LOS ANGELES — The Cubs reacted with shock and sadness Wednesday at the news that the Tigers fired pitching coach Chris Bosio, reportedly over “racially insensitive” comments to a team employee.
Bosio was hired by the Tigers in October after spending the previous six seasons as the Cubs’ pitching coach for staffs that ranked at or near the top of the National League the last three years.
“It’s very sad. It’s tough,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I feel bad for him and his family. I wasn’t there. I’m not privy to [the details]. He did a lot of great work for us for so many years. That’s a tough situation to be in right now. That’s a potential career-ending situation, and that’s tough.”
Bosio was known to be gruff at times, but the Cubs say they never had any issues like those alluded to in the incident with the Tigers.
“He was Boz. He’s a blunt object,” Maddon said. “There’s difficult conversations, but we didn’t have that issue.”
Pedro Strop, a member of the pitching staff since the middle of the 2013 season, said Bosio was well-liked by the pitchers. He was especially close with starter Kyle Hendricks, who credited Bosio with helping him become the pitcher who won the 2016 ERA title.
“It was unfortunate. A little surprising,” Hendricks said after the Cubs’ 7-5 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night. “Obviously, Boz did a lot for me, and we were good friends. I don’t know all the details behind it, but it had to be something serious. It’s definitely unfortunate.”
Bosio worked under three Cubs managers, becoming one of the highest paid coaches in the majors along the way.
“He was a very important part of our coaching staff, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his work on our pitching staff, that for several of those years were among the best in baseball,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “I was definitely saddened when I saw the news today.”
The firing came just six days before the Tigers visit Wrigley Field for a two-game series.
Bullpen regains strength
The Cubs activated closer Brandon Morrow from the 10-day disabled list on the first day he was eligible after he recovered from pants-related back tightness.
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“It definitely sets up the bullpen differently, there’s no question,” Maddon said. “Obviously, the next step is to get Carl [Edwards Jr.] back. Once that occurs and you put Stropy and [Steve] Cishek back even farther, you can see how tough our bullpen can be.”
Edwards threw a second bullpen session Tuesday since a sore shoulder put him on the DL last month. Maddon said Edwards will start a minor-league rehab assignment Friday or Saturday. After he makes an appearance, the Cubs will decide whether he’s ready to be activated.
Twins next for Chatwood?
Tyler Chatwood, whose wife gave birth to their first child Sunday, returns from paternity leave Thursday and could be in play for a return to the rotation Saturday or Sunday at home against the Twins.
For now, the Cubs have scheduled only Mike Montgomery for the opener of that series Friday, leaving the other two games open pending the returns of Chatwood and possibly Yu Darvish. Jon Lester, whose turn falls Sunday, could get pushed back to Tuesday.
Slumping first baseman Anthony Rizzo got a scheduled day off Wednesday and is expected back Thursday against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Rizzo, mired in a 2-for-23 slump, is 7-for-23 (.304) in his career against the left-handed Kershaw with three homers, two doubles and two walks.