Two Wrigley bleacher sections open Monday

Two Wrigley bleacher sections open Monday

ST. LOUIS -- Wrigley Field will nearly be back to normal with the opening of the left- and center-field bleachers on Monday.

The opening of the left- and center-field bleachers will coincide with the Cubs Charities' "Pink Out," presented by Advocate Health Care. Each fan in the bleachers that day will receive a pink T-shirt to promote breast cancer prevention awareness and celebrate moms and women everywhere who are survivors.

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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.

Denorfia headed to DL with hamstring strain

Cubs expected to promote outfielder Szczur from Triple-A Iowa

Denorfia headed to DL with hamstring strain

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia is headed to the disabled list again after aggravating his left hamstring running the bases in Monday night's 10-9 loss to the Cardinals.

The Cubs are expected to promote outfielder Matt Szczur from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday. Szczur was pulled from Iowa's game in Des Moines.

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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 expecting more in power department

With homers from Rizzo, Russell on Monday, Cubs rank 7th in NL with 20

Cubs expecting more in power department

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs appear to have a power outage this season.

Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell hinted at the Cubs' potential to deliver the long ball by hitting solo shots in Monday's 10-9 loss in St. Louis. The homers gave the Cubs 20 for the season, which now ties them for seventh in the National League. Cubs manager Joe Maddon admitted that he expected more at this point in the season.

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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.

Wild 1st sets tone as Cubs falter vs. Cards

Wild 1st sets tone as Cubs falter vs. Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Following a trio of walk-off wins over the weekend, the Cardinals rolled their winning streak to seven by erasing an early five-run deficit and snatching a 10-9 victory from the Cubs in Monday's series opener at Busch Stadium. The win improved the Cardinals to 19-6, marking their best start through 25 games in modern franchise history.

"If any team had the right to maybe shut down after this weekend and how everything played out, this team could have, and that wasn't at all what it was," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think I said yesterday that 'wow' was my explanation. I don't even know what to give you today because, to me, that's just a sign of a tough team, a mentally tough team that is going to be relentless. I hope that's something that we never lose."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. 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.

Soler sits; Cubs name Minors' best for April

Vogelbach, Null named Minor League player and pitcher of month

Soler sits; Cubs name Minors' best for April

ST. LOUIS -- Jorge Soler did not start Monday, to give the Cubs' rookie a chance to catch his breath, manager Joe Maddon said.

Soler went 7-for-23 on the Cubs' homestand with two doubles and three walks. Maddon had inserted Soler into the leadoff spot on Saturday to try to get the outfielder to have a different mental approach, and he went 1-for-3 with a walk.

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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.

Hendricks looks to earn first 'W' vs. Cards

Hendricks looks to earn first 'W' vs. Cards

Tuesday would've been Adam Wainwright's turn in the Cardinals' rotation, but instead, Tyler Lyons will make the start in the second game of a four-game series against Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs.

With a win Monday, their seventh straight, the Cardinals are 19-6 and off to their best start through 25 games in franchise history. That's exactly the type of team Chicago manager Joe Maddon wants his young players to face. He says his Rays teams got better because they had to deal with the Yankees and Red Sox in the tough American League East.

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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.

Bryant not worried about home run numbers

Bryant not worried about home run numbers

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant led the Minor Leagues with 43 home runs last season and paced the Major Leagues in Spring Training with nine, but has yet to connect in his 15 games so far with the Cubs.

"I could go the whole season without hitting a home run as long as we're winning games, and right now we're doing pretty good," Bryant said Sunday. "I know the type of player I am. It's percentages -- I hit home runs and I'm due, and [Saturday] I was due for a bad game. It happens."

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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 come up short in rubber match against Brewers

Cubs come up short in rubber match against Brewers

CHICAGO -- Aramis Ramirez hit a solo home run in the second and a tie-breaking two-run single in the eighth to lift the Brewers to a 5-3 victory Sunday over the Cubs and their first series win of the season.

