No avoiding talk of trades for Cubs
CHICAGO – As the July 31 trade deadline draws near, some Cubs are likely approaching their final days with the team.
Manager Dale Sveum, twice traded during his 12-year big league career, understands how difficult it can be for players who hear their names in trade rumors.
“It’s one of those things that comes up every year for every team whether you’re contending or not contending, and if you have valuable players it’s going to come up,” Sveum said. “It’s just the way it is. The players know that. You talk to them individually.”
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein fueled trade speculation Wednesday after he chatted with pitcher Ryan Dempster for about 15 minutes in the third base grandstands while hitters participated in early batting practice. Dempster (2-3, 2.31 ERA) is in the final year of his contract and holds a no-trade option.
“It’s part of the game and you’re going to have to deal with it, and hopefully when things like that happen, if you do make trades, you get people back that will impact your team in the next few years, if not right away,” Sveum said. “Those are the things you hope for.”
Rotation switch: Mixing and matching to align the best matchups has shuffled the Cubs’ rotation for their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox.
Dempster is now scheduled to pitch Friday, and Jeff Samardzija is pushed back one game to Saturday. The switch keeps Dempster on his normal schedule, and Samardzija, in his first full season as a starter, gets an extra day of rest.
Sveum said the move was also made in part to set up matchups for their series next week against the White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Stewart struggling: Third baseman Ian Stewart’s offensive production has been nowhere near where the Cubs need or expect from him.
More than 200 plate appearances into the season, Stewart is batting .201 with five home runs and 17 RBIs. Sveum doesn’t believe Stewart’s left wrist problems – the same wrist that ended his 2011 season prematurely – have affected him at the plate.
But Stewart's wrist problems are serious enough that the Cubs will place him on the 15-day disabled list before today's series finale against the Detroit Tigers. Infielder Luis Valbuena most likely will get the call-up ahead of third baseman and former first-round pick Josh Vitters.
Stewart was originally in Wednesday's lineup, but he was scratched 30 minutes before game time with a sore left wrist.
"He's been battling as much as he can through it," Sveum said. "It got to the point today where it was pretty bad."
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