SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cubs bullpen got a new arm on Friday as the team claimed right-handed pitcher Jairo Asencio off waivers and Michael Bowden was designated for assignment.
Asencio, expected to join the team Saturday, posted a 5.96 ERA in 18 games with the Indians, giving up 17 earned runs on 27 hits (including four homers) and eight walks over 25 2/3 innings. He came up in the Braves system and was traded to the Indians on March 29 for cash considerations, then designated for assignment on May 28.
"It's a good arm from Cleveland, who put up some impressive Minor League numbers the last couple years," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Friday.
Asencio, who turned 29 last Wednesday, is 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA in 27 Major League relief appearances with the Braves in 2009, 2011 and Indians this year.
James Russell is the only left-hander in the bullpen now. Did the Cubs consider adding another, like Scott Maine who is at Triple-A Iowa?
"When those guys prove they can consistently throw strikes [they'll come up]," Sveum said. "That's something we have to do in this organization is make guys understand that consistency is everything and consistency of throwing strikes is something we have to have."
Bowden, 25, an Illinois native, had a 7.45 ERA in 10 games with the Cubs, giving up eight earned runs on 14 hits and five walks over 9 2/3 innings. He had appeared in two games with the Red Sox and given up one earned run on two hits in three innings.
The Red Sox designated him for assignment on April 15, and the Cubs acquired him April 21 to complete the Marlon Byrd trade. In eight games in May, Bowden had a 9.95 ERA, giving up seven runs on 11 hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings.