Chicago Cubs

Edwin Jackson

Cubs designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have designated Edwin Jackson for assignment and called up reliever Rafael Soriano from Triple-A Iowa. Though the move isn’t surprising given Jackson’s struggles, it has nevertheless left a “somber mood” in the Cubs’ locker room, Rogers notes.

The Cubs signed Jackson to a four-year, $52 million contract in December 2012, but it didn’t work out. Over 347 innings with the Cubs, the right-hander compiled a 5.37 ERA. This season, it was a respectable 3.19 in 31 relief innings, but his strikeout and walk rates are pedestrian at best for a reliever.

Soriano only tossed seven innings in the minors for the Cubs but allowed no runs while allowing four hits and three walks and striking out seven.

Jason Hammel to start for Cubs on Tuesday against the Reds following minor hamstring issue

Jason Hammel
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Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel left his final start before the All-Star break — an important outing against the rival Cardinals — after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring. But it appears he won’t miss a single turn in Chicago’s rotation.

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Hammel made it through a successful side session on Saturday afternoon and is lined up to start Tuesday night against the Reds. “It was as close to normal as I could get,” Hammel said of Saturday’s workout.

The 32-year-old owns a superb 2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 105/18 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 total innings this season for the Cubs. He’s been a bargain so far on a two-year, $20 million free agent deal.

Jon Lester loses his no-hitter with no outs in the eighth inning

Jon Lester
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Update (9:39 PM EST): It’s over. Pierzynski, leading off the eighth inning, ripped a single into right field, exacting revenge for getting hit with a pitch earlier in the game.

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Update (9:27 PM EST): Lester struck out Markakis and Jonny Gomes consecutively, then got Chris Johnson to ground out to third base to get through the seventh inning without issue. On to the eighth. Lester is at 97 pitches.

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Cubs starter Jon Lester can thank a friendly Turner Field scorer for his ongoing no-hit bid against the Braves on Saturday night in Atlanta. As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the official scorer changed a first-inning hit by Nick Markakis to an error on third baseman Kris Bryant.

Lester has hit a batter (A.J. Pierzynski) and issued a walk while striking out five in his six innings of work.

The Cubs have given Lester two runs of support on RBI singles by Anthony Rizzo in the third inning and by Starlin Castro in the fourth.

We’ll keep you posted as Lester goes into the final third of the game in an attempt to complete the no-hitter. If he’s able to complete it, it would be the second of his career. His first came on May 19, 2008 when he was a member of the Red Sox facing the Royals.

Kyle Schwarber collects three hits, two errors in first start behind plate

Kyle Schwarber
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Filling in for the injured Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber had three hits Friday in his return to the majors, but he also committed two errors in the Cubs’ 4-2 loss to the Braves.

Schwarber’s first error came a Nick Markakis steal in the bottom of the first, with his throw going to the outfield and allowing Markakis to take third. It was just Markakis’s second steal attempt in 89 games this season. He came around to score on Kelly Johnson’s single.

The other error came on catcher’s interference in the sixth, allowing Johnson to reach. Johnson didn’t go on to score.

Of course, the Cubs well know than Schwarber’s bat is well ahead of his glove. He had more than a third of the Cubs’ seven hits on the night, including their lone extra-base hit, a double off Julio Teheran in the fifth. Unfortunately, that came immediately after Dexter Fowler grounded into a double play, leaving no one on base.

The Cubs don’t believe Schwarber is ready to be an everyday catcher right now, which is why they’re carrying three backstops in Montero’s absence. However, they also haven’t given Schwarber a single inning in the outfield at any level this year, suggesting that Schwarber won’t contribute as more than a pinch-hitter when he doesn’t start at catcher. They still might want to change their minds about that one and start having Schwarber work out in left. If could take away from his practice time behind the plate, but Schwarber’s bat can be a big help to the team this year, even after Montero returns.

Phillies call up pitching prospect Aaron Nola for MLB debut

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 27:  Pitcher Aaron Nola #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during a spring training game against the New York Yankees on March 27, 2015 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Ronald C. Modra /Sports Imagery/ Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aaron Nola
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Phillies prospect and No. 7 pick in last year’s draft Aaron Nola is headed to the big leagues and will make his MLB debut Tuesday against the Rays in Philadelphia.

Nola was billed as being close to MLB-ready coming out of LSU and has pitched well in the minors, but it’s interesting timing considering he had a clunker of a start last time out at Triple-A. He failed to make it out of the fourth inning, allowing six runs.

Prior to that ugly outing Nola had a 2.03 ERA and 89/16 K/BB ratio in 106 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Nola projects as a potential mid-rotation starter with excellent command. He’s the fourth 2014 first-round pick to reach the majors after Brandon Finnegan (17th pick, Royals), Carlos Rodon (3rd pick, White Sox), and Kyle Schwarber (4th pick, Cubs).