4/16/2014 2:25 P.M. ET
Cubs flip Jackson, Villanueva for Reds series
By Joe Lemire / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Cubs announced a slight reordering of their starting rotation for this weekend's home series with the Reds.
In a week full of off-days -- there was scheduled rest for Monday and Thursday, and Tuesday's rainout further complicated matters with a doubleheader on Wednesday -- the club was concerned that right-hander Edwin Jackson would have too long between starts, so he will now pitch on Saturday before Carlos Villanueva gets the start on Sunday against the Reds.
Jackson, who last pitched on Sunday, will still have one extra day of rest, rather than two.
Jackson opened the season with a strong outing in Pittsburgh on April 2, as he allowed just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. Since then, he has struggled through back-to-back outings in which he's been hit hard: giving up six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates on April 8 and then allowing runs on eight hits in six innings while taking the loss in St. Louis on Sunday. Control has been an issue, as Jackson has walked 11 in his 16 innings.
Villanueva, meanwhile, is more used to irregular rest as the swing man of the pitching staff. He's made two starts and two relief appearances thus far. After allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings over his first three appearances, Villanueva gave up nine runs on 10 hits in a blowout loss to the Cardinals on Saturday.
Wright honored to participate in Jackie's Day
NEW YORK -- Wesley Wright remembers hearing the story of Jackie Robinson's life as a very young boy, especially as one who took to baseball at a young age.
Now, Wright, the left-handed reliever who signed with the Cubs this offseason as a free agent, takes great pride in wearing No. 42 and playing on Jackie Robinson Day.
"I take a lot of inspiration, just in day-to-day life," Wright said. "I think Jackie teaches all of us to be courageous and sometimes take a leap of faith. You're going to be faced with tough situations, and it's all about how you handle them. His sacrifice is the reason why I'm here and the reason why a lot of other people are where they are.
"I think the fact that we take time out and honor him and his legacy is only right, for what he's done for America."
This year's celebration is the first time there is no active player wearing No. 42, after Yankees great Mariano Rivera retired following last season. That may help Wright's Cubs in a doubleheader in the Bronx on Wednesday, even if the game has lost a great ambassador.
"That number is so special now," Wright said. "Seeing [Rivera] grandfathered in and continuing to wear it so long after it was retired is kind of like he has his own section as the history of the No. 42. It's really cool. I've watched his career from afar and really respect what he did here in New York, and his level of consistency and how he carried himself with class. He's definitely a fitting guy to have worn No. 42 for so long."
Cubs to honor Jackie on Monday
Tuesday marked Major League Baseball's official celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, but the Cubs will honor him as well at Wrigley Field on Monday. Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947, and in honor of his achievement, the Cubs are partnering with Ebony Magazine to make available rarely seen photographs of Robinson and other African-American baseball legends from the Johnson Publishing archives. The images will be on display at Wrigley during Monday's game.
Olt congratulates former teammate Springer
NEW YORK -- Cubs third baseman Mike Olt was excited to hear that Astros prospect George Springer, his former college teammate at the University of Connecticut, would be joining him in the Majors Leagues.
Olt was one year ahead of Springer at UConn -- he was selected in the supplemental first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, while Springer was the No. 11 pick in the 2011 Draft -- and the pair rank among the top five in school history in several offensive categories, including home runs.
Olt said he didn't text Springer because he didn't want his pal to feel an obligation to respond on such a busy day, so he instead sent a welcoming tweet, "Big congrats to @gspringer_4 for the callup. Knew from the first scrimmage at Uconn, he was going to be special #legkick #HuskyNation"
"I know what he's going through today," said Olt, who was first called up by the Rangers in 2012. "It's an overwhelming experience. We'll definitely catch up soon.
"I'm sure he had a night game last night and probably didn't get any sleep. There's just a lot on his mind and definitely a lot of nerves going on. He'll be busy the next couple of days, which is awesome."
Joe Lemire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.