The Rundown: Justin Grimm Returns, Matt Szczur Called Up, Junior Lake Sent Down, Soler Moved to 5th Spot

The Cubs bullpen got a huge boost yesterday, as RHP Justin Grimm was called up from his rehab assignment in Iowa. Grimm has been on the disabled list since April 10 with right forearm inflammation. To make room, Anthony Varvano was designated for assignment.

Varvano had been claimed off waivers on Sunday from the Red Sox, and was called up to the Cubs on Tuesday but did not make an appearance. Definitely a brief Cubs career.

Grimm was available last night, but didn’t get into the game. He was an unsung hero for last season’s solid bullpen, posting a 3.78 ERA (3.20 FIP) in 69 innings pitched.

Now we just need Neil Ramirez (who has been out since April 15 with a shoulder injury) to make it back and this bullpen can get back to business. And, of course, no more additional injuries from anyone would be nice.

More roster moves

Spring Training favorite Matt Szczur is back up with the big club as the Cubs sending OF Junior Lake back down to Iowa.

Before yesterday’s game, Joe Maddon said he thinks Lake should be getting regular at-bats while Szczur is more of a bench guy.

Lake hadn’t been used much since being called up on April 27. He appeared in four games, going 4-for-14 with no walks and four strikeouts.

I liked what I saw from Szczur earlier this year, and I feel good about having him as the fourth outfield option.

Tinkering with the batting order

Bit of a different lineup last night, as Chris Coghlan was inserted into the 2-hole and Jorge Soler was moved down to the 5-spot.

Before the game, Joe Maddon said he had liked the idea of Jorge Soler hitting second because he could take walks. But that hasn’t been happening lately. Soler has nine walks on the year, but only three in the previous 10 games.

Things worked out nicely, at least for one game; Coghlan drew two walks and scored twice. And Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler each had two hits.

The offense really hasn’t been a problem for the Cubs this series. Last night they were finally able to hold down the Cardinals after taking a lead. Not without a some nail-biting, naturally — with the bases loaded and two outs, Starlin Castro bobbled a ground ball before getting the force at second.

I’m just happy it wasn’t Yadier Molina at the plate at that time. You just know he would have come through with some sort of cheap hit to win the game.

Other notes

* Great news, as OF Albert Almora was back in the lineup last night for Double-A Tennessee. He had been on the disabled list since April 27 after crashing into the wall in center field. In his first game back, he went 2-for-3 in the first half of a double header. He didn’t play in the second game.

* LHP Gerardo Concepcion has been promoted to Double-A Tennessee. With Myrtle Beach, Concepcion gave up five earned runs in 12.2 innings with a save and 14 strikeouts. He made his first appearance with the Smokies last night, retiring both batters he faced. The Cubs signed Concepcion out of Cuba in 2012. Early in his Cubs career, he came down with a case of mono, and then missed almost all of 2013 due to injury. So it’s cool to see Concepcion begin to have some success and be promoted.


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