Sunday marked the first day of baseball’s annual roster expansion, where teams can increase the number of guys on their major league roster to 40 players. With the minor league playoffs yet to get under way, it isn’t that common to see a minimal amount of call ups at the beginning of the month. Though few moves were made, the Chicago Cubs did see some changes to their big league roster.
Outfielder Ryan Sweeney and third baseman Luis Valbuena were both activated from the disabled list, and they recalled RHP Alberto Cabrera from Triple-A Iowa. They also designated RHP Eduardo Sanchez for assignment to make room for Sweeney on the 40-man roster.
Before going on the disabled list, Ryan Sweeney had a batting average of .295 in 44 games. He suffered a left rib fracture in Seattle when he crashed into the outfield wall. Sweeney returned to the starting lineup Sunday, going 1-3 with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning.
Luis Valbuena also returned to action on Sunday in a pinch-hit appearance with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth. He ended up drawing a walk, which scored fellow return man Ryan Sweeney. Before going on the disabled list with a right oblique strain, Valbuena was a key contributor to the team’s offensive production from the third base position (a trend that has continued with Donnie Murphy’s hot bat). Though his batting average was at a lackluster .225, he did have 9 home runs and 31 RBI’s.
Alberto Cabrera is a 24 year old right hander who was signed by the Cubs in 2005 as an amateur free agent. He made his big league debut on August 1st last year, striking out two batters in a perfect frame. Though he came up through the minor leagues as a starting pitcher, all of his big league experience has come out of the bullpen. Cabrera has been a tale of two different people this year. In 18 starts with Double-A Tennessee he compiled a 9-3 record with an ERA of 3.20, compared to a 1-3 record with a 7.08 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. Cabrera is currently listed as the number 20 prospect in the Cubs organization, according to MLB.com.