Cubs Roster Update: Hendricks Pitches Monday, Montgomery to Pen, Pena Recalled, La Stella to Iowa
In a flurry of announcements and accompanying moves, the Cubs shuffled the rotation, bullpen, and bench Saturday afternoon. In a pair of moves that had pretty much been set already, Kyle Hendricks will be activated from the DL for Monday’s start against the White Sox and Mike Montgomery heads back to the bullpen.
As a result of Friday’s implosion, the Cubs recalled Felix Pena in order to have a fresh arm back there should they need it. In order to make room on the roster for Pena, they optioned Tommy La Stella to AAA Iowa. The first half of that equation makes perfect sense to me, but I’m a little surprised by TLS heading down. To clarify, I’m surprised that he’s the one going down right now.
Given his recent performance and the fact that the number of pitches he threw probably knocks him out for a few days, I had figured Justin Grimm for the guy they’d option. Then again, the Cubs might simply be buying a little more time on a that decision. They’ll have to make another roster move when Hendricks is activated, though that could just be a matter of sending Pena back down.
When you really think about it, though, this makes all the sense in the world.
La Stella is a very capable bench bat, but the the second half brings with it a need for Joe Maddon to establish a more consistent lineup. That, coupled with the versatility of Javy Baez, Ian Happ, and Ben Zobrist, made La Stella all too expendable. Had Kris Bryant’s injury been more serious, TLS would surely have stayed up. But with Bryant healthy and the outfield too full for him to flex out there, carrying a third-string third baseman (and fourth-string second baseman) just didn’t make sense.