Cubs

Cubs take the conservative approach, place Dexter Fowler on disabled list

Cubs take the conservative approach, place Dexter Fowler on disabled list

With a 12.5-game lead entering the final 10 days of June, the Cubs have some room to play things safe.

The Cubs are taking the conservative approach with Dexter Fowler's hamstring, placing the centerfielder on the disabled list and calling up right-handed pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.

Fowler injured his hamstring running out a groundball in the first inning of Saturday's Cubs victory. 

The Cubs took some time to determine a plan with Fowler before ultimately deciding to let him heal 100 percent rather than pushing it unnecessarily.

"We don't think it's a long-term injury," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said before Monday's game. "I hate to put timetables on it, but ultimately, we knew it was gonna be something that was gonna sideline him for at least the next handful of games, week or so."

Fowler may have been fine to play in a week to 10 days, but the Cubs didn't see any point in playing short-handed for that time.

"Dexter was great about it," Hoyer said. "I think he was in good spirits. I think he feels like he's gonna be 100 percent when this is over and I don't think he wanted to risk playing at 80-85 percent for too long. 

"He'll talk about it more, but ultimately, it was a prudent thing to do at this time in the season. We've got some options in the outfield we can play in the mean time."

One of those options is rookie Albert Almora Jr., a defensive whiz in the outfield who made his big-league debut just two weeks ago. 

He's played well during his short stint in the majors and the Cubs can also slide Jason Heyward over to center. Chris Coghlan and Matt Szczur can play the corner outfield spots, but Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist also provide some depth out there, giving Cubs manager Joe Maddon plenty of possibilities for lineup options.

Hoyer said the Cubs opted for Edwards to help out a tired bullpen a little bit, but they will continue to re-evaluate the roster. The Cubs are currently in a stretch where they don't have an off-day until the All-Star break starting July 11.

Tommy La Stella is rehabbing well from a hamstring issue that landed him on the disabled list last week and the Cubs believe he can go on a rehab assignment soon.

Jorge Soler has been dealing with a hamstring injury for the last couple weeks, as well, but still needs time before he can head out on a rehab stint.

Willson Contreras commissions heart-warming painting commemorating his relationship with Joe Maddon

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USA Today

Willson Contreras commissions heart-warming painting commemorating his relationship with Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon’s time with the Cubs may be over, but the memories made in his five years on the North Side will live on in Chicago sports lore forever. No matter how frustratingly his tenure may have ended, the outpouring of support and appreciation from management, fans and players alike throughout the process of Maddon’s departure are evidence of that.

“I love him like a dad,” Anthony Rizzo said

“I personally never could have imagined having such a wonderful partner,” Theo Epstein later added, standing beside Maddon as they delivered joint reflections on the end of the era.

Maddon touched the lives of so many within the organization and without in his time with the Cubs, but not many more so than catcher Willson Contreras, who burst onto the scene as one of the best young sluggers in baseball under Maddon’s guidance. Maddon — a catcher himself in his short time as a player — never shied away from criticizing Contreras in times he thought it earned, but it’s clear that the two forged a real bond over the last four years. 

Sunday afternoon, artist Austin Ploch revealed that Contreras reached out to him shortly after the end of the 2019 season to commission this heart-warming piece, commemorating the mutual respect and adoration between mentor and pupil:

The painting is derived from a photo of the two that Contreras posted to his Instagram account after it was officially announced that Maddon would not return as the Cubs manager:

Ploch has commissioned work for Contreras before, but now Willson will have a tangible memento to remember his first manager (along with his 2016 World Series ring). We’re not crying, you’re crying.

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Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Astros bench coach Joe Espada has two days off before Houston hosts Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, but it looks like some of that time will be spent in Chicago.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs will interview Espada a second time for their managerial opening. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that the interview is happening on Sunday.

Espada is one of the more sought after managerial candidates this offseason, as he's spent the last six seasons with two of baseball's leading franchises. The 44-year-old has been Astros bench coach since 2018, and prior to that, he spent four seasons with the Yankees — 2014 as a front office assistant, 2015-17 as third base coach.

David Ross was the presumed favorite for the Cubs' opening, when the process got underway. However, by landing a second interview, Espada has clearly given the team something to think about. In fact, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan reported on Thursday the Cubs came away "exceptionally impressed" from Espada's first interview on Monday. 

MLB prefers teams not to make managerial announcements during the World Series. So, it might be a few more weeks before the Cubs announce their decision, unless they do so on Sunday or Monday.

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