ATLANTA, GA - JULY 04: Bryan LaHair #6 of the Chicago Cubs crosses homeplate after hitting a solo homer in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 4, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Cubs Vs. Braves: North Siders Split Series In Atlanta

The Cubs couldn't come back after falling behind early on Thursday.

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24 Total Updates since July 2, 2012
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Cubs Vs. Braves: No Rest Planned For Slumping Starlin Castro

Despite his recent slump, the Chicago Cubs have no plans on giving shortstop Starlin Castro a day off any time soon, as manager Dale Sveum tells ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla. Since June 23, Castro has seen his batting average drop from .308 to .287, as he's failed to notch a single multi-hit game. Sveum still wants his shortstop playing every day though:

I was thinking about it and then the break’s coming up and we’re playing well and the defense is coming into play way more than the offense. That defense is saving us a lot of runs right now, too.

Arguably Chicago's most important player, the 22-year-old shortstop hasn't played his best over the past few weeks. Since May 11, Castro has hit just .257/.289/.388 over 218 plate appearances, plus he's gotten caught in half of his ten base-stealing attempts.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nationas well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves FInal Score: Chicago Loses 7-3, Splits Series With Atlanta

The Chicago Cubs allowed four runs in the first inning, a number of runs that they would never even reach over nine innings on Thursday. Looking to take away three wins in a four-game series, the Cubs lost 7-3 to the Atlanta Braves to split the series down at Turner Field.

Matt Garza struggled for the Cubs on Thursday, allowing five runs over four innings as the Cubs lost once again with him on the mound . The game does break a recent streak of solid pitching, though, as Garza had given up three or less earned runs in each of his previous six starts entering Thursday's game.

The Braves had their power bats going, with four different players going deep for Atlanta: Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Juan Francisco. Geovany Soto hit a homer for Chicago, but that was the team's only extra base hit of the day.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visitCubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Chicago Cubs News: Jeff Samardzija Not Ready To Abandon Curveball

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija added a curveball to his repertoire in June and had several rough outings. He decided to put that pitch back in his pocket when he faced the Braves on Monday and had an outstanding start, though he says he isn't finished with the curveball yet:

"I think the more I get to learn myself and how I pitch in games and how guys approach me at the plate, I think there will definitely be time to use the curveball again," he said. "But it still needs work and I need to learn how to carry over the work from the bullpen into a game and it’s a learning process especially with that pitch."

Related: 2012 MLB Trade Rumors: Darwin Barney Among The League's Top Second Basemen Targets

Samardzija said he gave the curveball a break because he was "fed up with walking guys." He averaged 5.8 walks issued per nine innings pitched in June, way up from his season average of 3.3 walks per 9 IP.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Score Update: Atlanta Gets To Matt Garza Early, Builds 5-0 Lead

The Atlanta Braves jumped out early on the Chicago Cubs, scoring four runs in the first inning off a pair of two-run home runs. Matt Garza threw 44 pitches in the frame.

Related: 2012 MLB Trade Rumors: Darwin Barney Among The League's Top Second Basemen Targets

Jason Heyward and Brian McCann were responsible for those two first inning homers. The Braves extended their lead to 5-0 on Freddie Freeman's solo shot in the third inning. Garza has given up a total of five hits through the first four innings; he also has six strikeouts.

Braves starter Mike Minor, on the other hand, has not allowed a hit. He has four strikeouts to go with one walk.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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2012 MLB Trade Rumors: Darwin Barney Among The League's Top Second Basemen Targets

Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors names Chicago Cubs infielder 2B Darwin Barney as a potential trade target in his recent column. According to Nicholson-Smith, Barney's solid play and relative youth could make him a prize target for certain teams:

Darwin Barney, Cubs - Rival teams have asked about Barney, but there's no reason for the Cubs to rush a deal. Barney won't even be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and he has an acceptable .264/.309/.371 batting line.

