May 2009

I-Cubs' Team BA [Colorado] Springs Near .300

The Iowa Cubs dropped the opener of a four game set in Colorado Springs by a score of 16-15 on Tuesday. They've won the next two by tallies of 18-4 and 17-4. 50 runs on 66[!] hits will getcha two out of three every time. Apparently there's no humidor at Security Service Field.

Jake Fox is back up to .420 with 107 total bases and 28 extra base hits in 30 games.

Lefty swinging Brad Snyder has poked five of his 11 HR's off of southpaws.

The Cubs and No-Trade Clauses

There was a brief discussion in the comments earlier this week about general manager Jim Hendry's liberal use of the no-trade clause. Reader WISCGRAD did the legwork to see if indeed Hendry hands them out like a lollipop after leaving the doctor's office or if it's line with other ballclubs.


No-trade clauses in player contracts are controversial. On the one hand, they are often necessary to attract or keep high-value free agents. On the other hand, towards the end of player’s career a team may wish to trade a player whose skills have declined, but are unable to do so. No-trade clauses can range from full – where the player must approve any trade during the length of the contract – to limited – where the player has no-trade rights for a specified period of time or to specific teams. Making the issue more complicated, the current collective bargaining agreement between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball automatically grants a player full no-trade rights if he has 10 or more years of major league service time and has been with his current team for 5 or more years. The following table lists all players with no-trade rights for the entire 2009 season. This excludes those players who recently signed as free agents and cannot be traded until June. The information was taken from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and each player was coded for the type of no-trade that applies to the 2009 season only. As one can see, with only a few exceptions, these are the cream of the crop of major league players (ed note - it's important to remember that the details of no-trade provisions or even their existence are not always made public and the information on Cot's Baseball Contracts should not be considered 100% reliable, but more as a good guide).

Berg and Carrillo Get Rehab Work at EXST

Sean Hoorelbeke slammed a double off the right-centerfield fence with two outs in the top of the 8th, scoring Chris Weimer from 1st base with the go-ahead run, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A's 3-2 in a rematch at the A's Minor League Complex Field #2 at Papago Park in Phoenix this morning.   

It Was Raining Cub Home Runs: Cubs 6, Padres 4

The Cubs claimed a rain-shortened victory Wednesday night, winning behind: Ted Lilly, who pitched into the seventh inning and improved to 5-2; Alfonso Soriano, who hit his 53rd career leadoff home run; Geovany Soto, who hit his first homer of the season after 96 plate appearances; and George Herman Theriot, who banged out two home runs and now has five in the month of May. (He had seven career homers in 380 games heading into this month.)

A's Not Laughing at Ha Trifecta

CF Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits, scored three runs, and made three circus catches in the outfield, leading the EXST Cubs to a 13-5 drubbing of the EXST A's at the Oakland A's Minor League Complex at Papago Park in Phoenix this morning.  

Bradley's Mammoth Shot

Milton was the talk of the town last night with the moonshot to replace all moonshots...one of the farthest non-steroid enhanced home runs I've ever seen. You can see the video at MLB.com. The story coming out this morning was that he may have been jawing with some of the fans in the on-deck circle and right at the end of the clip you can see him put his hand to his ear as if to say, "oh now you love me".  Bradley may have been addressing it to the whole crowd,  but with the little head nod at the end accompanied by the "we'll shut up now" looks on the faces of the clowns with the good seats, it looks more like a little give and take with the Wrigley faithful. Screen grabs after the jump....

Harden Bests Former, Almost-Cub Peavy: Cubs 6, Padres 2

On the 39th anniversary of Ernie Banks' 500th home run, Milton Bradley hit a titanic, two-run blast in the sixth inning to lead the Cubs and RIch Harden past Jake Peavy and the Padres.

In the first inning, Harden gave up a leadoff double to Brian Giles and one out later, a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez. He limited the Pads to just two more hits and held them scoreless over the remainder of his six innings, at one point retiring 13 San Diego hitters consecutively.

EXST Cubs Face Kelvim Escobar at Diablo Park

Dwayne Kemp drove in the go-ahead runs with a line drive two-run single to right-center in the top of the 11th, but the EXST Cubs could not hold the lead, as the EXST Angels rallied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, as the Cubs and Angels played to a 4-4 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.

The other offensive highlight for the Cubs was provided over the course of an inning by speedy Dominican lead-off hitter Jose Valdez, who reached base after being hit by a pitch to lead-off the top of the 5th, and then proceeded to steal 2nd, 3rd, and home.

For all you Angels fans out there (and you know who you are), RHSP Kelvim Escobar (on the 60-day DL after undergoing shoulder surgery) made a rehab start for the EXST Angels, throwing 1.2 IP (30 pitches) and retiring all five men he faced on three ground outs, a line drive, and a strikeout. 

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)...

Reinhard: I Got Next!

