Chicago - Good morning Cub fans! While the Cubs won the 3/21 am game, it did not come without a price. Starting pitcher Pedro Torres was lost for the season with nerve irritation in his forearm. Torres won 18 games last year for the Cubs, and his record this year was 5-2. The veteran righty, only 2 seasons removed from a perfect game, has plenty of big game experience (see his playoff stats for proof 2-0 in 3 starts, 22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) and will be missed in the rotation.
Torres' injury comes on the heels of reigning NL MVP Julio Chavez 's current stint on the DL for a torn ligament in his ankle. While Chavez was leading the team in HR's and RBI's, his loss is softened by the platoon of Harold McMurtry , Endy Brooks , & Al Johnson, with McMurtry getting the biggest increase in AB's and producing 12 HR's and a .573 slugging percentage.
The good news on the injury front is that Octavio Bolivar (Season 1 Cy Young & Rookie of the Year) had recently returned from last years elbow surgery. While he has yet to approach his previous Cy Young standards, he has provided a nice boost to the rotation, which is even more needed now that Torres has gone down for the year. Called up from AAA to take Torres' place is Torii Baker who earlier in the year had been reported to be shopped around in hope of upgrading the bullpen. Lucky for Chicago GM Donald Key that he held on to him. Although expect some struggles with Baker, in time he should be fine. They decided to leave Jacob Bland in the battered bullpen instead of being sent back to the rotation. Bland had been a starter until this year when he was the 6th man in a 5 man rotation. He has pitched well enough, but Cubs management decided that it was better to call up Baker and put him in the rotation then to put Bland back in.
Only time will tell if they made the right moves!