I’m a little late to the party on this one for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that I can honestly say I forgot Edwin Ríos was still playing for the Cubs. Seriously, I saw an update that he’d been placed on the IL and thought it was just someone making a joke about a former Cub. Ríos hadn’t played since June 3 — hence the move being retro to June 4 — and had only gotten nine plate appearances since being recalled on May 19.
As odd as it is to me that the Cubs played a man down for three games, they’ve essentially been doing that for the last two-plus weeks. Without casting doubt on the veracity of his injury designation, I have to think this was largely a procedural move to get a fresh arm in the bullpen. Michael Rucker was very good in relief, tossing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in Wednesday’s loss.
Two of those strikeouts came against the first two batters he faced, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, not a bad way to open an appearance. Rucker’s third K victim was Luis Rengifo, who was 2-for-4 with a homer in the game.
If we stick with the Ríos move being at least as much about personnel as health, it could signal Nick Madrigal‘s imminent return. Though they have very different profiles and Ríos clearly wasn’t getting many PAs, Madrigal is on fire at Triple-A and needs to come back up to see whether he can keep it up to even a small degree in the bigs.