On Monday, LHP Mark Watson was traded to the A’s and was slated to report to Triple-A Sacramento. He was 3-1 with one save and a 3.38 ERA in 23 appearances and had been on the DL with a triceps-related injury.
“It was a little surprising to get traded,” Watson said. “You always like to have some stability, but you have to look at it from a baseball perspective. Luck of a lefty I guess.”
The Cubs will receive a player to be named at a future date. Watson is a southpaw who uses a splitfinger as his out-pitch. He compliments the pitch with a sinker and slider.
Pitching Coach Alan Dunn had only worked with Watson for a short time, but was sad to see him leave a steady Iowa bullpen.
“He’s a veteran guy that attacks the hitters and had done a really good job for us,” Dunn said. “He was really tough on left-handers and has a great work ethic. They’re getting a good left-handed guy that should help their ‘pen.”
OF Angel Pagan, on the DL with a strained left hamstring since April, joined Iowa on a rehab stint Monday as RHP Scott Williamson (right lateral epicondylitis) was activated from the DL. Pagan was in the starting lineup again Tuesday and will have Wednesday off before starting again in the series finale Thursday.
“I’m feeling well,” Pagan told Inside The Ivy after his start on Monday. “The hamstring was a little worse than they had thought ... Right now, it feels great. It’s pain free and so far, so good. ... Hopefully, I’ll get back as soon as I can and go back up to Chicago and perform again.”
Pagan was 0-for-3 on Monday with a walk and stolen base. He was 1-for-4 Tuesday with a pair of strikeouts.
The Cubs promoted catcher Geovany Soto to Chicago and optioned RHP David Aardsma and INF Tony Womack to AAA Tuesday. Soto was batting .267 with a home run and 19 RBIs in 62 games.
Before Tuesdays game, LHP Rich Hill told Inside The Ivy that he and teammate Kerry Ligtenberg have been named to the Triple-A All-Star team.
Hill leads the Pacific Coast League in ERA at 1.91 and is 5-1 with 95 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. Ligtenberg has a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings from relief.
“It’s definitely a great honor to be selected,” Hill said prior to Tuesday’s game. “I definitely thought it was a possibility. I probably would have been selected last year had I not been called up (from Double-A) and I thought I had a shot at it a couple of years ago (in Daytona).”
Hill had his best outing of the season on Monday, allowing just one hit in seven shutout innings. He struck out nine, walked two, and now leads the Cub farm system in strikeouts.
“We’ve leaned heavily on Rich and will continue to do so the rest of the season,” Iowa manager Mike Quade said.
Backup catcher Casey Kopitzke was coaching first base on Monday night with hitting coach Von Joshua (who normally coaches first) in the dugout charting the Iowa offense.
Kopitzke is in his third different season with the I-Cubs, and Quade acknowledged that the Green Bay native may have a future with the organization in a coaching capacity.
“Casey is all about helping out and doing anything you ask of him,” Quade said. “Casey will do anything he wants. He knows the game and he understands it. If this is the beginning of [a career in coaching], so be it. We’ve talked to him a lot about helping out. When his playing days are over and he doesn’t have a future as a player, he’ll be fine.”
Kopitzke came off the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game. He has not played since June 14.
Iowa lost, 8-1, to New Orleans Tuesday. Through the first four innings, it looked like another classic pitcher’s duel between two struggling offenses before Zephyr bats exploded for six runs off Cubs starter Ryan O’Malley.
O’Malley (4-4) gave up five hits in the fourth inning, the capper being a towering three-run home run by slugging first baseman Larry Broadway to put New Orleans ahead, 6-0. The left-handed starter was pulled immediately afterward after giving up six runs on eight hits total. He struck out six and walked one.
There was little to write about regarding the Cubs’ offense, which managed only six hits. Mike Fontenot continued to swing a hot bat in front of many of his hometown friends and followers.
Fontenot, who with teammate Ryan Theriot have been interviewed countlessly by area television outlets due to the two's college careers at LSU, has hit safely in seven straight games and has five hits in eight at-bats in the series. Since May began, he is batting .348 with five home runs and nine doubles.
Fontenot drove in the only Iowa run of the night with an RBI single to score Theriot in the sixth inning.
Jose Reyes started behind the plate and got his first Triple-A hit, a fifth inning double with two out. He made two nice throws from behind the plate to gun down a pair of Zephyr runners attempting to steal second.
OF Felix Pie struck out twice in an 0-for-4 night. He was retired in his first at-bat on a diet of strict off-speed pitches by Zephyrs starter Andrew Good. Pie's current .253 average is his lowest clip since Game No. 2 of the season.
LHP Glendon Rusch, on the disabled list since June 17 with lower back spasms, reported to the team in New Orleans Tuesday and will make a rehab start Wednesday.
After Tuesday's game, RHP Andrew Shipman was demoted to Double-A West Tennessee. He had a 3.13 ERA in 29 outings with the team and pitched an inning and a third in relief of O'Malley, allowing two hits.