Cubs call up right-handed reliever Atkins

Cubs call up right-handed reliever Atkins

PHOENIX -- For the second time since arriving in Arizona, the Cubs swapped one young right-handed reliever for another on Wednesday to freshen their bullpen.

Prior to its series finale with the D-backs, Chicago placed Brian Schlitter (impingement in throwing shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Mitch Atkins from Triple-A Iowa to assume his roster spot.

Manager Lou Piniella said Schlitter injured the shoulder in his last outing -- he allowed five runs on Friday against the Reds -- and the cortisone shot he received on Saturday improved his ailment, but not to the degree that he became available out of the bullpen.

Schlitter, who made three appearances since being called up on June 26, will accompany the club to Los Angeles for a four-game game set that closes out of the first half. He will likely be activated to the roster shortly after the All-Star break.

Atkins, who was available to pitch in long relief Wednesday, wasn't called upon in his June 12-15 stint at the big league level. The 24-year-old went 5-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 games (10 starts) for Iowa and now joins a 'pen that already includes fellow rookies Andrew Cashner, James Russell and Justin Berg, who was recalled on Monday.

"We need some innings out of our bullpen," Piniella said. "The young kids are going to have to perform."

Especially on Wednesday, Piniella added, because the skipper hopes to avoid using closer Carlos Marmol in the eighth inning after a three-out save on Monday and a five-out save on Tuesday. Piniella also does not want to employ lefty Sean Marshall for more than two batters as he has pitched three innings in the series already.