By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The wear and tear of the baseball season has dictated more bullpen depth for the Cubs, who recalled righty reliever Justin Grimm on Wednesday while placing starter Jason Hammel on the bereavement list. With the team’s off days Thursday and Monday, Hammel is still expected to make his regular rotation start next Tuesday against the Angels.READ MORE: Belmont Cragin Carjacking Leads To Fiery Crash, Multiple Other Parked Cars Struck
Chicago’s bullpen has been on fumes since Sunday, when left-hander Brian Matusz was hit hard in his team debut. He allowed six runs in three innings, forcing the bullpen to work nine innings in a scintillating comeback win by the Cubs in 12 innings against the Mariners.
The Cubs also added righty reliever Joe Smith in a deal with the Angels on Monday just ahead of the non-wavier trade deadline. A 10-year veteran, Smith will a right-handed specialist for the Cubs, according to manager Joe Maddon.
“I talked to some people who know Joe, and they are all solid reports,” Maddon said. “I am not sure how I will use him. His splits are up a bit against right-handed hitters, but they have been better the last couple of weeks.”
A Cincinnati native, Smith was happy to get moved to a team as good as the Cubs and to the franchise he cheered for growing up in Ohio.READ MORE: Dixmoor Boil Order Remains In Effect As Crews Continue Work To Identify Source Of Weeklong Water Woes
“My family were all huge Reds fans,” Smith said. “I was a kid watching the super station every day after school and loved Harry Carey and the Cubs. Those late 1990s, early 2000s teams were my guys — Kerry Wood, Sammy (Sosa), Mark Prior, loved those teams.”
Smith should fit right in with the Maddon everyday bullpen mix.
“I love being a semi-everyday player,” Smith said. “I thrive on work. Joe can use me when ever he needs to. I have been lucky to make it to the post a lot the last few years.”
Smith has appeared in 70 or more games for the past five seasons. He pitched in 38 games for the Angels before the trade, registering a 3.82 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.MORE NEWS: Police Investigate Bank Robbery In Hyde Park
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.