series in which they lost two of three, but they look relaxed and ready to go. Maddon’s mantra since taking the Cubs’ job has been “Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure.”

That seems to be on full display with this team right now, and I think it’s great:

Bullpen depth?

The Cubs have claimed RHP Anthony Varvaro off waivers from the Boston Red Sox. To make room on the 40-man roster, they designated LHP Joseph Ortiz for assignment.

Varvaro, 30, has a 3.23 ERA in 166 major-league appearances with Seattle, Atlanta and Boston. Seems like a decent move to add a little depth to the Cubs’ bullpen options.

The Cubs will try to sneak Ortiz, 24, through waivers. He has been OK but not great in Iowa this year (3.38 ERA in eight relief appearances).

A Grimm return

Some good news regarding a very important bullpen piece: RHP Justin Grimm will be joining Triple-A Iowa for a rehab stint.

Grimm, part of the Matt Garza trade with the Rangers, was a very dependable arm in the Cubs bullpen last year, posting a 3.78 ERA (3.20 FIP) and 70 strikeouts in 69 innings.

Let’s hope things go well in Iowa and Grimm is pitching in Chicago very soon.

Welcome back, Javy

Some familiar faces filled up the scorecard in Iowa yesterday. Javier Baez thumped a home run and added a double, going 3-for-5. Some more days like this, and he’ll be back up with the big club.

Arismendy Alcantara also went 3-for-5 with a home run. Matt Szczur got in on the action with a triple.

Starter Donn Roach pitched eight innings, giving up three runs and five hits and striking out two. Roach has been solid this year so far.

Other notes

* Addison Russell wasn’t the only piece to the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade last summer. OF Billy McKinney came over from the A’s as well. Yesterday he slammed two home runs for Myrtle Beach to give them a 2-1 win.

* In some pretty odd timing, the Brewers decided to fire manager Ron Roenicke after taking two of three from the Cubs. It was the first time the Brewers won two games in a row all year. They are currently 7-18. Craig Counsell has been named as Roenicke’s replacement.


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