Roughly an hour before first pitch on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, the Cubs optioned infielder Jeimer Candelario to Triple-A Iowa and added Pierce Johnson to their bullpen.
Johnson — the first pitcher the Theo Epstein regime drafted for the Cubs — will be available to make his big-league debut against the Cincinnati Reds.
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Johnson — the 43rd overall pick out of Missouri State University in 2012 and the compensation for losing free agent Aramis Ramirez — struggled with command issues and health problems as a starter and pivoted toward a bullpen role last summer.
Johnson went 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 appearances for Iowa this season, putting up 21 strikeouts against 11 walks and 15 hits through 14 innings.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPN.com) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join David Kaplan on the panel.
The guys discuss Welington Castillo’s 80-game PED suspension, the Cubs struggles and if Joe Maddon could be on the hot seat if the Cubs somehow miss the playoffs in 2018.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: