One of the most popular and important parts of the Cubs bullpen over the past seven seasons is back in the organization.
According to multiple reports, Pedro Strop agreed to return to the Cubs. Strop, who will report to South Bend, spent 2013-19 with the Cubs and appeared in 411 games with a 2.90 earned-run average.
Over the offseason, Strop agreed to a one-year deal with the Reds. In four appearances, Strop had a 3.86 ERA and was designated for assignment on Aug. 26 before getting his release Wednesday. On Aug. 11, he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain.
After being cut loose, Strop was also linked to the White Sox. He was originally acquired from Baltimore in 2013 as part of the trade that also brought in Jake Arrieta.
Schwarber at the top
With Ian Happ out of the starting lineup, Cubs manager David Ross explained what he liked about having Kyle Schwarber lead off Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals.
“All of the success he’s had in that spot,” Ross said. “No, I’m just kidding.”
Friday was Schwarber’s first time there this season, and entering the game against St. Louis, Schwarber was a career .215 hitter in the No. 1 spot. In 2017, Schwarber hit just .190 batting first, and then last year struggled to a .229 average in that slot.
After laughing at his joke, Ross then explained the decision.
“I like Schwarbs. He’s been one of our best hitters,” Ross said. “I love his at-bats. I love him at the top. He’s going to set the tone for us tonight with Happer out. I have a ton of confidence in (Schwarber). It looked good to me on paper and somebody that I feel like is going to set our tone and bring some damage with some on-base.
“I like him up there as close to the top as we can get him.”
On Thursday, Jason Heyward was announced as the Cubs’ nominee for the 2020 Roberto Clemente award, which recognizes a player’s character and involvement in the community.
Heyward has been involved with Future Ties, a south side non-profit that supports low-income families. Heyward, who’s also given $95,000 to Cubs team and player charities, also donated $300,000 to non-profit organizations addressing inequities in the wake of COVID-19.
For him personally, Heyward said it’s “huge” to give back to the city.
“We’re not seeking the spotlight, but it is great to bring some awareness and kind of reward some people that are doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes, especially when we’re talking about the COVID stuff people have been dealing with all year in this country and obviously across the world,” Heyward said. “In the city of Chicago right here, home for us, a lot of people are doing a lot of good things to keep us afloat.
“Talking about the west side of Chicago, the south side of Chicago, the battles that are going on there,” Heyward continued, “it’s not right for us to complain and talk about how many deaths there are and then not go do something.”
Adbert Alzolay will start Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. Game 2 will be handled by the bullpen.