Barney was the surprise winner of the second baseman competition in the 2011 Cubs Spring Training. Then-manager Mike Quade was impressed by Barney's defensive abilities and gave him the starting role ahead of Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Lineups: Bryan LaHair To Start Against Lefty

In the 2012 MLB season, 1B/OF Bryan LaHair has faced left-handed pitching in only 14.1 percent of his plate appearances. In a league that is 33 percent left-handed, 14 percent shows the Chicago Cubs have been protecting LaHair against his weaker half. But according to Cubs manager Dale Sveum, that trends ends on Thursday, as LaHair gets a start against Atlanta Braves lefty SP Mike Minor:

"The last couple games he’s been swinging really well, and he’s going to be back out there (Thursday) against a left-hander," Sveum said after Wednesday’s win. "Try to keep the lineup as stable as we possibly can and get him going against left-handers, because we’ve got to have the 3-4-5 guys consistent and doing it every night."

On his career, LaHair has hit only .111/.238/.181 against left-handed pitching, good for a .419 OPS.

Here is a look at the full lineups, courtesy of BaseballPress.com:

Cubs Lineup

  1. David DeJesus (L) CF
  2. Starlin Castro (R) SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano (R) LF
  5. Bryan LaHair (L) RF
  6. Geovany Soto (R) C
  7. Darwin Barney (R) 2B
  8. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
  9. Matt Garza (R) P

Braves Lineup

  1. Michael Bourn (L) CF
  2. Martin Prado (R) LF
  3. Jason Heyward (L) RF
  4. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
  5. Brian McCann (L) C
  6. Dan Uggla (R) 2B
  7. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
  8. Juan Francisco (L) 3B
  9. Mike Minor (R) P

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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2012 MLB Trade Rumors: Cubs Listening To Offers On Bryan LaHair, Asking Price Is High

The Chicago Cubs own a 31-50 record that screams "seller" for the 2012 MLB trade deadline, so it is no surprise they reportedly have multiple players on the block as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to rebuild the franchise. Bryan LaHair is the feel good story of the season for the Cubs, and his .278/.371/.536 triple-slash batting line in 2012 was enough to earn him an All-Star spot, but Chicago is reportedly listening to offers on the powerful lefty. LaHair isn't arbitration eligible until 2015 and is producing well above his $483,000 salary for 2012, so the asking price is elevated even though most experts expect a harsh regression to the mean during the second half of the season. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Cubs "will listen on Bryan LaHair, but the price remains high."

At 29 years old, LaHair doesn't fit cleanly into the long-term plans of the club, so finding younger talent on a cost-controlled deal is likely the goal in any trade scenario.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Preview: North Siders Go For Series Victory

Matt Garza will take the mound for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday with an eye on giving the North Siders a series victory against the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a four-game set at Turner Field. The Cubs took the first and third games of the series, and will hope Garza can lead them to victory while simultaneously boosting his trade value in the process.

Garza is 4-6 on the season with a 4.01 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The 28-year old righty defeated the Houston Astros in his last start by allowing two earned runs over 5.1 innings on June 30.

Mike Minor will start for the Braves. The 24-year old is 4-6 with a 6.20 ERA and 1.47 ERA this season.

Game date/time: Thursday, July 5, 6:10 p.m. CT

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, Ga.

TV: CSN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Final Score: Anthony Rizzo And Bryan LaHair Go Deep In 5-1 Victory

For the first time this season, two pivotal cogs in the Chicago Cubs future each hit home runs in the same game. Right fielder Bryan LaHair hit his 14th dinger of the season to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the fourth, and 22-year old first baseman Anthony Rizzo added the exclamation point with a line drive solo homer in the eighth inning as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Wednesday at Turner Field. Rizzo and LaHair were the only hitters in the Chicago lineup to finish to finish with two hits.

Starter Paul Maholm pitched well for the Cubs, allowing eight hits and one earned run over six innings to improve to 6-6.

The win lifts Chicago to 31-50 on the season, while the Braves fall to 42-39.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Ian Stewart Injury: Cubs 3B To Have Wrist Surgery On Tuesday

Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart will undergo left wrist surgery on Tuesday at Cleveland Clinic, as Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. It's been reported that Stewart will likely miss the remainder of the season with the injury, as he'll be sidelined for 6-10 weeks.

It's been another miserable season for Stewart, who was acquired before the season from the Colorado Rockies after a terrible 2011 campaign. He didn't rebound at all in 2012, hitting .201/.292/.335 with five homers over 202 plate appearances before going on the disabled list last month.

