Jesse Chavez didn’t have any trouble adapting to his new Wrigley Field surroundings Saturday after being traded by the Rangers on Thursday.
And why should he? In his 11-year career, he has been part of a midseason trade four times. The Cubs are the ninth major-league team he’ll pitch for after previous stints with Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kansas City, Toronto, Oakland, Texas and both Los Angeles teams.
He has been collecting souvenirs along the way.
“I keep a jersey, try to keep a bag every now and then,” he said. “But you kind of run out of space when you get so many bags.”
Chavez came on in the eighth inning of Game 1 for his Cubs debut, retiring all six batters he faced in two innings to polish off the 7-2 win. He needed only 21 pitches.
The right-hander, who wears No. 43, has spent the bulk of his career as a middle and long reliever but served as a starter for two seasons with the Athletics and last season with the Angels.
Chavez will stick to a relief role for the time being, said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who sounded slightly awed by Chavez’s staying power in the majors.
“Guys like that who withstand the test of time are always interesting to me,” Maddon said. “The staying power is probably durability, not getting injured. And obviously having talent, and I think you wear well. He goes to different clubhouses, and he fits in so easily.”
Chavez was 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in 56„ innings with Texas this season. He has walked only 12 batters and struck out 51.
He has come full circle since being drafted by the Cubs in the 39th round of the 2001 draft. He opted for college instead.
The Rangers drafted him in 2002, signed him in 2003 and traded him to the Pirates in 2006.
And despite all his travels, Chavez’s arrival at Wrigley on Saturday was the first time he’d been to the Friendly Confines since 2010.
“It’ll be fun to get out there on the good side,” Chavez said. “We haven’t been here. I’ve been in the American League, and we’ve either had them come out or we’ve missed it. Or I got traded.”
Chavez wasn’t the only change on the Cubs’ roster.
Right-hander Anthony Bass went on the 10-day disabled list with a right mid-thoracic strain, a back injury that was going to keep him sidelined at least a few games, Maddon said. Bass, who has made 16 appearances, is on the DL for the second time.
The Cubs also recalled right-hander Dillon Maples from Class AAA Iowa and optioned righty James Norwood. Maples, 27, was 2-2 with seven saves and a 2.79 ERA in 30 relief appearances for Iowa. Another right-handed reliever, Luke Farrell, was added to the active roster as the 26th man for the doubleheader.