Cubs News Round-Up: Maddux Hired, McGwire Admits 'Roid Use, Sky is Blue
The Cubs aren't doing much but a couple of nifty P.R. moves before the Cubs convention. The first is a rumor that if Cooperstown puts Andre Dawson in as a Cub, the Cubs will likely retire his number 8.
Dawson has been promised by the Cubs to have his No. 8 uniform number retired if he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Cub, a source close to Dawson said on Sunday.
The articles do say that if he goes in as an Expo, they still might do it, but it appears if it's as a Cub, it's a certainty. And this is where I unpopularly wonder out loud why they're going to retire Dawson's number in either case? I say he should be lining up behind Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace and even Rick Sutcliffe before getting his number retired, as all are far more identifiable with the Cubs than Dawson in my not-so-humble opinion (and no Sutcliffe should not get his number retired). And if Dawson is the Cub standard for getting a number retired, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez might as well send out their "set-the-date" cards for their eventual ceremonies.
*historical footnote at end of the post
- The Cubs have hired Greg Maddux as a special assistant to Jim Hendry, Bruce Levine spells out his role with the club.
Maddux's duties will include helping with instruction for both major-leaguers and minor-leaguers during spring training, as well as scouting duties throughout the season.
According to a source with knowledge of the signing, Maddux will be at the beck and call of Hendry during the season to evaluate minor-league affiliates and give thegeneral manger input when trades or free-agent signings are being considered.
Always good to have Maddux associated with the Cubs in some manner...time to start the Sandberg (manager)/Maddux(pitching coach) for 2011 campaign!!!
- Mark McGwire sent out a press statement today admitting to his steroid use over a 10-year period.
"I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again," McGwire said in his statement. "I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season."
Now if Sosa would just get it out of the way so we can move on to his number retiring ceremony.
- In spring training news, Crane Kenney is in Arizona today and the state is working on passing some funding referendums if a deal is struck.
- Condolences to Angel Guzman and his family...Guzman's brother was shot yesterday in Venezuela and passed away.
* It came to my attention that the NL didn't start wearing numbers until 1932, which would exclude most of the Cubs in the Hall of Fame from having a number retired except for Gabby Hartnett. So if the Cubs policy is indeed only players elected to the Hall of Fame that go in as Cub (and Ron Santo), then I'll pull back the reins on my rant. Of course, I think he should go in as an Expo myself, but if it as a Cub and that is their unstated policy, then might as well be consistent.
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.