CHICAGO -- Two of the positions Cody Ransom is most comfortable with (second base and shortstop) are pretty well occupied in Chicago. Fortunately for the newly acquired Cub, he's got plenty of versatility.
The Cubs claimed Ransom off waivers on Tuesday, four days after he was designated for assignment by the Padres. He's played primarily shortstop in his 11-year Major League career, but also has experience at second base, first base and third base.
"This is year 16 now, so I've played a little everywhere," Ransom said. "Obviously short and second I've played a little more than anywhere else, but there's not a lot of opportunity here to play those. I'm comfortable at third, first, outfield. I've played a little of everywhere. It's the same thing -- catch it, throw it and try to do it the right way."
Ransom appeared in five games for the Padres -- three at third base -- before he was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. But with the return of Chase Headley and the Padres' need for relief help, Ransom was expendable. He went 0-for-11 with five strikeouts.
"I didn't do too well, I know that much," Ransom said. "Some balls that could have been hits, but they weren't. Chase is healthy now, and they needed some pitching for a few days to help them out. The bullpen was kind of getting taxed."
With Ian Stewart still on the mend, the Cubs can use the help at third.
"I feel like I can play a little bit everywhere, and when things are going OK I swing the bat good sometimes," Ransom said. "I hope there's an opportunity I get a chance to play, and I'm looking forward to it."
In young season, Rizzo launches longest HR
CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo's monster two-run homer in the third inning Thursday nearly traveled out of Wrigley Field. And ESPN Stats & Info measured it as the longest home run in baseball this season.
Rizzo's blast traveled 475 feet, propelling the Cubs to a 6-2 win in the series finale against the Rangers.
"Oh, cool," Rizzo said when told of his tape-measure home run. "I'm sure that won't last very long. There's a lot of good hitters in this league. It was just one of those things -- I got a good swing, a good pitch to hit and didn't try to do too much with it."
Starlin Castro walked after David DeJesus scored on a wild pitch, setting the table for Rizzo. He got a 2-1 fastball from Rangers starter Alexi Ogando and hit it to the top row of right-field seats at Wrigley Field.
It was followed by a solo home run by Alfonso Soriano, marking the first time the Cubs hit back-to-back homers this year. Rizzo went 1-for-4 on the afternoon, but he also hit the ball hard in his first and last at-bat.
"I feel like I found some things today," Rizzo said. "You've just got to build off the momentum here. It's big that Soriano hit as well today, and got that monkey off his shoulder -- home run and RBI. If this team's going to go, we have to take it. Soriano and I, we know we have to hit."
Garza to throw sim game after rehab start canceled
CHICAGO -- Because of inclement weather expected in the area, Matt Garza's rehab start for Class A Kane County has been canceled and he will throw a simulated game on Friday when the Cubs travel to Milwaukee.
Garza is still expected to throw two innings, about 35 pitches.
The right-hander is coming back after straining his left lat during a live batting-practice session Feb. 17 in Spring Training. He will make three to four rehab starts, and his next stop will likely be with Double-A Tennessee.
Third baseman Ian Stewart's rehab has also been slowed by weather. He's been playing with Triple-A Iowa, working his way back after straining his left quad in February.
"They got rained out [Wednesday]," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He was supposed to play three nine-inning games in a row, and they got rained out [Wednesday] and rained out [Thursday] already. It's still a slow process."
• With two rainouts already this season, including one on Wednesday, the Cubs' bullpen at least is well rested entering the weekend.
"Our starters have gone deep to where nobody's really gotten abused or anything anyway," Sveum said.
• Given Chicago's offensive struggles -- the Cubs entered Thursday ranked 28th in baseball in runs scored (44), 27th in batting average (.221) and 22nd in slugging (.372) -- Sveum said there are game situations where he may be more likely to try something creative at the plate.
"There are some times when you try to do things accordingly to the personnel you have at the plate or the guys you have on the basepaths," he said. "Sometimes you try to push the envelope a little bit or try to get guys out of slumps. … A lot of times it's hard to just play for one run because you're looking for certain things. Obviously [at Wrigley Field] you can play for just one run because the infield's in, because the wind's howling in or something like that, and certain times you know it's gonna be a low-scoring game."
• While many of his bullpen mates have struggled this season, James Russell has quietly put together one of the best early seasons of any situational lefty in baseball.
"Just his numbers alone dictate that, and the reliability and endurance that he has," Sveum said. "He's got a four-pitch mix to where he can get right-handers out as well. You can leave him in, obviously [he] demonstrated last year when he had to face a lot of right-handers and did a great job."
Russell has struck out six and allowed just one hit in 4 1/3 innings this year, entering Thursday.