The former Dodger (and six other teams’) pitcher is an Ohio native who has worked for the Tribe for several years now in one of those amorphous “special assistant” jobs. Mostly he’s been acting as a spring pitching coach, scout and traveling instructor.
His mission, which he has now accepted: (a) try to get Fausto Carmona back to 2007 form; and (b) try to turn David Huff, Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey into something other than cannon fodder.
I’m not sure I like his odds of doing either, but Belcher was always a favorite of mine back in the day, so I hope he has some success in the role.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.