Cubs’ 15 MLB debuts this year match last year’s total

When Hayden Wesneski made his major-league debut, he was the 15th Cub to do so this year. That tied last season’s total.

“A lot of after-game events,” veteran catcher Yan Gomes said Tuesday. “I feel like we’re doing that every other day, some new thing is happening.”

In the rush of MLB debuts, as the Cubs continue to rebuild and evaluate which players fit into their plan for the future, there’s been a handful of memorable ones.

Back in May, Christopher Morel blasted a pinch-hit home run in his debut. The same day, Brandon Hughes threw a hitless 1 2/3 innings. Late last month, Javier Assad threw four scoreless innings. Just last week, Jeremiah Estrada’s fastball sat at 98 mph in a shutout inning.

“It says a lot about the organization,” veteran lefty Wade Miley said. “It says how they’re bringing guys up through the system and prepared them for these moments.”

Even with that backdrop, Wesneski’s five-inning debut stood out, as he struck out eight and limited the Reds to two hits.

“I don’t know if it gets a whole lot better than that,” Miley said.

Gomes highlighted Wesneski’s composure during his outing, a theme among the rookies who have made an impact in their debuts.

Wesneski said when things “were going a little sideways,” he re-centered himself by staring at the top of the left-field flag pole and taking deep breaths.

That’s not an easy thing to do in an unfamiliar ballpark, with new teammates, soaking in a raucous atmosphere.

“Oh, they were loud,” Wesneski said of the crowd for the last out of the Cubs’ 9-3 win. “I didn’t think Chicago on a Tuesday would get this loud. I can’t even imagine with the playoffs and stuff like that. … And it fired me up on a Tuesday.”

Wesneski did have some familiar faces to turn to in the dugout. Wesneski had worked closely with assistant pitching coach Daniel Moskos when they were both in the Yankees organization. And he and infielder David Bote got to know each other when they overlapped in Triple-A Iowa last month.

“It’s just fun to be a part of it,” Bote said. “It’s a special moment. And obviously he was lights out, and that makes it even more fun.”

The Cubs are closing in on the major-league record for players used in a season, which they set last year with 69. With about a month to go in this season, the Cubs have used 61 players.

Injury updates

Catcher Willson Contreras was scheduled for an MRI on his left ankle on Wednesday. The Cubs put him on the 10-day IL on Tuesday, retroactive to Saturday. He’s been battling ankle soreness off and on since rolling his left ankle four weeks ago.

“Making sure everything’s on the up and up in there,” manager David Ross said, “and go from there.”

Corner infielder Patrick Wisdom (sprained left ring finger) has been hitting in the batting cages. He is eligible to return from the 10-day IL whenever the Cubs clear him to do so.

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