DENVER -- For right-handed pitcher Esmailin Caridad, the Iowa Cubs game in Wrigley Field Sunday proved to be just the taste of the big leagues he needed to finally earn his first callup.
Caridad flew to Colorado on Monday morning after hearing that the Cubs had selected his contract and added him to the big league roster. He made his Major League debut in the Cubs' 11-5 loss, the finale of a four-game series with the Rockies, relieving the injured Tom Gorzelanny in the second inning.
"I feel good," Caridad said through Cubs special assistant Ivan DeJesus, who translated for him. "I feel like I waited for this opportunity to do my best job."
In an effort to bolster their bullpen for the finale of a four-game series in Denver and to prepare for a critical series with Philadelphia beginning Tuesday at Wrigley Field, the Cubs selected Caridad's contract from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-handed reliever Jeff Stevens back to Iowa.
"He's been throwing the ball well in Triple-A," manager Lou Piniella said of Caridad. "He gives us a guy that can eat up some innings for us if need be. So that's more precautionary. And at the same time, it's rewarding a pitcher for pitching well in Triple-A."
Caridad, 25, has been used exclusively as a starting pitcher with Iowa, going 5-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 23 starts. Over the last four games, he is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA. A native of Haina, Dominican Republic, Caridad was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 and moved up the ranks from Class A to Double-A in 2008, combining for a 13-7 record with a 3.73 ERA in 28 appearances, all but one of which were starts.
Stevens was on his third tour of duty with the Cubs and had a rough outing Sunday. He pitched the sixth inning, giving up five hits and four runs, all earned, walking one, hitting a batter and striking out two and throwing 39 pitches. He saw his ERA rise from 2.84 to 7.36 after the outing.
Caridad was scheduled to start for Iowa on Monday, so he came out of the Cubs' bullpen on full rest. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out four and walking one.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.