The Rundown: Cubs’ Offense Scuffling, Addison Russell is a Shortstop, Schwarber Hits Walk-Off at AAA, CJ Edwards and Schwarber Named to Futures Game

Aside from a two-homer game on Monday by Kris Bryant, the Cubs’ bats have gone ice cold lately.

Since Kyle Schwarber left the team to head to Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs have scored seven runs in four games, including a 4-0 shutout loss to the Dodgers yesterday.

Not exactly what you’d like to see as they head into a big weekend series against the division-leading Cardinals. A Cardinals team that has won three in a row and given up the fewest runs in baseball.

A return of Dexter Fowler would be a nice start for getting back in the right direction offensively. Fowler tweaked his ankle on Monday and hasn’t started since. He pinch-hit yesterday and stayed in the game to play center field, so that could indicate he’ll be starting in St. Louis at some point.

Kris Bryant left Thursday’s game with what was being reported as flu-like symptoms. To not have him back for a game or two would really hurt the lineup, hopefully it’s just a one-day bug.

I feel like the Cubs will come out and play a good series in St. Louis. But for that to happen, the bats will need to wake up.

Addison Russell is a shortstop

With Starlin Castro missing the beginning of Thursday’s game for the birth of his daughter, Addison Russell slotted in at shortstop and was batting fifth.

Before the game, Joe Maddon made some interesting comments about the rookie.

“Everybody knows that he can (play shortstop),” Maddon said to Patrick Mooney. “It’s definitely within his future. … I just know that he’s a shortstop. That’s who he is. If you’re a scout, that’s a hard position to find — a major-league shortstop. He has all the attributes to be one of those, whether it happens here or somewhere else or wherever he’s going to play. I’m just saying, from a scout’s perspective, he’s a shortstop, absolutely.”

Sure, Maddon is simply praising Russell, as he often does with his players. However, I find the comments interesting because Maddon and the Cubs have made a point to say that Starlin Castro is their shortstop.

As the season goes on, and Castro occasionally makes plays such as last Friday when he booted a routine grounder and then allowed a second runner to come around and score while he scolded himself, I feel like a trade for Castro at some point becomes more likely.

I still doubt it happens during this season. And it might not happen at all. But Maddon’s comments sure let us know they’d be comfortable with Russell playing short in case Castro is no longer here.

Schwarber time

Kyle Schwarber recorded his first hit in Triple-A Iowa — a triple, just like his first MLB hit. Schwarber also added a walk-off double, as the I-Cubs won in extras yesterday in game 1 of a double-header.

Mike Olt, playing third base, hit a home run. May we see him up with the big club soon to help infuse some offense into the lineup? I’m hoping so. Definitely rooting for Olt this year.

The rehabbing Neil Ramirez pitched 0.2 innings giving up one hit and striking out one. It had been mentioned that we could see Ramirez return to the Cubs at the end of the week. That would also be a nice weapon to have in the arsenal for the upcoming Cardinals series.

Other notes

* Kyle Schwarber and Carl Edwards Jr. have been named to the All-Star Futures Game, taking place July 12 in Cincinnati. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez played in the game last season, with Baez hitting a two-run homer. Nice to see two of the Cubs’ most exciting prospects making it this year. Edwards could be yet another solid option coming out of the Cubs’ bullpen later this year.

* The Cubs have officially announced the signing of second-round pick Donnie Dewees, as well as 12 other players: OF Darryl Wilson (fourth round), LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (ninth), INF Matt Rose (11th), LHP Kyle Twomey (13th), RHP Kyle Miller (19th), OF Alex Bautista (22nd), INF Sutton Whiting (24th), C Ian Rice (29th), C Tyler Payne (30th), OF Daniel Spingola (31st), RHP M.T. Minacci (33rd) and OF Donnie Cimino (37th).


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