Archive - May 2010

In the spirit of honoring the Chicago Blackhawks, who are now just two games away from the Stanley Cup championship, and temporarily ignoring the black comedy that is the Chicago Cubs, here is a video that will warm the heart of every Hawks fan who remembers the joy of listening to the great Lloyd Pettit. (Pettit, of course, also worked alongside Jack Brickhouse in the Cubs broadcast booth for several years.)

The video was mentioned in Ed Sherman's Business of Sports column last week in Crain's Chicago Business.

Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 1st inning RBI double, leading one squad of Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Giants on Field #3, while the other squad of Giants defeated the other squad of Cubs 6-2 on Field #2, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played a Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring training split squad doubleheader at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. Both games were stopped after eight innings.


Making his first appearance on the mound since throwing 16 consecutive balls (no strikes) and walking all four batters he faced in a game versus the EXST Angels at Diablo Park on April 28th, RHP Chris Huseby appeared to be headed down a similar path today, throwing seven of his first eight pitches for balls, before allowing a two-run RBI triple. However, he then suddenly seemed to turn a corner, and proceeded to strike out the side on just 10 pitches (all strikes), stranding the runner at 3rd. Then after completing his one inning of work, Huseby remained in the game as a DH, grounding out 6-3 in the 3rd and reaching base on a HBP (glancing blow off his helmet) in the 5th, before heading for the clubhouse.

A collective cheer can be heard in that state of mind known as Wrigleyville...

UPDATE: (tweet from Gordon Wittenmeyer) Grabow to DL, Cashner called up.


I wrote this piece before the update. Sometimes things just make sense.

Randy Wells, aka Buzz Lightyear "To Infinity and Beyond" (5 runs and no outs is an ERA of ∞) gets a DO-OVER. After Randy Wells failed on just about all of the 16 pitches (and 5 runs) he threw in the first inning 'bullpen' tryout on friday vs the Cardinals. He gets to show management that he actually can once again go deep into a game with a quick return to the first inning on the holiday-day game against the Pirates. His competition for that bullpen spot, Tom Gorzellany won the battle to the bullpen. Gorz matched Wells with five quick runs vs the Dodgers on Wednesday's game which was so disappointing that Com-Ed pulled the plug on the Wrigley light grid.

Wells also is returning to the scene of the crime from May 6th, his other ugly outing. As we recall, he also gave up 5 first inning runs in the first on two walks, two singles and two doubles. Lou didn't have quite the quick hook that day as Wells stayed in to give up two more runs in the 2nd inning in what was to be an 11-1 blowout to the Buccos.

Oh, oh Domino. Tom Gorzellany will be in the pen, ready to pitch mop up in the first few innings if history should repeat itself. Gorz, the newest long reliever supplants big Z in the bullpen. Zambrano is supposed to start Wednesday in Pittsburgh, although Z never did get stretched out in a game even as the opportunity presented itself in Wells "oopsie" friday.

With all the roster shuffling soon to occur, the questions are who goes away when Andrew Cashner arrives this week and why isn't Cashner coming today? Is it management indecision or can't they get the radiologist who read John Grabow's MRI  to review it again to see that there IS something wrong, very wrong.

From today's Sun-Times:

Grabow already has undergone an MRI on his left knee after experiencing discomfort, but no injury was found.

May 30th

Here are the unofficial statistics for EXST Cubs players updated through May 29th. (There is no Official Scorer at Cactus League Extended Spring Training games, so the stats are not official).

The long-awaited announcements have been announced:

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the starting rotation on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Tom Gorzelanny be moved from the rotation to the bullpen, where he will joined by a new teammate...

Andrew Casher, who will be summoned from Iowa on Monday, according to Carrie Muskat. Cashner has given up four hits and a run in two innings pitched since the I-Cubs moved him into the pen. Overall, his numbers at Triple-A this year have been stunning. 0.86 ERA and 17/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 IP.

May 29th

Carlos Romero bounced a game-tying RBI single to right, Alvaro Ramirez lined an RBI single down the RF line, and Pin-Chieh Chen knocked-in two insurance runs with a two-run single, as the EXST Cubs rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the 8th to defeat the EXST Brewers 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa. The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning contest, so that more Brewer and Cub pitchers could get game work.


Besides the four-run rally in the 8th, other EXST Cubs highlights today included Tarlandus Mitchell and Austin Kirk combining to fan ten Brewers in just 5-1/3 innings, and Jesus Morelli extending his hit streak to 15 games with a 1st inning single. (Morelli is now hitting 382/447/574 in 21 EXST games since being moved down to Extended Spring Training from Peoria).

Another indescribably beautiful summer day in Chicago; not bad since we're still in May.

Rookie Adam Ottavino, a first-round draft pick back in '06, has been called up to make this start for the Cardinals in place of the injured Kyle Lohse. I don't actually know what the Cubs' recent record is against guys making their Major League debuts, but I feel like it's horrendous. (This game from earlier this year leaps to mind, though Leake has certainly performed well overall.)

May 28th

Rafael Disla, Cody Shields, and Xavier Batista ripped RBI triples in a five-run Cub 7th, leading the EXST Cubs to an 8-3 victory over the EXST A’s in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.


21-year old Cuban Defector RHP Juan Yasser Serrano got the start for the Cubs and went three innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out two. This was Serrano’s third appearance in the last week, and his pitch count has been increased each time out (one inning - 13 pitches last Saturday, two innings - 23 pitches this past Tuesday, and now three innings - 40 pitches today), as it appears that the Cubs are making an effort to get him through Extended Spring Training as quickly as possible. Serrano received a reported $250K bonus (essentially equivalent to "4th round money") when he was signed by the Cubs this past March.


UPDATE: Apparently this was old news, or at least in that the Dempster agreed to this awhile back according to Levine and the money was already used to sign Xavier Nady.


Ryan Dempster has pulled a rather surprising move by agreeing to defer $3M of his salary from this year over the next 3 years at little to no interest. This is according to a Ken Rosenthal tweet. I'm sure we'll get the rest of the story soon enough and see if this was just Dempster's idea or the Cubs approached him because of an impending deal.

Granted deferring $3M when you make $12.5M is like deciding between taking out the Rolls Royce or the Lamborghini for a spin, but it shall never be uttered that Ryan Dempster isn't a team player.

UPDATE: Aramis Ramirez, who received a cortisone injection in his aching left hand yesterday, is back in the Cub lineup. Here's the batting order: Fukudome 9, Theriot 4, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Byrd 8, Soto 2, Castro 6, Wells 1


It's such a spectacular day in Chicago today, it's easy to imagine I live somewhere else.

As for this afternoon's matchup at Wrigley, if it seems late in the year for the Cardinals and Cubs to be meeting for the first time, that's because it is. Not since 1999 have the clubs gone this deep into the calendar without looking directly into each other's hate-filled eyes.

Our Cubs, winners of 8 of 11, seem to have dodged two injury bullets: Jeff Baker's problem yesterday, which included the loss of vision in his right eye, has been diagnosed as an ocular migraine. According to @CarrieMuskat this morning, he is now fine and is uniform. Also, Carlos Zambrano has fully recovered from whatever he had yesterday that seemed like it might be appendicitis but turned out not to be, and he is also ready to go. (BREAKING NEWS: Z's problem was "food-related." Do you really need to know any more?)

May 27th

Watching some daytime MLB. Camera just zoomed in & didn't realize it caught a pitcher cheating. Don't ask me who/what. Tricks of the trade.

That was a tweet from @CJNitkowski at mid-afternoon Thursday, sent while the former Major Leaguer kicked back and watched sixth-inning action between the Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Bill Shaikin's story in the LA Times explains what caught the attention of Nitkowski and the Dodgers' Casey Blake, who had singled and was standing on first base.

Tags: 

Runey Davis drove-in four runs with a bases-loaded triple and an RBI single, Sergio Burruel knocked-in two more with a two-run single, and Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI double, leading the EXST Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the EXST Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #2 this morning in Mesa.

Going for two of three against the Dodgers and some semblance of momentum as the Cardinals come to town over the weekend.

Dodgers against Ted Lilly (1-4, 4.30):
Martin 2, Paul 9, Kemp 8, Blake 5, Loney 3, Johnson 7, DeWitt 4, Carroll 6, Ely 1 

Cubs against John Ely (3-1, 3.41):
Theriot 4, Castro 6, Lee 3, Byrd 8, Fukudome 9, Nady 7, Baker 5, Soto 2, Lilly 1

May 26th

Yeeechhh! That was nasty.

Wednesday night at Wrigley, the Cubs spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead, squandered opportunities to get the game close or even, then did get the game close, failed to get it closer, and lost.

Here's a professional summary of the 8-5 defeat, which was interrupted by an 18-minute power outage in the fourth inning.

Some quick thoughts...

— Tom Gorzelanny struggled with his command from the outset and all in all, pitched just poorly enough to provide some public relations cover to Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella in the next few days, when, I'm thinking, they will officially yank the lefty from the rotation in favor of Carlos Zambrano.

The EXST Cubs and EXST Giants played a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning, with the Giants rallying with two runs in the bottom of the 7th to take the game played on Field #3 by a score of 4-2, while the other squads of Cubs and Giants played to a 4-4 tie on Field #4 as the Giants scored the tying run in the bottom of the 8th. (The game on Field #4 was stopped after eight innings).

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