Cubs giving La Stella time to make decision

Cubs giving La Stella time to make decision

CHICAGO -- Tommy La Stella opted to go home rather than report to Triple-A Iowa when he was optioned to the Minor League team, and the Cubs are willing to give the infielder time to decide what to do.

When the move was made, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said La Stella was upset, but the team did not expect him to go home. He has been placed on the Minor League's temporarily inactive list.

"We're trying to understand where he's coming from, empathize with him, give him his space," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "He's 27 years old and dealing with this on a somewhat public stage."

Hoyer said they hope to have a resolution "sooner than later," but there is no timetable.

La Stella was optioned on July 28 to make room for Chris Coghlan on the 25-man roster. La Stella had returned from the disabled list on July 6, and was 8-for-26 in 13 games before the roster move. He was batting .295 in 51 games overall. Coghlan, who had been on the disabled list with right rib cage soreness, was currently batting .158.

Maddon has talked and exchanged text messages with La Stella, who also has talked to sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who works with the Cubs. Still, it's up to La Stella.

"You can't tell somebody to do one thing or another -- you can tell them, but if they feel that's the decision they need to make, you can't judge them based on that," Chicago outfielder Jason Heyward said.

Heyward also reached out to La Stella.

"I just asked him if he's at peace with his decision," Heyward said. "He said, 'Yes.' I didn't go into it any further. It's kind of sad. The business side is rough. We're trying to improve our team and make us as deep as possible. Sometimes there's just not room for good people on the team."

The Cubs said La Stella is not injured, just frustrated.

"He's just at that point where he doesn't know what to do," Maddon said. "I think it's unexpected. Tommy hears his own beat. He's a very interesting young man. He's also a very good baseball player."

The irony in La Stella's holdout is that he will have to get some at-bats at the Minor League level before he could rejoin the Cubs. Practicing at home is not the same.

"He's processing a lot of different things right now," Hoyer said. "We're trying to give him the time to do that. Obviously, we want him back, and we want him playing. He makes us a better team and a better organization. We're thinking of him, and allowing him the time to process what he needs to process to get back on the field."

Said outfielder Matt Szczur: "We support him in whatever he wants to do."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.