Montero back from disabled list; Federowicz stays; Kalish out,
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The Cubs decided to keep three catchers on the roster Saturday after activating Miguel Montero from the 15-day disabled list and designating outfielder Ryan Kalish for assignment.
Montero, who was out with lower back tightness, returned from a rehab assignment with Class AAA Iowa and was inserted right into the starting lineup Saturday to catch Jake Arrieta.
Montero joins David Ross and Tim Federowicz on the roster. Federowicz, who was promoted when Montero went on the DL, has appeared in seven games, hitting .200 with a walk and an RBI.
“[Carrying three catchers] gives us more freedom in the latter part of the game,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You’ve seen us pull catchers for different maneuvers. So when you go in with one guy for extra innings, it’s never comfortable. But Fed has forced our hand to do this because he plays so well and looks so good. It can change, but we thought it was the right thing.”
Montero said he still isn’t quite 100 percent.
“I don’t think you’re ever 100 percent,” he said. “But 80 to 90 percent is good enough to play. My back feels good. That’s the main key.”
Montero’s stint in Iowa also might have been beneficial for Willson Contreras, 24, the Cubs’ 2015 minor-league player of the year whom many consider to be the team’s catcher of the future.
Contreras told the Des Moines Register that he was “taking advantage of every opportunity” he had to work with Montero. He also said he’s ready for the majors.
Montero said Contreras is still “a little immature” but has the talent for the big leagues.
“I think he’s ready,” Montero said. “I don’t see why not. He’s on a team where you got a lot of veteran pitchers, and it takes a little time for him to feel it out and call a game. But the only way he’s going to find out how is to catch them. Other than that, you’re never going to know if you’re ready. The talent is there.”
Arrieta draws Locke’s ire
Arrieta’s mastery of the Pirates continued. He’s 6-1 with an ERA of 0.75 in his last eight starts against them, including the playoffs.
Whether that had a role in Pirates starter Jeff Locke’s comments after the game is debatable. Locke implied that Arrieta’s pitch that hit Jung Ho Kang in the fourth inning had a purpose.
“I think anytime someone like Arrieta hits somebody, you have to assume automatically that one didn’t just get away,” Locke said. “He’s been pretty sharp all year, so when he misses like that, maybe you raise an eyebrow or something.
“Not intentional, by any means, is what I’m saying, but it would have been more intentional-looking than the one I threw to Montero.”
Plate umpire Brian Knight warned both benches when Locke plunked Montero in the sixth. Montero said Locke’s insinuation was “really stupid.”
“He doesn’t want to hit him, I guarantee that,” Montero said. “He was a little wild that inning.”
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