The Cubs called up a pair of rookie pitchers to the roster for their doubleheader against the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Before the first game, they selected Javier Assad from Triple-A Iowa to make his major-league debut as the Cubs’ Game 1 starter and added Nicholas Padilla as the 27th man. To make room on the roster, the Cubs optioned reliever Kervin Castro to Triple-A and transferred outfielder Jason Heyward from the 10-day IL to the 60-day.
Assad held the Cardinals scoreless for four-plus innings. The 25-year-old recorded his first major-league strikeout against Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols. Assad also showed resolve with traffic on the bases. In the third inning, Assad walked back-to-back hitters, on eight straight balls, but worked out of the bases-loaded jam.
Padilla, 25, started the season in Single-A South Bend, but he quickly climbed the ladder, arriving in Triple-A in late July and posting a 1.69 ERA since then.
“Been hearing his name for a little while now,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Somebody throwing strikes, the numbers are really good. I think it’s time to reward some of those guys. when you get an opportunity, that are performing and seeing what they can do with this level.”
Ross greeted both Tuesday morning. Assad was getting ready for his start, locked into his pregame routine. But Padilla had a little more time to take in the new environment.
Ross said when he congratulated Padilla, “he just lit up.”
Ross continued: “That authentic, ‘what is going on in my life’ when you get called to the big-leagues and how awesome those moments are [warm] your heart.”