Kung Fu Panda Not So Cute Today

Pablo Sandoval cranked a grand slam HR into the visitor's (upper) bullpen beyond the RF fence to cap a five-run third, and Jonathan Sanchez threw three shutout innings, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League action under partly cloudy skies at cool & breezy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

box score

Carlos Zambrano got the start for the Cubs today, and after breezing through the first two innings on just a combined 14 pitches (Ks, 4-3, and 6-3 in the top of the 1st, and then 2B, 4-3, P-3, and 5-3 in the top of the 2nd), the roof really caved-in on "Z" in the 3rd.

John Bowker, Kevin Frandsen, and Aaron Rowand singled to load the bases, and then Eugenio Velez was hit by a pitch to force-in a run (or at least his uniform was hit by the pitch...). Then with the bases loaded and still nobody out, Pablo Sandoval unloaded his grand salami, giving the Giants what turned out to be an insurmountable a 5-0 lead.

And Zambrano continued to struggle after the grand slam had cleared the bases, too, getting Aubrey Huff on a fly out to the warning track in RF, before walking Benjie Molina and surrendering a single to Nate Schierholtz. Then finally (on the inning's 36th pitch), Carlos induced Juan Uribe to ground into a most merciful 6-4-3 DP.

For the day Zambrano allowed five runs on six hits, a walk, and a HBP, one HR, and one strikeout (Aaron Rowand leading-off the game) in 3.0 IP. He threw 50 pitches (32 strikes), with a 6/2 GO/FO.

#1 LHRP John Grabow pitched the 4th inning and had a much better day than last Saturday, when he gave up three runs in just an inning of work. Today Grabow pitched a shutout inning (4-3, L-8, E-5, 5-3), although one batter did reach base when Aramis Ramirez fielded a one hopper and (with all the time the world) promptly threw the ball over Derrek Lee's head (no easy task). But Grabow looked good (11 pitches - 9 strikes, 2/1 GO/FO).

Rule 5 RHP Mike Parisi followed Grabow to the mound and had a solid outing (4-3, Ks, 1B, and F-9). He struck out Aubrey Huff, and he didn't mess around with any of the hitters (14 pitches - 10 strikes). By virtue of Parisi working just one inning (he threw two innings his first time out last Thursday), it would appear that he is not being considered for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation (although he had been mostly a starter throughout his career). But he has done nothing to hurt his chances of making the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster so far (two outings). And being a "Rule 5 guy" (where the Cubs would probably lose him if he isn't kept on the 25-man roster) helps his chances, too.

As I've mentioned before, Parisi is in a somewhat different situation than 2009 Rule 5 pick David Patton was last year. Patton was more of a "long-term investment," not really ready for MLB in 2009 (he hadn't piched above "A" ball prior to last season), so the Cubs had to finesse him through the season by putting him on the DL for two months and then getting work for him by sending him out on a 30-day minor league rehab assignment. He only threw 27.2 IP (MLB) last year, but he was on the 25-man roster just (barely) enough days to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements regarding time spent on an MLB Active List. So he can be optioned to the minors this year (and in fact he has three minor league option years available).

Parisi, on the other hand, has two years of AAA experience (2007-08), and was available for selection in the Rule 5 Draft this past December only because the Cardinals outrighted him to the minors post-2008 after he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery. If Parisi doesn't pitch well enough to make the Cubs Opening Day roster--if he doesn't win a job by out-pitching others in Spring Training--he will probably get cut (and get reclaimed by STL) and the Cubs won't think twice about losing him. But so far, so good.

Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner pitched the 6th inning for the Cubs, and (once again) struggled with his command. Though he threw only ten pitches, only four were strikes. But that was good enough to get a fly out to left and a 5-4-3 ining-ending GIDP to erase the baserunner who reached on a lead-off walk. Cashner must show better control if he is to be considered for an Opening Day bullpen job with the Cubs.

RHP Thomas Diamond made his 2010 Cactus League debut (he got rained out of his first scheduled appearance last Sunday), and looked very good. He threw a ten-pitch 1-2-3 7th inning (F-4, Ks, P-5). Based on what I saw of Diamond at the end of the AZ Instructional League last October, and then after he threw "lights out" in three starts for Mexicali (Mexican Pacific League) after that, I would say Diamond has a definite chance to win a bullpen job with the Cubs out of Spring Training. He was dominating today.