Just back from Principal Park where emergency starter Greg Reinhard tossed four hitless, shutout innings and left the game with a 4-0 lead over Memphis and Cardinal prospect P.J. Walters [who made his MLB debut on April 17th against the Cubs at Wrigley].

By the time Walters, whose middle name doesn't start with J, left the game he'd managed Memphis' only hit, a single in the 6th off of Vince Perkins.

Brad Snyder touched P.J. for a three-run homer in the 4th, the game's big blow so far.

To Arms; To Arms - The I-Cubs Are Coming!

I had a nice chat before Jeff Samardzija's return engagement in Des Moines Saturday night with I-Cub pitching coach Mike Mason. We talked about Jose Ascanio's pitch counts, Samardzija's repertoire, the organization's pitcher pecking order and the effect, if any, of yo-yoing between the bullpen in Chicago and the rotation in Des Moines on young arms and minds.

The Cubs Face Life Without Rammy

Assuming Aramis Ramirez is out of the Cub lineup for exactly 8 weeks from this past Friday night, he'll be back for the July 4th game between the Cubs and Brewers at Wrigley Field, the third game of a four-game series.

In the interim, the Cubs will play 48 games, including all 15 of their interleague games against AL Central teams. Ramirez will also miss 20 games against NL Central opponents and the one and only visit by the Dodgers to Wrigley Field, which, owing to other, non-injury events, will now be completely Ramirez-free.

Here is what the next 8 weeks hold for the Cubs and their two leading division rivals:

That's Not Humerus

Well, actually it is the humerus that sees all the action when one dislocates a shoulder.

The shoulder anatomy is based on giving the joint extreme flexibility including very close to a 360 degree arc of motion. To achieve this enhanced level of function, mother nature drew up a ball and socket joint with an extremely shallow socket (the glenoid, which is the joint component of the shoulder blade or scapula).

The comparable joint in the lower extremity is the hip which is also a ball and socket joint but with a much deeper socket. The hip doesn't need the same arc of motion for function. The trade off for less motion is much better stability.

A shoulder dislocation shouldn't be confused with a "separated shoulder" which is what is medically known as an injury to the A-C (acromio-clavicular) joint between the clavicle (collarbone) and the acromion (the shoulder blade's bony projection that connects it to the clavicle).

Ramirez Gets Hurt...Badly

In the bottom of the third inning, on a sharp grounder down the line, Aramis Ramirez fully extended to his right and immediately grabbed his arm. Initally it appeared that maybe he broke his elbow or another bone by his reaction, but the replay showed him immediately grabbing his hand and upper tricep area and nothing really impacted with the ground that would apper to lead to any broken bones. The parachat consensus was a disclocated shoulder and Aramis looked in great amounts of pain.  Screen grabs after the jump...

Gathright for Freel Done

UPDATE: If I understand this correctly, the offical deal is the Cubs getting Ryan Freel and $2.6 or $2.7M from the Orioles for Joey Gathright. The O's would then pay the rest of Gathright's contract (about $670K), thus making it "cash-neutral" as Rosenthal described as Freel was owed about $3.3M on his $4M deal for 2009.

Ten Extra-Base Hits Do the Trick for Cubs at Fitch Park

Dwayne Kemp had three hits (including two triples) and drove in four runs, Chris Weimer slugged three doubles and drove-in three runs, Logan Watkins had three hits and two RBI, and Kevin Soto had three hits and an outfield assist, leading the EXST Cubs to a 12-3 drubbing of the EXST Angels at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa.

A native of Rotterdam, Kemp was the second player signed by the Cubs out of the MLB European Baseball Academy (Italian RHP Alessandro Maestri was the first) and was a member of the Team Netherlands provisional roster for the WBC, and like Cubs 2B Mike Fontenot, the 5'8 might-mite really packs some punch. Both of Kempy's triples today were opposite field shots slammed off the right-centerfield fence.

20-year old Venezuelan RHP Robert Hernandez, who is at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered in a game at Papago Park the last week of Minor League Camp, pitched two innings today and showed no ill effects. Several of his family and friends were at the game today, and he looks to be about ready to move up to Daytona.  

And LHP Chris Siegfried, who was left at Fitch Park at the end of Minor League Camp to work on his mechanics and revamp his delivery, has been promoted to Peoria.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):

Soriano, Lilly Lead Cubs Over Astros

In Houston, Ted Lilly straightened himself out after a ragged beginning—four-pitch leadoff walk to Kaz Matsui, gopher ball to Miguel Tejada; Miggy's first home run in 116 at-bats this season—as the Cubs beat the Astros, 8-5, to sweep the two-game series at Minute Maid Park.

The Cubs have now won six of seven and have climbed to four games above .500 for the second time this year, heading into a weekend series in Milwaukee.

5th Inning Funny Business Afoot at Fitch

Just missing a grand slam HR, 18-year old Korean OF Jae-Hoon Ha clubbed a bases-loaded triple high off the left-centerfield fence to cap a five-run 5th, and fellow 18-year old Korean Hak-Ju Lee (presently rehabbing from 2008 TJS at Fitch Park) doubled twice and drove-in two runs, as the EXST Cubs outlasted the EXST A's 10-7 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.

19-year old RHP Tarlandus Mitchell had the most-impressive outing of the four Cubs pitchers who worked today, tossing 2.2 IP of hitless ball. Mitchell may be only 5''8, but his mid-90's fastball really packs a wallop. The young Texan was an all-state football player (QB/DB) as well as a two-way star baseball player (P/OF) at Alto HS before getting drafted by the Cubs in the 22nd round of the 2008 Rule 4 Draft. He fell to the 22nd round only because he was considered a "tough sign" who was more-likely to play college football than pro baseball, but the Cubs are no doubt glad he chose a career in baseball.

Converted 3B Josh Lansford (son of Carney Lansford) also got an inning of work today and looked good, retiring the side 1-2-3 with one strikeout. Although his father and uncles were MLB third-basemen, his brother is a pitcher in the A's organization, and so maybe it's not surprising that Josh looks like a natural on the mound.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):

Boy Named Su Looks Good at Fitch Park

Chris Weimer blasted a bases-loaded triple to key a five-run 8th, as the EXST Cubs rallied to tie the EXST Giants 6-6 in an eight-inning game at Fitch Park Field #1 this morning in Mesa. The 22-year old Weimer was signed by the Cubs as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) this past off-season after surviving a near-fatal car crash during his senior year in college at the U. of Nebraska - Omaha. 

19-year old Korean RHP Su-Min Jung got the start for the Cubs and worked three strong innings, mixing a plus-fastball with an advanced curve and change. He got a lot of swings & misses.    

Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):

Lou Cashes in Bet on Giants

The Cubs drop the finale versus the Giants to split the series and end the homestand at 4-2.

Why the Cubs Lost:  Clearly Lou laid some money on the Giants taking this game, trotting out the entire bench and resting every regular he could. While I'm sure there batting averages appreciated not seeing Tim Lincecum, the paying fans must have thought it was still March and spring training. I'm all for resting the regulars, but maybe Lou would consider spacing it out a bit next time. 

Tags: 

Marshall Draws Giants Ace as Cubs Go for Fifth Straight Win

Pitchers: Tim Lincecum (2-1, 3.16) vs. Sean Marshall (0-1, 3.32).

Lincecum opened the season with two rough starts, resulting in a no-decision and a loss. In his last three outings, however, he has gone 3-0, 1.57, with 33 strikeouts and 4 walks and a .193 BA Against. He dazzled the Cubs in a game last July at Wrigley, becoming the first pitcher to beat Ryan Dempster last season in The Friendly Confines.

Marshall pitched well enough to beat the Marlins last week, though the bullpen failed him in the only game the Cubs have lost thus far on this brief homestand.

Here is the Cubs batting order...

Gathright, cf
Miles, ss
Fukudome, rf
Lee, 1b
Hoffpauir, lf
Fontenot, 3b
Scales, 2b
Hill, c
Marshall, p

...and per Chris DeLuca of the Sun-Times, here is the manager's explanation of the fact that Babe Theriot, Soriano, Ramirez, Soto, and Bradley are all sitting:

Dempster Wins, Theriot Continues to Embarrass Bigger, Stronger Teammates

With Aramis Ramirez back in the starting lineup, the Cubs won their fourth in a row, defeating the Giants, 4-2, on Monday night at Wrigley. The Cubs will have a chance to finish a 5-1 homestand when the teams meet Tuesday afternoon.

Why the Cubs won: Ryan Dempster, coming off his first loss and poorest start of the young season last week in Phoenix, earned his second victory with his best start of 2009. Dempster kept the Giants off the board until the sixth inning and allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks over seven.

Zombie: A Tool or Five?

Is there anything Carlos Zambrano can't do on a baseball field [other than keep cool]? What is he, an ace or an ass?

Dave van Dyck speculates in this morning's Chicago Tribune that if Zombie [call him Big Z if you like; I call him Zombie - it will make a good stage name when he becomes a pro wrestler] misses his Friday start in Milwaukee one of three Iowa Cubs will take his place: Randy Wells, Mitch Atkins or Jose Ascanio.

The End of the Impotence: Theriot's Homerless Streak is Broken

Ryan Theriot's grand slam on Friday put the Cubs ahead to stay, as did his first-inning home run on Saturday.

Friday's blast ended a string of 620 at-bats and 157 games in which Theriot had failed to homer. In terms of GP, Theriot's homerless string was the 15th longest among Cub non-pitchers since 1954.

The list of 15 follows:

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