Cole Hamels, Mike Montgomery and uniform numbers are among the questions in this week's Inbox.Hamels' stats aren't great. Do the Cubs expect him to pitch better once he gets away from the Rangers' home ballpark?
-- Rick V., MiamiHamels was 1-7 with a 6.41 ERA at Globe Life Park, and
Cole Hamels, Mike Montgomery and uniform numbers are among the questions in this week's Inbox.
Hamels' stats aren't great. Do the Cubs expect him to pitch better once he gets away from the Rangers' home ballpark?
-- Rick V., Miami
Hamels was 1-7 with a 6.41 ERA at Globe Life Park, and he said part of his struggles were because he was trying to locate his two-seamer. Epstein said they considered more than the home/road splits when they looked at the lefty, who will make his Cubs debut on Wednesday against the Pirates.
"He loves having the packed ballpark, games that matter," president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "You're really betting on the person. You acquire someone in the middle of a pennant race in a market like Chicago and you have to pay attention to makeup, because the first time they walk onto the mound at Wrigley, they have the hopes of 24 teammates on them and the whole organization and 45,000 people and a huge market. You want someone who feels good about that opportunity and will embrace it and knows they can rise to the challenge. You don't want someone who is comfortable where they were and protecting their career and not sure what they got into. The makeup and experience does matter."
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Said Hamels: "The moment you go to a different league, it's a clean slate."
With Montgomery starting and a need to add depth to the bullpen and needing to take it slow with Yu Darvish, have the Cubs considered keeping Monty as a starter and making Darvish the closer? Brandon Morrow setting up Darvish sounds pretty good to close out games.
-- Thomas A., Fishers, Ind.
Montgomery has done well as a starter -- he's 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 11 outings so far -- but the Cubs are keeping a close eye on his innings. He's totaled 87, and his maximum in a season is 130 2/3 innings, which he did last year. Last season, Montgomery was bouncing back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen. This season, he's been able to stay on a starter's routine since Darvish has been sidelined. After his last outing Saturday, Montgomery said he felt good physically and knew what to do to stay strong.
The problem with your suggestion is that being a closer isn't a role that allows a pitcher to "slow down." They have to be ready every day, and because Darvish is dealing with some soreness in his arm, that's probably not a good role for him.
Has anyone ever worn the number "0" or "00" for the Cubs? According to Baseball-Reference, these numbers have never been issued. Have the Cubs restricted them or is it available and just never been used?
-- Ross S., Des Moines, Iowa
Funny you would ask that. On Sunday, bullpen coach Lester Strode gave No. 35 to Hamels and will switch to "00." Before that, no one had worn "0" or "00." Todd Hundley and So Taguchi did wear No. 99.
This is an odd question, but I notice the Cubs' players spit their chewing gum into their hand and throw it on the field after a win. This seems like an odd thing to do. Does this require the grounds crew to find it and dispose of it? Or does it just remain on the field?
-- Mike W., Columbia, Mo.
I checked with someone on the Wrigley Field grounds crew, and he said they just mow over the gum. In a perfect world, yes, they'd prefer that the players dispose of it in the trash.
What position does Doug Dascenzo hold? I've heard him mentioned as a member of the organization.
-- Dean T., Marcoe, Ill.
Dascenzo -- who was drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round in 1985 and played for them from 1988-92 -- is the roving Minor League outfield instructor. He will join the big league team from time to time to work with some of the players. This is Dascenzo's fourth year in that role.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.