Piniella stepping down, Mike Quade taking over for Cubs

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Cubs manager Lou Piniella has had enough and is going to step down from his post as the team’s manager after Sunday’s series finale against the Braves.  This according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Third base coach Mike Quade will take over on an interim basis for the rest of 2010.

Piniella announced last month that he planned to retire at the conclusion of this season.  The Cubs have been nothing short of awful since he made that decision public, though, and ‘Sweet Lou’ no longer wants to handle the pain.  That, and his mother is in bad health and checking in on her would require travel days that Lou figured might distract the team.

There is going to be a big hunt for a new skipper this winter in Chicago and plenty of big names will be thrown around.  Sure, the Cubbies haven’t won a World Series in close to 102 years, but the glory of being the man that carries that fan base to the promised land is attractive beyond the multi-million dollar salary.  Ryne Sandberg, currently managing the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa, is expected to be a candidate.  Quade will also be considered, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat.

Pineilla hoped to lead the Cubs and their massive following to the Fall Classic but did not succeed.  He currently stands 316-292 as manager of the Cubs with one game to play.  Lou led ’em to first place finishes in his first two seasons but never past the NLDS.

Yu Darvish suffers setback during rehab start

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Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.

Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.

Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”

Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.