Cubs Activate Brandon Hughes, Option Nelson Velázquez

Stopped on the road for snacks, here’s the press release:

The Chicago Cubs today activated left-handed pitcher Brandon Hughes off the 15-day injured list and optioned outfielder Nelson Velázquez to Triple-A Iowa.

Hughes, 27, landed on the 15-day injured list on March 30 (retroactive to March 27) with left knee inflammation. He made three injury rehabilitation appearances with Triple-A Iowa from April 8-13. Hughes held the opponent scoreless in two of those while throwing a total of 2.2 innings with seven hits, three earned runs and two walks allowed, along with two strikeouts.

The six-foot two-inch Hughes made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2022 after starting the campaign with
High-A South Bend. In 57 relief appearances for Chicago, he was 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA (20 ER/57.2 IP), eight saves, eight holds, a 1.09 WHIP and a .200 opponent batting average. He ranked second among Cubs relievers in games pitched and third in saves and strikeouts (68). Hughes held right-handed hitters to a .183 average while left-handed batters hit .226.

Selected as an outfielder in the 16th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Michigan State University, Hughes transitioned to the mound in 2018. In 59 minor league relief appearances heading into 2023, he posted a 1.96 ERA (20 ER/92.1 IP) with four saves, 31 walks and 124 strikeouts, good for an average of 12.09 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.

Velázquez, 24, appeared in two games with the Cubs following his recall from Iowa April 10. April 11 vs. Seattle, the right-handed hitting outfielder went 3-for-4 with the go-ahead grand slam, capping Chicago’s eight-run third inning in the 14-9 victory.

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