Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster
Chicago places Fujikawa, Arrieta and McDonald on disabled list
PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs set the Opening Day 25-man roster on Sunday, and placed pitchers Kyuji Fujikawa, Jake Arrieta and James McDonald on the disabled list.
The Cubs have selected the contracts of right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter, infielder Emilio Bonifacio, outfielder Ryan Kalish and catcher John Baker in advance of Monday's season opener against the Pirates at PNC Park.
Left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, and right-handed pitcher Alberto Cabrera was designated for assignment.
Fujikawa, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last June, was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Arrieta, who arrived in spring camp with tightness in his right shoulder, also was placed on the 15-day DL. McDonald was placed on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Fujikawa and Arrieta are retroactive to March 21.
This will be the first time Kalish, Schlitter, pitcher Justin Grimm, third baseman Mike Olt, and outfielder Junior Lake will be on a Major League team's Opening Day roster. Kalish, Olt and Schlitter all have overcome injuries that kept them out of the game for significant time.
When Kalish takes the field, it'll be his first Major League game since Sept. 26, 2012. He missed all of last season after needing cervical fusion surgery, which involves the removal of a disc in his neck, and the insertion of a metal plate. It's the same surgery Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had, and Kalish had the same doctor, spinal specialist Robert Watkins. A ninth-round pick by the Red Sox in 2006, Kalish was injured after colliding with an outfield wall in April 2011.
Olt last played a Major League game on Sept. 30, 2012, while with the Rangers. He battled vision problems after suffering a concussion while playing winter ball in November 2012 in the Dominican Republic. A first-round pick by the Rangers in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, he began 2013 at Triple-A Round Rock, and was batting .139 on April 25 when he asked for some help regarding vision problems. He could start Monday against Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano.
Schlitter pitched in the big leagues for the Cubs in 2010, and his last game was Aug. 2, 2010. Since that game, he's been claimed by the Yankees, cut by the Yankees, claimed by the Phillies, and then returned to the Cubs because of a past elbow injury -- and all of that happened in a couple of months in 2011. He never pitched for the Yankees or Phillies, and joked that it was "a little vacation."
Schlitter rejoined the Cubs in 2011, but was sidelined with a right elbow strain at the end of Spring Training that year, and eventually needed Tommy John surgery in June.
Lake was called up last July, and batted .284 in 64 games.
The Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 40.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.