Cubs managing a crisis: Cashner, Wells to DL


Cubs managing a crisis: Cashner, Wells to DL

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Posted: 10:24 a.m. Updated: 3:23 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

Its only April 6, but already the Cubs have reached the seasons first crisis point.

Without flashing any warning signs, Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells are heading to the disabled list, leaving 40 percent of the Cubs rotation in doubt.

Cashner has been diagnosed with a rotator cuff strain. Wells has strained his right forearm. Neither starter will throw a baseball for two weeks, at which point they will be re-evaluated by the Cubs medical staff.

General manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday that he doesnt expect this to be a long-term health issue for Cashner or Wells, and ruled out surgery as an option for either pitcher.

Cashners parents traveled to Chicago for his first career major-league start. They watched their 24-year-old son keep the Arizona Diamondbacks completely off-balance, working the ball up and down, in and out.

Cashner felt something in the sixth inning around his 71st and 72nd pitches and was pulled after allowing just one run on two hits. He didnt even shower and headed straight to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for an MRI.

I dont think this is too serious, Cashner said. We caught it at the right time, jumped on it early. (Well) rehab it back and get it strong and be good to go.

The Texan always stays confident and does not like to show weakness. The Cubs invested their 2008 first-round pick in Cashner because of the smooth, easy way the ball leaves his right hand. He doesnt need a violent motion to generate velocity.

Hes never had anything but a blister, Hendry said. (He has a) great delivery thats about as easy a 95-to-97 mph (throw) as youre going to see. Great mechanics hes a scouts dream and a tough kid. It just came out of nowhere. There was never any discomfort.

Wells doesnt have much of a medical history either. The 28-year-old pitched as well as anyone in Cubs camp, displaying a renewed focus and commitment, and carried that momentum into Mondays 4-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Wells felt sore the next day and underwent an MRI that did not reveal any structural damage or elbow issues. He finished last season at 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA, but took great pride in making 32 starts and accounting for almost 200 innings. For the moment that durability is now in question.

Its a big year for me you want (to) get off to a great start, Wells said. You want to be a part of what I feel is something special here. To take some time off this early in the season is (disappointing). You just want to take care of it and make sure its not something thats going to linger throughout the season.

Im going to put on my best cheerleading outfit here and get myself healthy and make sure Im out here pulling for my teammates every day.

The Cubs are now on the clock to identify starters for Sunday in Milwaukee and next Tuesday in Houston. Theyll benefit from three off-days built into their April schedule.

Casey Coleman impressed many in the organization during his audition late last season, going 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts. The third-generation big-league pitcher is expected to be called up from Triple-A Iowa to join the rotation.

The Cubs are also considering stretching out reliever James Russell for the other spot. When asked about two non-roster invitees to camp, Hendry indicated that Todd Wellemeyer isnt ready yet, and that Braden Looper isnt about to come out of retirement.

Forget about Carlos Silva he torched every bridge back to Chicago with his comments about pitching coach Mark Riggins. The entire industry has stayed away from Silva since his unconditional release.

Now the Cubs must be patient with Cashner and Wells and take the long view on two pitchers they could see in their rotation for years to come.

We will obviously proceed with extreme caution, Hendry said. Well find a way to get through it. No excuses. Nobodys going to feel sorry for you.

PatrickMooney is's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs by the numbers: Key stats behind club's best start in over 50 years

Cubs by the numbers: Key stats behind club's best start in over 50 years

True or false: The last time the Cubs won a championship, they started 27-5.

False. The 2016 Cubs started 25-7. 

That 27-5 mark is what the Cubs' record through 12 games in this 60-game season equates to in a normal season. They're off to a 10-2 start, and each game this year is equivalent to 2.7 in a normal season.

One can debate the significance of that 27-5 mark, but what's certain is the Cubs are already 20 percent through their schedule and are off to a hot start. Their record is one of many impressive figures through the first fifth of the season. 

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Here's a few others, entering Thursday's game against the Royals.

28 — The number of runs the Cubs have scored in the seventh inning or later this season, tied for first in MLB with the Padres.

10-2 — The Cubs are off to their best 12-game start since 1969, when they started 11-1 (11-2 after 13 games). The 1907 and 1934 teams also started 10-2, and the 2016 team started 9-3. 

7 — Alec Mills, Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish have each pitched seven innings against the Royals this week. According to the team, it’s the first time Cubs starters have thrown at least seven innings in three straight games against one team since Sept. 19-21, 2016 (Reds; Jason Hammel, Jon Lester and John Lackey). 

They haven’t thrown 7+ four straight times against one team since April 21-24, 2014 (Diamondbacks; Travis Wood, Hammel, Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson).

3 — The number of Cubs managers, including David Ross, to win nine of their first 12 games managing the team. Albert Spalding (10-2 in 1876) and Cap Anson (11-1 in 1879) also accomplished the feat.

1.95 — Cubs starters have the best ERA in baseball entering Thursday. Their 0.81 WHIP also is No. 1 among all 30 teams. 

0.71 — Tyler Chatwood’s ERA through two starts, best among Cubs starters. He’s allowed a single earned run in 12 2/3 innings entering his outing on Thursday.

0 — The most important figure. The Cubs have had zero players test positive for COVID-19 since testing began ahead of Summer Camp.



Cubs add pair of relievers, including former White Sox pitcher Kelvin Herrera

Cubs add pair of relievers, including former White Sox pitcher Kelvin Herrera

The Cubs have signed relievers Kelvin Herrera and Matt Dermody to minor league deals, the club announced Thursday.

The White Sox designated Herrera for assignment last week after an ineffective stint in their bullpen. The right-hander finished 2019 with a 6.14 ERA in 57 appearances, surrendering 35 earned runs in 51 1/3 innings. He's allowed four earned runs in two outings (2 1/3 innings) this season, giving up two home runs.

Herrera, the once-dominant Royals reliever, saw his 2018 season end early with a foot injury. He spent time on the injured list last season with a right oblique strain. 

“We were hoping to see a little bit more out of him,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Friday. “I know everybody was kind of behind the 8-ball. But we gave him the whole year last year to kind of work through the foot injury and try to settle in. He left camp still right around 91 miles an hour, still wasn't the same guy that everybody was used to seeing the previous years of his service."

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Dermody joins the Cubs from the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League (independent). The lefty spent 2018 and '19 in Triple-A with the Blue Jays and holds a career 3.68 ERA in 178 minors appearances (17 starts). His ERA stands at 5.33 in 28 big league appearances, including 23 in 2017.

Both pitchers will report to the Cubs South Bend training site. Their 60-man player pool is at capacity.