Facing Fish, Lackey eyes another road win

Facing Fish, Lackey eyes another road win

The Cubs will try to continue their push upward in the National League Central against the hot hand of Jose Urena as they take on the Marlins on Friday night for the second game of a four-game series at Marlins Park.

Urena (5-2, 3.64 ERA) enters having not lost since May 17, going 4-0 over his last six starts. The right-hander owns a 3.18 ERA over his last three, a span during which opponents have hit just .153. Urena tossed five innings of three-run ball in a win vs. the Cubs on June 7.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs hit 3 HRs, crush Marlins behind Arrieta

Cubs hit 3 HRs, crush Marlins behind Arrieta

MIAMI -- In tinkering with a lineup now minus Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, Cubs manager Joe Maddon stuck with Addison Russell in the fourth spot on Thursday night. Russell cleaned up, collecting four hits, including a home run, and the shortstop was a triple shy of the cycle.

Russell, Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras homered, and the Cubs rolled to an 11-1 win over the Marlins in the four-game series opener at Marlins Park.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

MIAMI -- Maybe pushing the reset button is all Kyle Schwarber needs to return to his 2016 World Series form. At least that's the hope for the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon and Schwarber's teammates.

"We think this is best for him right now," Maddon said of the young slugger, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. "We know he's gonna be back, and obviously just look forward to it. I really personally love having him here, too. It's just even when he's struggling, whenever he walks up to the plate, everyone expects something good to happen. So let's just get him right for him and for us."

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell cleaning up; Happ right behind him

Nos. 4-5 hitters thrive again for depleted Cubs, combining for 8 hits, 4 runs, 4 RBIs

Russell cleaning up; Happ right behind him

MIAMI -- Addison Russell needed a triple to notch the Cubs' first cycle in more than 20 years, but he instead squeaked a grounder down the right-field line and settled for an eighth-inning double.

It was that kind of night for Chicago's cleanup hitter, along with five-hole hitter Ian Happ, in the club's 11-1 win over Miami on Thursday at Marlins Park.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Schwarber going to Triple-A, but just for now

Schwarber going to Triple-A, but just for now

CHICAGO -- There's no shame in going to the Minor Leagues when you're 24 and haven't spent one full season in the Majors, even if you're Kyle Schwarber.

The Cubs' demotion of Schwarber reverberated through the baseball world on Thursday, as you'd think it would.

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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.

Heyward lands on DL; Zagunis, Floro recalled

Heyward lands on DL; Zagunis, Floro recalled

MIAMI -- The Cubs were hoping Jason Heyward's left hand would heal more quickly than it has, but ultimately the injury was too severe to avoid a disabled list stint.

The Chicago outfielder was placed on the 10-day DL on Thursday, retroactive to Monday, after he sustained an abrasion by scraping it on the warning track while trying to catch a foul ball at PNC Park on Sunday.

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs sign top Draft pick Little, 13 others

Taken No. 27 overall, left-hander inks deal for $2.2 million

Cubs sign top Draft pick Little, 13 others

CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced Thursday they have signed left-handed pitcher Brendon Little, the 27th pick overall in the Major League Draft. MLB.com's Jim Callis reported that Little signed for $2.2 million.

The Cubs also announced on Thursday they have signed 13 other Draft picks, including right-hander Cory Abbott (second round), right-hander Keegan Thompson (third round), right-hander Erich Uelmen (fourth round), left-hander Ricky Tyler Thomas (seventh round), infielder Austin Filiere (eighth round), and outfielder Chris Carrier (ninth round).

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hatch goes seven strong for Pelicans

Hatch goes seven strong for Pelicans

After a long wait to begin his professional career, Brandon Marsh is showing just what all the hype was about.

The Angels' No. 3 prospect continued his torrid start on Thursday as he connected on his first pro homer and finished a triple shy of the cycle in a 3-for-4 effort for Rookie-level Orem. He tallied four RBIs and scored three runs in the contest, a 13-8 victory over Ogden.

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

Cubs' offense stalls in series finale vs. Padres

Cubs' offense stalls in series finale vs. Padres

CHICAGO -- The Padres lost their starter in the third inning and struggled to hit in the clutch but overcame all of that on Wednesday. Erick Aybar hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning and Luis Torrens drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth to force in the go-ahead run and lift the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With the game tied at 2 in the Padres' eighth, Wil Myers singled off Koji Uehara, and reached third one out later on Cory Spangenberg's single. Aybar was intentionally walked to load the bases. Matt Szczur popped up to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, but Uehara walked Torrens to force home Myers.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs content to keep red-hot Rizzo at leadoff

Cubs content to keep red-hot Rizzo at leadoff

CHICAGO -- How long will Anthony Rizzo lead off for the Cubs? Manager Joe Maddon isn't sure but as long as it works, he's going to stay with it.

