Notes: Remlinger let go by Cubs

Notes: Remlinger let go by Cubs

NEW YORK -- Mike Remlinger knew the Chicago Cubs had to make a difficult roster move on Friday. It didn't take long for him to find out he was on the list.

The Cubs activated shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and right-handed pitchers Kerry Wood and Scott Williamson from the disabled list, placed Jerry Hairston on the 15-day DL, optioned Sergio Mitre to Triple-A Iowa and designated Remlinger for assignment.

"Rem was a man about it," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We'll see if he can catch on with somebody else. Rem's a pro."

Remlinger, 39, was 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in 35 games with the Cubs this year, and he was prepared for the news.

"I knew in the back of my mind there was one decision that wasn't going to be a simple one," Remlinger said. "You've been around the game long enough, you know, you get feelings about what's going on and what direction you and the team are going.

"I'd like to have stayed here because I think I helped this team, and I think I could help them in the playoffs and do what we all came here to do this spring, which was win a title," Remlinger said. "That said, I think I can do the same things wherever I end up. That gives me a little bit of a say, so if there's more than one team interested."

The Cubs have 10 days to either trade Remlinger, send him to the Minor Leagues or release him. The Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and New York Mets could be in the market for a veteran lefty.

"It was hard," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said about telling Remlinger the news. "Rem's been a real quality guy. He obviously hasn't performed as well as he did in Atlanta, but it was never for a total lack of effort. He's obviously been an important guy for our younger pitchers. It wasn't easy, and I wish there could've been a way around it. But I wish he could've done better."

Remlinger, who started his Major League career in 1991, said he's not finished pitching yet.

"The biggest thing is I want to play baseball, and I know I have a lot of good things left in me," he said. "I'd like to find everybody who's interested and pick the best fit for me and for them, so we have a chance to move forward."

In Remlinger's first season with the Cubs, in 2003, he was 6-5 with a 3.65 ERA, and last year was 1-2 with a 3.44 ERA. He was bothered by injuries both seasons.

"I've felt pretty healthy this year," he said. "I've pitched well in streaks, and instead of giving up a couple hits or a run here and there, it's been a couple runs and more than a couple hits. I understand the direction, especially with the way things have gone this year. You see a lot more guys designated than I've ever seen. As an older player, that's always an outside possibility."

Maybe the problem was not having a defined role in the 'pen.

"I think I could've been a lot better dealing with various situations I was handed," Remlinger said. "I do think it helps when you know what inning you're going to pitch and what situation you're going to pitch."

Roster moves, part II: Baker admitted he's not exactly sure what to expect with new relievers Wood and Williamson. This will be Wood's first experience as a reliever in the Major Leagues. Williamson is a veteran reliever, but the Cubs aren't sure how he'll respond after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"You really don't know what to expect," Baker said. "We just have to expect the best."

Don't expect Wood to take over as the Cubs closer. Baker made it clear that is Ryan Dempster's job. Instead, Wood will be used anywhere from the fifth to the eighth, and in a perfect world will start an inning rather than come in in the middle.

"I'm hoping [having the trio come back] will give us a jolt," Hendry said. "It's time we had some consistency in a positive way. We need to have a pretty good stretch and we've got to start doing better than .500 at home."

Hendry met with Baker and pitching coach Larry Rothschild Friday morning to discuss the moves, and said both were still bothered by losing the series in Philadelphia.

"I reminded them that two years ago [Friday], we were two games over, right about the same time and got on a heck of a run," Hendry said. "It's time. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got not only more than a couple teams ahead of us, but quality teams ahead of us playing better baseball than we have up to now."

Starting the day on Aug. 5, 2003, the Cubs were 56-54, and won eight of their next 11 games before finishing as the Central Division champs with an 88-74 record.

Center of attention: With Hairston going on the disabled list, the Cubs decided to stay in-house and will use either Jose Macias or Jeromy Burnitz in center field. Corey Patterson was not considered as an option because he had yet to make enough progress at Triple-A Iowa. Patterson was sent down after the July 7 game.

"I don't want [Patterson] not coming up to be seen as a negative," Hendry said. "What he was doing wasn't working. When you send somebody out who has played for a few years on a regular basis and has his talent, we and Corey felt he needed to make some changes. There've been some changes made.

"He's going through that process now where he's working hard on the changes," Hendry said. "We think he's making progress. I think it would be unfair to him. I'm sure he'd love to be here tonight but I think it would be unfair to bring him back when he's made strides, but it hasn't consistently kicked in yet."

   Jerry Hairston  /   2B
Born: 05/29/76
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Patterson was batting .234 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 20 games with Iowa.

"If he was playing better, he'd be here now," Baker said. "We've got to just mix and match."

Hairston has a torn ligament in his left elbow, and he will rest a few days before seeing if he can swing. It hurts when he extends his arm.

"I want to make sure it calms down," Hairston said. "If it was my throwing arm, I'd be having surgery, but it's not.

"They said because it's not my throwing arm, it could repair itself," he said. "When you throw, you put so much stress on it. They gave me an option but I'm trying to avoid surgery."

Free pass: Derrek Lee has been intentionally walked twice in a game on three occasions this year. He's only the seventh Cub to have three or more multiple intentional-walk games since 1960. Ernie Banks (1960) and Sammy Sosa (2001) had four each, and Billy Williams (1963), Don Kessinger (1972), Bobby Murcer (1978), Andre Dawson (1990) each had three.

Only two Cubs have received three or more intentional walks in a game since 1960. Dawson was walked five times by the Reds on May 22, 1990, and Leon Durham was walked three times by the Cardinals on Oct. 3, 1982.

Intentional walk stats have been recorded since 1955. The most by a Cub in one season is 37 by Sosa in 2001.

Sing along: Want to tune up for next week's homestand? Here's who will be singing the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field. On Monday, J.J. Walker will lead the crowd as part of the '70s night celebration. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who is a big Cubs fan, will sing on Tuesday, followed by recent Hall of Fame inductee Wade Boggs on Wednesday. Former Cub Bobby Dernier will sing next Thursday followed by former Chicago Bear Dan Hampton on Aug. 12, his teammate Gary Fencik on Aug. 13 and former Cub Jody Davis on Aug. 14.

Minor matters: Calvin Murray hit a walk-off homer to lift Triple-A Iowa to a 4-3 win over Tucson on Thursday. Todd Wellemeyer gave up one run on seven hits over five innings while striking out four. Patterson was 2-for-4 with two singles and one RBI, while Jermaine Van Buren picked up his second win of the season. ... Jae-Kuk Ryu gave up four runs on six hits over eight innings and struck out six in West Tenn's 4-3 loss to Huntsville. Adam Greenberg was 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI. ... Daytona extended its winning streak to four games with a 2-0 win over Clearwater. Juan Mateo threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and striking out two. Paul O'Toole was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. ... Sean Gallagher gave up one earned run on four hits over six innings in Peoria's 7-4 win over Kane County. Gallagher is 12-4 with a 2.31 ERA. Eric Patterson was 2-for-5 with a triple and one RBI. ... John Defendis went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Boise's 7-5 loss to Salem-Keizer.

On deck: Greg Maddux will try to get back on track on Saturday. The veteran right-hander has one win in his last seven starts. He'll start Game 2 of this three-game series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, where he's 13-9 with a 3.73 ERA lifetime.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.