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Edwards off bereavement list; La Stella on it

Maddon says Cubs may stick with eight-man 'pen
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. returned from the bereavement list Monday, but the Cubs had to place infielder Tommy La Stella on that list following the death of his grandmother. The addition of Edwards gives the Cubs eight relievers, which may be a number they keep, manager Joe Maddon said.

"We're considering it," Maddon said Monday. "Looking at what's been going on recently, it's something we pondered in Spring Training also. It's definitely being discussed."

Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Reliever Carl Edwards Jr. returned from the bereavement list Monday, but the Cubs had to place infielder Tommy La Stella on that list following the death of his grandmother. The addition of Edwards gives the Cubs eight relievers, which may be a number they keep, manager Joe Maddon said.

"We're considering it," Maddon said Monday. "Looking at what's been going on recently, it's something we pondered in Spring Training also. It's definitely being discussed."

Full Game Coverage

The Cubs' bullpen had a rough weekend, blowing saves in three straight games against the Pirates. Chicago's relievers rank ninth in the National League with a 4.19 ERA, and they are tied with the Marlins for the league lead in blown saves (four).

Video: PIT@CHC: Maddon on giving up lead late in the game

"I'm honestly not concerned at all," Maddon said. "Part of it is getting them in comfortable roles and making sure we don't over use anybody. I think it's an industry-wide concern that you'll see fluctuation in bullpen pitchers. I like the way they look right now, we just have to get them out there at the right time."

• The Cubs went 17-5 last April, and were 6-6 this month entering Monday's series opener against the Brewers. If it wasn't the beginning of the year, Maddon doesn't think many people would say anything.

"When you go 6-6 in the middle of the year, nobody notices," Maddon said. "It's a nice road trip a lot of times. A 10-day road trip, you go 5-5, that's a nice road trip.

"I think you'll see more consistent hitting," he said. "I've said it takes about a month to figure out your bullpen. We're still in the process of getting everybody comfortable out there. When the hitting peaks a little more, and we establish getting the bullpen guys comfortable, then it will take off."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

 

Chicago Cubs, Carl Edwards Jr., Tommy La Stella