CHICAGO -- The Cubs not only lost a game on Saturday night, but also a key piece of their roster when outfielder Matthew Szczur was designated for assignment to make room for reliever Rob Zastryzny."It's excruciating," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about the roster move after Saturday's 11-6 loss to
CHICAGO -- The Cubs not only lost a game on Saturday night, but also a key piece of their roster when outfielder Matthew Szczur was designated for assignment to make room for reliever Rob Zastryzny.
"It's excruciating," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about the roster move after Saturday's 11-6 loss to the Yankees. "He's everything you want in a teammate. He just is."
The Cubs have been short pitching-wise since Brett Anderson went 1 1/3 innings on Monday against the Phillies. They played a 13-inning game on Thursday, and wanted to be prepared with Anderson starting Saturday. Zastryzny ended up pitching a career-high four innings because Anderson lasted just one-third of an inning due to lower back tightness.
"'Rob Z' has not thrown anywhere near 90 pitches," Maddon said of the lefty, who allowed three runs on three hits and four walks. "He said, 'I felt great, I felt fine.' Give [Zastryzny and Felix Pena] credit for keeping us kind of intact over the next several days, the next week. It's really that important what they did tonight. Hats off to both Pena and 'Rob Z,' because they were outstanding."
Pena was recalled on Friday from Triple-A Iowa, and he pitched a career-high 3 2/3 innings on Saturday, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits.
Zastryzny had one save and a 6.88 ERA in seven relief appearances with Iowa, giving up 13 earned runs over 17 innings. He made his big league debut last season with the Cubs, and was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in eight appearances.
The loss to the Yankees didn't sting as much as losing Szczur.
"[By designating him], we're giving him the opportunity to play somewhere else and get to play -- we like that part of it," Maddon said. "We don't like him not being here."
Szczur wasn't on the Cubs' National League Championship Series or World Series rosters last year but was with the team, and he became part of the story as Anthony Rizzo borrowed one of his bats and broke out of a mini-slump against the Dodgers. Szczur also loaned some of his clothing to shortstop Addison Russell.
"He's always upbeat, he's always ready to play," Maddon said of the right-handed hitter. "He always supports everybody around him. You want him on your team, you want him in your organization, he's that kind of guy."
Szczur was selected by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 Draft out of Villanova and made his big league debut in 2014. Overall, he batted .243 with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 202 games covering four seasons with the Cubs. This year, he batted .211 in 15 games.
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.