Cubs put Seiya Suzuki, Jonathan Villar on IL; Drew Smyly exits with oblique soreness
The Cubs called up Matt Swarmer, Nelson Velázquez and Anderson Espinoza for the doubleheader Monday.
Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly tried to throw warmup pitches off the mound before the fourth inning of the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Brewers. Then he walked off the field before the inning started.
The Cubs later announced he had exited with a sore right oblique — the latest in a wave of injury news, none of it good, as the Cubs lost both games of the doubleheader, falling 7-6 in the first and 3-1 in the second.
Before the first game, the Cubs announced they were putting infielder Jonathan Villar on the 10-day injured list with a mouth injury, retroactive to Friday. Villar will need significant dental work after an exercise band snapped back and hit him in the mouth while he was working out.
Between games, the Cubs put right fielder Seiya Suzuki on the 10-day IL with a sprained left ring finger. The move brought their injured list to 15 players.
The Cubs had delayed the decision on Suzuki as long as they could. He had been out of the lineup since spraining the finger Thursday in Cincinnati and was scheduled to hit Monday morning to test the injury.
“If it’s something that is still bothering him, we’ll have to assess that and make some decisions today,” Cubs manager David Ross said before Game 1.
Between games, asked how Suzuki came out of the morning, Ross said, “Not good.”
To make room on the 40-man roster for their Game 1 starter, Matt Swarmer, the Cubs also transferred reliever Ethan Roberts (inflamed right shoulder) from the 10-day IL to the 60-day.
The doubleheader against the Brewers — a long day after a 12-inning game the day before — started with celebration.
“It’s been a morning of congratulating all the guys for being up here,” Ross said after a series of call-ups. “Happy for a lot of those guys that have put in the hard work and who you get to reward to come up in an environment like today — beautiful day on a holiday weekend.”
Game 1 featured starting pitchers making their MLB debuts on both sides: Swarmer for the Cubs and lefty Ethan Small for the Brewers. Cubs outfielder Nelson Velazquez and right-hander Anderson Espinoza also debuted. Velazquez started in right field in both games in place of Suzuki. Espinoza (0-1), the Cubs’ 27th man for the doubleheader, allowed two runs in four innings in Game 2 after replacing Smyly. He returned last season after undergoing two Tommy John surgeries in two years.
“I’m really at a loss for words,” Espinoza said through an interpreter. “It’s been almost four years lost, without pitching, so I’m just thankful to God, to the organization, for giving me this opportunity.”
In other roster news . . .
The Cubs selected lefty reliever Brandon Hughes from Triple-A Iowa ahead of Game 2. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, they designated right-handed reliever Robert Gsellman for assignment.
Gsellman threw a total of 2 1⁄3 innings Sunday and Monday, allowing two runs (none earned) against the White Sox and holding the Brewers scoreless for an inning in Game 1 of the doubleheader.
Hughes served as a replacement player during the Cubs’ COVID-19 issues in recent weeks before returning to Triple-A on Saturday. He made his MLB debut two weeks ago and had a 2.57 ERA in five outings in his first major-league stint.
Crow-Armstrong moves up
The Cubs promoted outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, their No. 3 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline, to High-A South Bend on Monday. Crow-Armstrong was hitting .354 in Low-A Myrtle Beach, with 13 stolen bases.