Theo Epstein says Cubs ‘still assessing’ situation before trade deadline
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Cubs president Theo Epstein is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to possible trades to bolster the pitching staff.
Much will depend on the health of Yu Darvish and whether fellow starters Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana can break out of their funks before the deadline July 31.
Epstein, who spoke before the Cubs’ 3-2 loss to the Reds on a brilliantly sunny Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, said the team is “still in a mode of assessing” and is optimistic all three pitchers will be productive for the stretch run.
“I think we’ll learn a lot more over the next few weeks,” Epstein said. “[We have] a couple of guys in some ruts that we expect to get out of them and to get locked in, and then on the health front with Yu we’re optimistic.”
Darvish remains sidelined with an impingement and inflammation in his right elbow, but Epstein said the right-hander “is feeling better.”
“We are optimistic based on the reports that we got that there’s no structural damage, nothing serious in there,” Epstein said. “It might not be on the timeline we all hope, but we’re very optimistic he’s going to make a solid contribution.”
Epstein also said the Cubs aren’t in the market for a position player.
“There’s not a lot that we would want to go get, honestly,” Epstein said. “We have guys who have to sit on a given day who we want to get at-bats for, so it’s not like we’re actively out looking.”
Bryant still out
Kris Bryant remained out of the lineup because of inflammation in his left shoulder. The third baseman, who is eligible to come off the disabled list, hit in the cage Friday, and Epstein said Bryant “had a real good day. We’ll see whether he wants or needs a rehab assignment … just to test it in a game situation before he comes back.”
Back in the pen
The Cubs activated Carl Edwards Jr. off the 10-day DL and optioned fellow right-hander Dillon Maples to Class AAA Iowa. Edwards had been on the DL since May 30 with shoulder inflammation.
“I was basically just taking my time. I didn’t want to come back too early and re-injure myself,” said Edwards, who struck out the only hitter he faced, Adam Duvall, with a 95 mph fastball.
The Cubs also activated left-hander Rob Zastryzny off the DL and optioned him to Iowa, and catcher Chris Gimenez cleared waivers and was assigned to Iowa.
Class AA Tennessee pitcher Oscar De La Cruz was suspended 80 games without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s drug program.
De La Cruz, one of the Cubs’ top prospects, tested positive for Furosemide, a diuretic and masking agent.
“We are disappointed to learn today that Oscar De La Cruz has violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Cubs said in a statement. “The Cubs fully support the program and its efforts to remove performance-enhancing drugs from the game. We also expect Oscar to learn from this experience and will support him on his journey back.”