Cubs

Volstad losing grip on spot in Cubs rotation

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Volstad losing grip on spot in Cubs rotation

Chris Volstad hasnt realized the potential the Cubs saw when they made him part of the Carlos Zambrano trade with the Miami Marlins last winter.

Volstad needed 58 pitches to get through two innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night at Wrigley Field. With an 0-6 record and a 7.46 ERA, he appears to be losing his grip on his spot in the rotation.

After an 8-7 loss, manager Dale Sveum was planning to meet with team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer to discuss their fifth starter.

Well get together as a staff and talk to Theo and Jed and evaluate the situation, thats for sure, Sveum said. Well see what our options are and go from there.

The Cubs paid more than 15 million to get rid of Zambrano, whos now 1-2 with a 1.87 ERA through seven starts, numbers that are hard to imagine him putting up on the North Side without old friend Ozzie Guillen and the benefit of a fresh start.

Volstad loaded the bases in the first and second innings and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Sveums review: Theres just no life, no command.

Volstads winless in his last 19 starts dating back to July 17, 2011. He was asked if hes anticipating a change.

Im working (and) trying to show them I deserve to be in the rotation, he said, but I dont know what kind of answer youre looking for there.

The change of scenery that seemed to help Volstad during spring training hasnt carried over to the regular season.

I was a little more relaxed in spring, he said. I think Im trying too hard, trying to do different things, just a lot of forcing instead of just letting my ability take over. I know its in there. Its just a matter of tapping into it and finding it.

Volstad is only 25 years old and a former first-round pick, upside that pretty much got him the job once he landed in Arizona. But Sveum was still running through potential replacements during his postgame news conference in the interview room.

Casey Coleman? Sveum said: Yeah, definitely, he could be one of the options, theres no question.

Travis Wood? A key piece to the Sean Marshall trade with the Cincinnati Reds is at Triple-A Iowa and performed well in a spot start earlier this season.

Its a logical choice, no doubt about it, Sveum said. Now, we got to make a decision quick. Im not sure exactly when his next outing is. Thatll come into play, too.

A reporter mentioned that Wood also pitched on Thursday night.

Well, then, were in good shape, Sveum said.

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

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Scott Changnon

Podcast: Cubs pass the first test in midst of crucial stretch

On the latest CubsTalk Podcast Scott Changnon and Tony Andracki discuss the state of the Cubs offense, the value of Javy Baez and Addison Russell and what it means now that the starting rotation looks to be finding its form.

With 17 games in 17 days (most of which come against contending teams), the Cubs started things off right with a series victory in St. Louis.

Listen to the entire podcast here:

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.