Over the weekend the Cubs called up pitcher Mitch Atkins from Iowa to replace James Russell in the bullpen. Russell got rocked by the White Sox on Friday and as I was watching the game I said to WW Jr., "Say good-bye to James Russell."
And sure enough, the next day he was gone, shipped back to Iowa.
This is Atkins' second stint with the Cubs. Last year, he spent three days with the Cubs in late July when they needed a fresh arm in the bullpen. He pitched in two games, one inning in each game, and didn't allow a run. During that short stint, I made a card for him.
With the precedent being set, I felt obligated to do the same this year.
So here my 2010 version of Mitch Atkins card.
Atkins was drafted by the Cubs in 2004 and is now in his seventh year in the organization. He has been used mainly as a starter. Last year at Iowa, he started 27 games and was 8-12 with a 6.58 ERA. This season he split his time between the rotation and the pen at Iowa, going 4-2 with a much better 2.62 ERA. At this point in his career, I'd say it's make it or break it time for Mitch Atkins.
In the two games the Cubs have played with Atkins on the roster, the starting pitching has been very good. Carlos Silva went seven innings and Ted Lilly pitched into the ninth inning (soooo close with the no-no, Ted!), so the Cubs haven't needed Atkins. Actually, the better the starting pitching is, the less need there is for a guy like Atkins. So here's hoping that Mitch Atkins gets very few appearances this year!