Hammel commands Pirates' attention

Allows four hits over eight shutout innings

Hammel commands Pirates' attention

CHICAGO -- Jason Hammel made Miguel Montero's job easy, and that's just what the Cubs needed.

Hammel threw eight shutout innings, holding the Pirates to four hits, in a 4-0 victory Monday night at Wrigley Field.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel works 8 scoreless in win over Pirates

Hammel works 8 scoreless in win over Pirates

CHICAGO -- Rookie Kris Bryant smacked a two-run single and Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs to back Jason Hammel and lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory Monday night over the Pirates at chilly Wrigley Field.

Hammel held the Pirates to four hits over eight innings, the longest outing by a Cubs starter this year, and struck out a season-high seven. He has walked one and struck out 23 in his four starts this season.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell gets first taste of Wrigley experience

No. 2 prospect goes 1-for-3 in home debut

Russell gets first taste of Wrigley experience

CHICAGO -- Addison Russell's first game at Wrigley Field was one he won't forget.

"It's hard to put it into words," Russell said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs fan hit by bat, taken to Chicago hospital

Russell loses grip during seventh-inning at-bat

Cubs fan hit by bat, taken to Chicago hospital

CHICAGO -- A fan was carried out of Wrigley Field on a stretcher after being hit by a bat in the seventh inning during the Cubs' 4-0 victory over the Pirates.

Addison Russell, making his Wrigley Field debut, swung at a fastball and the bat slipped out of his hands and into the seats near the Cubs' dugout.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Confident Castro blossoming for Cubs

Shortstop enjoying resurgence under Maddon

Confident Castro blossoming for Cubs

CHICAGO -- As always, Starlin Castro was at shortstop for the Cubs on Monday, and almost surely will be there Tuesday, Wednesday and beyond.

Perhaps even through the end of this season, and maybe for five after that, given the terms of his contract and the way he is playing. Castro did nothing special in Monday night's 4-0 victory over the Pirates, but the beauty of his resurgence is that he didn't need any pyrotechnics to draw attention to how he's been right in the middle of the Cubs' fast start.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wood tries to get back into win column against Pirates

Wood tries to get back into win column against Pirates

The Pirates and Cubs will continue their three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, with lefties Jeff Locke and Travis Wood set to square off.

Locke's last start came against the Cubs on Thursday at PNC Park, where he gave up four runs and struck out seven over five innings. Locke is 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schwarber homers after being hit in head

Cubs' No. 4 prospect hitting a robust .370 through 16 games

Schwarber homers after being hit in head

Kyle Schwarber gave Cubs fans a scare when he went to the ground afte being struck in the head while catching for Double-A Tennessee on Monday night. The Cubs' No. 4 prospect (No. 48 overall) was hurt when Chattanooga's Heiker Meneses inadvertently hit him with the follow through of his swing.

Fans barely had time to worry, though. The former Indiana Hoosier walked off the field under his own power and then immediately hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom half of the sixth inning. Unfortunately for the Smokies, the blast -- Schwarber's third of the season -- was not enough in a 5-3 loss.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Patience will get Soler back on track

Maddon sees frustration in young outfielder

Patience will get Soler back on track

CHICAGO -- All Cubs manager Joe Maddon wants Jorge Soler to do is take a walk. Soler was batting .257 entering Monday's game against the Pirates, and has been striking out more.

"All he needs to do is take his walks," Maddon said. "Seriously, when you're walking, you're hitting, especially guys that good. You're not expanding your strike zone, you're not chasing that guy's pitch. He doesn't need to make any physical adjustments -- feet, arms, hands, head. His adjustment has to come from the fact that, 'I'm going to accept my walks.' Once he comes to terms with that, he'll take off again."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs recall Lake, option Schlitter to Triple-A Iowa

Cubs recall Lake, option Schlitter to Triple-A Iowa

CHICAGO -- The Cubs recalled outfielder Junior Lake from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-handed reliever Brian Schlitter to the Minor League team, trimming the number of pitchers on the 25-man roster to 12. Lake, 25, has primarily played outfield, but manager Joe Maddon says he won't hesitate to use him in the infield as well.

