Cubs

Cubs call up Gonzalez Germen, option Matt Szczur to Triple-A

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Cubs call up Gonzalez Germen, option Matt Szczur to Triple-A

With a taxed bullpen in need of reinforcements, the Cubs selected the contract of right-hander Gonzalez Germen and optioned outfielder Matt Szczur to Triple-A Iowa prior to Sunday's series final against San Diego.

To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Jacob Turner was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Germen will be available out of the Cubs bullpen Sunday.

Five Cubs relievers pitched in Saturday's 11-inning win over San Diego: Jason Motte, Pedro Strop, Phil Coke, Hector Rondon and Zac Rosscup. Manager Joe Maddon said prior to Sunday's game he wasn't sure who'd be available out of the bullpen until he talked to pitching coach Chris Bosio.

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"Mostly when you’re in a bind with your bullpen that means you’ve been playing pretty good, that you have been in a lot of close games and you’ve probably won some," Maddon said. "Rested bullpens are normally the residue of bad play so it’s a good thing/bad thing. You have to balance it up, but you have to take care of the guys and give them some rest also"

The 27-year-old Germen appeared in four games with Triple-A Iowa, firing 4 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Over 64 2/3 major league innings with the Mets between 2013 and 2014, Germen owns a 4.31 ERA with one save, 64 strikeouts, 30 walks and eight home runs allowed.

Szczur has appeared in eight games for the Cubs this season with two hits, three walks and two strikeouts in 15 plate appearances.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts: 'We’d definitely like to see baseball back'

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts: 'We’d definitely like to see baseball back'

Should MLB and the players union come to terms on a 2020 season, clubs will suffer revenues losses due to the expected lack of fans at most or all games. But if it comes down to playing or not, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts prefers the former.

Ricketts said Tuesday the organization "definitely" would rather play an abbreviated 2020 season despite reports suggesting clubs could lose more money under the March agreement to pay players prorated salaries than not playing at all.

"We’ll have to see how it goes but we’d definitely like to see baseball back," Ricketts said on CNBC's 'The Exchange.' "We’d like to see the team back on the field. I know the players want to play, I know the manager wants to manage and I know even if it’s on television only, I think people want to see baseball back."

MORE: Why Cubs, MLB might face 2020 season without key players and what it means

Major League Baseball is meeting with the union on Tuesday to propose financial terms for the 2020 season. NBC Sports Chicago reported Saturday that proposal is expected to be a compromise from the potential 50-50 revenue split previously reported. 

According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, that proposal includes paying players a portion of their prorated salaries, and those with higher salaries would take the biggest pay cuts.

Ricketts suggested in a best-case scenario, the Cubs might make 20 percent of their usual revenues, which appears tied to the one-time startup cost for the club's TV network, Wrigley Field construction costs and buying surrounding buildings in Wrigleyville. Those numbers are disputed by some, however, as owners don't open their books.

MLB's proposal for the season entails a second 'spring' training starting in mid-June, with Opening Day coming around the Fourth of July. Ricketts said the latter isn't out of the question. However, those dates are contingent on the league and union reaching an agreement in the near future.

"It really comes down to how quickly and efficiently the league and the union can get together and hack through the issues," he said.

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Former Cubs pitcher Dan Straily, now in KBO, details games without fans

Former Cubs pitcher Dan Straily, now in KBO, details games without fans

Cubs fans may remember Dan Straily. The right-hander pitched for the club in 2014, making seven appearances (one start) before getting dealt to the Houston Astros the ensuing offseason in the Dexter Fowler trade.

Straily now pitches for the Lotte Giants in the KBO, South Korea's highest level of pro ball. The league kicked its season off earlier this month without fans in attendance, a model MLB will likely follow for most (if not all) of its potential 2020 season.

Jon Frankel, a correspondent for HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," recently interviewed current and former KBO players about the league's return during the coronavirus pandemic. In an excerpt made available via press release, Frankel asked Straily if he misses playing in front of a crowd.

MORE: Why one medical expert remains skeptical of MLB's COVID-19 precautions

"Of course. Like, even if you're on the road, and people are just telling you how much you suck — you thrive off it," Straily said. "You feed off that energy.”

Crowd noise obviously plays a big part in an athlete's adrenaline. Not having that factor will be an adjustment for MLB in 2020, and Straily took things a step further regarding the circumstances players face without fans in attendance.

“My shortstop dove for a ball. And he missed it by, like, an inch," he said. "Like, it was an incredible effort. When he hit the ground, I heard the air leave his lungs. And we've talked about that in the dugout. Because I've never once in my life heard that.”

Not having crowds to drown out on-field noise could make for a unique viewing experience for fans at home. UFC returned on May 9, and many punches and kicks were audible on ESPN's TV broadcast.

MLB teams could play proxy crowd noise in games, but nevertheless, fans may pickup noises on their TVs previously unavailable from home.

The full episode will air Tuesday at 9 p.m. CT on HBO.

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