09/08/12 7:56 PM ET
Berken excited about opportunity with Cubs
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The right-handed pitcher was claimed off waivers on Friday, and now finds himself in Chicago's rotation for the final weeks of the season, beginning next weekend as he fills in for Jeff Samardzija, who is being shut down because he's reached his innings limit. Berken, 28, will make his Cubs debut next Saturday at Wrigley Field when they host the Pirates.
"It's a pretty awesome opportunity," Berken said Saturday. "I'm pretty excited. I had a pretty good year in Triple-A this year, and the work paid off in the end. I'm from the Midwest and Green Bay, and I grew up watching Cubs games."
That's right, Cubs fans. He's a Packers season-ticket holder.
"I'm pretty diehard," he said.
He's focused for now on showing the Cubs what he can do. In 26 starts at Triple-A Norfolk, Berken went 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA, walking 39 and striking out 98 over 144 innings. He finished with a 3.00 ERA in six August games.
On Saturday, he was introducing himself to Alfonso Soriano and Darwin Barney.
"I think the change of scenery and being up here gives you a little bit extra for the last month," Berken said. "I anticipate throwing well. I'm feeling good."
Sveum bats pitcher eighth against Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Tony Campana was happy to see his name in the Cubs' starting lineup on Saturday, even if he was batting ninth.
"I've batted ninth before," Campana said. "I've never hit behind a pitcher. But I was in [the lineup]. I got a little excited."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum inserted Campana behind Jeff Samardzija in the order in the pitcher's last game of the season to essentially give the team back-to-back leadoff batters in Campana and David DeJesus, who hit first.
"It's the right scenario -- a pitcher who can have quality at-bats in front of him and create something up there at the top of the order with Campana before DeJesus," Sveum said.
Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa often did this as well, but this is the first time Sveum has done so this season. Sveum admitted he considered doing so before when Campana was playing more regularly in May and June.
Campana was subbing for Brett Jackson, who is sidelined indefinitely after crashing into the outfield wall Friday night and suffering a bruised right knee.
"The Cardinals used to do it a little bit -- it's another leadoff guy," Campana said about having the pitcher bat eighth. "It lets me bunt a little without thinking about the pitcher hitting behind me. It makes sense, I think."
"You have to have the right personnel to do it," Sveum said.
Samardzija will be shut down after Saturday's game because he has reached his innings limit but won't be done for the season. Sveum said he may use the pitcher as a pinch-runner in the final games.
Campana was just happy for some at-bats.
"I'm in the lineup," he said. "I'm fine with it."
Cubs dismiss six from Minor League staff
PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs have dismissed six members of the Minor League coaching staff, including Dave Bialas, who has been with the organization for 18 years, most recently as Triple-A Iowa's manager.
Bialas was the Cubs' Minor League field coordinator for 10 seasons before returning to managing this past season for the first time since 2001.
Also gone are Class A Daytona pitching coach Marty Mason, Class A Peoria manager Casey Kopitzke and hitting coach Barbaro Garbey, and Mesa Rookie League pitching coach Frank Castillo and hitting coach Jason Dubois. Kopitzke is headed to Marquette University to enroll in its sports law program. Castillo and Dubois both played for the Cubs.
Garbey was in his third season with the Chiefs and seventh in the Cubs organization. Kopitzke was in his fourth season as a Minor League manager in the Cubs' system.
No timetable for Jackson's return
PITTSBURGH -- Brett Jackson was walking gingerly on Saturday, one day after his head-first collision with the outfield wall at PNC Park. Somehow, the Cubs' rookie outfielder suffered only a bruised knee and some scratches. There's no timetable for Jackson's return.
"It's very day to day-ish right now," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "He's obviously pretty sore and pretty bruised up."
Jackson said that's his style -- to play without fear as he roams center field.
"That's the kind of player you want, but there does come the risk factor of injury when you do that," Sveum said. "That's why, with the last couple years with Carlos Gomez playing like that in Milwaukee, they're bound to get hurt. The speed they create and the running, whether it's diving on the bases when they're running, and the fearlessness they have of walls, sometimes it's just a matter of time before something happens.
"You don't take that away from anybody -- it's a gift and a good thing," Sveum said. "If he doesn't catch that ball last night, it's a whole 'nother ballgame."
Jackson was injured as he grabbed Andrew McCutchen's fly ball to end the sixth and strand two batters. The Cubs had a 7-0 lead at the time, and won, 12-2.
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.