Diamond is a former Texas Rangers #1 draft pick out of the University of New Orleans (current Cubs Assistant GM Randy Bush was Diamond's coach at UNO) who was claimed off waivers by the Cubs last September. He underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007 and then struggled mightily with his control after returning to action in 2008-09, and the Rangers basically just gave up on him. But he is pitching with much better control (and renewed confidence) now, and he certainly looked VERY good today.

LHP John Gaub pitched the 8th and struggled with his command (23 pitches - 12 strikes). He did walk one LH hitter (Nate Schierholtz), but he also struck out another lefty swinger (Brandon Crawford) to end the inning.

RHP Justin Berg worked a five-pitch 9th (4-3, F-8, 5-3), throwing just one ball. He just gets the ball and throws a hard sinker, doesn't really fool anybody, and then waits for his fielders to make routine plays. He's got to be Uncle Lou's kinda pitcher.

Some of you may remember my post from a week ago, where I described Byrd hitting 30 balls in a row to RF during the Cubs first work-out at HoHoKam Park, and that Manager Lou Piniella was watching intently. Well, he must have been impressed, because with LHP Jonathan Sanchez getting the start for the Giants today, Kosuke Fukudome got the day off, and Marlon Byrd hit in the #2 slot behind Ryan Theriot.

Unfortunately, the Cubs offense really sputtered today (but not because Byrd hit second!), with at least one base-runner in every inning (14 total), but they scored only one run.

Here's how...

1st inning: Facing Jonathan Sanchez, Theriot leads off with a line-drive single over the second-baseman's head into right-center, then is immediately picked-off 1st by Sanchez (OUTSTANDING move by Sanchez, BTW).

2nd inning: Xavier Nady (the Cubs DH today, in what was his first Cactus League action of 2010) shoots a line single to RF with one out, then Alfonso Soriano strikes out swinging and Jeff Baker is retired 1-3 on a one-hop comebacker to the mound.

3rd inning: Theriot lines a single to RF with two outs and then steals second, but Byrd is called out on strikes for out number three.

4th inning: Facing RHRP Brandon Medders, Derrek Lee draws a walk on a 3-2 pitch after fouling a ball off his foot earlier in the count, then gingerly limps off the field as Micah Hoffpauir pinch-runs for him at 1st base. Then after a WP moves Hoffpauir up to 2nd base, Ramirez lines a double over CF Eugenio Velez's head to the CF Batter's Eye, scoring Hoffpauir from 2nd. But Nady pops out to the catcher behind home plate, Soriano flies out to CF, and after Jeff Baker walks, Koyie Hill is called out on strikes. Only one run scores.

5th inning: Facing AAA RHP Kevin Pucetas, Theriot lines a single to CF and Byrd lines a single to LF with one out, but then Hoffpauir bounces into a 5-4-3 DP to end the inning.

6th inning: Facing NRI RHP Eric Hacker, Ramirez ropes a lead-off single to LF (his 2nd solid hit of the day after fanning in his first AB) and Nady draws a walk, but then Soriano bounces into a 5-4 FC, Baker lines out to short, and K. Hill grounds out 4-3 to end the inning and leave two runners stranded. (Soriano, Baker, and Hill went hitless today, and left a number of runners stranded).

7th inning: Facing NRI RHP Eric Whitaker, Starlin Castro reaches base on an infield single to deep short with one out, but then Sam Fuld grounds into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.

8th inning: Facing NRI RHP Steve Edlefsen, Brad Snyder and PH Chad Tracy draw one out walks, but then Darwin Barney and Jeff Baker strike out (Barney swinging, and Baker looking), leaving both runners stranded.

9th inning: Facing RHRP Waldis Joaquin, Castro lines a two-out single to CF (his second hit of the day -- the Cubs lead-off slot went 5-5!), but then Fuld grounds out 3-1 to end the game.

Manager Piniella ordered a special post-game Batting Practice for those in need (mostly the guys who aren't getting much playing time), and so Jeff Baker (getting fairly regular playing time, but in a deep slump since he reported to Fitch Park last month), Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Bryan Lahair, Kevin Millar, Bobby Scales, Chad Tracy, and Josh Vitters were able to take about 50 swings a piece.

The Cubs play the San Diego Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex tomorrow, before the team splits in two for a couple of days as one squad travels up to Las Vegas to play two games versus the White Sox (one Friday night, and the other on Saturday afternoon), while the other squad stays in Phoenix for a game against the Brewers in Phoenix (Maryvale) on Friday and at HoHoKam Park in Mesa versus the 2010 Cactus League newcomers (Dusty Baker's Cincinnati Reds) on Saturday.


