4/24/2014 7:29 P.M. ET
Cubs recall Rosscup, Ramirez to bolster 'pen
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs added reinforcements to the pitching staff on Thursday, recalling pitchers Zac Rosscup and Neil Ramirez from Triple-A Iowa and optioning Blake Parker to the Minor League team.
The Cubs also placed outfielder Justin Ruggiano on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
The moves mean the Cubs will have 13 pitchers.
"Right now, at least for 15 days with [Ruggiano] down [we'll have 13] and then we'll go from there," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "Right now, we can use the pitching."
Cubs starting pitchers have gone at least seven innings in each of the last three games, but both Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, who are starting Thursday and Friday, respectively, have not been able to go deep in games.
Renteria said they will use Emilio Bonifacio as an extra outfielder to make up for Ruggiano's absence.
Rosscup, 25, joins the Cubs roster for the second time this season. He served as the 26th man in the second game of a doubleheader April 16 at Yankee Stadium, and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. At Iowa, the lefty was 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in five appearances.
Ramirez, 24, was acquired by the Cubs as the player to be named later in the five-player trade that sent Matt Garza to the Rangers last July.
He has a 7.71 ERA (six earned runs over seven innings) in six relief appearances for Iowa. This spring, Ramirez picked up two saves in eight relief outings, and threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
"I was surprised to get the call," Ramirez said. "I was just going about my business down there, trying to get better every day and that's what I'm going to try to do up here."
Renteria keeping options at closer open
CHICAGO -- After Jose Veras blew a save situation on April 11, he was removed as the Cubs closer. The Cubs had their first save opportunity since then on Wednesday, and blew it. So, who does manager Rick Renteria turn to now?
"It depends on who's available today," Renteria said, adding he wanted to talk to pitching coach Chris Bosio first.
Pedro Strop appeared to be in line for the job, and he entered the game on Wednesday with a 5-2 lead in the ninth. But the inning unraveled quickly as Strop walked the leadoff batter, Chris Owings, and Tony Campana reached on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro.
Strop faced four more batters, and ended up with the loss as Arizona rallied for a 7-5 win. The right-hander was pulled so lefty James Russell could face Miguel Montero, who delivered an RBI single.
"Once he got to 31 pitches, that's a lot of pitches, so you have to be mindful of that situation," Renteria said. "We had Russell available for Montero. You can never assume in that role. You're still very mindful of protecting them as much as you can and not letting them get too extended in their pitch count.
"In that situation, if [Strop] has 25 pitches under his belt, he'll face Montero," Renteria said. "But he had 31. I can't assume a two or three pitch at-bat. I've got to prepare for the worst, and I don't want to put him in that situation."
So, who's the Cubs closer?
"Right now, it's organic," Renteria said.
The Cubs added two relievers on Thursday, recalling Neil Ramirez and Zac Rosscup from Triple-A Iowa. Neither was used in save situations on a regular basis at Iowa.
"I'm ready for anything," Ramirez said. "Whatever they want me to do I'll be ready to go."
The Cubs began this season feeling their bullpen was one of their strengths. But with Veras not being used as the closer, the situation is evolving.
"I still feel very confident in the arms we have," Renteria said. "I guess it's finding that nice sync that gets us through the latter part of the ballgame -- closing out a ballgame, the reality is you win and lose ballgames in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings."
• The Cubs' fourth annual Bricks and Ivy Ball, held Wednesday night at the Field Museum, raised $1.4 million to support Cubs Charities. Cubs manager Rick Renteria, his coaching staff, and the players mingled with more than 830 guests, including Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who shared some of his memories of Wrigley Field. The event capped a full day for the Cubs, who celebrated Wrigley's 100th anniversary on Wednesday.
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.