MILWAUKEE -- It's tough joining a new team so late in the season, but Alex Hinshaw has a slight edge. He and Cubs pitcher Justin Germano were high school teammates together in Claremont, Calif., and now they're on the same big league staff.
The Cubs claimed Hinshaw off waivers from the Padres on Sunday. He went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 relief appearances for the Padres in his first big league action since 2009. He struck out 36 over 28 innings, and walked 20 before he was designated for assignment on Aug. 14.
On Tuesday, he joined the Cubs in Milwaukee. It's been tough waiting to see what was next.
"Obviously, I was in that gray area, just waiting around and not knowing if I had to pack to be outrighted to go to Triple-A or if I was getting picked up," Hinshaw said. "It was all excitement and stressful at the same time."
He was designated when the Padres were in Atlanta last week and he flew back to San Diego and waited there with his wife, spending some of the time on the beach and trying to relax. This was his first year with the Padres and he did not know current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, who was San Diego's general manager for two seasons prior to joining Chicago's staff.
What's Hinshaw's role now?
"I really have no expectations," Hinshaw said. "Whatever skipper [manager Dale Sveum] has in mind. I'll work with the pitching coaches. Whenever they call my name to get ready, it's my job to get outs regardless of the situation. That's the way I've gone about being a reliever."
Germano has helped Hinshaw with the behind-the-scenes details, like the team's dress code on road trips. Hinshaw lives in Oregon in the offseason and has worked out with Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, so he has another familiar face in the Cubs clubhouse.
Now, he's got about 40 games to show what he can do.
"I'd love to be able to be considered for [next season]," he said. "Chicago is obviously a very historic franchise and even when I played in Wrigley as a visitor, it was always nostalgic for me to touch the ivy and everything. I'm honored to be able to contribute to this organization this year and hopefully many years to come."