The Cubs almost broke me last year. I'm not sure I'm going to survive the whole season this year. I may end up watching competitive chess instead.

It's Kung Fu Panda. ~love that nickname~

Let's talk about the Cubs own Panda-type body, Marlon Byrd. All this talk the last few days about Bradley ripping the Cubs and Hendry telling Bradley to go 'look in the mirror' after his poor performance, makes me think Lou and Hendry haven't learned anything from that experience. Last season, Lou decided that Bradley would be our number 5 hitter, despite Bradley never being an RBI producer in his entire career. Shockingly, that move backfired. :) Now we sign Marlon Byrd, and a good case can be made that he was the best available CF this offseason. But that doesn't mean he's anything special. Yet once again, Lou has decided that Byrd is our number 5 hitter. Byrd, like Bradley, is coming off his career year. But take a look at Byrd's career averages, even with the career year jumps in hr's and rbi's last year averaged in. He's averaged 12hr's and 69rbi per year. Those are not middle of the order numbers. Byrd is probably better suited to hit either 7-8 or perhaps 2nd, but middle of the order? He ain't. It's puzzling to me how Hendry has managed to build a team with a $135 million payroll and so many gaping holes. Our highest paid hitter is going to hit 6th, because he won't tolerate moving him up to the 5 hole. Not that Soriano should hit 5th, but when the team has a 69rbi guy hitting 5th and an $18 million home run hitter hitting 6th, it's odd. The best guess I can make is that Hendry keeps trying to build the 1970's Orioles, but with far inferior talent.

Hendry keeps trying to build the 1970's Orioles --- Did Hendry think he was signing Marlon B.? Buford (Don not Damon)

Yeah i dont understand the whole byrd 5th thing. Unless they know sori is done.

it's a weird one...lou's been dead set on it before spring even started, though. hope soriano is okay...we got him a while.

Though I can understand the sentiment, arguing about whether a guys should hit fifth or sixth is well.... it just doesn't matter much. If I were to project numbers for the season, I'd probably have Soto as our 3rd best hitter, and he's going to bat 8th! Keeping a set lineup isn't one of Pinhead's strengths anyway, so I won't be losing any sleep over it. If I was making the lineup it would probably be Fukudome, Soto, Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Fountainout, Byrd, Theriot against righties with Theriot leading off and Nady batting 6th against lefties. With all apologies to Manny T for actually paraphrasing Bill James correctly, lineups don't make a lot of difference unless you do something particularly stupid, like bat your #1 HR guy behind the pitcher.

"I'd probably have Soto as our 3rd best hitter, and he's going to bat 8th!" That's the other head scratcher. I was thinking batting him 5th.

"I have nothing bad to say about Jim Hendry. He gave me $30 million. God bless Jim Hendry and his family.''
now that's funny... http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/...

I hear Bernie Madoff also had very nice things to say about his investors...

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/03/10/hi... I'd be fine with Dusty Baker managing the Cubs if he won 5 of 8 division titles.

One of the comments from the Joe Posnanski article (authorship credit to FranTheMan) made the following statement which seems to be relevant to both Bradley as well as some of the behavior here at TCR: "Negativism is an attention-seeking device. It’s really about that simple." I like that.

"Negativism is an attention-seeking device. It’s really about that simple." that is an oversimplified nonsense statement...but posanski (aka GRRRRRRR I TOLD YOU THAT!!! REMEMBER!?!?!? GRRRRRR) is good at those.

that is an oversimplified nonsense statement...but posanski (aka GRRRRRRR I TOLD YOU THAT!!! REMEMBER!?!?!? GRRRRRR) is good at those. except posnanski didn't write that statement.

sweet...at least his readership is on the ball. jim rome approves...i mean...i declare that jim rome unequivocally approves, as do most people with a brain.

are you comparing Jim Rome to Joe Posnanski?

no...well, kinda...i just think posanski is getting a little bitchy and "matter of fact" about some of his blowups. i don't think he's a jim rome type attitude/scope-of-career. his blogging has opened up his opinions and they sneak into his ranting articles more and more. the entire pulse of sportswriting seems to be moving in that NY Post direction, though.

it's his personal blog that has no advertising, I don't know why anyone would be upset about him injecting his opinion in there. I would dare say that people actually quite enjoy it. He's a talented writer that even if you disagree with what he says (which I certainly do at times), knows how to craft a sentence and make a point. I've never gotten the sense that he's telling me this is the way things are, now shut up, because that's one of my biggest sports pet peeves. His SI articles (granted I read them sparingly), are what I would consider the better end of journalism today.

yeah, he's a legendary writer. i just don't like how his blog-writing strong opinions are working into his journalism. he's not the worst offender. he's not trash. i just get sick of the whining...others like it. it's very "NY Post" to me.

