08/21/11 8:49 PM ET
Cashner set for rehab, could rejoin Cubs soon
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Cashner, who has been on the disabled list since April 6 with a strained right rotator cuff, was to make three to four appearances with the Smokies, then go to Triple-A Iowa. He will likely start the first couple of games, but only pitch one inning each time as he builds up arm strength.
"I've been ready to go for a while now," Cashner said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to playing again and getting healthy."
Cashner, who turns 25 on Sept. 11, won a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training but was expected to pitch only in relief when he rejoins the Cubs.
Interim GM Bush: It's business as usual
CHICAGO -- It's business as usual for the Cubs as they begin their first week without Jim Hendry, who was dismissed as general manager on Friday after 17 seasons with the team.
Randy Bush, 52, who was promoted from assistant GM to interim GM, met with the baseball operations staff in Chicago and conducted a conference call with chairman Tom Ricketts, the scouts and the player development staff.
Bush's message is that he will do everything possible to make the transition smooth to the next general manager. He also wanted to try to address any concerns they may have about their future with the Cubs.
"Tom has spoken about how happy he is and impressed he is with our scouting departments and player development," Bush said Sunday. "He's happy with [player development director Oneri Fleita's] leadership and [scouting director] Tim Wilken, and I expressed to them that [Ricketts] has those feelings about the job they're doing, and that we could see a path where a lot of things in place would stay in place."
Bush is not a candidate for the general manager's job with the Cubs. Ricketts has said he wants to hire someone from outside the organization. That doesn't mean Bush, who has been the Cubs' assistant GM for five seasons, doesn't have aspirations to be a general manager someday.
"I think that's something, if the opportunity presented itself down the line, I would like to explore it," Bush said. "But I certainly understand Mr. Ricketts' decision and the fact that he wanted a fresh start, and I really appreciate the fact that he was open and honest about that when we had our discussion last Wednesday."
What would Bush tell the next Cubs GM?
"I'd tell him I believe we've done a great job recently of acquiring talent," Bush said, "and that Mr. Ricketts has made a commitment both domestically and internationally to pursue the top talent available, and that our player development people are doing a great job of moving those players along at the right pace to get them here so they'll be here for a long time."
If there are any waiver-wire trades to be made, Bush will handle that. One thing he made clear to Ricketts was that things happen quickly in baseball. Some teams in the race may need help because of injuries or performance.
"I don't anticipate anything," Bush said. "I think it's the nature of the business that opportunities come up at different times, and we have to be prepared."
Draftee Mesa primed to start baseball career
CHICAGO -- Dillon Maples, the Cubs' 14th-round selection in this year's First-Year Player Draft, worked out on Sunday with pitching coach Mark Riggins and will begin his pro career on Sept. 9 when he reports to Mesa, Ariz.
A right-hander pitcher who had been considering playing football at North Carolina as a kicker, Maples opted for baseball and a $2.5 million signing bonus. He was 9-1 with two saves and an 0.92 ERA for Pinecrest High School in North Carolina, which went 25-3. Maples had 143 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings.
"It was a pretty tough decision," Maples said Sunday. "I was up there [at North Carolina] for summer school for five weeks and loved it. At the end of the day, I sat down with my family and I felt this was the best decision for me."
He did participate in football at UNC for nearly two weeks.
"I can always go back and play football if this doesn't work out, but hopefully, I don't have to do that," he said.
Maples compared himself to the Brewers' Zack Greinke.
"I throw about the same as he does," Maples said. "He has a pretty good curveball and stuff."
Recently dismissed general manager Jim Hendry handled the negotiations with Maples' father up to the Aug. 15 deadline.
"Him being let go, it made me feel a little less comfortable, I'd say," Maples said.
But now, it's time for baseball. Maples did not get a chance to throw off the mound -- "I wish," he said -- but is looking forward to reporting to Mesa.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.