7/18/2014 9:34 P.M. ET
Baez's move to second not a precursor for callup
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Javier Baez made his second straight start at second base Friday for Triple-A Iowa, but Cubs manager Rick Renteria isn't ready to pencil him into the big league lineup just yet. The Cubs already have a logjam in the infield.
Arismendy Alcantara, promoted from Iowa when Darwin Barney went on paternity leave, made his fifth start Friday at second. Alcantara has a hit in every game except for his first, has already registered his first Major League home run and RBIs, and was batting an impressive .391 entering the series opener against the Diamondbacks.
Plus, Emilio Bonifacio is continuing his rehab from a strained oblique, and Renteria said the veteran is "very close" to returning.
When the Cubs make a roster move Tuesday to add starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, someone has to go.
"Fortunately for me, we have three days and the off-day [Monday] before we have to make a decision as to how we'll proceed with the roster," Renteria said Friday. "I think we still have to have conversations. [Alcantara] has been playing very well. It's still day to day."
Baez, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's list of top 20 Cubs prospects, started at shortstop until Thursday. The Cubs have talked since Spring Training about having the infielder move around, especially since they already have shortstop Starlin Castro.
"The move is to allow [Baez] to get over there [at second]," Renteria said. "It's good to see that he's moving around but from my perspective, it's not an anticipatory position for me to think I'm going to see him [on the big league team]."
The hardest part of the transition, Renteria said, will be handling the pivot at second base, but he added that because Baez is so athletic, he should be able to make the switch.
"He's a kid with a lot of pop," Renteria said of Baez, who hit a two-run homer for the World Team in the SiriusXM Futures Game on Sunday. "He's a kid who defensively has a little bit of excitement playing in the field. He's very aware of everything going on defensively. He has a good sense running the bases. There are a lot of qualities that we saw in a short period of time [in Spring Training] that lend themselves to seeing him becoming a very good Major League baseball player."
When will that be? Renteria couldn't say, and he didn't want to imply that Baez's move meant he was close to a promotion, or that it signaled the Cubs' shift to more of a youth movement.
"That'd be a far reach for me to make that statement now," Renteria said.
Hendricks to fill one of two openings in rotation
PHOENIX -- Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs' Minor League pitcher of the year last season, will be slotted into the fourth spot in the rotation, starting Tuesday as the team tries to fill the vacancies created by the July 4 trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Hendricks made his Major League debut July 10 against the Reds, and gave up four runs on five hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out seven and did not get a decision. The right-hander rejoined Triple-A Iowa after the game, but did not pitch again until he threw two innings on Wednesday for the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star game.
"The thought is to allow him to slot into that spot and see how he does," manager Rick Renteria said of Hendricks, who was 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 17 starts at Iowa with 97 strikeouts and 23 walks over 102 2/3 innings.
Renteria wasn't ready to name the Cubs' fifth starter. They have an off-day Monday before opening a series against the Padres on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
"We're close," Renteria said. "I don't want to say."
The options include right-hander Dallas Beeler and left-handers Tsuyoshi Wada and Chris Rusin. All three have pitched this year, with Rusin appearing in two games in relief.
Cubs wary of pushing Arrieta too hard
PHOENIX -- The Cubs decided to take a cautious approach with Jake Arrieta this spring and will continue that plan of attack to open the second half.
Arrieta (5-1, 1.95 ERA) will start on Sunday in the series finale against the Diamondbacks, rather than open the second half Friday. The right-hander had tightness in his shoulder this spring, and did not make his first start until May 3.
"In talking to [pitching coach Chris Bosio], he thought it was good to set Jake back a little bit," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "We know he's come off the injury early in the season. he's been throwing very, very well. He said, 'You know, let's push him back and give him a little rest.' I thought it was a good idea."
Arrieta was the only Cubs starter who did not reach 100 innings in the first half.
Cubs ink 35th-rounder to wrap up Draft signings
PHOENIX -- The Cubs have signed 35th-round selection Jordan Minch, a left-handed pitcher from Purdue, and completed the signing period by agreeing to terms with 27 of their 40 picks in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Minch had reported to the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod League, and had until Friday at 4 p.m. CT to sign with the Cubs.
Minch was a draft-eligible sophomore this summer. He made 28 starts in his first two seasons with Purdue, and set freshman records for strikeouts (63), innings pitched (81 1/3) and games started in 2013. In his final season with the Boilermakers, he turned in five consecutive quality starts over the first five weekends of Big Ten play.
The Cubs were able to sign their first 22 Draft picks.
• The Cubs granted catcher Yorvit Torrealba his release. He had signed as a free agent on June 12 after playing 13 seasons with the Giants, Mariners, Rockies, Padres, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Brewers.
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.