Phil You mentioned that Cashner needs to improve his commend to make the bullpen. Do you think that's the ideal plan from the organization's standpoint? Wouldd they rather continue to stretch him out to be an eventual starter or is him starting just a method to work his secondary pitches? I'd view him as the fall back to Marmol if he makes the club. With his nice two pitch combo he's a natural closer. Thanks

Submitted by Jumbo on Thu, 03/11/2010 - 5:35am. Phil You mentioned that Cashner needs to improve his commend to make the bullpen. Do you think that's the ideal plan from the organization's standpoint? Wouldd they rather continue to stretch him out to be an eventual starter or is him starting just a method to work his secondary pitches? I'd view him as the fall back to Marmol if he makes the club. With his nice two pitch combo he's a natural closer. Thanks ==================================================== JUMBO: I think the Cubs moved Cashner to the starting rotation last season for three mainn reasons: 1) To get him more experience faster by giving him more innings. The more innings he can get under his belt, the sooner he'll be ready for MLB. 2) To force him to use and refine his off-speed pitch so that he will be more effective against LH hitters. Even if he ends up a late-inning reliever, he still will have to get tough left-handers out. The heater and power slider might not always be enough. 3) To make him think about being more efficient with his pitches and not always think about punch-outs. Otherwise, Cashner throws too many pitches-per-inning to be a starter. He will burn out a bullpen over the course of a year. That said, I strongly believe that Cashner will end up in the bulpen and that he will be an 8th inning set-up guy or closer (he was the #1 closer in college baseball in 2008, and the velocity on his fastball increases from 95 to 98 when he knows he is going to be pitching just one inning). When the transition back to reliever occurs is yet to be determined, but I would be surprised if he is a starting pitcher on Opening Day 2011.

"To make him . . . not always think about punch-outs" Cashner's K/9 number last season was 6.73, which puts him somewhere around 28th among Cub pitching prospects. Sometimes I think the scouting reports that circulate when a player is drafted have an amazing longevity. Cashner's H/9 number is a very respectable 6.82, 10th lowest among Cub prospects. He looks like a starting pitcher to me.

So you think that Lincecum should be a reliever?


Whoa. Hey there old timer.

Late-inning relievers tend to be strikeout pitchers, since they put out fires that other people started. Starters tend not to be strikeout pitchers, since you can't afford to throw 20 pitches an inning. The good ones can reach back and get a strikeout when they need it. Watching Cashner last Saturday, I didn't see a lot of swings and misses, but nobody was squaring up, either. Why couldn't he sustain that for six-seven innings? I haven't watched Lincecum much, but I don't see the point in talking about him, anyway, since he's not like anyone else. Hard cases make bad law.

Ok, so Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan should have been setup men, got it. The way baseball works is if you strikeout, you don't get a hit. It's always good to have high strikeout numbers as a pitcher, regardless of role. The trick to being a successful starter is being able to maintain your stuff, and having enough variety in "looks" or just nasty enough pitches that you can face a batter four times in a game and get him out. The reason that Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez are not starters is because they wouldn't be particuarly good ones. It's not because they strike out too many guys.

I like what you're saying as far as it goes, and I always appreciate your intelligent tone, but I still say it's unhelpful when all your examples are HOF-ers. I don't know how to apply it to Randy Wells, Casey Coleman, or Cashner. Wells looks like a standard-issue starting pitcher to me, and he does it for the most part without Ks. Coleman looks promising, but I don't think it would work out well for him as a closer: too few missed bats. That's exactly the point I was making about Cashner. Sometimes pitchers get a lot of strikeouts because whenever the batter touches the ball at all, he tends to hit it hard. You know, "ball in play; no out recorded." Then the pitcher has to start all over again at strike zero. A couple of "rich" examples: Hill and Harden.

