August 08, 2016

CHICAGO -- Where's Tommy?

Chicago Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella was assigned to Triple-A Iowa on July 29, but hasn't reported after 11 days and the Cubs weren't exactly sure of his whereabouts this week.

So Chicago decided to place La Stella on the temporarily inactive list on Tuesday as they await a decision on if or when he will report to the minors and resume his career.

"I've texted him, I talked to him a couple of days ago," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday. "I don't have a lot to report other than he's not here, he's not in Triple-A and he's back home working out.

"He's not angry, he's not upset. He's just at that point now he doesn't know exactly what he wants to do," Maddon said.

La Stella was reportedly unhappy with the transfer to Iowa, but it wasn't necessarily performance-related. A versatile infielder and left-handed batter, La Stella was hitting .295 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 51 games this season.

But Chicago had options left with La Stella and he didn't have to clear waivers unlike players like Matt Szczur and Chris Coghlan, who have also spent time this season in the minors.

And any transfer to Iowa was viewed as temporary. LaStella was likely to be back when rosters expand on Sept. 1 and even sooner if a key injury occurred.

"Hopefully he's going to get back relatively soon," said Maddon. "We'd love to have him back."

LaStella, 27, was optioned to Triple-A as the Cubs activated Coghlan off the 15-day disabled list.

La Stella has made no public comment.

Angels right-hander Tim Lincecum, a Cy Young Award winner while with the San Francisco Giants, had no issues with accepting a demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake City with an eye to regaining his earlier form.

"We're really happy that Tim is going to go down and pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. "We all feel that there's a major league pitcher that is hopefully going to blossom out of the pitcher that's making adjustments like Tim (is)."

The Angels also shuffled other pitchers around on Tuesday.

They claimed left-hander Brett Overholtzer off waivers from Philadelphia, placed right-hander Cam Bedrosian on the 15-day disabled list (middle finger tendinitis) and selected the contract of right-hander A.J. Achier from Triple-A Salt Lake.

The short Wrigley Field series concludes on Wednesday as the Angels send recently-acquired right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.23 ERA) against Cubs righty Jason Hammel (11-5, 3.07 ERA).

The start will be Nolasco's second with the Angels since arriving in an Aug. 1 trade with the Minnesota Twins. He did not factor in his first start last Thursday, allowing five earned runs on six hits in a six-inning outing.

Jason Heyward is 8-for-23 (.348) with a solo home run against Nolasco, while Miguel Montero has gone 6-for-24 (.250) with a homer and seven RBIs against him. Anthony Rizzo is 3-for-7 with a double, a homer and two RBIs.

As for Hammel, Mike Trout is the only active Angels player who has taken him deep. Trout is 4-for-13 (.308) with a homer and two RBIs against Hammel. Albert Pujols is 3-for-11 (.273) with an RBI and three walks while Yunel Escobar is 5-for-26 (.192) with an RBI and four strikeouts.

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