"We'll utilize him wherever, just like we do with everybody else," Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Megan Zahneis

Russell's rise to Cubs a wild ride

Part of club's youth movement, 21-year-old showing moves at new position

Russell's rise to Cubs a wild ride

"It's crazy," is how Addison Russell describes it.

Three years ago this weekend, Russell donned a suit and tie, and now he's suited up in a Chicago Cubs uniform.

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Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After big hit, Russell ready for Wrigley debut

After big hit, Russell ready for Wrigley debut

CINCINNATI -- Addison Russell will finally get to play at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs' No. 2 ranked prospect will make his home debut Monday night, and he arrives feeling a little better after hitting a key three-run double in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Reds.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo, Bryant almost wrecked by racing Reds mascots

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Rizzo, Bryant almost wrecked by racing Reds mascots

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and super prospect Kris Bryant almost suffered the same fate as Simba's dad last weekend when he was nearly trampled by the mascot race at Great American Ball Park. 

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Arrieta's in-game adjustments spur strong effort

Arrieta's in-game adjustments spur strong effort

CINCINNATI -- In both of Jake Arrieta's starts against the Reds this season, the Cubs pitcher has gotten off to great starts. On Sunday, he showed what he can do when he gets out of rhythm.

The right-hander scattered four hits and struck out six over six innings in the Cubs' 5-2 victory over the Reds on Sunday.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Starlin adds to highlight reel with throw from knees

Starlin adds to highlight reel with throw from knees

CINCINNATI -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon has challenged his players to try to win Gold Gloves. Starlin Castro is taking that seriously.

In the sixth inning of Sunday's 5-2 win over the Reds, Castro made a play that needs to be included on his personal highlight reel. Brennan Boesch hit a ball to Castro's right that he made a backhanded grab on as he fell on the grass, then was able to throw from his knees to first in time to get the Reds' right fielder.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arrieta, Russell lead way as Cubs top Reds

Arrieta, Russell lead way as Cubs top Reds

CINCINNATI -- Big hits from Miguel Montero and Addison Russell were enough to lift the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Reds on Sunday at Great American Ball Park. Chicago took both games of the rain-shortened series.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead with one out in the second inning against Anthony DeSclafani when Montero hit an 84-mph 1-1 changeup to the seats in left field for a home run. The Cubs added four unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning following third baseman Todd Frazier's fielding error.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon lauds Bryant's keen batting eye

Maddon lauds Bryant's keen batting eye

CINCINNATI -- As much as Cubs fans want to see Kris Bryant hit home runs, manager Joe Maddon likes the walks the rookie third baseman has been working.

Bryant drew eight walks in his first eight games, which has helped the Cubs' overall numbers. Chicago leads the National League in pitches per plate appearance.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Motte sends text of support to injured Wainwright

Herrera impressing Maddon with positive approach off Cubs' bench

Motte sends text of support to injured Wainwright

CINCINNATI -- Cubs reliever Jason Motte sent Adam Wainwright a text message Saturday night as soon as he heard that his former teammate was injured. Wainwright was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with an injury to his left Achilles and ankle that may be season-ending.

Motte, who pitched in St. Louis for six seasons, said as bad as the injury may be, the Cardinals always seem to find others to step up. They did it in 2013 when Motte missed the year because of elbow surgery.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon content to bat pitcher in No. 8 slot

Maddon content to bat pitcher in No. 8 slot

CINCINNATI -- So far, Cubs manager Joe Maddon's preference for having the pitcher bat eighth seems to be working, and he plans on sticking with it.

The starting pitcher has batted eighth in each of the Cubs' 17 games this season, and the group is batting .141 collectively. However, where the pitcher bats is not Maddon's concern.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs' tilt with Reds gets rained out

Cubs' tilt with Reds gets rained out

CINCINNATI -- Miguel Montero and Jorge Soler played dominoes. Anthony Rizzo posted a photo of himself with other 25-and-under teammates: Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Starlin Castro and Soler. Joe Maddon had a little applesauce, some peanuts and a couple of pieces of sushi.

