Chicago Cubs News: Cody Bellinger at first base, Miles Mastrobuoni, and more

May 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) strikes
May 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) strikes / Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs to play Cody Bellinger at first base?

Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger began his minor-league rehab assignment on Tuesday night with the Iowa Cubs and was playing first base. The first assumption is that Bellinger was playing first base as a way to ease his knee back into playing shape but given the struggles that the Cubs have had at first base this season, manager David Ross did not rule out the idea of Bellinger getting reps at first base at the Major League level.

The biggest takeaway would be that Ross and the Cubs may be moving closer to returning Matt Mervis to Triple-A Iowa for more development. That would not be the right move. The results have not been there for Mervis yet but there are metrics that would suggest a breakout is coming.

The only way that Mervis is going to get better is by facing Major League pitching on a regular basis. A return to Triple-A will not solve the early struggles of his Major League career.

Not to mention, the Cubs need Bellinger's defense in center field. Tauchman has certainly been the best in center field of the non-Bellinger options for the Cubs but he likely will not be able to make up for the shortcomings of Ian Happ in left field. Despite winning the Gold Glove in 2022, Happ's defense in left field has regressed this season as he is in the 13th percentile in Outs Above Average with a mark of -3.

Miles Mastrobuoni is inexplicably back with the Chicago Cubs

Among the roster moves that the Chicago Cubs made on Tuesday was the recalling of utility infielder Miles Mastrobuoni from Triple-A Iowa while placing left-handed relief pitcher Brandon Hughes on the IL. Mastrobuoni was immediately placed in the starting lineup as the team's designated hitter. Despite the Cubs totaling 11 runs on 14 hits, Mastrobuoni was not part of the success as he was 0-for-3 on the night with a strikeout.

Mastrobuoni is now slashing .153/.254/.186 on the season with a wRC+ of 29. In other words, there is no reason for him to be the team's designated hitter when the likes of Miguel Amaya, Trey Mancini, Patrick Wisdom, and Christopher Morel are on the bench.

Furthermore, it seems like an egregious error on the Cubs' front office part that Mastrobuoni was the player to be recalled instead of someone like Yonathan Perlaza. Perlaza, a switch-hitter, is raking with the Iowa Cubs this season as he has a slash line of .300/.402/.529 with a wRC+ of 134.

Christopher Morel goes boom

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