The reason I use those guys as examples is because I am trying to illustrate to you what happens if you follow your thought process through to it's logical conclusion. If you determine who is a starter or a reliever based on their Minor league K numbers - these guys would have been relievers. What really happens is that 99.5% of pitchers start off as starters. Then as they move through high school, college, the minors and finally the majors they get weeded out, because they cannot strike out enough guys. If you don't strike out anyone and the average batted ball hit into the field of play gives a batter a hit 30% of the time, then if you gave up 0 home runs, you'd still allow a .300 batting average, which means you'd never reach the majors. K/9 and batting average allowed are almost directly linked. The higher K/9 = lower batting average. As players advance, the ones who don't strike out enough guys get moved to the bullpen where they can throw harder for shorter period of time, to see if that allows them to strike out enough batters. If that doesn't work, they try the knuckleball or quit playing baseball. Look at all the great relievers in baseball, they almost all were starters - You can look it up if you like, but just some examples, Mariano Rivera his last 53 minor league appearances were as a starter. Lee Smith was primarily a starter through his first four years - etc. What was discovered was that they couldn't maintain the heat for long enough to be a starter, so they got moved to the bullpen, where they were more effective. Which all gets back to Cashner. Cashner has K'd 7.0 battters per 9 in his minor league career - but in his last college year as a closer he K'd 13.3, which is a pretty big droppof, almost 50%, and he's been on low pitch counts, so you would expect if he were to go deeper into games, his K rate would drop more as he gets more tired. The thought by AZ Phil, and what the majority of the scouting commmunity seems to think is that if Cashner only had to pitch 1 or 2 innings, he would let it all go and get his K rate back up to 10+/9, and become an effective major league pitcher. I am not saying I necessarily agree with that - because starting pitchers are more valuable than relievers I think the Cubs should do what they're doing with Cashner. But almost every pitcher pitches better as a reliever than a starter, simply because they can throw harder, and consequently add a K or 2 to every 9 innings pitched. I am just going to use these examples because they're guys we're all familiar with - Smoltz's ERA was almost exactly 1 run lower as a reliever and his K rate went from 7.9 to 9.6. Eckersley was .86 less in ERA and his K rate went from 5.8 to 8.8 (part of that was league wide K's increasing). Jose Mesa's ERA dropped 1.13 runs and his K's climbed from 4.5 to 6.9.

AZ Phil: I wanted to ask your thoughts on Lou's comments that the rotation battle was between Samardzija, Gorzzelany, Marshall and Silva. Assuming Silva would be lucky to make the bullpen, do you realistically believe Samardzija has a shot at the rotation, or is the "battle" over before it starts?

Submitted by John Beasley on Thu, 03/11/2010 - 7:03am. AZ Phil: I wanted to ask your thoughts on Lou's comments that the rotation battle was between Samardzija, Gorzzelany, Marshall and Silva. Assuming Silva would be lucky to make the bullpen, do you realistically believe Samardzija has a shot at the rotation, or is the "battle" over before it starts? ============================================== JOHN B: Lou has said the battles are between Marshall & Gorzelanny for one slot in the rotation, and between Samardzija and Silva for the other one. Why Lou believes both Gorzelanny AND Marshall can't both be in the rotation (at least until Ted Lilly returns) is hard to understand. I also am not sure why Mike Parisi was dismissed from the battle, since he had extensive experience as a starter at AAA before the TJS. As for Samardzija, I think he would benefit greatly from another year in AAA, but it looks like the Cubs expect him to be a member of the bullpen if he doesn't win a spot in the rotation. Perhaps Lou just can't conceive of any other pitcher being able to handle the #2 lefty job in the bullpen, but it looks like James Russell could. Maybe Lou will change his mind by the end of Spring Training and consider both Gorzelanny and Marshall for the rotation.

Why Lou believes both Gorzelanny AND Marshall can't both be in the rotation (at least until Ted Lilly returns) is hard to understand.
The way I understand it is Hendry is dictating this. He signed Samardzija to a $16.5 million contract and inherited about $15 milllion worth of Silva. He needs one of those two in the rotation or Ricketts starts looking for a new GM. But I think he and Lou both know that Gorzelanny and Marshall are better than those two so he's going to guarantee one of them a starting role.

I very highly doubt that Hendry's job depends upon Samardzija or Silva making the rotation. That sounds much more like the lunatic ramblings of the guys on SCR. If Ricketts is going to be a decent owner, he will make his decisions upon the entire body of work by Hendry or any other employee.

And the Cubs can't go with one lefty in the bullpen until May when Lilly gets back because? Why is the 2nd lefty spot more important than a starting spot and more important than the development of Samardzija? That just doesn't make any sense to me--although I have no problem believing it is important to Lou. Of course, one of Marshall/Gorzelanny could be the 2nd lefty until a 5th starter is needed, then they would have to go about 1 or 2 weeks without a 2nd lefty until Lilly comes back if he's on schedule.

fascinating news I know...

Seems the Giants are collecting movie characters, Kung Fu Panda and now Fat Bastard.

jacos, negativism is an attention-seeking device. It’s really about that simple.

Blow out your ass. ~waves at everybody~

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball... an article that doesn't completely bash Bradley...although not particularly glowing either.

bradley don't f'n learn. even 3 years ago the dude would fart and 20 reporters would swoop in to ask him if the smell offended anyone and if that offends him. he needs to go to the nomar garciappara school of "saying stuff to reporters without saying anything at all." also... "I never wish anything bad on anybody," Washington said, smiling. "But, hey, [Milton], pull a hamstring." hahahah. fun.

joins up 'n coming Tanning Bed League

That means the Dodgers will have two washed-ups who will be fighting for one "veteran" spot, instead of three.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/87294... How about this offer? Soto, Castro, Colvin, Wells, my first born and my left nut

no one ever offers their 2nd or 3rd born...

Old School/Old Testament

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-... Cashner - 12th Castro - 13th Vitters - 23rd Lee - 42nd J. Jackson - 49th http://www.baseball-intellect.com/chicago-cub... His top 5 are Castro, Lee, B. Jackson, Vitters, J. Jackson

and my left nut --- too bad Felix Pie can't be part of that trade

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/31... spring training site could be announced in next 2 weeks, triangle building done by 2014 bathrooms have been re-done on concourse level added an academy in the DR should be funds for a mid-season trade if needed Lee and Lilly extensions are up to Hendry

"Lee and Lilly extensions are up to Hendry" IMO, no and we will see

nice start vs Garland...2-0 bottom of one. Gravy Train takes the mound for the Cubs. fuld K, castro BB, colvin single, millar BB, LaHair BB (rbi), Fontenot FC (rbi 1st&3rd), Tracy GO.

castro BB...wow, it is spring. hehe...

Silva unscored upon (you won't see that line often) although 2 hits Cabrera 1B, Eckstein DP, Headley 1B, Hairston E5, Venable F7

i'd like to know his velocity (as if it matters that much)...i'm yet to see a televised ST game with gun/park velocities on display, though.

Silva's velocity ratings... slow, slower, slowest Gameday says 88-90 for the most part...

Remember the one year they had it Hoho Kam when Prior came off the DL? Had him throwing 108 mph. ~sighs~

That's how he hurt his arm...

Dusty made him throw 108?

...pitches after the fifth.

now that's quality comedy.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=... Castro with an RBI single after a Fuld double

Colvin singles after a pitching change and scores Castro 2/2 for Colvin today...

walks the pitcher... 2 scoreless innings though

http://twitter.mlblogs.com/ real shame Z isn't on there...

Jason Grilli @GrillCheese49 John Baker @manbearwolf haha.

Crane Kenney talks about some future plans. http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i... Rob's earlier link has more: http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/31...

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/31... Trammell will manage team in Vegas - how long Castro stays with major league team in camp is up to Hendry - Lilly threw 35 pitches - Blanco a week away from doing anything baseball related - don't count on a 11-man staff considering Nady won't play much outfield... Bench: Hill, Fontenot/Baker, Nady, Fuld or Colvin, Millar or Tracy with possibly Barney or Matt Camp or Blanco (if he's recovered) instead if they want another infielder... it seems they really want Millar to make the team and Colvin would probably be better suited to go to Iowa and be called up like Castro if an injury happens

it seems they really want Millar to make the team Sometimes I flat out hate Hendry and Lou. Tracy or Hoffpauir makes far more sense. But Millar is funny. He wears KFC buckets on his head for pictures.

8-pitch inning, 6 strikes


Castro goes deep off Tim Stauffer.

"Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Seven" chants everytime Theriot doesn't turn an out into an out was a fun way to pass time in last Saturday's blowout.

2 run HR, Robinson Chirinos. cool, 7-0 Cubs

mother effers!!! Big East Semi's against Georgetown with the win over Villanova after losing twice to them this season by 2 pts in each game.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/... Kenney and Cubs back down and seem to indicate that it's not needed to get stadium built...

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/20... some confusion here as they say it's been scrapped altogether, but I believe Kenney was just saying it's not necessary to move the program forward. if I lived in Arizona I might kill Shaun Rachau
D-backs spokesman Shaun Rachau said his team is open to a countywide vote on the Cubs deal and possibly a county sales tax increase to help fund the stadium.
so it's not okay to tax tourists actually going to baseball games, but the Arizona Diamondbacks are totally okay with taxing the entire county and its residents on everything they buy

as I thought, the Phoenix Business Journal was confused http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...
Kenney told ESPNChicago.com that the Cubs are in full support of the Arizona legislature and any method that it believes is proper to raise funds for their $84 million facility as well as others in the Cactus League. If Arizona chooses to use a ticket tax as part of the state's fundraising, Kenney said the Cubs would have their full support, and the club is willing to pay any tax on their tickets as well.

I think Kenney is posturing a little bit here. There is a law in Arizona that prohibits the raising of taxes to benefit a single private entity. However, I believe it would be legal for the state to levy a tax that would go into a fund that would be used to help fund "baseball activities" or some such thing. The first $50-$60 million might go to help build the new Cubs facility, but the money wouldn't be raised specifically for that purpose. Raising the needed funds via a city or county tax would be difficult. There is a great deal of opposition to the tax in Mesa. The plan was originally sold with the promise that the taxpayers in Mesa would not be asked to foot the bill. Then, they said that a small portion of the total funds needed would come from local taxpayers. Now, they are starting to talk about all of the funds coming from a county-wide tax. I think that would be a difficult pill to swallow. Meanwhile, Naples is just sitting back waiting for things to blowup in Arizona. Naples already has the funding in place. The other MLB owners in the Cactus League (as well as Bud Selig) are making it really hard on the Cubs to stay in Arizona.

btw, if your email address is up to date on your profile, you've got mail.

Got it...

Luke Gregerson in...gives up a two out single to LaHair, walks Fontenot, Vitters single (rbi), runner out at 3B. 8-0 through 6 1/2. Andy Masur on radio said Gregerson is from Park Ridge, IL right near the log cabin Rob G was born in.

heh... Park Ridge, home of Pickwick Movie Theater... actually born in Chicago, then Schiller Park before moving to Des Plaines when I was 8, did go to high school in Park Ridge at Maine East. My Dad still owns a bike shop there in the downtown area, Jim Hendry bought a bike for his kids about 4-5 years back from him, lives close by.

Wonder who he hired to teach them to ride it. Or: You would think he could afford a seperate bike for each kid.

yeah, I honestly don't remember if it was one or two kids, my bad on the typo.

Did he trade the bike to a neighbor the next year for a lawn chair because the wheels squeaked too much?

and Jeff Stevens wildness get together for 3 unearned runs... GO E-4 K BB 2B (run scores) BB replaced by Caridad who gives up a single scoring 2 more before a K

All 7 runs scored in the final 3 innings and all unearned? I hope to never see that in a regular season game.

4 errors today, Scales, Vitters, Fontenot and Tracy. Caridad gave up 2 inherited runs and 3 unearned along with 2 XBH's in 1.1 IP. The 9th inning: K looking 2B FO E-6 (Fontenot fielding error) single wild pitch double coaching visit pop out

FREE BOBBY SCALES! seriously...for free...someone take him before someone decides to use him. think of the children. :(

Yeesh, errors kill. I'd rather see a good defensive team with mediocre hitting and mediocre pitching than any other kind of mediocre team.

You might be alone on that one, Ryno. I'm all for good defense, but it's not what gets me amped for baseball.

I probably have to agree with Ryno there - there's nothing more frustrating than losing a game due to errors. It's even worse than not getting a guy home from third with less than one out (but not a lot more frustrating). Of course as Cubs fans we're all licensed experts in frustration analysis.

Rob: East is least, West is best, and Maine South was nothin' without their Butz. The Des Plaines Theatre was a dollar for a double feature, that and 2 bucks would buy a meal at the Choo-Choo.

I'd like to defend my alma mater, but they really did suck. Didn't do the Des Plaines Theater much, Pickwick and Morton Grove theater usually for the 2nd run movies. I lived 2 blocks from Golf Mill shopping center.

I grew up at the 5 corners, across from the "first" McDonalds and behind both Ladendorf Oldsmobile and Fox & Hounds Tavern. Could see the underbellies of the planes landing at O'Hare from the North. We built our own 16" softball stadium behind the bar and flooded the back yard in the winter for a rink. CUBS country! Listened to the Bears' '63 championship on WGN when Jack Brickhouse called Ritchie Petibone's interception in the end zone to seal the 14-10 victory. On Google Earth, it doesn't look like the area has changed much.

guess this is old, but it's new to me http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_s...

