CHICAGO (AP) Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella has refused to report to Triple-A Iowa after being optioned to the minors nearly two weeks ago, and Chicago placed him on the temporary inactive list Tuesday.
La Stella started at third base for the Cubs in last year's wild-card victory over Pittsburgh. He was optioned to the minors on July 29 when Chicago activated outfielder Chris Coghlan off the disabled list.
The left-handed hitting La Stella is batting .295 with a .388 on-base percentage in 105 at-bats with the Cubs and didn't take the demotion well.
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''He's a 27-year-old kid working through some stuff and we're trying to give him time to work through those things,'' Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. ''We've had a lot of contact with him and we'll continue to do that.''
Manager Joe Maddon said he's communicated by text message with La Stella, who was back home in New Jersey working out.
''He's not angry. He's not upset,'' Maddon said. ''He's just at that point where he doesn't know exactly what he wants to do. That's it.''
La Stella will continue to get paid while he's on the inactive list.
Depth has been a good problem for the major league-leading Cubs this season. La Stella was vulnerable to being sent down despite his impressive numbers because he still has minor league options.
''This guy can flat out hit,'' Hoyer said.
Some Cubs players declined comment about La Stella, saying they didn't know enough about the situation. Others defended him.
''I don't know if anybody would say they saw that coming by any means,'' outfielder Jason Heyward said. ''But at the same time, somebody has got to be at peace with what they're doing.''
Outfielder Matt Szczur said he was ''sure'' La Stella will eventually report to Iowa.
''I'm really close to Tommy and we've been talking back and forth,'' Szczur said. ''He's trying to get in a good place. I can only support him.''
Hoyer said La Stella's absence will make the Cubs look for left-handed hitting elsewhere. He said when La Stella returns, it won't be with the Cubs.
''There's no doubt he's going to have to get at-bats and play in Triple-A before he can help the major league team,'' Hoyer said. ''He's going to get at-bats in Iowa, for sure.''