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Coghlan returns to Cubs from DL stint, La Stella sent to AAA Iowa

Chris Coghlan slaps hands with teammates after scoring on a single by Javier Baez during a game last month against the Marlins. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Chris Coghlan doesn’t consider himself a patient person to begin with and so when the Cubs’ outfielder had to wait out returning from the disabled list, it wasn’t easy.

Coghlan, who has been out since July 3 with a rib cage strain was recalled from Class AA Tennessee on Friday after playing five games as part of a minor-league rehab assignment . He was immediately inserted into the leadoff spot for Friday’s series opener against the Mariners. The Cubs optioned Tommy La Stella to Iowa to make room for Coghlan on the 25-man roster.

Coghlan said he watched the Cubs’ last two wins over the White Sox on television inside a minor-league clubhouse, which made having to wait until Friday to return even more difficult.

“The DL stinks – it stinks watching games and not being there,” Coghlan said before Friday’s game. “You want to be there and so I’m just glad to finally get to that place.”

Yet, while Coghlan is ready to return to playing at the big-league level, manager Joe Maddon said La Stella did not take the news of being sent back to the minors well. In 13 games with the Cubs after missing a month due to injury, La Stella was hitting .295 with nine doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs and 14 runs scored in 51 games this season.

Maddon characterized his conversation with La Stella as difficult and said he didn’t expect the versatile utility man would accept the move for a couple of days.

“He shouldn’t take it well,” Maddon said Friday morning. “Honestly, it’s an unusual moment we’re in right now where we have so many guys and this is definitely an advocacy for a 27 or 28-man roster. It’s difficult.

“These are hard decisions. Guys are not going to like them.”

Maddon said he is always honest with players when decisions have to be made. Although being up front doesn’t make it easier for the player to accept, but Maddon said he won’t make excuses in an attempt to sugar-coat the conversation. The Cubs, who recently optioned Albert Almora, Jr., back to the minors will have another roster move once Jorge Soler is ready to return from the disabled list after dealing with a hamstring injury.

Beyond being impatient, Coghlan – who is hitting .155 in 71 games this season – said his stint on the disabled list was made more difficult by the fact he has never dealt with an oblique injury before. While detecting progress is more familiar with other forms of injuries, Coghlan said he had to rely on the Cubs’ training staff to help guide him through his time away from the big leagues.

Now, that he’s healthy, his expectation level is like it always has been.

“Just to produce,” Coghlan said. (It’s the same) expectations that I had before. There’s no excuses (not) to produce whether that’s on the bases, in the field, at the plate – (I want to) just be there for the guys and just add to the train.”

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