Bryan LaHair looked at it this way: Hey, Im here. The Cubs first baseman could have been somewhere like Des Moines, Iowa, or Tacoma, Wash.
Those were two stops along the way for the 29-year-old LaHair, a 39th-round pick who had never before experienced Opening Day in the big leagues. If he was disappointed about sitting out with a nagging back issue, he hid it very well.
Ive been kind of preparing myself mentally over the last few days, LaHair said Thursday, just to be ready whenever Im ready. The most important thing is to not go backwards. Just keep going forward and keep getting better.
LaHair wasnt included in the flurry of moves the Cubs made for Opening Day: selecting the contracts of reliever Shawn Camp, infielder Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather; and optioning outfielder Tony Campana and pitcher Casey Coleman to Triple-A Iowa. The Tampa Bay Rays claimed left-hander John Gaub off waivers. Soon Rodrigo Lopez is expected to join the Cubs bullpen.
LaHair said the disabled list isnt an option, and he expects to be available this weekend against the Washington Nationals (Jeff Baker started in his absence). LaHair sat out the final four games in spring training with what was described as a bulging disc. He doesnt sound too concerned.
Ive been making huge gains each day, he said. Ill bet you 90 percent of the hitters in baseball have that.
David Bote signed a 5-year contract with the Cubs at the beginning of the year, but he is headed to Triple-A Iowa.
Bote joins Ian Happ, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. as notable Cubs position players to be sent to Iowa.
Bote's production isn't as bad as the other three. In fact, Bote has respectable numbers at the plate.
In 310 plate appearances this season the 26-year-old is hitting .257/.352/.429. His OPS+ is 100, meaning he has been exactly league average.
The corresponding roster move was not yet announced, but it is expected that reliever Steve Cishek will be activated ahead of Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants.
Mark Zagunis was also sent back to Iowa after serving as the 26th man for Sunday's Little League Classic.
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Luke Stuckmeyer sits down with David Kaplan, Chris Kamka and Nate Poppen to discuss Jose Quintana's dominant stretch, the importance of this upcoming homestand, and the best moments of the LLWS Classic.
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If the Cubs make the playoffs... would you pitch Quintana in Game 1?
The guys pick their favorite moments from the Little League World Series Classic.
Since we are talking about Little League... will we ever see a return to "situational hitting" and "small ball" in Major League Baseball?
Since the ball is "juiced" in 2019 - why are Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo not hitting more home runs? Chris Kamka thinks he has the answer to that question.
Chris Kamka examines the Cubs awful road record - which could have more to do with bad luck than people think.
Preview of this week's homestand, keeping in mind that the Brewers and Cardinals will face each other 6 times over 10 days.
Kap gets in his time machine and plays "what if" the Cubs didn't make a few trades/signings before and after the 2016 World Series.
Kap discusses the "level of expectations" that Cubs fans have now.
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
Cubs Talk Podcast