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Time for Jim Hendry To Give Aaron Heilman His Walking Papers

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IJuly 29, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 8:  Aaron Heilman #47 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the game on July 8, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

After tonight's disappointing loss to the Houston Astros, general manager Jim Hendry should consider designating pitcher Aaron Heilman for assignment.

In the game against the Astros, Heilman allowed his 14th and 15th inherited runners (of the 30 he has inherited) to score and gave up an earned run himself to boot. The timing of this flap was rather terrible, as the Cubs were only down one run at the time with two outs in the eighth inning.

I have not been as outspoken as some Cubs writers about Heilman and his inability to pitch, but tonight was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Yes, I do realize that if Heilman were to be designated for assignment, the Cubs would be shorthanded in the bullpen. But couldn't a player like Jeff Stevens fill Heilman's spot in the bullpen?

Stevens has been solid since being recalled, allowing zero runs in the first 5.2 innings of his MLB career.

Tonight, against the Astros, Stevens was charged with his first two runs when Heilman relieved him and gave up a two-out triple.

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Granted, it is still early in Stevens' career, but he has pitched well against stiff competition including scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals

Yes, Heilman is a veteran pitcher who should be an asset to the Cubs' bullpen, but his inability to pitch in pressure situations makes him a dispensable player.

Although releasing Heilman may leave the Cubs bullpen short for the time being, with B.J. Ryan making his first Triple-A appearance and the trade deadline just two days away, higher-quality pitching solutions might be on the way.

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