Cubs' lineup, bullpen continue to adjust

Cubs' lineup, bullpen continue to adjust
August 4, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Paul LaTour

It seems like the Cubs roster changes by the hour these days, thanks to trades, injuries and call-ups. The latest move came Sunday when the club placed infielder Luis Valbuena on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs recalled infielder Logan Watkins from Triple-A Iowa. Watkins makes his big-league debut Sunday at Wrigley Field in the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Valbuena’s injury is a common one in today’s game, but one Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t know much about during his playing days.

[RELATED: Sveum, Cubs won't accept dumb baseball]

“These (injuries to) rib cages are something new in the game over the last five, 10 years,” Sveum said. “I never heard of any rib cage muscles when I played.”

Several theories exist about the increase in oblique injuries, including one that Sveum mentioned Sunday, though not necessarily referring to Valbuena.

“What people are starting to talk about now is that maybe the guys swing too much,” he said. “Everybody is taking so many swings in the course of a day that the body doesn’t recover. There’s a cage in every stadium now, so there’s so much more swings now that guys take than we ever did playing.”

Cubs tweak starting rotation

Thanks to a busy schedule, the Cubs have not been able to adjust their starting rotation since left-hander Chris Rusin joined the staff following the Matt Garza trade. That put the Cubs’ two lefty starters in back-to-back slots.

That will change this week. Following Monday’s day off, the Cubs will start Edwin Jackson on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija will get their normal starts Wednesday and Thursday before Rusin slides in Friday for the series opener in St. Louis.

[MORE: Samardzija has control issues in Cubs' latest loss to Dodgers]

Today’s starter, Carlos Villanueva, will get the nod again Saturday.

Dodgers switch starters

With several regulars on the Cubs bench Sunday, the Dodgers opted to replace scheduled starter Zack Greinke with Stephen Fife for the series finale.

Fife was activated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday with right shoulder bursitis. He was 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA before the recurring shoulder issue sidelined him in early July for the second time.

“I heard a rumor about it yesterday or something, but I didn’t anticipate it until it happened,” Sveum said of the switch.

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