CHICAGO -- September is here which brings a new set of questions for the playoff battling Chicago Cubs.
Why did the Cubs only call up four players from the minors?
There will be more. Triple-A Iowa's season ends on Sept. 7 so giving some hitters a few more at-bats isn't a bad thing plus some pitchers can get some extra work in before being called up. Some starters could be sent to Arizona to stay sharp in case they're needed for a turn in the rotation as well. The Cubs have stated there would be more than one wave of call-ups and they can always grab someone on a moment's notice whenever they want. For now, they added where they needed the most.
Who else might be coming?
There's a good chance Emilio Bonifacio will be here as could CJ Edwards. The latter has been on paternity leave and hasn't pitched since Aug. 17 so he might need a couple times on the mound before coming up. Zac Rosscup has to be down for 10 days since the last time he was optioned so he's a good possibility as well. Starters like Eric Jokisch, who's pitched well lately, Dallas Beeler and Carlos Pimental could be emergency guys though the Cubs already recalled Tsuyoshi Wada.
Who is eligible for the playoff roster?
Basically, anyone in the organization as of Aug. 31 is eligible. It means newcomer Austin Jackson, acquired on Monday, is available for the postseason. Of course, if they're not on the 40-man roster they have to be added but that can happen at any time. It's a change from the old rules which stated a player had to be on the 25-man roster before Sept.1. Now, a player wouldn't even have to play in a game in September and still be eligible for the postseason as long as he's on or added to the 40-man roster.
How much playing time will Javier Baez receive?
That might simply be determined by his bat. We know his glove will get some action at second and third base or a little at shortstop when Addison Russell comes out of a game but he'll earn more time with his performance at the plate. If there is a set plan it can obviously always change based on production from him and others.
That remains to be seen but first things first, Haren has a spotlight on him right now more than Hendricks. Considering the ease of replacing him in September, Tuesday's start could be a big one. The Cubs still have plenty of faith in Hendricks but they could use an extra inning or two out of his starts down the stretch. It's not likely he'll be replaced unless he completely blows up.