Notes: Gallagher gets the call to Majors
Young right-hander was 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA for Double-A club
MILWAUKEE -- At 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, Sean Gallagher was getting his hair cut. As much as the right-hander liked his long locks, he wanted to look professional when he arrived in the big leagues.
Gallagher was promoted to the Cubs and arrived in time for Wednesday's game at Miller Park, taking the spot in the bullpen of right-hander Angel Guzman, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list. His father gave family and friends a heads-up by posting the news on the Internet.
Guzman underwent an MRI Wednesday in Chicago. He's bothered by a strained right elbow, and the problem is believed to be muscular.
"They don't think it's serious," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He's having a little scan today to make sure."
Gallagher made a good impression on the Cubs in Spring Training, and was 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts at Double-A Tennessee. He will go into the bullpen and be used in middle and long relief. Carlos Marmol will likely be used more in the seventh and eighth innings in relief.
"I think we look at Gallagher as a starter," Piniella said. "He's just gaining experience at the big league level. It's a great way to bring a young man into the big leagues -- let him pitch with not too much pressure, get some experience, see if he can get Major League hitters out. It's a stepping board."
It's serious enough for Gallagher to cut his hair, which he said was longer than Jeff Samardzija's when he reported to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training. Piniella had told Samardzija to trim his locks. Gallagher knew what he had to do, so roommate Gary Cates did the honors.
"I didn't want to look like a bum coming up here," Gallagher said. "It was getting to the point where it wasn't pretty."
Tennessee manager Pat Listach gave the right-hander the news in a roundabout way before the Smokies' game against Birmingham, which went 13 innings.
"Pat called me in his office and played a little joke on me and told me I'd messed up," Gallagher said. "I'm like, 'Oh no, this isn't going to be good.' He said, 'You're actually going to the big leagues. I said, 'Don't joke with me.' He said, 'No, you're going up.'"
Switching from starting to relief shouldn't be hard.
"You go out there and get hitters out," Gallagher said. "Throw strikes. Don't walk people. Get hitters out. That's my job."
Spring Training helped Gallagher's confidence. He could hang out with the big league players, and discovered he could get Major League hitters out. Confidence has never really been an issue for the right-hander.
"He's a confident kid," Piniella said. "I welcomed him to the club, and told him in Spring Training, he threw the ball well. He said, 'Skip, my curveball is working a lot better than it did in Spring. I expect to do well.' That's a really nice way to approach this."
He took what he learned in Spring with him to the Minors.
"I've focused on what we worked on in Spring Training," he said. "Maintaining my delivery, maintaining my mechanics so I don't get out of whack and can repeat it over and over. It's location -- and getting out there every day and trying to get better every day and focus on every pitch. Every pitch has a purpose. That's what I was told by Mike Anderson, my pitching coach last year, and I believe it."
Being the new guy on the team, Gallagher will carry the pink backpack to the bullpen that's loaded with gum and other goodies to keep the relievers happy. He was ecstatic to see he was assigned No. 36. It's his favorite number -- he wears it on a necklace -- but he's never been able to wear it in the Minor leagues.
"It's the number my dad gave me when I was little," Gallagher said. "I started wearing it in T-ball. It stuck with me in junior high, high school. I don't know how Otis [clubhouse manager Tom Hellman] remembered, but he did.
"There was always one guy -- Paul Schappert had my number," Gallagher said. "I told him, 'Hey, you can keep it. One day I'll have it.' I've got my day."
Gallagher, 21, gave up one run on three hits over seven innings and struck out nine in his last start Friday against West Tenn. He was 4-0 in five May starts with a 3.34 ERA.
Back in the saddle: Piniella will be back in the dugout on Thursday for the Cubs' series opener against Atlanta, ending his four-game suspension. Is he getting antsy?
"I'm a fan," said Piniella, who has watched the games from the Miller Park press box. "You get nervous up there rooting."
Alan Trammell, who has been serving as interim manager, will go back to being the bench coach.
"I know where my place is," Trammell said. "Tomorrow, I'll go back to the role I was hired to do."
Downward spiral: Ted Lilly has given up six home runs in his last two starts after giving up just four in his 10 previous games.
"His curveball wasn't good at all [Tuesday]," Piniella said about Lilly's start and loss to the Brewers. "It looked like it was rolling and didn't have the usual good snap.
"His location hasn't been as good, and I think he's going to have to pitch a little more to the outside part of the plate," Piniella said. "All the balls that were hit yesterday were in the same zone or location inside. He's in a little bit of a rut now. He'll get out of it."
"What's been common is bad pitches," Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild said of Lilly's latest struggles. "There are some things he knows he has to work on."
Streaky: The Cubs entered Wednesday's game looking for their first series win since May 18-20 when they took two out of three against the White Sox.
"What we need to do basically is stabilize our situation and start playing better consistently, win more baseball games, win more series'," Piniella said. "There's plenty of time to make a move. You don't make a move unless you stabilize yourself first, and that's what we need to do.
"What we need more than anything else is a nice little streak like we had earlier in the year," he said. "We're capable of it."
Extra bases: Henry Blanco did not join the Cubs in Milwaukee so he could continue treatment on the herniated disk in his neck in Chicago. ... The Cubs' Interleague game June 24 at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox will start at 1:05 p.m. CT. ... First pitch for the Cubs' June 30 game against Milwaukee has been changed from a 12:05 p.m. CT start to 2:55 p.m. CT to accommodate FOX TV. ... Piniella remembers when he was called up to the big leagues. He didn't get many at-bats in the first month. In 1969, he was the Royals' Opening Day center fielder. "What a mistake that was," he said. "I belonged in left or right." ... To make room on the 40-man roster for Gallagher, right-hander Roberto Novoa was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He's battled shoulder problems.
Minor matters: J.R. Mathes gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings and struck out six in Iowa's 5-4 win over Tacoma. Eric Patterson hit a ninth-inning solo homer for the game winner. Micah Hoffpauir added his 11th home run. ... Donnie Veal gave up three runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings and struck out four in Tennessee's 7-5, 13-inning loss to Birmingham. Jake Fox had seven at-bats, and hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth. ... Tyler Colvin had two hits and scored a run in Daytona's 9-5 loss to Dunedin. Jesus Valdez and Jeff Culpepper also had two hits each. ... Marco Carrillo gave up one run on two hits over five innings in Peoria's 9-1 win over Beloit. Jeremy Papelbon picked up the win in relief, working three scoreless innings.
Good cause: Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot is doing his part to help 2-year-old Sam Seidel of Baton Rouge, La., who was injured in a swimming pool accident on March 24. The boy has been hospitalized, and his parents, Dan and Kahne, hope to move him to Children's Hospital in New Orleans to begin his rehab. To help the family deal with the expenses involved, the Hardt of Champions Baseball Complex, which Theriot is connected to, is hosting a benefit "Grand Slam for Sam" night on June 16 from 3-7 p.m. ET. There will be a silent auction of autographed items, jambalaya, and activities for children.
On deck: Rich Hill and Chuck James will square off again Thursday at Turner Field in the first game of a four-game series between the Cubs and Atlanta Braves. Neither starting pitcher got a decision in their earlier meeting last Saturday at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.