The Cubs are still looking for their solution at third base since allowing Aramis Ramirez to leave through free agency during the offseason. Luis Valbuena is currently getting a shot after playing well in a 58-game stint with Triple-A Iowa, but the 26-year-old has a .226/.284/.354 line in 870 career MLB plate appearances.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Lineups: Full Stable Of Starters Going On Independence Day

Most of the nation has the day off, but the Chicago Cubs have essentially their full lineup of starters going against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. While the nation celebrates its independence once again on the Fourth of July, the Cubs are getting back to work after Tuesday's defeat to the Braves.

Here's the Cubs' full lineup:

And the Braves' lineup:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves: Maholm Tries To Solve Road Issues

The Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves have split the first two games of their four-game series in Atlanta, and both teams will be looking to gain the upper hand in tonight's match up. On the mound for the Cubs will be Paul Maholm, and opposing him will be Braves starter Randall Delgado.

Maholm is 5-6 on the season with a 4.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, and he's coming off of a June that was by most measures his worst month of the season so far. That said, he did at least end it on a high note, with a shutout over 8.1 innings of the Houston Astros on June 29. Maholm has faced the Braves once so far this season, throwing seven shutout innings on May 9.

The start for Maholm also gives him another opportunity to figure out why he has been so drastically bad away from Wrigley Field this season. At home his ERA is 3.26, and he's posted a 1.05 WHIP and .223 BAA. On the road, though, he's been apocalyptic: 7.15 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and .328 BAA

Game date/time: Wednesday, July 4, 6:10 p.m. CT

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, Ga.

TV: WGN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Final Score: North Siders Lose Game No. 50

The Atlanta Braves exploded for 10 runs on 10 hits to secure a 10-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on Tuesday. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens allowed nine hits and three runs over five innings to improve to 2-2. The Braves move to 42-38 with the win, while the North Siders fall to 30-50.

The Cubs led 3-1 heading into the fifth inning, but Atlanta exploded for five runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth to take a commanding lead. The fifth was highlighed by a three RBI triple from Michael Bourn and a solo shot from Jason Heyward.

Chris Volstad was tagged for seven hits and six earned runs over 4.1 innings. He falls to 0-7 on the season.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves: Weather Pushes Start Of Tuesday's Game Back To 7:00 p.m. CT

Inclement weather has pushed back the start time of Tuesday night's game between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. The game is now set to get underway at 7:00 p.m. CT, which is around 50 minutes after it was originally scheduled to begin.

Related: Cubs Vs. Braves Lineups: Chicago Sends Out Volstad-Clevenger Battery To Keep Their Streak Alive

When the game does finally get started, Chris Volstad will be on the mound for Chicago as the Cubs try to extend their current four-game winning streak. The Cubs have allowed just three runs over the course of those four games.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Lineups: Chicago Sends Out Volstad-Clevenger Battery To Keep Their Streak Alive

The Chicago Cubs (30-49) are riding their longest winning streak of the season -- a mere four games -- and they hope SP Chris Volstad can give them enough pitching to outlast a typically dangerous offense from the Atlanta Braves (41-38).

Volstad started the season as the Cubs No. 4 starter, but was demoted after sporting a 7.46 ERA and 4.00 FIP through 8 starts. He spent the next month in Triple-A Iowa, where he appeared to regain his command, starting 8 games with a 4.44 ERA and a strong 3.69 FIP.

Catching Volstad on Tuesday will be C Steve Clevenger, who starts his second game in a row despite a healthy C Geovany Soto. Here's a look at the full lineups, courtesy of the official Cubs Twitter account:

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves: Chris Volstad Still Searching For First Win On Tuesday

The win-loss record for pitchers is something largely ignored by the sabermetric community, but for Chris Volstad there is nothing deceiving about his 0-6 record this season. His 7.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP explain his troubles with preventing baserunners and big hits in 2012 as well. Volstad hasn't started since May 17, but he was called up for a spot start on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, so he will have another chance to end his winless streak this season as he starts opposite Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens.

The Cubs have been awful on the road (11-29) in 2012, but the Braves have exactly inspired confidence at home (18-21), either.

Game 2 Date & Time: Tuesday, June 3, 6:10 p.m. CT

TV: CSN-Chicago

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Final Score: Jeff Samardzija Strikes Out 11 As Cubs Win 4th Game In A Row

For the first time this season, the Chicago Cubs have won four games in a row. Chicago took the opener of a four-game series vs. the Atlanta Braves on Monday night with a 4-1 victory at Turner Field. The win moves the Cubs to 30-49 on the season, while Atlanta falls to 41-38.

