With Derrek Lee
expected to be out of action for anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, the Cubs have apparently selected 27-year old OF Michael Restovich
to replace D-Lee on their 25-man roster. Although no official announcement has been made by the Cubs, Restovich was not in the Iowa lineup Thursday night in Albuquerque, and Iowa Cubs broadcaster Dean Ellis with KXNO radio in Des Moines reported tonight during the game that Restovich was no longer with the Iowa club, and that he apparently was set to join the Chicago Cubs in St. Louis. If so, he should arrive in plenty of time for Friday night's game at the new Busch Stadium.
A right-handed hitting slugger from Mayo HS in nearby Rochester, Restovich was selected by the Minnnesota Twins in the 2nd round of the 1997 Rule 4 (June) Draft. He turned down a scholarship from Notre Dame to sign with the Twins. He spent seven seasons in the Twins organization, including 61 major league games in the years 2002-04. Baseball America
had Restovich rated as the Twins' second-best prospect in 2000 and 2001, and as their third best prospect in both 2002 and 2003. BA
also had him rated as the 37th best prospect in all of baseball as recently as 2003.
Out of options, Restovich was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on March 31st of last season, and then was claimed off waivers again five days later by the Colorado Rockies. He was traded to Pittsburgh on May 11th, and spent the rest of the 2005 season with the Pirates. He played LF and RF, and also had 28 PA as a PH, where he went 4-27 (.148) with four singles, one walk, and 14 strikeouts. He was designated for assignnment by the Pirates on November 21st. In 132 MLB games, Restovich has hit .254, with a .333 OBP and .408 slugging %, including 3 HR and 6 RBI. He has 1 + 123 in MLB service time.
Restovich signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on January 3rd, and received an invitation to Spring Training as a non-roster player. He had a mediocre Spring Training (he hit .222 and led the team in strikeouts) and was sent to Iowa on March 29th, but he has been on fire his last six games in AAA:
with 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 2B, 3B, 3 BB, 2 K.
Although Restovich played some 1B in Spring Training, it was the first time he had played the position since high school. So expect Todd Walker
and John Mabry
to get most of the playing time at 1B until Lee returns, although Restovich could get some starts against left-handed pitchers. Restovich could also spell Jacque Jones in RF against a tough LHP.
Because he will be out of action for anywhere from 8-12 weeks, it is likely that Derrek Lee
will be placed on the 60-day DL, although either Mark Prior
or Wade Miller
(or Kerry Wood
, but he's too close to returning) could be transferred to the 60 DL. Players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-man roster.
Or the Cubs could recall Brian Dopirak (who is out of action at West Tenn with a broken foot) and then immediately place him on the 60-day DL. The problem with doing that is that Dopirak would immediately begin to accrue MLB service time, and would receive the MLB minimum salary ($327,000) instead of the $60,000-ish salary he is getting now per the "split contract."
If Lee is placed on the 60-day DL or Prior or Miller is transferred to the 60-day DL, Lee would be eligible to be reactivated on June 19th, Prior would be eligible to be reactivated on May 26th (he was placed on the 15-day DL effective March 27th, and time spent on the 15-day DL counts toward the 60 days), and Milller would be eligible to be reactivated on May 31st.