Cubs recall lefty Beliveau, option Dolis

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Cubs recall lefty Beliveau, option Dolis

The Cubs announced today they have recalled 25-year-old Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be available for today's game in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Rafael Dolis was optioned to Iowa in a corresponding move.
Beliveau was the 2011 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year, going 6-2 with five saves and a 1.57 ERA in 53 appearances for Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. He struck out 89 batters in 74.1 innings.
He has seen his struggles with Iowa this season, going 4-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 34 relief appearances. However, those numbers include a July 2 performance when he gave up four runs in 0.1 innings pitched.
He was selected by the Cubs in the 18th round of the 2008 Draft, and has a career record of 21-14 and has struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings.
The 24-year-old Dolis is 2-4 with a 6.44 ERA in 26 appearances with the Cubs in two different stints this season.

'Yay me!': Cubs celebrate David Ross' 100th career homer

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'Yay me!': Cubs celebrate David Ross' 100th career homer

"Yay me!"

That's how David Ross announced his presence to the Chicago media Friday afternoon, almost four hours after hitting his 100th career homer.

Ross' three-run blast in the fourth inning (before a pair of rain delays lasting 93 minutes) helped lead the Cubs and Jon Lester to a 6-2 victory Friday.

"It was just my personal thing," Ross said. "It was nice to have a nice, round number. One hundred in The Show is pretty cool for me. But it affected the game and impacted the game, so it's even better. It wasn't just a blowout or a meaningless homer when you're down a bunch."

The Cubs have been counting down to 100 since last season and finally got to celebrate with "Grandpa Rossy," who sported a Papa Bear T-shirt after the game.

Joe Maddon gave Ross a bottle of wine and Lester gifted his personal catcher a bottle of champagne in a box signed by everybody on the roster.

"The boys were excited. I was excited," Ross said. "I think my favorite part while all this has been going on is rounding second base and looking in the dugout. Makes me smile every time seeing everybody so happy for me and counting down for me.

"They're as happy as I am, so that makes me feel good."

As soon as Ross made contact, he knew it was gone, slowly walking a few steps and uncharacteristically admiring it a bit before beginning his trot.

He got a curtain call, too, and he acknowledged hitting his 100th blast was extra special coming in front of the Cubs fanbase.

"I run down in the outfield before the game and ever since I hit 99, that's all I hear: 'Hit a homer, Grandpa,' I mean, nobody even knows my first name anymore," Ross joked.

"It was cool. There was even a David Ross sign a little girl had today. I mean, who doesn't like seeing that? Stuff like that is just really cool."

It was Ross' fourth homer of the season and he now has 17 RBI and an .828 OPS. Compare that to the 39-year-old's one homer, nine RBI and .519 OPS last season.

"It's awesome," Lester said. "Obviously, going into last year, we all knew where he was. I did. He'll admit: He didn't swing the bat like he wanted to last year.

"It's just nice to see him feel comfortable and be the old Rossy. I'm glad he did it. It's kinda nice he did it the day I was pitching to add a little bit to it."

Ross' 100th homer ball wound up glancing off the Nuveen sign in left field and wound up on Waveland. The fan that ended up with it only asked for a photo with Ross in return.

"Who wants a picture of me?!" Ross laughed. "I'm surprised he didn't ask for [Kris Bryant] or [Anthony Rizzo] or something like that. Again, yay me!"

Jorge Soler's power shines through rainy Cubs victory

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Jorge Soler's power shines through rainy Cubs victory

Jorge Soler picked the perfect walk-up song for 90s Music Day at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs outfielder strolled up to Snap's "I've Got the Power" and promptly delivered on that claim by driving in the first two runs of an eventual 6-2 Cubs victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday at Wrigley Field that included a 56-minute rain delay in the seventh inning and another delay in the ninth lasting 37 minutes.

In the first inning, Soler muscled a ball through the dampened infield to drive home Ben Zobrist and then crushed a 1-2 pitch 461 feet in the fourth, becoming the second player ever (see: Bryant, Kris) to hit the left-field scoreboard in a game at Wrigley.

"I would've been pleased on any given Par 5 to hit that particular drive," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That thing was far, loud and far. He's gonna keep doing that. He's gaining some confidence. You can see the difference in his game, the way he's moving. His confidence is rising right now."

Four batters later, David Ross crushed his 100th career home run out onto Waveland Ave., a three-run shot that broke the game open for the Cubs.

Bryant followed with another blast onto Waveland in the fifth inning, providing all the offense Jon Lester and the Cubs bullpen needed on the afternoon.

Lester allowed only two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out seven and surrendering six hits and a pair of walks.

The unearned tally against Lester came on a sacrifice fly from Maikel Franco immediately after Dexter Fowler and Javy Baez each made an error on the same play, setting up runners at second and third and one out in the third inning.

"Dexter catches that ball 101 times out of 100," Maddon said. "You just don't do that. And then, of course, the ball off the corner of the [third base] bag, that's just really awkward stuff.

"We got ourselves right through the long ball. We hit some balls really well today. Give our guys credit on coming back from kind of a lethargic start and then eventually, we really got into a nice groove."

Lester's second run came in the seventh after he exited the ballgame following a double from Odubel Herrera. Trevor Cahill allowed two straight singles to plate Herrera before getting out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.

Lester improved to 5-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.48 in the process, rebounding nicely from a rough start (five earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched) in San Francisco last weekend.

"It's one start," Lester said. "The way our pitching staff has been going this year, I think when somebody has a bad start like that, ti's easy to kinda panic. I've had 'em before in my career. I've had worse.

"It's just part of the game. I wasn't worried about it. Worked on some things in the bullpen and came back out and obviously threw the ball a lot better today. Better results, just better overall stuff compared to [San Francisco]. I wasn't worried about last start."

Soler's game Friday continued his recent hot streak. He's gone 9-for-26 over the last nine games with two doubles, three homers, six RBIs, eight runs and four walks.

In that time, Soler has raised his average 40 points from .174 to .214 and his OPS 162 points to .692 on the season.

Maddon, Cubs giving Iron Man Anthony Rizzo his own 'mini All-Star break'

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Maddon, Cubs giving Iron Man Anthony Rizzo his own 'mini All-Star break'

Joe Maddon took full advantage of the off-day Thursday.

"I rested my butt off," the Cubs manager said.

Maddon wants Anthony Rizzo to do the same, giving the Iron Man first baseman the day off Friday to kick off a holiday-weekend series against the Phillies at Wrigley Field.

Rizzo has played every game for the Cubs so far, appearing in 399.1 innings at first base out of a possible 407.1.

He led the National League in games played (160) and plate appearances (701) last season and has missed only 26 games since the start of 2013.

"This is something I was looking forward to doing," Maddon said before Friday's game. "When I was with Tampa Bay, I used to do this with Carl [Crawford] all the time to try to take advantage of either the front or back side of a day off to give him two days off.

"I think it's great the way it all played out with the left-hander today (Adam Morgan) for them. And then we play consecutively after this — hopefully, barring any rainouts.

"It was a good time to just give him his little mini All-Star break. And then just have him come back fresh tomorrow."

Friday's game began a stretch of 13 straight for the Cubs, who don't have their next off-day until June 9.

Maddon said he wouldn't hesitate to use Rizzo off the bench if the Cubs needed it Friday.

The All-Star first baseman and perennial MVP candidate is mired in a 3-for-38 slump with his last extra-base hit coming May 14 against the Pirates.

Maddon is hoping this day off will help Rizzo recharge mentally, too.

"I'm anticipating a good result, so that moving forward later in the season, maybe do the same thing again," Maddon said. "'Cause it really does rest those guys up."

Maddon is also giving Jason Heyward his own "mini All-Star Break" Friday after playing two straight games coming out of the scary-looking injury in San Francisco last week.

Heyward left in the first inning of last Friday's game and then missed the next three before playing every inning of the final two games against the Cardinals this week.

Maddon said Heyward is feeling OK, but the Cubs just want to play things safe.

"I wanna be a little cautious," Maddon said. "We had a significant moment in San Francisco. We were more worried that it was going to be even worse and it turned out to be good, so why press our luck right now?

"Let's take advantage of the moment. And a lot of times, the schedule tells you what to do, you just gotta pay attention."

In place of Heyward and Rizzo, Maddon inserted Matt Szczur in right field and Kris Bryant at first base.

Maddon forecasted his backup plan at first base last week in Milwaukee the day after Rizzo was removed in the ninth for a pinch-runner in a game that ultimately went to 13 innings. 

Javy Baez was the option then at first base, but Bryant did shift over there for an out. 

Friday, Maddon opted for Baez at third and Bryant at first.

"KB's been really good at third base. Just a little bit more agility there with Javy," Maddon said. "I still like how large KB is at first base, for lack of a better word. I mean, he's big. He's a great target.

"Moving forward, it's kind of interesting to give him an opportunity to do it. This is something when he's 10 years from now, he's probably going to be able to do very easily. For right now, I like the agility of third base with Javy and I like the target at first base with KB."

Bryant has continued his evolution into Mr. Versatility this season, moving to right field in a tough ballpark when Heyward got hurt last week and regularly seeing time in left field and third base.

When asked how he will handle the transition to first base, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year had the same reaction he does to most things — a simple shrug of the shoulders.

"I think I have good instincts on the field, so I'm gonna go with those and hopefully my glove's broken in," he said through a smile. "That's all I'm worried about, really. I think just playing the infield and throwing the ball across the diamond a lot, I kinda see how it works over there and the bunt defenses and stuff like that. I think it should be alright."

Bryant said he's not worried about making scoops or stretches, relying on his hands and instincts and acknowledging that those are both actions in the moment.

Bryant — who has 6.1 innings under his belt at first base in his professional career — also said he feels comfortable wherever he plays and has talked in the past about being seen as a "baseball player" rather than a "third baseman" or "outfielder."

"I've played some first before," he said. "I played my freshman year in college. I actually worked out mostly at first base my whole fall leading up to the season and then I played third base the whole year there.

"I've had some experience there working around the bag, turning double plays, throwing from a different arm slot over there. I feel comfortable with it.

"I like to be a baseball player and I guess this is another one of those situations where I get to kinda show that."