09/02/11 2:36 PM ET
Cubs call up LaHair for outfield, bench work
By Sam Zuba / MLB.com
The 28-year-old, in his second season in the Cubs' farm system, was named the 2011 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player after batting .331 with an Iowa franchise-record 38 home runs and 109 RBIs in 129 games.
"What a year," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "It's funny, when I look at the numbers, he's been doing this awhile. He's always put up big numbers in Triple-A, but I think this is a banner year for him."
LaHair spent the first seven years of his career bouncing around the Mariners' Minor League system after being drafted in the 39th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. His first and only trip to the Majors was in 2008, when he batted .250 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 45 games.
"I'm just going to have fun," LaHair said. "I don't want to change too much. I just want to be myself and have fun with the guys. ... I'm just going to try to approach it the same way. I'm gonna try to hit balls hard, and whatever happens, happens."
The Cubs already have a veteran first baseman in Carlos Pena, but Quade said the team plans to play LaHair in the outfield as well as off the bench.
"He's played some outfield. We've asked him to do a little bit of that," Quade said. "So we'll give [Alfonso Soriano] a day sometimes. We'll mix and match."
Quade said LaHair would be the only callup until the Triple-A season ends on Monday.
"Right now, I think we are where we're at," he said. "We talked about some folks, but I think we're going to wait until the season ends in Iowa to make further decisions."
Cashner expected to return for Reds series
CHICAGO -- The Cubs plan to have Andrew Cashner back for part of their series against the Reds next week. Cashner has missed almost the entire season due to a strained right rotator cuff (shoulder) suffered in his first start of the season.
After making a rehab appearance Thursday night with Triple-A Iowa, he will make one more appearance Saturday. If everything goes according to plan, Cashner will rejoin the team and be available out of the bullpen on Tuesday.
Cashner threw one perfect inning Thursday night, with a strikeout.
"He threw extremely well last night, topped out at 99 mph, good to see," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "He wants to pitch in my bullpen today. What's new?
"We're still going very slow with him, but this has been extremely productive. He's healthy, and he's throwing very well."
Voting open for Frick candidates Santo, Hughes
CHICAGO -- Voting opened on Thurday for the Baseball Hall of Fame's 2012 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
Ron Santo and Pat Hughes are among the 75 candidates vying for the award.
This is Hughes' 16th season as WGN Radio's play-by-play announcer. Santo's last season as the team's analyst was 2010. The former Cubs third baseman, who died last December, began his broadcasting career in 1990 and teamed with Hughes for 15 seasons.
The award is given annually to the broadcaster who provides major contributions to baseball. Voting runs through Sept. 30, and fans can cast votes once per day through September.
The Hall of Fame has trimmed the list of fan-eligible candidates to 75, with two representing every current big league team and 15 at-large selections. The selections were based on popularity, longevity and past voting results in the online fan balloting. Eligible candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two.
The top three broadcasters selected by the fans will be placed on a ballot along with seven other candidates named by the Hall of Fame. The winner of the 2012 Ford. C. Frick Award will be announced on Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings.
Marlins radio play-by-play man Dave Van Horne won the award last season.
Sam Zuba is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.