The Cubs finalized their Opening Day roster this morning. As expected, three players open the year on the 10/15-Day IL, but one of the three was a surprise to me. I did not realize Alec Mills had suffered a lower back strain late in ST. His stint, along with Wade Miley (elbow inflammation) and Andrelton Simmons (shoulder inflammation), have been back dated to April 4th. This means reliever Mychal Givens is ready to pitch this first week of the season, and Michael Rucker has also made the team as a multi-inning reliever. Rosters have been expanded to 28 players for the month of April.
This is a good reminder that the new CBA pushed minimum IL stints for pitchers back up to 15 days (position player IL remains 10 days) in an effort to combat the roster manipulation several teams undertook last year to rotate fresh arms through their bullpen on a regular basis. Along the same lines, players no longer have an unlimited number of options to the Minor Leagues throughout the year. Teams will only be allowed to send a player down a maximum of 5 times during a season.
The Opening Day lineup has also been posted:
An extra base hit barrage by the Cubs built an early 5-2 advantage. Rain began to fall around the 4th inning and runs became difficult to come by for both teams the rest of the way despite some pitchers struggling a bit with control. Dixon Machado reached base five times and stole two bases out of the leadoff spot. Trent Giambrone scored three times. Iowa native Matt Dermody earned the win as he breezed through his first three innings of work in relief of starter Conner Menez.
- Dixon Machado: 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2 SB (1, 2) (.333)
- Trent Giambrone: 2-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB (1) (.500)
- Levi Jordan: 1-5, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI (.200)
- Robel García: 2-5, 2B (.444)
- Zach Davis: 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB (.250)
- Matt Dermody: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, K (W, 1-0)
- Erich Uelmen: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
- Aneuris Rosario: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 1)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
The first home run in the Cubs organization this season came off the bat of Levi Jordan as he managed to cut a two-run shot through the rain in the 7th. The utility infielder had a nice 1st half in Tennessee last year before injuries cut short his opportunities with Iowa in the latter half of the season. He’s got a bunch of veterans in front of him this year, but I expect the Cubs will still try to give him opportunities early to see if he can displace one of them.
Levi Jordan hits an oppo taco in the rain to give Iowa a 7-2 lead pic.twitter.com/LJJGHjkPLk— Jordan Miller (@Miller_MiLB) April 7, 2022
Brennen Davis struck out three times for the second straight game, but also walked twice.
Robel García already has three doubles through two games in his return to the Cubs organization.
The Cubs received 1.1 solid innings from former 4th round pick Erich Uelmen. The righty has mostly featured a sinker-slider mix from a low three quarter arm slot during his career which has always left him susceptible to left handed batters. He’s continued to work on a changeup over the years in an effort to combat this deficiency, and at least for his first game this season was able to work in several solid ones as he tossed 1.1 perfect innings of relief. If he can master that pitch this season he could offer the Cubs depth behind Scott Effross in the coming years.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap