Sunday, May 29, 2011

Former Cub Updates: May 29

For the first time this year, it's time to check in on all the ex-Cubbies from recent years and see how they are doing. It is also interesting to follow up on the guys who have departed in the past two years and to go way back and bring up some names that have not been talked about for awhile. For this former Cub update, let's check in on members of the '09 and '10 teams that are no longer with the squad.

  • Derrek Lee (Baltimore): .231 AVG, 40 games, 4 HR, 14 RBI

  • Ted Lilly (LAD): 3-4, 4.41 ERA

  • Mike Fontenot (SF): .207 AVG, 2 HR, 9 RBI

  • Tom Gorzelanny (Washington): 2-4, 4.25 ERA

  • Carlos Silva (NYY): Has appeared in five minor league games, has not been called up yet

  • Milton Bradley (Seattle): .218 AVG, 28 games, 2 HR

  • Sam Fuld (TB): .227 AVG, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 47 games

  • Micah Hoffpauir: Playing in Japan for Nippon Ham Fighters, no stats available

  • Aaron Miles (LAD): .275 AVG, 44 games

  • Xavier Nady (Arizona): .275 AVG, 34 games

  • Ryan Theriot (STL): .303 AVG, 45 games

  • Jeff Gray: 2.70 ERA in 6 games with CWS, 0.2 IP with Seattle

  • Kevin Gregg (Baltimore): 3.72 ERA, 20 games, 8 saves

  • Aaron Heilman (Arizona): 8.62 ERA in 14 games

  • Bobby Howry: Now retired

  • Rich Harden (Texas): On the 60 day DL with a right shoulder injury

  • Kevin Hart (Pit): 60 day DL after right shoulder surgery

That's it for now, we'll keep you posted on the ex-Cubbies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Quick Hits: Wells Activated, Coleman Sent Down, Lopez to Start & More

Lots of news and notes... let's jump right in!

  • Randy Wells has been activiated from the disabled list. He will make his second start of the season today against the Pirates, with the first pitch coming up at 12:05.

  • In a surprising move, the Cubs have elected to send Casey Coleman down to the Triple-A Iowa instead of letting him remain in the rotation until Matt Garza's return.

  • Newcomer Rodrigo Lopez will move into the rotation and start on Monday against the Reds. He was originially expected to be a swingman in the bullpen, but instead he will join Wells, Zambrano, Dempster and Doug Davis in the starting five.

  • According to a tweet from Carrie Muskat, Marlon Byrd looks much better. Swelling has gone down.

  • Today's Cubs outfield has a different look, with Louis Montenez starting in right field and Tony Campana in center. Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker are both dealing with nagging injuries.

  • Geovany Soto went 0-for-3 in his first rehab apperance at Double-A. He will make his first start tonight. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Cubs on Monday.

  • Brett Jackson is rehabbing with the Mesa Cubs. After that work is complete, he will rejoin the Tennessee Smokies. Word is that he is not that far away from being able to play in the bigs.

  • Last year's number one pick, pitcher Hayden Simpson, is currently pitching at Class-A Peoria. Oneri Fleita told Bruce Miles that he removes the radar guns when Simpson pitches because he does not want him worried too much about speed.

  • The Cubs have 40 total errors this season, the second most in MLB.

  • Bruce Levine points out that Doug Davis has not been the answer for the Cubs. He's 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted as the Cubs try to push through these injuries!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cubs Add Lopez to Pen Mix

The Cubs have added another arm to their pitching corpse. Rodrigo Lopez has been acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves. In return, the Cubs send minor league hurler Ryan Butcher. Lopez inked a minor league deal with the Braves before this season and was 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA at Triple-A.

Lopez will be added to the Cubs active roster and used as a swingman out of the pen. He is expected to join the team tomorrow. Justin Berg has been send down to Iowa to make room on the roster. Lopez will join the team on Friday.

Randy Wells will be activated to start Saturday's game against the Pirates. The Cubs still have two starters on the DL (Cashner and Garza), so both Davis and Coleman will remain in the rotation for now. We'll wait and see which one is removed once Garza returns.

The Cubs will have to send down another pitcher, most likely Scott Maine, to make room for Wells. Geovany Soto is expected to return soon, so Welington Castillo will also go back to Iowa as the Cubs slowly get healthier.

The Cubs have just two days off between now and the All-Star Break. In addition, on June 28 they will host the Giants for a day/night twin bill. Hopefully the weather will allow the Pirates to get three full games in this weekend.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on everything Cubs as always.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Off Day Chatter as the Injuries Pile Up

First of all, sorry about the lack of blogging that has occurred throughout the month of May. I've had a very busy schedule and unfortunately this blog ends up getting shortchanged. I plan to slowly but surely return to more regular blogging. By the first or second week of June, we will be in full swing with everyday posting throughout the summer.

For now, let's take a look at the lengthy list of injuries that are plaguing the Cubs.

  • MaNumbered Listrlon Byrd was hit in the face in a scary moment during Saturday's Cubs/Red Sox games. He has been placed on the 15-day DL to recover. Reed Johnson will have to pick up the slack and receive regular playing time in centerfield. Tony Campana will see an increased role as the now fourth outfielder. Byrd's roster spot was filled by an extra pitcher, but the Cubs could decide to add a fifth outfielder this week. Lou Montanez was scratched from the Iowa Cubs game today and there is a rumor that he will be called up.

  • Top centerfield prospect Brett Jackson is currently dealing with an injury of his own, so he is not an option.

  • Geovany Soto has been sidelined with a groin injury. Soto is expected to come off the disabled list in the next week. In his absence, Koyie Hill has seen much of the playing time and continued to do very little at the plate while committing several errors in the field. Weligton Castillo received the nod behind the dish on Sunday and was charged with catcher's interference.

  • Andrew Cashner suffered a major setback and is expected to be out most of the summer. He is shut down once against, pretty much starting over in his rehab process.

  • Randy Wells is on the road to a return. He pitched in a rehab start for Iowa yesterday and everything went fine. He could return to the rotation as soon as next week. The Cubbies need him back as they their fourth and fifth starters have struggled.

  • James Russell received another emergency start on Sunday as Matt Garza went down with the latest injury. Team physicians were to exam Garza's elbow today. The Cubs hope he will return for his next start.

  • Jeff Baker was the latest to be bit by the injury bug when he strained his left groin during Sunday's game. There is no word on how severe his injury is.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rain Out Theatre

Today's game between the Cubs and the Giants at Wrigley Field has been postponed due to rain. The contest will be made up as part of a day/night double header on Tuesday, June 28. Those with tickets for today's game will receive tickets for the 1:20 game on the 28th and the scheduled game will take place under the lights. To entertain you on this rain Sunday, let's catch up on some Cub-related nuggets.

  • The Sun Times has reported that Tyler Colvin could be headed for the minors. With Reed Johnson and Kosuke both playing well, there may not be room for Colvin, who is hitting just .113, to get much playing time. Blake DeWitt was in the starting lineup in left field for today's game before it was called.

  • Geovany Soto suffered a groin strain on injury and was placed on the DL. He will head to Mesa to work out while the Cubs are on their next road trip.

  • The Cubs game on June 19 at Wrigley against the Yankees will start at 7:09 on ESPN as the Sunday Night Baseball game.

  • Justin Berg was optioned to Triple-A Iowa yesterday to make room for Doug Davis, who pitched five strong innings in his Cubs debut.

  • Mike Quade has announced that with today's rainout, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza will pitch the two games in Cincinnatti. Ryan Dempster and Casey Coleman will work the two games in Florida Wednesday and Thurday. Doug Davis will pitch the opener against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.

  • All seven games on the upcoming trip are under the lights. There will be six straight 6:10 starts before the 7:10 ESPN game on Sunday night in the series finale with the Bo-Sox.

  • Randy Wells will pitch a rehab start in Peoria on Tuesday night. Bruce Miles reports that he could be activated to pitch for the big league club on Sunday night. Randy worked an extended spring game last week, click here for Arizona Phil's recap.

  • Last night was the Cubs first rain shortened game since the Cubs 6-1 five inning win over the Pirates in May 2009. It was also the first Saturday night game at Wrigley in 13 years.

  • If the Cubs send down Colvin, they will like add an extra outfielder from Triple-A Iowa. Lou Montenez is hitting .369, Tony Campana .339 and Brad Snyder checks in at .308. Fernando Perez, who lost out on the final outfield spot to Reed Johnson in spring training, has struggled all season long and has an average of just .202.

  • Top prospect Brett Jackson, who is an outfielder as well, is currently out with a finger injury.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Remembering Ronnie Roundup: Book Set to Come Out

Pat Hughes and Rich Wolfe have finished writing their book Ron Santo: A Perfect Ten in honor of the late Cubs legend. It is now available for pre-order on Preordered copies of the book will be shipped out on Thursday, June 2. The price is $25. Hughes and Wolfe spoke with many people who were touched by Santo and new Ron closely and published their thoughts. Contributors to the book include:

  • Ron Santo Jr., Ronnie's son

  • Pat Hughes, co-author and Santo's partner on WGN Radio for 15 years

  • Kerry Wood, Cubs pitcher from '98 to '08 while Ronnie was in the booth. Santo's favorite current Cub.

  • Vicki Santo, Ron's wife

  • Jeff Santo, Ron's son

  • Linda Santo-Brown, Ron's daughter

  • Judy Santo, Ronnie's ex-wife

  • Frank Sevelli and Bill Chatalas, childhood friends of Ron Santo

  • Bud Selig, MLB commissioner

  • Tom Ricketts, the chairman of the Cubs

  • Ned Colletti, Dodgers GM and friend of Ron

  • Crane Kenney, Cubs President

  • John McDonough, former Cubs front office man, now with the Blackhawks

  • Mike Murphy, radio personality

  • David Kaplan, WGN Radio and Comcast Sports Net host

  • Bruce Miles, Cubs beat writer for the Daily Herald

  • Fred Mitchell, writer for the Chicago Tribune

  • Matt Boltz, producer engineer of Cubs baseball on WGN Radio since 2000

  • Judd Sirott, worked with Ron for two years on Cubs radio, current pre/post host

  • Cory Provus, worked with Ron for two years on WGN Radio for 1 inning of play-by-play and pregame show

  • Andy Masur, was the first to work as the third member of the booth with Pat and Ron, did so far seven seasons

  • Thom Brennaman, Ron's only other broadcast partner besides Pat

I cannot wait until I have my hands on a copy of the book!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Good & The Bad From This Week in Cubs Baseball

Here is what has been going on lately with the Chicago Cubs, starting with the positives.

  • They came from behind in the ninth inning on Saturday for their first dramatic victory of the season.

  • The starting rotation looked solid all week long, with Casey Coleman, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster all turning in strong pitching performances.

  • Jeff Baker has continued to play a key role for this team.

  • Carlos Pena has busted out of his power drought with three long balls.

  • The Cubs homered their way to a series victory in Las Angeles.

  • Kosuke Fukudome is red hot at the plate. It is crucial for him to continue to hit at least until Tyler Colvin gets his act together.

  • Mike Quade has used his bench and rotated guys so that everyone gets some needed rest.

  • Marcos Mateo and Jeff Samardzija have both continued to do a fantastic job in the bullpen. Mateo earned his first career victory on Saturday.

  • Darwin Barney has stayed conistent.

On the negative side:

  • The Cubs found a way to lose the series to the Reds today. They did not get any offense to support Ryan Dempster.

  • Starlin Castro had the worst week of his young career, continuing a horrific slump after a torrid start.

  • The Cubs still have not won a Sunday game all season.

  • Kerry Wood could not get his job done on Saturday, although the Cubs eventually won the game.

  • The Cubs left the bags loaded twice in Sunday's loss. They had the bases full with nobody out in Friday's defeat and failed to do any further scoring.

  • Failure to drive guys in from third with less than two out continues to irk the Cubs.

  • Marlon Byrd continues to hit third and continues to do very little.

  • Aramis Ramirez has been at the plate in some key spots and failed to come up with needed base hits.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! The Cubs have an off day tomorrow before they play the Cardinals for the first time this season starting Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. I will try to have several updates throughout the week as I plan to start daily blogging back up in less than a month!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Latest on the Cubs Rotation

James Russell has struggled every time he has received the ball as the Cubs fifth starter. He has been given enough opportunities (4) to prove he can start, but it is clear that he is better suited for the pen. His ERA for the season is 7.85 and his record stats at 1-2.

That being said, the Cubs are in an interesting position. Next Saturday is the next time that they will need the fifth starter. The two injured pitchers, Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, are making progress but neither will be ready next week. The Cubs options are dwindling.

According to a tweet from Carrie Muskat, former Cardinals right hander Todd Wellemyer, who was pitching in the minors for the Cubs, has retired. He was given a minor league contract and a chance to start in spring training, but a hip injured hindered his progress. He pitched on 3.2 innings for Triple-A Iowa, allowing four runs on eight hits in his lone start last Thursday.

The Sun Times has reported that LHP Doug Davis will work for Iowa on Wednesday, ruling him out for Saturday's start. Davis worked 6.2 scoreless frames for for Class-A Daytona on Thursday.

Wells and Casher both threw on the side yesterday. They will toss live BP at HoHoKam Park in Arizona sometime in the next week.

Ramon Ortiz, signed in April to potential help bolster the rotation at some point, is 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in five games for the I-Cubs. He could be the prime candidate for Saturday's start against the Giants if the Cubs go with someone other than Russell. The top pitching prospect at Triple-A is Jay Jackson, who could be called up for his big league debut. Cubs relievers Jeff Samardzija and Marcos Mateo are in the mix, but it is unlikely that the team will decide to go in that direction.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted.