With the Cubs move to put Ryan Dempster on the 15-daydisabled and recalloutfielder Tony Campana, the Cubs arecontinuing the overhaul of a roster that is a very long way from competing for a championship. By activating Campana it likely spells the end of Marlon Byrd's tenure in Chicago with star prospect Brett Jackson close to being major league ready. Byrd will most likely be dealt to the Boston Red Sox who are looking for a short term fix while staroutfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is sidelined with an injury. What the Cubs get back in return for Byrd is a bonus because the impetus of the trade is moving whatever money the Cubs can in the deal and also opening up a spot for first Campana but eventually Jackson. Fans are clamoring for the call up of both Jackson and star first baseman Anthony Rizzo but delaying their recall makes sense on a number of levels. Why accelerate their service time which would cost the franchise potentially millions of dollars if both players perform at the levels being predicted for them?It was a lack of long term thinking that led to the call up of Starlin Castro a couple of years ago. By not delaying his call up to the big leagues just 4-6 weeks longer the Cubs accelerated his service time which based on his star play will end up costing the franchise approximately 8 million because it moved up his ability to take the team to arbitration. His outstanding play will force the Cubs to pay him far more than they would have had to had they delayed his call up. The decision to promote him before they should have was a decision made by the previous regime that was desperate to save their jobs. It was also a decision that stunned many others around the baseball world because it was incredibly short sighted. In addition, with the 2012 Cubs off to a 3-11 start there is no need to rush young players into a tough situation playing at Wrigley Field in less than ideal weather conditions. While fans are disappointed in the team and the start it was not unexpected by Epstein and Co. They knew how bad things were when they evaluated the organization and they were fully prepared to deal with the fallout of a bad baseball team. Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are extremely competitive men and brilliant baseball minds. They knew that rebuilding the Chicago Cubs was going to be a lengthy and painful process and they were prepared for it. But just like the fan base that doesn't mean they have to enjoy it.
MIAMI (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki slapped a ground ball toward the left side of the infield, then hustled down the line to first just in case the throw didn't get there in time.
It didn't, and the Miami Marlins were in business.
That play by Suzuki kick-started what became a four-run fifth as the Marlins took the lead for good, and they went on to beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6 on Saturday.
"Just a good team," said Justin Bour, who hit his 14th home run and finished with three RBIs. "Good vibe right now, and just got to keep it rolling."
Giancarlo Stanton had his first three-RBI game since April 26 for Miami, which got to 40 wins in 75 games - or 20 games faster than they did a year ago. Paul Clemens (1-0) allowed four runs in five innings for his first big league win since June 12, 2013, and A.J. Ramos got the last two outs for his 24th save in as many chances this season.
Going back to 2015, Ramos has saved 33 straight, tying a Marlins franchise record.
"He's been solid," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Any team that has a guy at the end that's closing `em down and not giving `em up, if you can get to him with a lead you're in good shape."
Addison Russell hit a three-run homer and Miguel Montero added a solo homer for the Cubs, who still have the best record in the majors even after losing five of their last six games. They ended a four-game skid Friday night despite giving up Bour's grand slam.
"That's a tremendous lineup," Clemens said.
Cubs starter John Lackey (7-4) gave up a season-high seven runs in 4 1-3 innings, and it's almost like he knew Suzuki's infield single would be trouble - smacking his glove and shouting in frustration after he reached.
It only got worse over the next few minutes for Lackey, who had a 2.78 ERA when the game started and a 3.29 ERA when it ended.
"To start off with an infield hit ... I have to do better than that," Lackey said. "Four runs should be enough to win that game."
Suzuki took second when Russell's throw squirted away from Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and scored two pitches later on Martin Prado's double.
Stanton drove in Prado with a single that chased Lackey and put Miami up 5-4, Bour greeted reliever Gerardo Concepcion with an RBI double, and Derek Dietrich's sacrifice fly made it 7-4.
It was a rare sort of loss for the Cubs, who were 33-0 this season when scoring six runs and 44-3 when scoring at least four.
"When we score that many runs we're going to win a baseball game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It was one of those nights and we move on."
Cubs: Rizzo (back stiffness) and Montero (right knee) returned to the lineup after missing the last two games. ... 2B Ben Zobrist, who was forced out of Friday's game after getting hit in the left ankle by a pitch, didn't start but pinch-hit in the eighth.
Marlins: CF Marcell Ozuna, who played in all but one of Miami's first 74 games, wasn't in the lineup because of left wrist pain. Suzuki started in center for the sixth time this season.
Willson Contreras, who had an RBI double in the ninth for the Cubs, got the start in left field. That became the third position (joining catcher and first base) that he's played in a very hectic opening eight games of his MLB career. And Lackey batted eighth, the second straight day that Maddon put a starting pitcher in that slot after doing the same with Kyle Hendricks in Friday's win.
Suzuki went 1 for 4, moving him within 16 hits of 3,000 for his MLB career.
The series ends Sunday when Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (9-3, 2.36) faces Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (7-3, 2.55). Fernandez is 23-1 all-time at home and has never faced the Cubs, who have lost each of Hammel's last three starts. Fernandez briefly left the Marlins' dugout in the first inning Saturday after a foul ball bounced off his right hand, but returned not long afterward - and even asked Mattingly if he could pinch-hit in the late innings.
MIAMI - One week into his major league career, Chicago Cubs super-sub Willson Contreras says he's simply trying to contribute and enjoy himself.
So how much fun is he having?