The Cubs had plenty of down time on Saturday at Great American Ball Park, as they waited 4 hours, 13 minutes before the game was postponed because of rain. No makeup date was announced. The Cubs return to Cincinnati from July 20-22 and Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon calls Reds' Hamilton a 'game changer'

Maddon calls Reds' Hamilton a 'game changer'

CINCINNATI -- Billy Hamilton didn't waste any time running on Chicago's Jon Lester. The Cubs weren't surprised. The Reds' center fielder has done that to other pitchers, as well.

"I know the focus is on Jon, but I promise [Hamilton] has done that to other people," manager Joe Maddon said on Saturday. "My biggest concern there is to not permit a big inning, and that's part of the bigger inning."

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzo's approach at the plate impresses Maddon

Rizzo's approach at the plate impresses Maddon

CINCINNATI -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo began the day leading the Majors with a .493 on-base percentage, and manager Joe Maddon is happy with the first baseman's approach at the plate.

"If you want to teach a young left-handed hitter how to break the shift, watch what [Rizzo is] doing now," Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ozzie, Rickey, Jenkins and Tiant enter Hall of Game

Talented class of players embody passion of Negro Leagues

Ozzie, Rickey, Jenkins and Tiant enter Hall of Game

KANSAS CITY -- Ozzie Smith's patented backflip was the perfect maneuver to help him stick the landing in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's "Hall of Game" class of 2015.

Now in its second year, the Hall of Game is for former Major League players who not only did great things on the field, but also exhibited the flair and passion reminiscent of the Negro Leagues players. Joining Smith on Saturday in the Hall of Game induction class were Rickey Henderson, Ferguson Jenkins and Luis Tiant.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera proves he's ready for anything with go-ahead single

Manager Maddon admires utility player's professionalism, upbeat attitude

Herrera proves he's ready for anything with go-ahead single

CINCINNATI -- This spring, manager Joe Maddon wasn't quite sure what to expect from Jonathan Herrera, and he's discovering that the utility player is ready for anything.

In his first at-bat of the game, Herrera delivered a tie-breaking RBI single to highlight the Cubs' four-run 11th in a 7-3 come-from-behind win over the Reds on Friday night.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester improves, strikes out 10 against Reds

Despite no-decision, lefty pitches best outing this season

Lester improves, strikes out 10 against Reds

CINCINNATI -- Jon Lester has had to do a crash course on the National League, and on Friday, his studying skills paid off.

The Cubs lefty did not get a decision in the 7-3, 11-inning win over the Reds, but he had his best outing to date, striking out a season-high 10 batters over six innings.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera drives in go-ahead run as Cubs win in 11th

Herrera drives in go-ahead run as Cubs win in 11th

CINCINNATI -- A four-run top of the 11th inning gave the Cubs a 7-3 victory over the Reds on Friday, their fifth game won in their final at-bat in 16 games overall. Jonathan Herrera delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI single.

It was a 3-3 game in the top of the 11th when struggling Reds reliever Burke Badenhop gave up three straight one-out singles. Anthony Rizzo started the rally with a lined single to center field that was stopped on the short-hop by a diving Billy Hamilton. Kris Bryant followed with a single up the middle before Herrera, who entered the game defensively in the ninth inning, came through with a lined RBI single to right field.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell makes diving stop to throw out speedster Hamilton

Rookie infielder also turns double play in fourth big league game

Russell makes diving stop to throw out speedster Hamilton

CINCINNATI -- Cubs infielder Addison Russell may have only been playing his fourth big league game, but he was well aware of how fast the Reds' Billy Hamilton is.

Hamilton was 2-for-2 with three stolen bases in his first two at-bats Friday against the Cubs, and he led off the fifth with a grounder toward right-center. Russell dove to his right, snared the ball, and got to his feet in time to throw Hamilton out at first.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.