Ramirez spared the Brewers from letting an eighth-inning rally slip away. Cubs reliever Pedro Strop had loaded the bases with nobody out when he struck Brewers shortstop Jean Segura in the head with a fastball, but recovered to induce a 5-2-3 double play from Ryan Braun.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. 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 has to battle to earn quality start

Hammel has to battle to earn quality start

CHICAGO -- Jason Hammel didn't lose to the Brewers on Sunday, but couldn't quite get the win.

The right-hander threw his second consecutive quality start, and did not get a decision in the Cubs' 5-3 loss to the Brewers. Hammel was charged with three runs over six innings, a lot considering he entered the game having not given up a single run in his two previous starts against Milwaukee.

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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

Jim Callis

Schwarber on Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week

Mets' top prospect threw 14 scoreless innings, struck out 19 in two starts

Schwarber on Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

Triple-A Las Vegas's Cashman Field is one of the toughest places to pitch in professional baseball. Games there averaged 11.9 runs per game in 2014, the fifth-highest total in the Minor Leagues, and an average of 11.1 runs per contest are being scored this season.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB reveals 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners

MLB reveals 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners

Mother's Day is Sunday, and for Melissa Rupert of Liberty Township, Ohio, it will be the first one to celebrate as the mother of a baby boy named Noah.

"He's my entire world," Rupert said. "Every day, I hold my baby boy as tightly as he'll let me and remind myself that he is my rock and my joy, and I barely think about ... breast cancer."

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jackson settling in as a reliever

Jackson settling in as a reliever

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Edwin Jackson seems to be making the transition from starter to reliever. The right-hander has not given up an earned run over nine innings in his last six outings, and held opponents to a .171 average.

"I always thought he could [pitch in relief], even back in the day in Tampa," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday of the right-hander, who was on the Rays staff in 2007-08. "His stuff was really good [Saturday]. He was very assertive with all his pitches and his breaking ball was really good. Hopefully, that's a sign of things to come with him."

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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.

Russell, Rizzo are OK after collision

Russell, Rizzo are OK after collision

CHICAGO -- First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Addison Russell survived a full-speed collision in the second inning of Saturday's 6-1 loss, and fortunately, there was no blood.

The Brewers had a runner at second and two outs in the second when Carlos Gomez lofted the ball to right. Both Rizzo and Russell gave chase, then crashed into each other and tumbled to the ground.

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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' bats quiet in loss to Brewers

Cubs' bats quiet in loss to Brewers

CHICAGO -- Mike Fiers struck out 12 batters over six innings, Ryan Braun smacked a two-run homer and Jean Segura had four hits, including an RBI triple, to lead the Brewers to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs on Saturday and even the series.

Fiers walked two in the first, but did not give up a hit until Chris Denorfia singled with one out in the fifth. He also served up Anthony Rizzo's solo homer with one out in the Chicago sixth. The 12 K's were a season high, and helped the Brewers notch their third road win in 11 games.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. 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 struggles with rhythm in loss to Brewers

Arrieta struggles with rhythm in loss to Brewers

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta had a tough time getting into a rhythm early on Saturday, and Ryan Braun made him pay.

The Cubs right-hander gave up a season-high four runs on seven hits over five innings, snapping a stretch of 15 consecutive quality starts at Wrigley Field dating to Sept. 25, 2013. That was all the Brewers needed to post a 6-1 win on Saturday and even the series.

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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.

Fan attempts to catch foul ball with nachos

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Fan attempts to catch foul ball with nachos

Dear MLB fans:

We hope you catch lots and lots of foul balls. We especially hope you catch them in bizarre and interesting ways, so we can write about you and tell you how cool you are. We know you particularly like to catch balls in food. But for every miraculous culinary snag, there's, well, this. 

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Cubs' Soler to adjust 'mental mechanics' at leadoff

Cubs' Soler to adjust 'mental mechanics' at leadoff

CHICAGO -- For the first time this season, Jorge Soler was moved into the Cubs' leadoff spot. It's part of manager Joe Maddon's effort to get the rookie outfielder to adjust the mental part of his game and try to get back on track.

Soler, who has primarily hit second or third, was batting .171 (6-for-35) in his last nine games with 19 strikeouts in that stretch.

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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.