Starter Jeff Samardzija was the star for Chicago, striking out 11 and surrendering only four hits and one run to improve to 6-7 on the season.

Anthony Rizzo got the scoring started with his second homer for the Cubs, a solo blast in the fourth inning. The Braves would tie the game in the sixth, but the Cubs surged ahead for good in the seventh when Luis Valbuena doubled to right with the bases loaded to score three runs.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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David DeJesus Injury: Cubs OF Day-To-Day With Stiff Neck

Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus is not starting the team's game against Atlanta on Monday, but the reason isn't serious; DeJesus has a stiff neck and is considered day-to-day, according to Carrie Muskat.

Related: Cubs Transactions 2012: Chicago Signs SS Frandy De La Rosa Out Of The Dominican Republic

DeJesus has appeared in 73 games for the Cubs this season, spending time in both center and right field. He's hitting .262/.362/.391 with 15 doubles, five triples, two home runs and 21 RBI.

Tony Campana is in the lineup in center for the Cubs Monday night, with Alfonso Soriano in his usual spot in left and Bryan LaHair in right.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Ryan Dempster Injury: Cubs RHP Throws 40 Pitches Off Mound, On Track To Return After All-Star Break

Injured Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster threw 40 pitches off a mound during the latest step in his recovery, and he's on schedule to return to the team following the All-Star break, according to ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla.

Related: Cubs Transactions 2012: Chicago Signs SS Frandy De La Rosa Out Of The Dominican Republic

The veteran righthander was in the midst of an outstanding season before being sidelined: in 81 innings pitched over 12 starts for the Cubs, he struck out 66, walked 22 and compiled a 2.11 ERA.

He's also been the subject of several trade rumors during the 2012 season.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Ian Stewart Injury: Cubs 3B Will Have Wrist Surgery, Miss At Least 6 Weeks

Injured Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart is going to undergo a procedure on his left wrist that is expected to keep him out for a minimum of six weeks and may prevent him from playing in another game this season.

Related: Cubs Transactions 2012: Chicago Signs SS Frandy De La Rosa Out Of The Dominican Republic

Stewart himself tweeted Sunday that the recovery would be anywhere from six to 10 weeks.

In 55 games played for the Cubs in 2012, Stewart has hit .201/.292/.335 with five doubles, five home runs and 17 RBI.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Lineups: CF Tony Campana Leading Off Against SP Tommy Hanson

The Chicago Cubs (29-49) shake up their batting order on Monday as they hope to preserve their longest winning streak of the season against the Atlanta Braves (41-37). The Cubs, fresh off sweeping the Houston Astros, will start speedy CF Tony Campana in the leadoff spot, hoping to take advantage of a Braves defense that is tied for the 7th worst caught stealing rate (80%) in the league.

Here is a look at the full lineups, courtesy of MLB Daily Lineups:

Cubs Lineup

  1. Tony Campana (L) CF
  2. Starlin Castro (R) SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano (R) LF
  5. Bryan LaHair (L) RF
  6. Steve Clevenger (L) C
  7. Darwin Barney (R) 2B
  8. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
  9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P

Braves Lineup

  1. Michael Bourn (L) CF
  2. Martin Prado (R) LF
  3. Jason Heyward (L) RF
  4. Chipper Jones (S) 3B
  5. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
  6. Dan Uggla (R) 2B
  7. Brian McCann (L) C
  8. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
  9. Tommy Hanson (R) P

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Transactions 2012: Chicago Signs SS Frandy De La Rosa Out Of The Dominican Republic

According to Baseball America, the Chicago Cubs have come to terms with international free agent SS Frandy de la Rosa:

The highly-touted shortstop will join the Cubs minor leagues with a $700,000 signing bonus. The 16-year-old stands at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and is not generally expected to remain at shortstop by the time he reaches the majors.

The Cubs are no strangers to signing foreign free agents. One of the team's 2012 All-Star representatives -- SS Starlin Castro -- originally signed with the team as an amateur free agent out of the Domincan Republic in 2006.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more comprehensive coverage of this series, visit Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Braves blog Talking Chop. For more MLB coverage, check out Baseball Nation as well as MLB Daily Dish.

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Cubs Vs. Braves Preview: Chicago Begins Road Trip In Atlanta

Chicago begins a four-game series against the Braves on Monday.

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