Cubs ship out Randy Wells to Triple-A Iowa

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Cubs ship out Randy Wells to Triple-A Iowa

MESA, Ariz. Randy Wells felt blindsided by the news on Thursday morning. The Cubs feel like theyre taking out a 2.705 million insurance policy in Des Moines.

Wells was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, where he will be stretched out as a starter in case of emergency instead of earning his money as the long man at Wrigley Field. The Cubs saw more upside with Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad in the rotation.

Im not going to sit here and lie and be the guy that says Im not disappointed, Wells said. Its a point in your career where you got to buckle down. You know what you want to do and maybe its a wakeup call to see its not that easy to stay here.

If you want to stay here, you got to work that much harder and hopefully the next time I get called up it will be the last time I have to deal with this.

General manager Jed Hoyer who identified pitching depth as a top offseason priority described the season as a six-month marathon and predicted that Wells will be making many starts for Chicago in 2012.

The Cubs reached a crisis point during the first week of last season, after Wells and Andrew Cashner got injured, wiping out 40 percent of the rotation.

This spring, Wells got only one start and made three Cactus League appearances total, giving up no runs in 7 13 innings. He also pitched in a B game and an intra-squad scrimmage. He was diplomatic when he was asked if he received a long enough look.

I dont know, Wells said. It wasnt up to me. I cant really force my way into the lineup, so they obviously had a plan and they have a direction they want to go. (Ill) go down and work hard and continue to get better. Hopefully, when they need me, (Ill) come up and be ready.

At the age of 29, Wells is at a crossroads. Originally drafted as a catcher in the 38th round of the 2002 draft, he doesnt have pedigree. He briefly pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays as a Rule 5 pick in 2008. He also started the 2009 season in Iowa, before putting together a solid rookie year in Chicago (12-10, 3.05 ERA).

It was obviously a shock, Wells said. It makes you stronger, I guess. You go through these things (and) as big as that feeling in your stomach is the anger or disappointment or whatever it is you got to get past this.

You got to remember its your job. Theyre our bosses and they make the decisions and you just got to keep working.

Joe Maddon ‘Anchorman’ vision for Cubs road trip: ‘We got the Sex Panther in today’

Joe Maddon ‘Anchorman’ vision for Cubs road trip: ‘We got the Sex Panther in today’

A homestand that has already featured Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price grumbling “Hail to the Cubs” after a game ended on an overturned replay review – and Milwaukee Brewers officials complaining about a premature rainout – will end with Joe Maddon’s team walking out of Wrigley Field dressed as “Anchorman” characters. 

The Cubs are hovering around .500 as a baseball product, but the defending World Series champs are already back in terms of getting under people’s skin and going viral on social media. That will happen again on Thursday, when the Cubs start posting photos of their 1970s outfits to Twitter and Instagram before boarding their flight to Southern California.

“We got the Sex Panther in today,” Maddon said during Wednesday’s pregame media session, sounding nothing like San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Q: You got the what?

“Sex Panther,” Maddon said, “60 percent of the time, it works every time, you’re not aware of that?”

Q: Does it growl when you open it?

“It does,” Maddon said. “It growls.”

The official theme for the road trip through Los Angeles and (Stay Classy) San Diego would be…

“It’s the Ron Burgundy/Brick Tamland – and I also wanted to include Tommy La Stella – Tribute Road Trip, where 60 percent of the time, it works every time, sponsored by Sex Panther cologne,” Maddon said.

La Stella is the enigmatic pinch-hitter/backup infielder now playing at Triple-A Iowa. Steve Carell played Tamland – the weatherman for the Channel 4 news team – in the movie. 

“I just see him like Brick Tamland,” Maddon said. “I just see him kind of like Brick. It’s almost like two interchangeable guys. I see Brick, I see Tommy, I see Tommy, I see Brick. Put some glasses on Tommy like that, dress him up, some sideburns and have him scream a little bit, I got Brick.”     

And when the Cubs return home next week, it will be interesting to see if the St. Louis Cardinals notice the celebration shots on the big video board and find any amusement in the dancing relievers.

“Oh my God, absolutely, I love it,” Maddon said. “I think it’s very entertaining. I would have to believe two things: I believe the fans will really appreciate it, and I don’t think it’s disrespectful to the other side. 

“I just think it’s funny. I really believe if we’re on the road and the other bullpen did that, I would laugh. So whoever’s thought it was in the beginning, I commend them. I think it’s pretty funny.

“It really makes you look forward to the next home run, to see what these guys are going to do, so I’m all for it.”

Nick Offerman wants Jon Lester to grow a Ron Swanson-esque mustache

Nick Offerman wants Jon Lester to grow a Ron Swanson-esque mustache

Nick Offerman gave Cubs ace Jon Lester a shout-out after the southpaw's incredible outing Tuesday night at Wrigley Field and it led to a delightful exchange:

Lester responded in kind, quoting Offerman's most famous character, Ron Swanson of "Parks and Rec" fame:

Offerman — a Chicago native who just waited out a two-hour rain delay Friday at Wrigley to sing the Seventh Inning Stretch — believes Lester has a little Ron Swanson in him, too.

Except for the mustache, of course.

But Lester is just fine stick with his standard beard:

Lester's dominance against the San Francisco Giants continued with Tuesday night's complete game effort. In his last three starts — including Game 1 of last fall's — Lester has a 0.69 ERA and 0.54 WHIP against the Giants, striking out 19 batters in 26 innings.