The Cubs bullpen has been under the microscope recently as they've hit another rough patch.
With Pedro Strop on the injured list, Cubs relievers have combined for a 5.04 ERA and 1.72 WHIP over the last week, allowing 32 hits and 11 walks against only 15 strikeouts in 25 innings.
The Cubs are shaking things up, sending veteran left-hander Xavier Cedeno to the injured list with left wrist inflammation and promoting right-hander Rowan Wick from Triple-A Iowa.
"We had to get things straightened out out there," Joe Maddon said of the bullpen. "Cedeno's still not 100 percent right, so we made that move. Wick's up and he's been pitching really well. We liked him in spring training; he provides length if we need it also, so there were a lot of reasons to do it, but he was pitching well enough to be here, too."
The Cubs acquired Wick, 26, from the Padres back in November for minor leaguer Jason Vosler. Wick has pitched well in Triple-A Iowa this season — in 13 outings, he has a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 25 batters in 19 innings.
Of his 13 appearances, 7 have been of a multi-inning variety and he hasn't allowed a run in his last 3 games (6.2 innings). He said a key to his success has been the ability to throw three different pitches for strikes and has been in a good flow lately of getting ahead in the count.
Wick made 10 appearances for the Padres in San Diego last year, sporting a 6.48 ERA in 8.1 innings. The results weren't what he wanted in the big leagues, but that experience is something he can rely on now.
"[I learned] that I can pitch here and that I belong," Wick said. "To be comfortable and hopefully pitch well."
Cedeno, 32, signed with the Cubs just before spring training started, but has been hampered by the same wrist issue all spring. He was first activated off the injured list less than two weeks ago and did not give up a run in 5 appearances, though he surrendered 4 hits and 3 walks in just 2 total innings of work.
With Wick in tow, the Cubs bullpen now looks like this:
Carl Edwards Jr.
Strop is working his way back from a hamstring injury and threw a 25-pitch bullpen Monday, so his return may not be far off.
Brandon Morrow resumed his throwing program Monday, as well, but is still weeks away from returning even in a best-case scenario.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream
Anthony Rizzo sat out of in the Cubs’ intrasquad scrimmage Thursday, after missing the two previous days of team workouts with lower back tightness.
“I spoke to him yesterday and he felt much better,” Cubs manager David Ross said, “so he’s moving the right direction.”
David Bote filled in for Rizzo at first base. Rizzo remains day-to-day. The first baseman has a history of back injury, and Ross said the Cubs are taking a cautious approach to Rizzo's health during Summer Camp.
But he was still a presence in Thursday's intrasquad game. Rizzo, in uniform, spent the first few innings of the scrimmage next to the on-deck circle. He chatted with several players, including Ian Happ and Javy Baez, before they headed to the batter’s box. Rizzo then moved to the left field bleachers, bat in hand.
Anthony Rizzo missed Summer Camp on Thursday as he remains day-to-day with lower back tightness. However, the Cubs first baseman still found a way to take in the action.
Rizzo posted up in the left field bleachers during Thursday's game, which pitted Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Hendricks. He later moved to sit by the on-deck circle.
Big Cubs fan. pic.twitter.com/q0zdnPL3DZ— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 10, 2020
With no fans in attendance this season, MLB players will likely be stationed throughout ballpark seating throughout games to social distance. The Cubs obviously want to see Rizzo stationed at first base come the regular season, but it would be quite the sight if he or any Cubs get to sit out in the bleachers this year.