High-ceiling right-hander called up to Cubs 'pen

Maples looks to stick around after showing flashes of promise in '17-18

April 27th, 2019

PHOENIX -- had multiple short stints in the Cubs’ bullpen over the last two seasons. The right-hander hopes his first of 2019 will be much longer.

Maples was recalled from Triple-A Iowa prior to Friday’s series opener against the D-backs at Chase Field. The move came after left-hander was optioned to Iowa following Thursday’s game.

Maples replaced Kyle Hendricks to start the sixth inning on Friday. He walked the first two batters he faced before striking out the side and stranding the runners.

While Maples didn’t have the best results in his prior big league experience -- a 10.97 ERA and 2.25 WHIP over 10 2/3 innings -- his stuff made an impression on Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“We’re just waiting for it to all come together with him,” Maddon said. “He’s got much better command of his fastball. He throws very hard. He’s a 95 [mph]-plus guy with a really, really nasty slider. And if he throws a fastball for a strike, that slider becomes devastating.”

Maples had a strong showing during Spring Training, posting a 2.16 ERA with 16 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings. He had a 3.38 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in eight innings at Triple-A this season.

Although Maples sees this promotion as a chance to prove he should stay in the Majors, he doesn’t plan on changing his approach.

“Day by day. I’ve been that way since 2017,” Maples said. “That’s my philosophy, and I’m going to stick with that. It’s done me pretty well. I’ve just got to refine a few things.”

Rosario posted a 3.66 ERA in 44 appearances for Chicago last season, but he had a 6.43 ERA in his first eight games this year. With Rosario in Triple-A, Kyle Ryan is the only left-hander in the Cubs' bullpen.

Back in the desert

Former D-backs infielder is back at Chase Field for the first time since signing with the Cubs as a free agent in December. The veteran played for Arizona from 2017-18, posting two of the best seasons of his 10-year career.

Descalso set career highs in home runs (13), RBIs (57), on-base percentage (.353) and slugging percentage (.436) in 2018. Entering Friday, he had 14 homers and 63 RBIs at Chase Field, his most at any ballpark.

This isn’t the first time Descalso is playing his former Arizona teammates this season. Last weekend in Chicago, he went 0-for-8 with a walk and a run scored during the Cubs’ three-game series against the D-backs.

Almost time to dine

Get ready for a new dining option at Wrigley Field next month. Maddon’s Post, a restaurant co-owned by Maddon and Chicago chef Tony Mantuano, is scheduled to open next to the ballpark on May 14, according to Maddon.

The restaurant will be located at the intersection of Clark St. and Waveland Ave. on the west side of Wrigley Field.

The Cubs host the Brewers for Sunday Night Baseball on the tentative opening date.