Tommy La Stella, the backup infielder who refused to report to the minors when optioned out July 29, finally reported to Class AA Tennessee on Wednesday – too late to earn what would have been an almost certain return to the big leagues when Chris Coghlan was placed on the DL the same day.
“I guess that is something that’s a detriment for him,” Hoyer said of the more than two weeks at home. “He might have been back up in the big leagues by now had he gone down. But listen, I think he probably needed to get away and clear his head. Hopefully, he goes down to Tennessee with a good attitude.”
La Stella’s timeline might have taken a hit in his first game. After hitting a single in his first at-bat for Tennessee Wednesday night, La Stella was hit on the foot in his second trip to the plate and left the game after playing one more half-inning in the field.
It was not immediately clear how badly he might have been hurt. Reports from Tennessee suggested he was not moving well after the HBP. Cubs officials said they had no update after their 6-1 victory over the Brewers Wednesday night.
As for what might have eventually persuaded La Stella to report, team officials say there was no epiphany moment in any of the conversations with La Stella — only continued dialogue, including ongoing conversations with team psychologist Ken Ravizza, manager Joe Maddon said.
Hoyer said La Stella was offered no guarantee on when he might return to the Cubs, barring injury, but Maddon said he expected him back when rosters expand Sept. 1, after a stop between with AAA Iowa.
After that he’s expected to have some explaining, if not fence mending, to do with teammates.
“There’s definitely going to be some guys that might want to talk to him about it,” Maddon said. “And knowing Tommy he’s going to be very open about speaking about it in return.”
Notes: Struggling right-hander Joe Smith was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury, making room on the roster for Trevor Cahill, who was activated from the DL as a 26th man to start the opener of Tuesday’s doubleheader. How did the injury happen? “I don’t know. I wish I could say,” said Smith, who spent time in June on the DL with a similar injury. “I don’t know if it’s just a recurring thing.” … Coghlan was placed on the DL because of bruised ribs suffered during a collision with shortstop Addison Russell on a fly ball during the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. … Right-hander Spencer Patton was recalled from Iowa to join the bullpen, taking Coghlan’s roster spot. … Setup man Pedro Strop played catch lightly Wednesday, just five days removed from knee surgery and said he’s hopeful he can beat the four-to-six-week timeline the medical staff gave for his return from the DL.