7/13/2014 4:41 P.M. ET
Lt. Colonel surprised with first pitch upon return
By Carrie Muskat and Daniel Kramer / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- When Lt. Colonel Donald A. Hausser Jr. arrived in Chicago from Germany, where he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy, his first request was to go to a Cubs game. He had no idea his father had arranged for Hausser to throw out a first pitch.
On Sunday, Hausser did just that at Wrigley Field prior to the Cubs' game against the Braves, and he was honored as part of the team's military recognition program. Hausser has spent 19 years in the service, including three as the Army Affairs Chief at the Office of Defense Cooperation in Bonn, Germany, where, as his final assignment, he staged and managed the Berlin Air Show for U.S. allies.
Hausser also served as the Operations Officer of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Khost, Afghanistan, where he planned, coordinated, and oversaw more than 350 missions in one of the most complex and tumultuous provinces in the country.
Many servicemen and women stationed overseas fly Cubs flags or "W" flags to show their support. Unfortunately for Hausser, he couldn't do that for security reasons. On Sunday, he was able to relax and enjoy the moment.
"I've been a Cubs fan my whole life, so for me, this is amazing," said Hausser, who grew up in suburban Palatine, Ill., and went to Cubs games as a kid. "I would have never thought I'd get a chance to do this. It's such a great ballpark."
Throughout the season, the Cubs have honored a military service member or veteran during the fourth inning, and this is the second year in which the team has had someone from the military throw out a first pitch on Sundays.
The Cubs marketing department works closely with the USO and Wounded Warriors to select the guests. Hausser's father apparently contacted the USO.
"[My dad] didn't tell me about any of this," Hausser said. "When I got off the plane [from Germany], all I asked was to come see a game. I was shocked and surprised, and actually, I feel honored."
Back end of rotation pending going into break
CHICAGO -- The Cubs head into the All-Star break still unclear about the short- and long-term composition of their rotation.
Following the July 4 trade that sent ace Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, the Cubs called on three rookies -- Dallas Beeler, Tsuyoshi Wada and Kyle Hendricks -- in consecutive games against the Reds earlier this week.
The Cubs went 1-2 with the rookie trio, who combined to allow eight earned runs, 16 hits, eight walks and post 10 strikeouts over 16 innings.
All three have since been sent back to Triple-A Iowa, which has allowed the Cubs to keep callup Arismendy Alcantara on the roster. He's been an offensive spark and flashed a balanced repertoire hitting at the top of the lineup and playing both second base and center field.
Manager Rick Renteria said before Sunday's game that any roster changes over the All-Star break are "still pending."
"We still have to have conversations. Once we settle in and talk about what it is that we'll do, all you guys will know," he said.
Renteria did announce that the only three starters currently on the big league roster -- Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.64 ERA), Travis Wood (7-7, 4.64 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (5-1, 1.95 ERA) -- will take the mound for next weekend's three-game series at Arizona.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.