Cubs

Cubs add intriguing depth by signing a familiar face

Cubs add intriguing depth by signing a familiar face

The Cubs added another utility player to the mix Tuesday afternoon.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Cubs reached an agreement with free agent Hernan Perez on a minor-league deal and the 28-year-old will have a chance to make the big-league roster out of spring training:

Cubs fans have seen a lot of Perez over the last few years as he has filled in as a utilityman for the Milwaukee Brewers since 2015. He has actually played more games against the Cubs (74) than any other team in baseball over his career (the Pirates are the next closest at 68).

A lot of that is because of the Cubs' plethora of left-handed starting pitchers over the last few years. Perez has seen a lot of playing time against the likes of Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana and Mike Montgomery.

Perez, a right-handed hitter, has posted a career .259/.290/.368 line (.659 OPS) against the Cubs, but he did some damage in 2019 with 3 homers, 5 RBI and an .815 OPS in 13 games.

He has traditionally been a platoon guy throughout his career, with not-so-great numbers (.243 AVG, .632 OPS) against righties but a solid line against southpaws (.270 AVG, .736 OPS). 

Perez has some speed — he stole 34 bases in 2016 and has 69 in his career — and rates as a solid defender all over the field. He's made at least 10 starts at every position but first base, pitcher and catcher.

There's no guarantee for an immediate fit for Perez on the Cubs' roster, but Theo Epstein and Co. are also not at a point where they feel anything is set in stone. A lot could change over the final two months of the offseason and Perez may wind up as a valuable role player. It's a low-risk move that won't break the bank and he gives the roster another dimension with his speed and glovework. 

Perez will show up to camp in Arizona in February with a chance to compete against the likes of David Bote, Tony Kemp, Daniel Descalso and Robel Garcia for a utility role as the Cubs try to fit the puzzle pieces together on the new 26-man roster.

Maybe he could also chip in in the bullpen?

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

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USA TODAY

Brandon Morrow sidelined with upper chest strain, no timetable for return

Brandon Morrow’s comeback attempt has hit a bump in the road.

Morrow, the Cubs reliever and former closer, has what the club is calling a “mild right upper chest strain,” according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Bastian added Morrow felt the strain in his last bullpen session and there is no clear timeline for his return.

The strain is the latest ailment to sideline the oft-injured Morrow, who hasn't pitched since July 2018 due to a series of arm troubles. The 35-year-old has undergone two elbow surgeries since then (November 2018, September 2019) before becoming a free agent this winter. He rejoined the Cubs on a minor-league deal.

Morrow entered camp optimistic the latest procedure did the trick to get his elbow healthy. The Cubs have been easing him into action — the right-hander is throwing one bullpen every four days. Morrow said earlier this month he’s experienced some aches and pains but attributed those to being part of the rehab process.

Morrow is listed as day-to-day, according to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune. But considering his injury history — and the fact he was already unlikely to crack the Opening Day roster —  the Cubs will proceed with extreme caution. There's no need to expedite his return, mild strain or not.

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David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross has flu, won't manage Saturday's spring training opener

David Ross' spring training managerial debut will have to wait until Sunday, at least.

The Cubs' first-year skipper has the flu and will miss Saturday's game against the Oakland A's. Bench coach Andy Green will be the acting manager in his place.

Saturday isn't going as planned for the North Siders. Besides Ross' absence, inclement weather in Arizona forced the club to push back first pitch from 2:10 p.m. CT to 7:10 p.m.

Weather permitting, here's the lineup the Cubs are rolling out tonight against Oakland:

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