Why the Chicago Cubs chose to option right-hander Adrian Sampson to Triple A after a stellar outing

Right-hander Adrian Sampson did everything in his control to stick on the Chicago Cubs roster.

Sampson impressed Sunday, shutting down the Atlanta Braves over 4⅔ innings of relief with five strikeouts, no walks and only one batter reaching base. But when the Cubs needed to remove one pitcher from their active roster by Monday’s deadline for the 13-pitcher limit, Sampson was the odd man out.

The rule initially was set to be implemented for the start of the season, then was pushed back twice because of the 99-day lockout’s impact on pitchers’ ability to build up.

Manager David Ross described an “extremely difficult” conversation with Sampson when informing him of the decision to option him to Triple-A Iowa. Sampson is unavailable for three days because of how much he pitched Sunday, which played a part.

“The guy goes out there and saves your bullpen, saves the team, allows us to reset the bullpen with really probably one the better performances I’ve seen him have and one of the better performances out of our bullpen,” Ross said Monday before the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. “At this moment in time, we cannot afford to be short with no off days coming up.

“So it’s a difficult conversation. It’s some of the worst ones I have, especially when it’s not performance-based. As bad as it stinks, he also made an impression on everybody, and when you come out and do that, the sooner you’re going to be back when you’re fresh.”

The Cubs recalled outfielder Nelson Velázquez to replace Sampson and give them an equal split between pitchers and position players on the 26-man roster. Velázquez is expected to be used as a pinch hitter and could get starts against left-handers. Ross said Velázquez’s role would be similar to how Clint Frazier was used while he was …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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