Chicago Cubs designate catcher Tucker Barnhart for assignment, offer no rotation plans for next series – Boston Herald


The Chicago Cubs designated catcher Tucker Barnhart for assignment before Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field.

Barnhart, 32, followed Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini as veteran free-agent signees who couldn’t produce enough to rationalize keeping them on the roster for a team in contention for a playoff spot.

After signing a two-year, $6.5 million deal in December, Barnhart posted a .541 OPS in only 109 at-bats and was made expendable by the emergence of rookie Miguel Amaya as primary backup to Yan Gomes.

“He wants to play and has the right to feel that way,” manager David Ross said. “Just feels like there are not going to be a whole lot of at-bats for him down the stretch.”

Miles Mastrobuoni was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take Barnhart’s roster spot.

Ross had no update on the rotation plans for the upcoming three-game series in Detroit, where the Cubs will need a starter Tuesday. Javier Assad took over Marcus Stroman’s spot, but Ross said he would “move some pieces around,” suggesting Assad could go either Monday or Tuesday with possibly of Drew Smyly or Hayden Wesneski going the other day.

Stroman’s rehab plans are up in the air after his mysterious right rib injury. Stroman suffered a fractured cartilage in the rib and claimed to have no idea of how it happened. The Cubs offered no explanation either.

Stroman said Friday that he didn’t think he would be with the team much during his recovery to avoid being a distraction.

“I’ve never been a big proponent of guys being there that aren’t going to contribute directly and can help the squad,” he said.

Some injured players like to be around the team and support them for the sake of camaraderie, but everyone is different.

“I love having Marcus around,” Ross said. “I think everybody loves having him around. I haven’t gotten his plan quite yet. I know he’s going to rest.”

Stroman can’t do anything for now, which obviously would prolong the rehab timeline.

“We’ve got to let it calm down, he’s in some serious pain,” Ross said. “We’ll start to build him up as fast as we can once he feels like he’s symptom-free.”

With six weeks left in the regular season, Ross said the Cubs have to go on as though Stroman won’t return while hoping he can prove otherwise.

“The hope thing and the timeline thing … once guys go on the IL, especially with a serious injury, they’re kind of off the radar until they start throwing bullpens or taking at-bats or swings,” Ross said. “They don’t really get on the radar until they start their rehab assignment, for me.”


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