CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs optioned infielder Nico Hoerner and reliever Brad Wieck to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday.
Veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin was released, and right-handers Shelby Miller, Pedro Strop and Trevor Megill were assigned to minor league camp, along with outfielder Rafael Ortega. Miller, Strop, Megill and Ortega were nonroster invitees to big league spring training.
Hoerner, a first-round pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of Stanford, was in the mix for the starting job at second base. He had a strong spring, batting .361 with a homer and six RBIs.
The move likely means David Bote or Eric Sogard will be the opening-day second baseman Thursday against Pittsburgh. The 34-year-old Sogard is in camp on a minor league deal, but the team has told Major League Baseball he will be added to the big league roster.
The Cubs could delay Hoerner’s eligibility for salary arbitration until after the 2023 season if they keep him in the minors for 30 to 50 days, unless there are changes in the next collective bargaining agreement. He batted .222 with no homers and 13 RBIs last year during the pandemic-shortened season.
The 30-year-old Miller had pushed for a spot on Chicago’s staff, either as a starter or a swingman out of the bullpen. He allowed one earned run in nine innings this spring, striking out 12.
The moves reduced the Cubs’ spring roster to 31 players.