Cubs call up Candelario, put Coghlan on DL

No. 7-ranked prospect notches first career hit in MLB debut

July 3rd, 2016

NEW YORK -- The Cubs placed outfielder Chris Coghlan on the disabled list Sunday because of a right rib cage strain and promoted third baseman Jeimer Candelario from Triple-A Iowa.

Candelario didn't get much time to think about the callup because he was in the lineup, making his Major League debut in the series finale against the Mets. He led off the seventh inning against hard-throwing Noah Syndergaard with a single to right field and went 1-for-4 in the Cubs' 14-3 loss.

Candelario, 22, ranked seventh among's list of top Cubs prospects, was batting .333 at Iowa with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 25 games. He was named to the World Team for the All-Star Futures Game.

"He's a very interesting player -- switch-hitter, has pop from both sides, has a really nice approach at the plate," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's a young kid with a great body and big upside, a switch-hitter with pop. All that stuff is very exciting."

Candelario got the call late Saturday night and joked that he had about one hour of sleep. He grew up in New York, and about 20 family members got to Citi Field for the game.

"It was exciting to see them," Candelario said. "I was proud and thank God for this opportunity."

However, having to face Syndergaard was a tough assignment.

"I see this guy throwing that hard, you just have to be able to not try to do too much and put a good swing on it," Candelario said.

Candelario impressed Maddon in Spring Training when he batted .350 in 15 games with three home runs. He began this season at Double-A Tennessee, where he batted .219.

Candelario was a player who was projected to be called up in September, not July 3. The same might be said of rookies Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, who are also on the Cubs roster.

"You thought it'd be spread out a little bit," said Maddon, who is trying to keep the Cubs on top of the National League Central despite injuries to players like Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler and Tommy La Stella. "We've held our own and made some mistakes. We'll learn from all that.

"[The young players] are very talented and it does speak well for the present and the future," Maddon said. "I have a lot of confidence they'll play well. You didn't expect all of them at one time and this early in the year. Normally, this is the kind of group who comes up in the latter part of the year, maybe one at a time, you fit them in. Here comes September and they're here to give guys rest. To be here in May and June, that's kind of unusual."

Coghlan said he'd been battling a sore right side for a couple of days and felt it during a checked swing in his first at-bat on Saturday when he flied out to right. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.

"It's tough to gauge when you don't know how much to push, how much to back off," said Coghlan, who had never experienced this type of injury before. "I was trying to protect it and felt like I could go."

La Stella is rehabbing at Iowa from a right hamstring strain, and the Cubs wanted him to finish that.

"We just felt Tommy's rehab assignment wasn't quite there yet, so you have the 'Candy man,'" Maddon said.

La Stella was scheduled to play Sunday for Iowa.

"It's there, it's sore a little bit postgame," Maddon said of La Stella's hamstring. "You don't want to push him too hard. We want to stay with the game plan that we set up originally."