"Going into it, I did not have a set number of days," Maddon said Wednesday. "He obviously started well in New York. I've got a very open mind about all of this. I think a lot of it depends on other guys surfacing. I'm just going to leave it alone."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lead-er of the pack: Rizzo HR extends streak

Cubs slugger reaches safely for 7th straight game in 1st AB

Lead-er of the pack: Rizzo HR extends streak

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo is making it look easy. For the seventh straight game, Rizzo reached base in his first at-bat, this time with a leadoff home run in Tuesday night's 4-0 win over the Padres.

"Anthony did it again, jump-starting the offense," manager Joe Maddon said of Rizzo, who now has three leadoff home runs, a double, two singles and a walk since moving to the top of the order one week ago.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs blank Padres as Rizzo's jack sets tone

Cubs blank Padres as Rizzo's jack sets tone

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked his third leadoff home run in the last seven games and rookie Ian Happ hit his ninth homer to back Mike Montgomery and lift the Cubs to a 4-0 victory on Tuesday night over the Padres, who lost for the fourth time in their last five games. With the win and a Brewers loss, the Cubs moved to a half-game back in the National League Central Division.

Rizzo apparently wasn't thrown off following Monday night's controversial collision with Padres catcher Austin Hedges at home plate. Earlier in the day, Rizzo talked to Major League Baseball officials and was told he'd violated Rule 6.01(c), but he wouldn't receive any further discipline from the league in the form of a fine or a suspension.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Is Rizzo greatest leadoff hitter of all-time?

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Is Rizzo greatest leadoff hitter of all-time?

There are some questions that have no answers no matter how much research we do -- like how much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn't live there.

The following isn't one of those questions. We need an answer now.

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Rizzo won't face discipline for slide into Hedges

MLB deems contact was not malicious, but violated rule

Rizzo won't face discipline for slide into Hedges

CHICAGO -- A day after his controversial collision with Padres catcher Austin Hedges, Anthony Rizzo received a call from the Commissioner's Office.

The message: He'd violated Rule 6.01(i) on Monday night's play at the plate during the Cubs' 3-2 victory . But Rizzo wouldn't receive any further discipline from the league in the form of a fine or a suspension.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs eyeing pitching ahead of Trade Deadline

Cubs eyeing pitching ahead of Trade Deadline

CHICAGO -- Now that the Major League Draft is over, teams turn their focus to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the phone traffic with other GMs has picked up since the Draft ended last week.

"The pitching is a priority now," Hoyer said on Tuesday about the Cubs' wish list. "Organizationally, that's where we need to go."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs' trio powers Iowa to win

Cubs' trio powers Iowa to win

The ball was flying out of the yard for Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, as Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis and Victor Caratini all hit home runs to power the Cubs past Omaha, 6-4.

Candelario, the Cubs' No. 4 prospect and No. 84 on the Top 100, was the last of the trio to join the home-run party, though it was his two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning which ultimately proved the difference in the victory. It was the second homer in three games and ninth of the season for Candelario, who's slashed .268/.357/.521 with 33 extra-base hits (21 doubles) and 40 RBIs in 60 games.

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

Cahill, Richard receive WS rings from Cubs

Cahill, Richard receive WS rings from Cubs

CHICAGO -- Upon their return to Wrigley Field this week, Padres pitchers Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill had 14 karats of white gold and 108 diamonds awaiting them.

Each pitcher played a part in the Cubs' 2016 World Series championship run and received their rings in the hours before Tuesday's game. The duo met with Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, where they were presented with their mementos without any fanfare.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baez is an ESPN Body Issue cover athlete

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Baez is an ESPN Body Issue cover athlete

Javier Baez may well be the first Major League Baseball player to build a reputation on an ability to apply a good tag. On Tuesday the world found out that ESPN The Magazine has turned the table by tagging Baez for a cover spot of its 2017 Body Issue armed with little more than his bat.

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Cubs rally past Padres with HR, E in key 7th

Cubs rally past Padres with HR, E in key 7th

CHICAGO -- Willson Contreras belted a tying home run leading off the seventh and Javier Baez scored the go-ahead run on an error by Padres left fielder Jose Pirela to lift the Cubs to a 3-2 victory on Monday night.

