NATIONALS Pair to miss starts
CHICAGO — Two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez will miss their scheduled starts for the Washington Nationals against the Chicago Cubs this weekend.
Manager Dusty Baker decided to give Scherzer at least an extra day rather than have him pitch Sunday after the right-hander exited Tuesday’s game against Miami because of neck spasms.
Gonzalez won’t pitch today with his wife expected to give birth to their second child within the next few days. Baker said Edwin Jackson will replace him.
The Nationals also placed left-hander Enny Romero on the 10-day disabled list on Friday because of forearm tightness. He left Wednesday’s game against Miami.
SS Russell on DL
CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday because of a strained right foot.
An All-Star last season, Russell is batting .241 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI. He has 11 errors after committing 14 a year ago. Manager Joe Maddon said the foot has been “bothering him noticeably” in recent days.
“We just thought it was wise to get it settled down right now,” Maddon said. “And that’s what we’re doing.”
Russell also has been bothered at times by shoulder pain. Maddon said the foot problem is unrelated.
“That’s not been part of the issue,” he said. Chicago also called up left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny from Class AAA Iowa before Friday’s game against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. Zastryzny made one appearance for the Cubs in May and pitched in eight games for them last season.
Maddon: More night games
Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said Friday he’d “love” to see day games in Chicago on Saturday and Sundays only, plus an occasional getaway day or holiday, leaving Friday for night games at Wrigley Field.
“This constantly having to get up and rush to the ballpark and not having a normal method during the course of the day, it does matter, because when you’re on the road it’s entirely different,” he said.
Cubs President Crane Kenney complained recently about city regulations that limit the number of night games at Wrigley, claiming it was a disadvantage to the team.
Maddon said it’s no advantage for the Cubs when a visiting team that plays primarily night games has to come in for day games at Wrigley.
“They’re only here for a couple days,” he said. “They get through it and after a few days they move back to a normal schedule. I think 107 years indicates it wasn’t such a good idea.”
Maddon was referring to the number of years between Cubs championships in 1908 and 2016, though the Cubs actually got lights in 1988 and went 29 years without a championship since the start of the lights era.
The Cubs are allowed 43 night games, and want to get up to the league average of 54. They are also allowed only two Saturday night games. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said recently the Cubs chose to schedule nine concerts “so they can make more money” and “now they want to change the consequences of the choices they made.”
Neighborhood parking is cited as the reason to ban most night games on Fridays and Saturdays. Maddon wants the Friday rule relaxed.
Tillman headed to bullpen?
Although no decision has been announced on the status of Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, it seems highly likely that he will be moved out of the club’s starting rotation and into the bullpen.
Manager Buck Showalter would not definitively say that during his pregame media briefing on Friday afternoon, but everything he did say seemed to point in that direction.
The Orioles cannot put Tillman on the disabled list because he said his shoulder is sound. They are not going to designate him for assignment and let him go because he has done too much for the organization to be thrown aside that way.
That leaves the team with two options: Send him back out for another start next week in Anaheim or send him to the bullpen to continue working to improve the command of his pitches.
“I talked to Chris some today to try to get some feedback from him — what he’s feeling … what he’s thinking,” Showalter said.