The Chicago Cubs have recalled infielder Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Iowa.
Tommy La Stella is back.
On July 29th, the Chicago Cubs informed La Stella that they were demoting him to the minor leagues. Instead of reporting to Triple-A Iowa though, he simply refused the assignment. The 27-year-old wound up going home to New Jersey instead, ready to give up on baseball for good.
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Speaking to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, La Stella made it clear he was not trying to gain leverage over the team. Essentially, La Stella realized that he would rather only play with the Cubs than any other team. This sentiment includes minor league teams as well.
La Stella informed the organization in Spring Training of this information, although it recently was news for Cubs’ fans. He sat down with the front office and told them how he was feeling about his situation then.
During the winter, La Stella decided that he’d rather walk away from the game than play for another team. After contemplating retirement, he returned to the team in the spring to continue his career.
Speaking to Rogers on August 9th, La Stella said that “I’m a baseball player by profession. My identity is not tied up in that.”
Demoting La Stella was more due to the business side of baseball than the performance side of things. Of all the players who made the most sense to demote, La Stella still had minor league options. Unlike other demotion options like Chris Coghlan, the Cubs can demote him without having him go through waivers first.
Had the Cubs demoted Coghlan, he could have claimed on waivers by any other team in the MLB. Because the team values him for his left-handed bat and versatility on defense, demoting Coghlan was not in the cards.
During his first 2016 MLB stint, La Stella was a productive lefty hitter off the bench, hitting .295 in 51 games. Furthermore, his ability to play both second base and third base has been a plus for the Cubs.
To make room for him on the roster, the Cubs sent down RHP Spencer Patton to Triple-A Iowa. In 12 appearances this season, Patton is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA. With MLB rosters expanding tomorrow to 40 players/team, look for Patton to be back with the Cubs very soon.
Wasting no time, the Cubs inserted La Stella into tonight’s starting lineup against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will be batting seventh and playing second base in his first MLB game since July 28th. To get a glimpse at La Stella, tune into CSN at 7:05 for tonight’s first pitch!