Cubs notes: Rosters expand, Castro back to leadoff spot

Cubs notes: Rosters expand, Castro back to leadoff spot
September 1, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Paul LaTour

The Cubs added three players Sunday as major league rosters expanded to 40-man rosters.

They activated outfielder Ryan Sweeney and infielder Luis Valbuena from the disabled list, while pitcher Alberto Cabrera was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Pitcher Eduardo Sanchez was designated for assignment to make room for Sweeney on the 40-man roster.

Sweeney, 28, returns from the 60-day DL after breaking a rib on his left side crashing into the outfield wall in Seattle on June 30. He is starting in center field and batting fifth in today’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field.

[More: Sweeney hopeful for his return]

Valbuena, 27, was placed on the 15-day DL Aug. 4 with a right oblique strain. He is batting .225 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 89 games with the Cubs this season.

“It was my first time on the DL, so now I’m so happy I’m back with the team,” Valbuena said. “I feel so good right now. I’m ready to play.”

Cabrera, 24, split this season between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. He combined to go 10-6 with a 3.79 ERA in 33 appearances, including 18 starts.

Leadoff spot works for Castro

Shortstop Starlin Castro makes his 11th straight appearance at leadoff for the Cubs today. That appears to be a good fit for Castro, who has four hits -- all for extra bases -- in his past two games.

His sixth-inning home run proved to be the difference in the Cubs 4-3 victory over the Phillies. It was his eighth of the season, but first since July 31. Castro also has multi-hit efforts in three of his past four games.

“I thought I’d get him back in the leadoff spot, the one spot where he was the most comfortable and had the most success at,” manager Dale Sveum said. “So far he’s been driving the ball better and swinging the bat better in that spot.”

[More: Castro's improved fortunes the product of mental adjustment]

Odds and ends

The Cubs are trying to win back-to-back home games for the first time since a three-game streak July 6-9. … A victory would also give them their first home series win since taking two of three games from Pittsburgh July 5-7. … Catcher Dioner Navarro led the Cubs with a .313 batting average in August. Donnie Murphy had a team-high eight home runs, and Nate Schierholtz led with 19 RBI in the month. … Righthander Jake Arrieta (1-1, 4.50) makes his second career start vs. the Phillies. Last season with Baltimore, Arrieta allowed 11 hits and nine runs in four innings in the Phillies’ 9-6 victory.