There may be some bad feelings between the two teams after a play in the sixth when Anthony Rizzo collided with Padres catcher Austin Hedges at the plate. Rizzo was trying to score from third on a fly ball by Kris Bryant to center but Matt Szczur made a perfect throw home. Hedges had to leave the game with a bruised right thigh. Afterward, Padres manager Andy Green was none too pleased with what he considered "a cheap shot" on his starting catcher.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs prospect went Roy Hobbs w/ HR into lights

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Cubs prospect went Roy Hobbs w/ HR into lights

There may not be a more iconic movie image than when Roy Hobbs smashed a home run ball into the lights and rounded the bases as glittering sparks landed around him at the end of the "The Natural." During the Class A Advanced Carolina League's Home Run Derby on Monday night, Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez replicated the move to the stunned "oohs" and "ahhs" of the crowd. 

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Contreras celebrates with anniversary homer

Cubs catcher goes yard as part of pivotal 7th vs. Padres

Contreras celebrates with anniversary homer

CHICAGO -- Willson Contreras called his shot. Well, sort of.

Some five-and-a-half hours before the Cubs took the field for their 3-2 win over the Padres on Monday night, the Cubs' catcher tweeted out a video of his first career at-bat -- a two-run homer against the Pirates.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant, Heyward on All-Star track in update

Bryant, Heyward on All-Star track in update

CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant maintained his positional lead and Jason Heyward was third among outfielders in the latest National League All-Star fan balloting, released on Monday. The 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard will be played on July 11 in Miami.

Bryant has received 1,603,326 votes, while two-time All-Star Nolan Arenado of the Rockies is a close second with 1,300,612 votes. Bryant was batting .264 with 15 home runs, 28 RBIs and 14 doubles. Arenado had quite the Sunday when he hit for the cycle, finishing with a three-run, walk-off homer.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey, Rizzo lead way to lift Cubs to .500

Lackey, Rizzo lead way to lift Cubs to .500

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs arrived at PNC Park on Sunday morning in need of a better start from John Lackey and a road series victory. They packed up their bags and headed home Sunday afternoon with both in tow and a .500 record. Lackey pitched six strong innings, leading the Cubs to a 7-1 win and their first series win on the road since their last trip to Pittsburgh in late April.

Lackey hasn't kept the ball in the park lately -- a recurring problem for the veteran right-hander -- but he mostly kept the Pirates off the bases. Shortstop Jordy Mercer lined a solo home run to left in the fifth, but it was the only run and just one of two hits Pittsburgh managed against Lackey, who struck out four and walked three.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

At leadoff, Rizzo continues #ASGWorthy tear

First baseman goes 3-for-5 with home run, finishes triple short of cycle vs. Bucs

At leadoff, Rizzo continues #ASGWorthy tear

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs may have found the perfect leadoff man, even if he doesn't seem to fit the mold.

Anthony Rizzo had three hits Sunday, including a two-run homer -- No. 150 of his career -- to help the Cubs beat the Pirates, 7-1. In five games as the leadoff man, Rizzo is 9-for-22 with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lester takes life lessons from dad, grandfather

Cubs lefty's father doesn't watch son pitch because of nerves, except for World Series

Lester takes life lessons from dad, grandfather

CHICAGO -- If the Cubs' Jon Lester is pitching, his father, John, is most likely in the garage. When Lester threw a no-hitter on May 19, 2008, for the Red Sox, his dad was in the bedroom watching a movie and wearing headphones, so he couldn't hear his wife's reactions to the game.

"I could hear her running down the hallway," the senior Lester said. "She burst into the bedroom and says, 'He didn't give up any hits!' I said, 'What are you talking about?' She said, 'He didn't give up any hits!' I said, 'You mean he pitched a no-hitter?'"

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Candelario homers for Iowa

Candelario homers for Iowa

Double-A Binghamton received big contributions from a pair of Mets' prospects as the Rumble Ponies topped Reading 6-2 on Sunday.

David Thompson, the Mets' No. 23 prospect, hit a pair of homers, while Chris Flexen (Mets' No. 24) gave up one run over seven innings and matched his season high with eight strikeouts.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs can't rally for wild Arrieta in Pittsburgh

Cubs can't rally for wild Arrieta in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- A night after the Pirates' bullpen decisions backfired, manager Clint Hurdle seemingly pushed all the right buttons Saturday at PNC Park. Specifically, the one several Bucs players have referred to as the "easy" button: Felipe Rivero. The lights-out left-hander escaped a jam in the eighth and breezed through a perfect ninth, and his five-out save sealed the Bucs' 4-3 win over the Cubs.

Juan Nicasio was unavailable Saturday after giving up a one-run lead in the ninth in the Cubs' 9-5 win on Friday, so Hurdle turned to right-hander Daniel Hudson in the eighth inning. Hudson recorded one out before giving up a double to Ian Happ. Hurdle then summoned Rivero, who began warming up before the eighth inning even began.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.