CARRIE: It’s been tough to sqeeze the Cubs Inbox onto Cubs.com, so I’ll try to keep up here.
Five words. We made it five words in.
CARRIE: Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com
I just now developed a theory. Does Cubs.com not sanction the Muskbox? Carrie has used a Gmail address to solicit questions for the Muskbox since its inception. And now, there’s no “room” for the Muskbox on Cubs.com. INTRIGUE!
With Bryan LaHair crushing the ball in Triple-A and Carlos Pena struggling with consistency, are the Cubs giving any thought to bringing LaHair up to the big league team?
— Nick I., Evansville, IN
Wait, why are we thinking of benching the team leader in home runs and the runner-up in RBIs? Oh, I bet it’s because we want to see the “kids” like LaHair. The 28-year-old kid.
CARRIE: LaHair could get a look depending on what happens at the trade deadline.
Like if the entire team mysteriously vanishes over the Atlantic, leaving behind naught but a burst of static, a Hello Kitty backpack, and a MYSTERY!
CARRIE: Pena has drawn interest from teams in contention (Angels, for example). LaHair will likely be up in September when rosters expand.
Up here to battle Tyler Colvin for time at first base, no doubt. I can’t WAIT for September!
I don’t understand why Darwin Barney was moved to the No. 8 spot.
Because he’s not very good? Look, I’m rooting for the Cubs to have a home-grown middle infield. Barney plays the right position, he knows how to run the bases, he has long at-bats, and from all indications, he’s a smart ballplayer. He’s the non-retarded version of Theriot. But he’s just…not…that GOOD. Barney hitting 8th for your team is perfectly acceptable. He’s better than a lot of eight hitters. But Barney hitting second on your team? Ugh.
He hit .290 in the two-hole. I see the logic in the move when Fukudome is in the lineup but when Reed Johnson is, I don’t get it. Johnson has a career .341 OBP, identical to Castro’s.
AND BABE RUTH HAS A CAREER .474 OBP! WHY DON’T THEY SIGN HIM???
I realize Johnson is hot right now but what’s going to happen when he cools off?
– Ryan S., Rochester, MI
He’ll be Darwin Barney.
CARRIE: There’s a couple reasons.
“But all of them are trumped by Barney being the eighth-best hitter in the starting lineup. Ninth when Zambrano is pitching.”
CARRIE: One, Barney is coming back from a knee injury. If he’s batting second, he’ll be expected to run more. They’re trying to avoid stress on the knee. Two, Starlin Castro has done better hitting one-two. With Fukudome doing well as the leadoff man, moving Castro up a notch seems to help him. Three, Barney can help turn the lineup over in the bottom of the order. His role changes depending on pinch-hitters behind him. As for Johnson, his starts are primarily against lefties.
If I told you prior to the 2011 season that Reed Johnson would have the highest OPS on the Cubs at the All-Star break, you’d say, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”
I was looking through some of the Cubs’ Minor League rosters…
…and was happy to see Angel Guzman has logged innings at Daytona and Peoria. I also noticed he’s starting each game he appeared in. Are the Cubs grooming him to be a starter again or is this part of his rehab?
— Henry F., Batavia, IL
And so continued the Great Angel Guzman Cocktease.
CARRIE: Guzman, coming back from shoulder surgery, is starting in the Minor Leagues as part of his rehab.
I, who missed parenthetical interruptions, am glad the Muskbox is back.
CARRIE: It’s easier to control when he can pitch if he starts the game rather than having him enter a game in relief. This way, he’s guaranteed two innings, or however many pitches they are limiting him to.
ALL OF THEM!
CARRIE: If he returns…
CARRIE: …it will be as a reliever.
And if he doesn’t, it’s because you didn’t believe in him hard enough.
CARRIE: -Carrie Muskat
Thanks for clarifying.