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Friday, August 19

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Cubs Tue May 08 2012

Flu Bug Forces Cubs' Roster Move

Cubs_200.pngWe like to think the athletes we dole out hundreds of dollars to see are superhuman. They're far from it. Despite the amazing things they can do with a ball, a flu bug can take them down just as hard as it does us peasants. So much so that it cost another player his job.

With Matt Garza too sick to make his scheduled start on Sunday (after being pushed back a day already), the Cubs were in a bind. A trip to the disabled list was out of the question, so the Cubs designated infielder Blake DeWitt for assignment for the second time this season - making room for Travis Wood (acquired in the Sean Marshall trade) to make his regular season debut in a Cubs uniform.

It was far from what the Cubs wanted to do, but a virus that had overtaken four other players left the team with no other choice. DeWitt was hitting just .138 with no homers in backup duty at second and third base, but the Cubs are hoping he clears waivers and re-signs with the team. It's unknown if he'd immediately be brought back to the majors if he does re-sign.

Wood struggled in the early going of Sunday's contest, but settled down enough to get through six innings while giving up three runs, walks, and hits. He didn't factor in the decision thanks to a blown save by (now former) Dodgers closer Javy Guerra that eventually led to a 4-3 comeback win in 11 innings.

Before Monday's game, Wood was returned to Triple-A in favor of rookie infielder Adrian Cardenas, who was claimed off waivers from the Oakland A's prior to the start of spring training. The guy that was waived to make room for him at the time: Blake DeWitt.

The 24-year-old Cardenas (I always think of carne asada when I see his name, so can we nickname him 'Meat?' Good - glad that's settled) has a career line of .303/.368/.417 in the minors, and has been pretty consistent with that line throughout his five years there. You may wonder why he hasn't gotten a call to the majors sooner with numbers like those.

The answer is two-fold. He lacks any semblance of power, never hitting more than five homers above Single-A. He also doesn't have a true position. He can play third, second, and (fake) shortstop, but he isn't particularly good at any of them. His bat doesn't profile for the hot corner, and you'd like your second baseman that is deficient defensively to be great at something else, but he isn't.

In his first appearance as a Cub, he lined out sharply to second after pinch-hitting for Carlos Marmol in eighth inning of last night's 5-1 victory over the visiting Atlanta Braves. He will more than likely get a start or two for Darwin Barney at second base while he's up, but I wouldn't figure him getting a majority of the starts there because he would become another lefty hitter in a lineup that already starts four of them regularly.

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