Down at Class AAA Iowa, they moved top pitching prospect Andrew Cashner from the rotation to the bullpen. They also moved righty Jay Jackson from the bullpen back to the rotation, where he started the season.
This move could be paving the way for the Cubs to call up right-hander Cashner next week, when they expect to move Carlos Zambrano to the rotation from the bullpen.
Cashner, 23, was the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2008. As a starter at Iowa, he was 3-0 with an 0.95 ERA after a promotion from Class AA Tennessee.
It's no secret the Cubs are in desperate need of right-handed relief, and Cashner's fastball clocks in the mid- to upper-90s. He was a closer in his college days at Texas Christian University.
The Cubs are saying nothing about what the move means other than they want both Cashner and Jackson to be prepared for bullpen duty if the call should come.
"What you see in Cashner, you didn't see last year, is the command of his fastball," farm director Oneri Fleita said. "Why he's had the success that he's had up to now is the command of his fastball, and he's getting the second and third pitch over, the changeup and the slider. Now, you can feel comfortable putting a guy in the bullpen."