The Cubs wasted no time getting their top pitching prospect on the roster for a road trip the team considers critical.
Or getting him his major-league debut.
Hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Cashner was recalled from AAA Iowa today to join the Cubs’ bullpen for today’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates — and made his one-pitch debut just four hours after his plane landed in Pittsburgh.
Cashner, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick in 2008, entered the eighth inning with two out and two on to face former Cub Ronny Cedeno with the Cubs trailing 2-1.
He threw a 95-mph fastball that Cedeno popped to short to end the inning.
Making room on the roster for Cashner, struggling reliever John Grabow was placed on the 15-day disabled list today because of inflammation in his left knee. Grabow, who is 0-3 with a 9.45 ERA, had a cortisone shot in the knee in recent weeks but continued to struggle.
Cashner was moved into the Iowa bullpen Thursday in anticipation of a possible callup this week.
“We’re going to use him in the middle just to get him started, get his feet wet,” manager Lou Piniella said, “and hopefully he’ll develop into a nice later-inning pitcher for us in the bullpen.”
The manager said he might not wait long if the former Texas Christian closer adapts quickly to the big-league role.
“Basically, we’re hoping that he just takes Zambrano’s spot the way we were using Zambrano,” Piniella said.