6/25/2014 7:14 P.M. ET
Manny to join Triple-A Iowa on Thursday
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- It's time to see what Manny Ramirez can do as a player and a coach.
Ramirez will join Triple-A Iowa on Thursday when the team opens a doubleheader against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. The Cubs signed Ramirez, 42, to a Minor League contract to be a player/coach, and he's been working out at the Cubs' complex in Mesa, Ariz. Ramirez was working with some of the young Minor Leaguers there, coaching them on hitting.
Ramirez has a lifetime .312 batting average, 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 Major League seasons. He last appeared in the big leagues in five games with the Rays in 2011. A 12-time All-Star, Ramirez won the 2002 American League batting title and was named the World Series' Most Valuable Player in 2004 while with the Red Sox.
Last season, Ramirez played 30 games with Triple-A Round Rock and hit .259 with three home runs.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs released outfielder Casper Wells, who hit .197 with two doubles and six runs scored in 26 games with Iowa.
Starlin putting together All-Star resume at short
CHICAGO -- Starlin Castro entered Wednesday ranked second in batting average and hits among all National League shortstops, trailing the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki. The Cubs shortstop has thrived in the No. 4 spot in the lineup and shown power, topping last year's home run total.
"He's a young man who has the ability to put the bat on the ball," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Castro. "The more I see him, he's getting bigger, he's filling out. He's turning into -- I don't want to say a man, because he's a man already -- but you can start to see the size and maturity of his body come together.
"Is it possible he'll hit a lot of home runs over the course of his career? It's possible. A lot of it goes back to him maintaining a consistent approach at the plate."
Castro could be the Cubs' representative at the July 15 All-Star Game, and it would be his third trip if he's picked. The Cubs' other option is Anthony Rizzo, who leads NL first basemen in home runs (17) and on-base percentage (.404).
"From a statistical standpoint, they stand as tall as any of the other guys who will be potentially participating in the All-Star Game," Renteria said.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Righty Beeler to be called up for first game of twin bill
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Dallas Beeler, who has been pitching this season at Triple-A Iowa, will be added to the Cubs' roster Saturday to start the first game of a doubleheader against the Nationals.
Beeler, who turned 25 on June 12, is 5-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 10 starts at Iowa this season, striking out 43 while walking 15 over 60 1/3 innings.
"All the guys showed very well this spring," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday. "I think he's a kid who everybody is looking forward to having an opportunity to show what he can do."
Beeler was a 41st-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. In his last start Monday against Albuquerque, he gave up three runs on four hits and two walks over six innings.
"Having the doubleheader, you have the opportunity to have another pitcher," Renteria said. "We just felt it behooved us to bring someone who has been starting right now. It doesn't hurt us to have Beeler come up and be seen and put forth his efforts for us at this time."
Teams are allowed to add a 26th player for day-night doubleheaders without having to make an additional roster move.
Arrieta enjoys offseason workouts with Bailey
CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta and Reds pitcher Homer Bailey live about one hour from each other near Austin, Texas. The two 28-year-old pitchers have known each other since high school, and train together in the offseason. On Tuesday, Arrieta got the best of the Reds' starter in the Cubs' 7-3 win.
"For past five, six years we've been training partners, and we throw together -- 8 a.m., every morning," Arrieta said. "What impresses me so much about Homer is his work ethic. Bright and early every morning in the offseason, throwing, running, working out, taking care of his body -- he's a true professional.
"He does things the right way and really takes pride in keeping himself healthy and performing at a high level. I look forward to competing against him for a long time to come. It's fun to compete against guys you know well and train with. It's a fun situation to be a part of."
The two are friends off the field, competitors on it.
"Before the game, we kind of tip our caps to each other and acknowledge each other," Arrieta said. "When the game is underway, it's all business at that point."
The two offer each other tips during their workouts.
"We give each other little tidbits of advice," Arrieta said. "When the offseason rolls around, we fight for each other and try to make each other a little better."
Renteria mulling unorthodox bullpen maneuvers
CHICAGO -- In the eighth inning Tuesday, Cubs manager Rick Renteria used four different relievers. Has Renteria ever considered just moving one of his pitchers to the outfield for one batter, then having him pitch again that inning so he doesn't have to use everyone in the bullpen?
"I've thought about it," Renteria said. "I haven't done it yet, but I've talked about it all season."
Actually, Renteria came close to doing just that on Tuesday in the eighth.
"It's a conversation I've had in the past with some of my coaches," Renteria said.
It's not out of the question. Lou Piniella did that in July 2009 in a game with Sean Marshall, moving the left-hander to left field for one batter to bring in a right-hander, then having him return to the mound.
"I've spoken to the pitchers when I'm out there every now and then and say, 'Hey, there might be a time when it could happen,'" Renteria said. "It's not uncommon. Pitchers are good athletes."
• Some of the Cubs players, including Darwin Barney, surprised 77-year-old Bob Gehrke with a new pair of shoes with his name, "Bob," stitched on the tongue. Gehrke is the usher stationed outside the door that leads to the Cubs' clubhouse from the dugout at Wrigley Field. He does more than check ID's.
"I try to encourage them," Gehrke said. "And we joke around a little."
Barney asked Gehrke for his shoe size, and had them made. How nice are they?
"You feel like you're walking on a pillow," Gehrke said.
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.