ST. LOUIS – After surviving three games in two days at Coors Field with the bullpen intact, the Cubs chose to option struggling reliever Justin Grimm to the minors to make room on the roster for Friday’s starter, Eddie Butler.
Butler, the right-hander acquired from the Rockies in a February trade, joins the roster for the weekend series in St. Louis after producing a 1.17 ERA in five starts for Class AAA Iowa.
By sending Grimm to Iowa, the Cubs keep rookie corner infielder Jeimer Candelario on a bench that was significantly shortened the past week by the need for extra relievers and bumps and bruises to infield starters.
Shortstop Addison Russell was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup because of shoulder soreness that has bothered him for about a week, and his status is to be evaluated again before Friday’s game.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo is just 6-for-50 (.120) with two extra-base hits the last two weeks and has been dealing with a sore left forearm after being hit by a 99-mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman Sunday night. He’s expected to return to the lineup Friday after a scheduled day off Wednesday.
The switch-hitting Candelario batted cleanup for the Cubs in the two games since his recall Tuesday from Iowa, where he was one of the Pacific Coast League’s hottest hitters. He’s a sharp-fielding third baseman who can also play first.
Grimm has struggled much of the season with a 7.53 ERA in 13 appearances, including five runs (three homers) in 4 2/3 innings in May.
Notes: Russell called the shoulder issue “gradual soreness” he attributed in part to an inconsistent recent schedule that affected his work routine. Russell, who has experienced bouts like this in recent seasons, said he felt better after a day of treatment Wednesday with an off day scheduled Thursday. …Right fielder Jason Heyward, who’s on the 10-day disabled list because of a jammed right index finger suffered on a sliding catch Friday, said he expects to return from the DL as soon as he’s eligible: Tuesday, when the Cubs open a 10-game homestand. “I woke up the next morning and it was all swollen and pretty bad, and I couldn’t pick up a bat,” he said. “We came a long way since then.”
Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub