Cubs Select Nick Burdi, Option Hayden Wesneski as Precursor to Kyle Hendricks Returning

The Cubs made a series of moves Monday, one of which has been anticipated for quite some time. Another was a more recent revelation, as Hayden Wesneski was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in order to work on some of his command issues while also clearing room in the rotation for Kyle Hendricks to come back. Nick Burdi will take Wesneski’s spot on the active roster and space on the 40-man was created by placing Adrian Sampson on the 60-day IL with a right meniscus injury.

Jeremiah Estrada is back with the Cubs as well because Brad Boxberger has been placed on the 15-day IL with a right forearm strain. Those can sometimes be indicative of more serious elbow issues, so let’s hope this is truly what’s being listed. Of course, it could just be a phantom injury.

The only thing I’m really surprised by is that the organization waited so long with the Sampson decision. I suppose that’s a matter of not making any 40-man moves until absolutely necessary, but it was all pretty obvious when he was recalled earlier in the month.

Hendricks had another solid start for Iowa on Sunday and could very well be back up with the big club when the Cubs head to Philly after they leave Houston. Wesneski’s spot in the rotation would be on Friday, so Hendricks could make that start on regular rest.

Here’s the press release if you want more details…

The Chicago Cubs today recalled right-handed pitcher Jeremiah Estrada from Triple-A Iowa and placed right-handed pitcher Brad Boxberger on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to May 14) with a right forearm strain. Additionally, the club selected right-handed pitcher Nick Burdi from Iowa, optioned right-handed pitcher Hayden Wesneski to Iowa and transferred right-handed pitcher Adrian Sampson to the 60-day injured list.

Estrada, 24, is in his second stint with the Cubs this season, after tossing 4.0 scoreless innings in three relief appearances from April 21-May 3. The righthander has posted a 0.96 ERA (1 ER/9.1 IP) in eight appearances out of the bullpen for Iowa this year, with six hits, four walks and 12 strikeouts. With the I-Cubs, he has limited opponents to a .176 batting average (6-for-34) and posted a 1.07 WHIP.

Since his major league debut August 30, 2022, Estrada has pitched to a 1.86 ERA (2 ER/9.2 IP) with 14 strikeouts in eight career major league relief appearances. Last year between High-A South Bend, Double-A Tennessee and Iowa, he went 3-2 with a 1.30 ERA (7 ER/48.1 IP), nine saves and five holds in 34 games out of the bullpen. Estrada struck out 78 of 193 batters faced, compared to 20 walks, for an average of 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

A native of Coachella, Calif., Estrada was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Palm Desert (Calif.) High School. In all or part of five minor league seasons, he is 4-4 with nine saves and a 1.84 ERA (20 ER/97.2 IP) in 60 games, all but three as a reliever. He has walked 42 and struck out 149, good for an average of 13.5 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.

Burdi, 30, in 11 relief outings for Iowa in 2023 has pitched to a 3.38 ERA (4 ER/10.2 IP) with four saves and 19 strikeouts, good for an average of 16.0 strikeouts per 9.0 IP. He has held opponents scoreless in nine of his 11 games this season and recorded two-plus strikeouts in seven of those outings. The right-handed pitcher was a non-roster invitee to Chicago’s major league Spring Training after being selected by the Cubs from San Diego in the minor league portion of the 2022 Rule 5 Draft.

A second round selection in the 2014 draft by Minnesota, the six-foot four-inch Burdi has appeared in 16 career major league games, all in relief with the Pirates from 2018-20, pitching to a 9.49 ERA (13 ER/12.1 IP) with one save. The righthander owns a 10-8 record with a 3.44 ERA (48 ER/125.2 IP) and 14 saves in 101 career minor league games in the Minnesota (2014-17), Pittsburgh (2018-20) and Cubs (2023) organizations. Burdi missed the 2021 and 2022 seasons after recovering from Tommy John surgery and a subsequent right elbow sprain.

Boxberger, 34, is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA (9 ER/14.2 IP) in 17 games out of the bullpen for Chicago this season. The righthander signed a one-year contract with the Cubs in December 2022.

Wesneski, 25, is 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA (22 ER/39.1 IP) in eight starts for the Cubs this season, having walked nine with 28 strikeouts and 10 home runs allowed.

Sampson, 31, has posted an 8.64 ERA (8 ER/8.1 IP) in two starts with Iowa this season. He was recalled and placed on the 15-day injured list with a right meniscus injury May 4.

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