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Epstein keeping options open before Deadline

Floro optioned to Triple-A; Butler to the bullpen; Hendricks on the mend
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

BALTIMORE -- Now that the Cubs got a head start on the other Major League teams by trading for Jose Quintana on Thursday, are they finished making deals? The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31.

"I think right now, we're taking a step back, take a breath, try to understand our roster and payroll dynamic," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "We'll still be active with phone calls this month. Anything we might want to accomplish this winter, it's good to take a look and see if we can get a head start now.

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BALTIMORE -- Now that the Cubs got a head start on the other Major League teams by trading for Jose Quintana on Thursday, are they finished making deals? The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31.

"I think right now, we're taking a step back, take a breath, try to understand our roster and payroll dynamic," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "We'll still be active with phone calls this month. Anything we might want to accomplish this winter, it's good to take a look and see if we can get a head start now.

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"We'll see how we play, too. It's an important two weeks. If we can get hot and play the way we know we're capable of, it puts us in a more aggressive posture. If we don't get hot, we have a little bit longer-term perspective."

The Cubs began the second half 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central Division.

"I like the look in the guys' eyes," Epstein said. "I think everyone is refreshed and ready to put the first half behind us as well as being accountable for it."

Said Jason Heyward: "We have a great opportunity to still be in it. We're still playing meaningful games. Right now, we just have to look in front of us and take it one game at a time."

Worth noting

• What's Cubs manager Joe Maddon's scouting report on Quintana?

"I thought he was an aggressive strike thrower," Maddon said of the left-hander, who will make his Cubs debut on Sunday against the Orioles. "He liked to pitch with his fastball. Eventually he got better with the offspeed stuff as he got in the league a little longer. I saw an assertive pitcher, a guy who went after hitters and who was very aggressive. I always liked that about him.

"He's young and he'll keep getting better," Maddon said. "He's kind of a workhorse, too, and can pick up some innings." More >

• To make room on the roster for Quintana, the Cubs optioned right-handed reliever Dylan Floro to Triple-A Iowa. Floro, 26, gave up seven earned runs over 9 2/3 innings in three outings with the Cubs this season.

Right-hander Eddie Butler, who was 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts, goes to the bullpen now, Maddon said.

Kyle Hendricks, on the disabled list since June 5 with inflammation in his right hand, will make a second rehab start on Monday with Double-A Tennessee. He threw 45 pitches this past Monday with the Minor League team. If all goes well in his second outing, Hendricks could be activated for the Cubs' upcoming homestand against the Cardinals and White Sox.

• Registration is now open for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation's sixth annual 5K Walk-Off for Cancer, to be held Dec. 3 in Parkland, Fla. Last year's event raised more than $500,000 for families battling cancer and cancer research. Funds from the walk will support the Hope 44 programs at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, cancer research. Go to Rizzo44.com to register.

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