Andrew Cashner of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Athletics 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Andrew Cashner, currently on rehab assignment in the minors, will make an appearance or two for Triple-A Iowa before their season ends next Monday and then will join the Cubs bullpen for the rest of the major league season. Many of us are hoping that Cashner will rejoin the Cubs rotation in 2012, but at the very least, hope he's healthy enough to contribute in September.
After that, Cashner will head to the Arizona Fall League, along with five other Cubs: Chris Carpenter, Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson, Junior Lake and DJ LeMahieu. It doesn't seem likely that Jackson is going to be recalled for September, so if you want to see him play, the AFL is the place.
Players in the AFL often make impacts in the major leagues the following year, so you can see that guys like Carpenter, McNutt, Jackson and LeMahieu might be key parts of the 2012 Cubs. Junior Lake is a bit farther away, but I know Josh and a number of the rest of you who follow the minor leagues closely like him a lot.
Lefthander Jeff Beliveau will be on the taxi squad (eligible to play only on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Cubs in the AFL play for the Mesa Solar Sox, whose home games are at the Cubs' spring training park, Ho Ho Kam Park. The league will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 4; other stadiums will be Phoenix Muni, Peoria Sports Complex, Surprise Stadium, Scottsdale Stadium, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
The Rising Stars Game, kind of an All-Star Game for the AFL, will be on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Surprise Stadium, and the league championship game will be on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Scottsdale Stadium.