"A lot," Contreras said, practically shouting the words. "A lot."
No wonder - he's batting .412 with three homers, and the latest helped the Cubs break their longest losing streak of the season at four games by beating the Miami Marlins 5-4 Friday night.
Contreras hit a two-run homer in a four-run first inning, and his RBI single in the seventh put the team with the best record in the majors ahead to stay.
Manager Joe Maddon said Contreras' contribution as a reinforcement for the injury-hampered Cubs has been indispensable.
"It's like oxygen - it's absolutely necessary," Maddon said. "The life he has brought to the group is absolutely necessary. He's different in all the best ways."
While Contreras again excelled as a reinforcement, the NL Central leaders endured another setback when second baseman Ben Zobrist left the game after he was hit by a pitch that bruised his left ankle. X-rays were negative, but Zobrist said he'll likely miss at least one game.
Four pitchers held the Marlins to two hits, including Justin Bour's grand slam.
Each team scored four runs in the first inning, when Kris Bryant and Contreras homered for the Cubs. It was the first time in the majors this year that both teams scored at least four runs in the first, according to ESPN.
Despite the early onslaught, both starters settled down before departing with the score still 4-all.
The Cubs' Kyle Hendricks pitched five innings and allowed only one hit - Bour's slam. All four runs were unearned because of an error by shortstop Addison Russell.
"That was the most grinding of a one-hitter," Hendricks said. "It was a weird game."
Miami's Tom Koehler gave up six consecutive hits in the first but still pitched six innings.
Trevor Cahill (1-2) threw a scoreless sixth. Hector Rondon retired all four batters he faced for his second four-out save in a row, and his 13th overall.
Mike Dunn (0-1) retired only one of the five hitters he faced in the seventh, walking two and hitting Zobrist.
"I can't remember the last time I went out there and couldn't throw anything over the plate," Dunn said. "I didn't give the team a chance."
Dunn also allowed a one-out run-scoring single by Contreras, who has eight RBIs after seven games in the big leagues.
"He looks like an established big league hitter," Hendricks said. "He just hits balls hard. It's really fun to watch. To be that young and come up and do it, it's unbelievable. And we need it right now."
Contreras started at catcher and moved to first base late in the game. He's expected to be in the lineup again Saturday, although he's unsure where.
"I don't know if I'm going to play left field or first base; I caught a few flyballs in right field today," he said. "So I'll be ready, man."
At one point in the middle of last season, the Cubs were on a 12-game winning streak with Chris Coghlan hitting third in the lineup...while playing second base.
It's hard to see that scenario playing out again in 2016 for a lot of reasons.
After getting traded back to Chicago earlier this month, the 31-year-old outfielder came to a different Cubs team than the one he played a major contributing role with in 2015.
Coghlan was penciled in at fifth in Friday's Cubs lineup and has generally been playing against right-handed pitchers since he was acquired, akin to his role last season.
But what about when Jorge Soler returns? And when Dexter Fowler gets off the disabled list, the Cubs will still want to find time for Albert Almora Jr. and Matt Szczur and have $184 million man Jason Heyward patrolling right field.
Plus, Kris Bryant has played a lot of corner outfield already this season and his presence out there allows Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella (who is also currently on the DL) to man third base.
Simply put: Coghlan will be hard-pressed to reach 500 plate appearances again this season.
"I think my role is different. I've accepted that," Coghlan said. "Last year, I felt like if it was a righty, I'd start every day and do the platoon thing. Here, there's just so much talent and different roles that I don't think mine's maybe as definitive as last year's was.
"I would probably say I'm even more accepting of that. 'Cause I feel to go from where I went and then to come here and get another opportunity. When you're on a team that plans on winning the World Series vs. a team that hopes you go to the playoffs, it's two totally different things.
"To get back on that and be around it, you're like, 'Man, I have a chance legitimately to win a World Series. I'll do whatever I can to win a World Series.' And that's kinda the attitude that I have.
"I think it's different for people if you're not trying to win a World Series and you're not one of those teams, then you probably want a bigger role. But when you have a legitimate shot, there's a reason why there's only 25 that are allowed and there are only certain roles. I'm excited for this opportunity, however big or small it may be."
Coghlan only got 12 plate appearances in the postseason with the Cubs last year, collecting a lone single in the process.
It's understandable the former National League Rookie of the Year (2009) would want to play more after overcoming a lot of adversity in his career with injuries and posting a .793 OPS with 25 homers in 273 games with the Cubs from 2014-15.
But he also got his first taste of the playoffs last year and just moved from a last-place Oakland A's team to a squad that has a World Series or bust mentality.
Coghlan sees a different Cubs team than the one that got hot in the final two months of 2015 and wound up winning 97 games and two playoff series.
"When I came over here, I just realized, man, you've seen guys have more time," Coghlan said. "You see some growth and you see so much depth that you just feel like it's a matter of — this isn't an arrogant comment — playing within ourselves.
"When you're on that level of talent and then you have everybody as close as they are, you feel like you're only competing for one thing and that's to win the World Series.
"...To watch it and to be a part of it, you're just like, 'Man, if we stay within ourselves and execute and stay healthy, we're gonna be fine.' And I think that's kinda more the attitude vs. maybe last year, it wasn't until the end where we kinda found our identity and our belief.
"Early on [last season], it was like, 'Man, we're fighting mano y mano and we need to have something break through.' Now, I think it's just about us executing. We execute and we got a shot to beat anybody in baseball."