8/10/2014 1:44 P.M. ET
Cubs trying to help Lake get back on track
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Cubs have been trying to find spots for Junior Lake to get the outfielder back on track, but he's continued to struggle at the plate.
Lake batted .273 in May, then hit .190 in June and .114 in July. Manager Rick Renteria has started the right-handed hitter against lefties, but the Cubs had not faced many until their two series against the Rockies, and Lake went 3-for-15 in six games.
"We tried to run him out there against the lefties, and we'll continue to see where we can get him some at-bats," Renteria said. "He hasn't had many over the last three or four days, but we'll continue to find ways.
"He's been working really hard on his mechanical approach, and when we can, we'll try to get him in there."
Last season, Lake batted .284 in 64 games with six home runs. This year, he's hitting .216 in 95 games with nine home runs and 101 strikeouts.
Turner excited for 'fresh start'; Schlitter to DL
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Jacob Turner, acquired Friday from the Marlins for two Minor League pitchers, joined the Cubs Sunday, and will be used out of the bullpen in the beginning.
The Cubs placed right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter (right shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day disabled list to make room for Turner on the 25-man roster. Turner was 4-7 with a 5.97 ERA in 20 games (12 starts) with the Marlins, and last pitched on Aug. 3 against the Reds, giving up five runs on nine hits over four innings in a start.
"The reality is, he's got a pretty good arm, he's pretty young, just turned 23 in May, and has been in the big leagues for parts of three years already," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He came to the big leagues pretty young. We're in a unique position where we have a young man who has had experience here already, hasn't had the success that people might have envisioned for him yet, but it doesn't mean it can't happen. We'll be the ones to see if we can get it going in the right direction."
The right-hander made his Major League debut at 20 on July 30, 2011, with the Tigers, and was traded to the Marlins in July 2012 in the Anibal Sanchez deal. A first-round Draft pick in 2009, Turner has been used primarily as a starter.
"For whatever reason, there were times that it seemed to work out and times when they felt they had to go in a different direction," Turner said. "I'm just excited to be here and I think it'll be a good opportunity to get a fresh start and just kind of regroup a little bit."
He'd like to be a starter again, but wants to see what the Cubs' plans are.
"I don't know what their thought process is," Turner said. "Whatever situation they put me in, it's still the same game. Just go out there and execute pitches."
Cubs activate Ramirez from DL, option Rusin
CHICAGO -- Neil Ramirez took advantage of time off to prepare for his offseason wedding and rest his arm.
The Cubs reliever was activated from the disabled list Sunday after missing time because of a sore right triceps. Left-hander Chris Rusin was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room.
Ramirez had a 0.96 ERA in 33 games before he was placed on the DL. He went to Mesa, Ariz., to rehab and pitched in two games, totaling 1 1/3 innings.
"I just feel like the ball is coming out good again," Ramirez said Sunday. "I feel loose and ready to go."
He credited athletic trainer P.J. Mainville and strength coach Tim Buss with putting him on a program that has helped him build up arm strength.
"I just have to keep up with that and finish out the year strong," Ramirez said.
He did nothing except play catch for the first four or five days on the DL.
"The team is looking out for me," Ramirez said. "I want to finish the year strong."
Renteria encouraging Baez to 'be himself'
CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Rick Rentera said his message to Javier Baez was simple.
"[I told him] that he should be himself," Renteria said Sunday of the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, promoted on Tuesday. "He's a more vocal guy in the infield, and we want him to continue to do the same thing.
"At the plate, I want him to be himself," Renteria said. "He's chipped away at some of the approach aspects of his game to get here. We want him to trust his skill set."
In his first five games, Baez was 6-for-23 with 10 strikeouts, and has hit three home runs, including a game-winning shot in the 12th inning in his debut game. Renteria told Baez he doesn't have to do that all the time, either.
"We also don't want him to feel like he has to carry the team," Renteria said of the 21-year-old infielder. "He has to continue to maintain to start zoning in on those areas he's capable of taking advantage of. If they don't want to pitch to him, we have another guy behind him who can hit. We're still imparting those type of messages to him."
Baez has spent most of his career at shortstop but is being asked to transition to second base on the Cubs.
"There's a tendency by shortstops when you move to the other side to think it's easier, and it's just as difficult as playing short in many respects," Renteria said. "You can't lose your focus and you have to make sure you're covering your basis and understand it's a different dynamic, but you still have to have the same intensity."
• Outfielder Ryan Kalish, who was designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Kalish, 26, was batting .219 in 67 games at Iowa before he was designated to make room on the 40-man roster for Jacob Turner, acquired last week from the Marlins.
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.