Matt Murton

THIS JUST IN...

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has finally decided to let GM Andy MacPhail trade Brian Roberts to the Chicago Cubs.  In a privately held conversation, Angelos was said to give MacPhail permission to trade Roberts (who, as we darn well know, is Angelos' really, really, really all-time favorite baseball player) for  Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, Matt Murton, and another undisclosed prospect plus the HOF Yosh Kawano hat. MacPhail plans to call Cubs GM Jim Hendry tomorrow morning to tell him the good news--that their organizaton was FINALLY able to come to this MOMENTUS DECISION. MacPhail doesn't expect any other obstacles to affect this long anticipated transaction.

D'oh!

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Ted Lilly SP *Barry Zito
  5-8, 5.40, 95 K, 36 BB, 98.2 IP
3-11, 5.91, 44 K, 48 BB, 80.2 IP
       
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF *Fred Lewis
SS Ryan Theriot 3B Jose Castillo
1B Derrek Lee RF #Randy Winn
C Geovany Soto C Bengie Molina
3B Mark DeRosa CF Aaron Rowand
CF *Jim Edmonds 1B Rich Aurilia
LF Matt Murton 2B Travis Denker
2B Ronny Cedeno SS #Emmanuel Burriss
P *Ted Lilly P *Barry Zito

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well that whole American League thing was no good...the Cubs went a paltry 6-9 against what was considered to be a soft interleague schedule at the beginning of the year.

Now it's back to the NL and back to the NL West, whom the Cubs have collectively beaten at an 18-5 clip. They'll get the offensively-challenged Giants tonight and it'll be up to Ted Lilly to try to keep them challenged. Lilly's overall numbers have been disappointing this year, but he's managed a 3.21 ERA in June up to this point. Most of his struggles this year can be attributed to a tendency to give up the gopher ball, but there's some hope that'll correct itself.

One of our trusted readers tells us that he heard on WGN radio that Lou Piniella has decided to bat Kosuke Fukudome leadoff until Alfonso Soriano is back...or until Lou changes his mind again. I would assume that Jim Edmonds would get the bulk of the work at the five spot from now on, at least versus righties.

I also wanted to share this story that another reader found via the Sun-Times:

Mark DeRosa interrupted Matt Murton's back-in-the-big-leagues news conference Tuesday with the question most people want the answer to:

''Will you stop hitting swinging bunts and start driving balls out
of the ballpark with your quads the size of bricks?'' DeRosa said,
grinning. ''Let's ask the real questions. You going to hit some home
runs?''

Replied Murton: ''Why not?''

That's the even bigger question -- the one probably most responsible for keeping Murton in the minors longer than expected.

 That is the million dollar question with Murton, now isn't it?

 

Quotation marks make their first appearance in the Hits of the Week headline since this week's list includes two walks.

So here they are, the five hits...er, that is, offensive events...that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Tuesday, v. the Mets, 4th inning-- With the bases loaded and two out and the Cubs already leading 1-0, Reed Johnson drives a single to left field, scoring Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco, and the Cubs' margin is three, which, on a day when the Mets can't seem to get an important hit, is more than margin enough. WPA .151

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Zach Duke SP Ryan Dempster
  0-0, 2.89, 7 K, 4 BB
2-0, 2.37, 13 K, 9 BB
       
CF *Nate McLouth CF Reed Johnson
2B Freddy Sanchez SS Ryan Theriot
LF Jason Bay 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Adam LaRoche 3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Xavier Nady LF Matt Murton
C #Ryan Doumit RF Mark DeRosa
3B Jose Bautista C Geovany Soto
SS Brian Bixler 2B Ronny Cedeno
P
*Zach Duke P Ryan Dempster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WGN Radio is reporting that Kosuke Fukudome has a sebaceous cyst on his forehead which is causing some swelling in his right eyelid and thus, some vision problems. However, according to WGN's Cory Provus, Fukudome is on medication and is expected to return to the lineup on Monday.

I've been informed that indeed, the Cubs brass do read this website and have promoted Matt Murton. No word on who is getting sent down. Kidding about the Cubs brass reading this website, but our pal Steve Holley at Inside the Ivy is the one giving me the news and he's with the team currently in New Orleans. We can only assume it's Eric Patterson being sent down.


If you liked this article, consider supporting us during TCR's April Pledge Drive.

I wasn't around much for yesterday's festivities, so let me get a few things off my chest. I realize the Cubs have won three straight and eight of their last ten and I should probably just shut-up, but this sh** is bugging me.

- The "hop" that Soriano does before he catches a flyball is kinda lame. Then of course, I have a hard time relating to anyone who could drive a car like this. Lame as it is, it didn't create his calf strain and I'm not just saying that because the Cubs are in full-press denial mode. You can just look at the highlights of it. Soriano didn't leap more than six inches off the ground and landed just fine; he didn't roll his ankle or overextend his knee or anything. Whatever the problem was, it was already there and if it didn't happen on that play, it certainly would have the next time he ran out a ground ball or slid into a bag.

But if makes him stop leaping like one of the seven lords, then by all means, it was the "hop" that caused it.

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, appearing Monday night on WGN Sports Central with Dave Kaplan, said he expects the Cubs and Orioles to reach agreement on a trade involving Brian Roberts in "a week to ten days."

Zrebiec disagreed with Kaplan's suggestion that the talks have "heated up" in the past few days; he thinks the discussions have been on a steady, low simmer since they began. Bottom line: Zrebiec said he's confident Roberts will be in Cub blue by Opening Day.

As to who the Cubs might be shipping east or at least whom the O's might want, the usual names were brought up: Gallagher, Cedeno and/or Patterson, Pie, Ceda. (No mention of Donald Veal.) Zrebiec said the O's are especially high on Gallagher and see him as a potential #3 or maybe even a #2 starter. No such love for Matt Murton, however. According to the writer, the Orioles think Murton will require 400-500 at-bats a season to be an effective MLB hitter, which he won't get in Baltimore if he's part of a platoon arrangement with, say, former Astro Luke Scott.

On an unrelated front...

Kaplan also spoke tonight with Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin. In the course of that conversation, Kaplan said his sources tell him that the Cubs are talking deal with a major, Chicago-based corporation which would pay less than the $40 million bandied about for naming rights. The company would be paying for "significant" signage all over the ballpark but would voluntarily forego renaming the park and in a selfless gesture of corporate goodness, allow the place to remain "Wrigley Field."

Nice folks, those selfless, major Chicago corporate guys.

 

An incomplete list, in no particular order...

Bad Weekend

Jason Marquis. Though Lou Piniella apologized for "overreacting" to Marquis' comments following Saturday's game, the pitcher's "I have a family to worry about" statement made him look stupid and foolish and...like a modern-day Major Leaguer.

Alfonso Soriano. Broke the tip of this right middle finger on Sunday during a drill meant to hone his ability to catch balls up against the outfield wall. Expected to miss game action for the next five days.

Neal Cotts. Pitched two-thirds of an inning on Sunday and now has a 27.00 ERA. 'nuf said.

Geo Soto's waistline. I hope AZ Phil can confirm or refute this, but it appeared to me from Sunday's telecast that Soto has regained a lot of the weight he lost last year, when he had his big season in the Pacific Coast League and was so impressive in his limited debut with the big club.

Kerry Wood. Tagged for a longball by the Angels' Torii Hunger, plus two singles and a double in one-third of an inning on Saturday.

Good Weekend:

Matt Murton. Went 3-for-3 in Saturday's loss to the Angels.

Felix Pie. Knocked his second Cactus League home run on Sunday; hitting .273 in the early going.

Carrie Muskat groupies. Carrie got some air time during Sunday's telecast and revealed that she had business cards printed up in Japanese to help her establish rapport with Kosuke Fukudome. I'm wondering how many cards she had printed up and how many she'll have to give Fukudome before he finally replies, through his interpreter, "What am I supposed to do with all of these cards?"

Sam Zell. As this NYT profile makes clear, Sam has little chance of being the game's most odious owner as long as Hank Steinbrenner is around.

 

I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:

Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:

ss Theriot

3b Cedeno

rf Fukudome

1b Lee

lf Murton

c Soto

2b Cintron

cf Pie

p Dempster

DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.

Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.

From Arizona Phil:

The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.

There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.

On Saturday Texas Rangers observer Jamey Newberg of The Newberg Report reacted to this story at mlb.com regarding the Cubs' interest in 30-year-old outfielder Marlon Byrd and the possibility that Matt Murton could be headed for the Rangers.

Newberg theorizes that Murton could join David Murphy in a platoon tandem that would man left field for the Rangers. But Newberg believes the Rangers would have to package at least one solid prospect along with Byrd before the Cubs would bite.

"...Murton is probably out of position anywhere other than left.

"That defensive limitation is the only reason I can conceive of that the Cubs would entertain the idea of moving Murton for Byrd, who is adequate in center field. While both players can probably help a contending team in 2008, the four-year age difference would be significant for a team looking not so much at what sort of noise it can make this season but more at a longer-term fit, like Texas.

"Whether you believe Byrd's breakout in 2007 (.307/.355/.459, 70 RBI in two-thirds of a big league season, but .269/.310/.417 after the All-Star Break) was a mirage, it's hard to argue that at age 30 he's a player to build with (especially now that his ability to play center field is no longer pivotal here). On the other hand, with Chicago believing it can win now and wanting a right-handed hitter capable of sharing center field duties with 22-year-old lefthander Felix Pie, Byrd makes some sense. I just can't imagine the Cubs would trade Murton for him without demanding a legitimate prospect tossed in."

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