First Majors homer shows Russell he belongs

Cubs No. 2 prospect provides only offense in victory over Brewers

First Majors homer shows Russell he belongs

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave Addison Russell Wednesday off so the 21-year-old infielder could catch his breath, sit back and watch the game. The message Maddon was trying to convey was that Russell belongs here. On Friday, Russell proved it.

Russell hit his first Major League home run, connecting in his eighth game, to help the Cubs beat the Brewers, 1-0. The blast, which came off a 3-2 pitch from Wily Peralta leading off the third, landed in the left-field bleachers, still under construction, and was retrieved by a construction worker.

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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's first Cubs win a 'big day'

After uneven start to season, lefty tosses seven scoreless against Crew

Lester's first Cubs win a 'big day'

CHICAGO -- David Ross could tell that Jon Lester had found his groove again on Friday. The left-hander's pitches were crisper, there was a little more velocity on his fastball and his curve was effective.

"I thought he was back to being the Jon that I know and the guy I'm used to, so that's good for the Cubs," said Ross, who was behind the plate for Lester's first win in a Cubs uniform, a 1-0 decision Friday over the Brewers.

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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.

Russell's first homer enough for Lester's first win

Russell's first homer enough for Lester's first win

CHICAGO -- If you thought Addison Russell would homer before Kris Bryant, you were right.

Russell, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, connected on his first big league homer in the third inning Friday afternoon to give Jon Lester all the support he needed in a 1-0 victory over the Brewers.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Never a reason to worry about Lester

Cubs lefty dealt with some bad luck before scoreless start vs. Brewers

Never a reason to worry about Lester

CHICAGO -- Sure, the ERA looks a little bloated, to find a kindly way to ask, "What the heck is wrong with this guy?''

We recognize that everyone likes to have something silly to freak out about. But come on, Cub fans, were you really worried about Jon Lester?

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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.

Manfred talks pace of play, ASG at Wrigley

Commissioner says he appreciates feedback from players about new rules

Manfred talks pace of play, ASG at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday he's encouraged by the feedback regarding changes made to improve the pace of play, and he has encouraged players to offer suggestions.

Manfred, who was at Wrigley Field to meet with the Cubs and the Brewers, said they've received input from players that have resulted in a few changes. For example, players who violate the pace of play rules are not fined if their game takes two hours, 45 minutes or less.

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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.

Addison Russell goes deep for first time in career

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Addison Russell goes deep for first time in career

Being a Cubs fan for the last few years has been something of a waiting game. While GM Theo Epstein was off collecting an armada of young talent and generally being a wizard, the actual team on the field kept losing games, and so the North Side was forced to bide their time salivating over what the future might hold. (Hint: so, so many home runs.)

Slowly but surely, though, all that promise has begun translating to real, actual MLB things, and it is glorious. Today's milestone: Addison Russell, shortstop of the future and uber-prospect extraordinaire, launched his first Major League home run this afternoon, depositing what will surely be the first of many baseballs into the Wrigley bleachers and lifting Chicago to a 1-0 win over the Brewers:

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Inbox: Are the Cubs down on Castillo?

Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat answers fans' queries on the North Siders

Inbox: Are the Cubs down on Castillo?

Why have the Cubs seemingly given up on Welington Castillo? He's a great catcher who can throw and hit. I've heard that he doesn't frame pitches well enough. That's irrelevant considering they signed a 40-year-old catcher who can't throw or hit and his sole purpose was to catch Jon Lester, who is struggling.
-- Trevor K., Omaha, Neb.

If the Cubs had given up on Castillo, he wouldn't be on the roster. And if David Ross wasn't with the Cubs, Castillo might be catching twice a week rather than once. Miguel Montero has had the biggest impact among the three catchers -- I haven't heard pitchers gush about a catcher in a long time the way they talk about Miggy.

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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.

Win streak ends with off night for bats, Hendricks

Win streak ends with off night for bats, Hendricks

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed one unearned run in six innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a much-needed two-run triple to lead the Pirates to an 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Pittsburgh held a one-run edge before tacking on four runs in the sixth, all coming with two outs. Jordy Mercer knocked an RBI single before McCutchen drilled a triple to center field, a hit that might have left the yard if not for the winds blowing in from the north that made the game-time temperature of 39 degrees feel like 32.

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