7/6/2014 3:36 P.M. ET
Hammel trade could change Baker's role
By Daniel Popper and Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Jason Hammel made 17 starts for the Cubs this season before he was traded to the Athletics on Saturday along with Jeff Samardzija. John Baker started at catcher for 16 of those 17 starts.
Baker has started 30 games this season, a large number of which came during Welington Castillo's stint on the 15-day disabled list because of a left oblique strain. But with Hammel now in Oakland and Castillo continuing to get healthier since his return on June 22, Baker could see his role change.
Still, manager Rick Renteria said he wants to see both Baker and Castillo behind the plate moving forward.
"It's where we believe that the combination of both [Castillo] and [Baker] fit," Renteria said. "We obviously want both of them to be able to receive. We want [Castillo] to be in there. And with [Castillo] coming off of that DL stint, he's been playing pretty consistently. So we're trying to get him into shape. He's another guy who likes playing every single day, just as all those guys do. So we'll just work it through and see how it continues to develop."
Baker was back in the starting lineup on Sunday for the second time in the past three games to give Castillo the day off following the Cubs' 13-0 loss to the Nationals on Saturday.
Cubs to look within system to fill rotation
WASHINGTON -- The Cubs' starting rotation remains in flux following the trade of right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics on Saturday.
Manager Rick Renteria has the pitching schedule set through the first three games of a five-game set at the Reds. Edwin Jackson will start the series opener on Monday, Travis Wood will pitch the first game of the doubleheader on Tuesday and Triple-A Iowa left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada will start the nightcap.
Renteria said the starting pitchers for Wednesday and Thursday will likely be determined on Monday or Tuesday.
Along with Wada, Iowa right-hander Dallas Beeler could also see action at the big league level in the near future. Beeler surrendered one unearned run and four hits over six innings in his lone start for the Cubs on June 28 against the Nationals.
"There's nothing that says they can't come in here and perform and help us win ballgames," Renteria said. "We're really hopeful that the guys that we have within the system will be able to come in and hopefully find a sense of comfort within that clubhouse and when they go out to the hill. Obviously, there's some nervousness that comes with the new area, the new arena. But usually those guys are able to adjust and perform."
Beeler is 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA in 11 starts for Iowa this season, while Wada has gone 9-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 17 appearances, 16 starts. Renteria said the Cubs' current situation provides an opportunity for both pitchers to experience the Major Leagues outside of Spring Training.
"It's a neat feeling actually for those guys because you're in the middle of a season," Renteria said. "You're in the middle of the grind. And it's a time when you're able to not just think about making a club, but you're actually trying to go out there and compete and help your club win a ballgame. So it's a little different atmosphere."
Bryant, Paniagua win June Minor League honors
WASHINGTON -- The Cubs named Triple-A Iowa third baseman Kris Bryant and Class A Kane County right-hander Juan Paniagua as the organization's Minor League player and pitcher of the month for June, respectively.
Bryant, 22, batted .354 (34-for-96) with 24 runs, eight doubles, 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 26 games combined between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. He posted a .781 slugging percentage. The second player taken overall in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Bryant twice homered in three straight games, June 7-9 with Tennessee and June 22-24 with Iowa.
His 11 home runs in June led all of Minor League baseball, his 19 extra-base hits were tied for second and his 27 RBIs tied for third.
Paniagua, 24, posted a 3-0 record and a 0.89 ERA (two earned runs over 20 1/3 innings) in four games (three starts) for Kane County in June. He gave up four runs, walked five and struck out 26. Paniagua gave up one home run and limited opponents to a .194 batting average. He recorded consecutive starts of six scoreless innings, June 7 vs. Cedar Rapids and June 12 at Peoria.
This season, Paniagua is 5-3 with one save and a 2.97 ERA (23 earned runs over 69 2/3 innings) in 15 games (12 starts) for Kane County.
Bryant is ranked by MLB.com as the Cubs' No. 2 prospect.
• The Cubs recalled right-hander Blake Parker from Iowa on Sunday to fill out their 25-man roster. Parker has posted a 1.44 ERA with 18 saves in 19 chances this season.
• Renteria said Carlos Villanueva, who started Saturday's 13-0 loss to the Nationals and lasted only two-plus innings, will probably return to the bullpen. Villanueva has been both a reliever and a starter for the team this season.
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. He also can be found on Twitter @danielrpopper. 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.