PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Clayton Richard was mowing his lawn in Indiana when he got the call the Cubs wanted him back after twice designating him for assignment. It's where Richard always wanted to be.
"I told them if there was an opportunity to stay, that's what I wanted to do," he said Wednesday afternoon.
Richard lost his starting job after the Cubs traded for Dan Haren last week but he performed well enough that after electing for free agency the team immediately called him when reliever Rafael Soriano came up with soreness in his shoulder. He went on the disabled list on Wednesday.
"Fortunately, Clayton didn't go anywhere else," manager Joe Maddon said.
So after winning a game on Sunday as a starter Richard goes to the bullpen with an interesting role. He's somewhere between a lefty long reliever -- that's Travis Wood's job -- and a specialist which James Russell usually is brought in for.
"He could go through a batting order one time and I also believe he's the kind of a guy he can get the ball on the ground against a lefty," Maddon said.
Maddon was impressed by Richard's velocity on Sunday, citing a radar gun reading of 94 mph. It's given him something to think about in terms of a role.
"That part is intriguing to me," Maddon said.
More than likely Richard will be used in a short 1-2 inning stint before the game gets late and Russell is needed against a specific lefty. Richard was 2-0 with a 4.29 ERA in four starts but now he's part of the bullpen.
"I'm happy to be back," Richard stated. "However they want to use me is fine."