Pen-ultimate system working for Joe Maddon’s Cubs

SHARE Pen-ultimate system working for Joe Maddon’s Cubs
SHARE Pen-ultimate system working for Joe Maddon’s Cubs

When left-hander James Russell finished off the ninth inning of the Cubs’ 6-3 win over the Brewers Tuesday – with closer-of-late Hector Rondon assigned a strict night off – he became the seventh Cub to earn a save this season.

That’s the most on a staff in the majors, and the latest example of how Maddon’s no-closer system has worked since Rondon’s closer title was stripped two months ago.

“I’ve been involved in this kind of bullpen in the past,” manager Joe Maddon said, “where it’s based on leverage situations.

“You need a bunch of guys that are really egoless to make it work. I think our guys are understanding that it’s just your talents vs. theirs, and we’re just trying to put the best matchup out there as possible.”

La Stella Status

Tommy La Stella, the infielder whose notoriety has reached mythical proportions with his season-long oblique issues, was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and optioned to AAA Iowa.

“I’m really eager for him to get back up here. But right now we’re doing OK,” Maddon said of the lefty-hitting second baseman/third baseman, who has played just two games for the Cubs.

“Depth is a wonderful thing, man. And it’s going to be necessary at some point. So the more we get him in baseball and shape and get him ready to be here, [the better] he’s going to be able to walk right out there and contribute.”

Revolving-Door Matt

With catcher David Ross’ return Tuesday from bereavement leave over the weekend, outfielder Matt Szczur was optioned back to Iowa.

For those scoring at home, that’s six times he’s been optioned since making the Opening Day roster.

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