Cubs’ Javier Assad debuts, Nicholas Padilla 27th man in doubleheader vs. Cardinals
In corresponding moves, the Cubs optioned reliever Kervin Castro to Triple-A Iowa and transferred outfielder Jason Heyward from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.
The Cubs called up two rookie pitchers for their doubleheader Tuesday against the Cardinals, both of whom made their major-league debuts.
Before the Cubs beat the Cardinals 2-0 in the afternoon game, they selected Javier Assad from Triple-A Iowa to start Game 1 and added Nicholas Padilla as the 27th man. To make room for them on the roster, the Cubs optioned reliever Kervin Castro to Iowa and transferred outfielder Jason Heyward from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day IL.
The Cubs wound up splitting the doubleheader, losing the second game 13-3.
Assad held the Cardinals scoreless for four-plus innings. The 25-year-old notched his first major-league strikeout against Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.
‘‘We all know the storied player that he is,’’ Assad said through an interpreter after the game. ‘‘I was 3 years old when he debuted, so I never would have imagined that I would have been facing him, let alone getting that strikeout.
‘‘But not just him. Yadier Molina, Nolan Arenado — I faced those guys. Those are guys that I’ve looked up to, guys that I’ve watched play throughout my life, and I was just excited, happy to get that.’’
When Assad handed over the ball to manager David Ross in the fifth, he received a standing ovation.
‘‘It was fantastic,’’ Assad said of the moment. ‘‘It’s something that I really can’t put into words.’’
Padilla, 25, started the season at High-A South Bend, but he quickly climbed the ladder, arriving in Iowa in late July and posting a 1.69 ERA since then.
‘‘Been hearing his name for a little while now,’’ Ross said. ‘‘Somebody throwing strikes; the numbers are really good. I think it’s time to reward some of those guys, when you get an opportunity, that are performing and see what they can do with this level.’’
Padilla made his debut in Game 2, inheriting two runners from starter Adrian Sampson with one out in the fourth. Both those runners scored, and Padilla was charged with one run in 1 2/3 innings.
Contreras out, Wisdom in
Catcher Willson Contreras was out of the lineup for both games. His left ankle, which he rolled in the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’ game two weeks ago, felt stiff when he woke up, the Cubs said, but he was available off the bench in Game 2.
Contreras said the soreness had been improving before he aggravated the ankle in a play at the plate last week in Baltimore.
‘‘I think we have something special in here, to be honest,’’ Contreras said after that game. ‘‘Every player comes in . . . they’re willing to win, they listen, they want to win. We want to win. And that’s why I want to play through my injury.’’
Patrick Wisdom, who had been out since hurting his left ring finger on a slide home Saturday against the Brewers, returned to the lineup and started at first base in Game 2.
After building up to 75 pitches in his last rehab start, veteran left-hander Wade Miley (strained left shoulder) again has stalled in his progress.
‘‘We’ve thrown everything at it, and it’s been a really tough road for him,’’ Ross said. ‘‘He’s worked back and just gets to that final step and is not able to recover. So the medical team’s putting their heads together to come up with a plan.’’
Ross said surgery hasn’t been discussed.