The butt slap at the end really makes that commercial. Hilarious.

Not such a good day for Samardzija. 2.0 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 1 W, 2 SO, 2 HR Colvin keeps hitting with triple and a run scored so far.

So much for Samardjiza figuring it out in Mexico over the winter. That's twice now he's "figured it out" but then he goes back to being a crappy 5K/9 pitcher. Can he hit? We need a CF.

Sample size?

Was the game televised? I'd be interested in an eyewitness account, because it's hard to tell based on the box score for one game. For example, I remember a game where Sergio Mitre beat Roy Halliday.

Mitre beat Halliday in person as well.

I hope he figures it out, because it took me a long time to figure out how to spell his name. (By the way, switch the "j" and the "z.")

MLB Network's "60 ST games" they advertised as playing is f'n lame. By my count it includes games they show twice (one as a rerun) and non-live games they're showing later at night.

There's only one reasonbile recourse you're allowed: Letterbomb.


-edit- deleted by me...i don't need to open that can of worms. it was off-topic. :)

Ben McDonald?

fox news lulz... specifically, from this afternoon's foxnews.com (the day after glenn beck declaring bruce s. "born in the USA" anti-american)...from that whole "fox news" thing last week. http://i42.tinypic.com/mhdee9.jpg *cough*

"Born in the USA" is critical of America. Which of course why Reagan used it. :-)

Jesus, everybody knows that.

I declare public transportation unamerican.

shelled for 5 runs today Colvin is 2/3, Castro 0/3 with a K Dolis got tagged for 2 runs in his second inning of work, Russell with a scoreless 1.2 IP Cubs down 12-3 to Brewers

chc/cws at 10pm EST tonight...it'd be nice if someone was showing it on TV. i think they got the "A" squad playing the wsox. -edit- it is on CSN Chicago...which i don't get. if any of you are at home, enjoy. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/schedule/broa...

Junior Lake sighting. Gotta love these split-squad games. He's the completely overlooked promising 19-year-old shortstop. Not the pick of the litter, maybe the last one left, but whoever gets him could be lucky. He's in an ML ST game after a season in Peoria, so that's interesting. Also happy to see Papelbon get a look. As I write this, I do a refresh and notice Logan Watkins with a hit in one at bat. He's up from Boise! Watkins is NOT completely overlooked. Who's next, Hak-Ju Lee?

lake isn't overlooked by all...some would compare him similar to castro without the slick range/arm. he is a bit of a sleeper, though. when castro/lee are in your system you gotta take a back seat even if you're not much below their projection levels.

The intriguing thing about Lake is that he occasionally hits tape-measure jobs. Tall skinny kid.

I watched him some last week taking infield practice. I was also looking at his hitting line from last year at the same time so I probably biased myself, but I couldn't help but think "Pitcher". Hopefully if he doesn't make like someone who could possibly hit at the big league level over this season, he'll try the mound.

the non-intriguing thing is he swings at EVERYTHING and misses too much. he's young and challenged where he's at in his career vs. his competition, but he's got an interesting makeup and the tools to be a MLB'r if he can make consistent contact. dude is never gonna walk much unless he changes the nature of his game.

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 4:55pm. Junior Lake sighting. Gotta love these split-squad games. He's the completely overlooked promising 19-year-old shortstop. Not the pick of the litter, maybe the last one left, but whoever gets him could be lucky. He's in an ML ST game after a season in Peoria, so that's interesting. Also happy to see Papelbon get a look. As I write this, I do a refresh and notice Logan Watkins with a hit in one at bat. He's up from Boise! Watkins is NOT completely overlooked. Who's next, Hak-Ju Lee? =============================================== VA PHIL: Several of the Cubs minor leaguers got called off the field in the middle of the morning work-out at Fitch Park and got to spend a day with the big club in Maryvale. 26-year old Cuban defector Smaily Borgues even got into the game, and he just arived at Fitch Park this week along with the DSL kids who got their ticket to minor league camp and EXST punched (18-year old SS Arismendy Alcantara, 20-year old RHP Frank Batista, 20-year old IF-OF Vismeldy Bieneme, 19-year old SS Rafael Disla, and 19-year old C Carlos Romero). Alcantara, Bieneme, and Disla are supposedly the three fastest players from the 2009 DSL Cubs teams (Bieneme stole 42 bases last year), Romero is a defensive specialist with a questionable bat, and F. Batista was the #1 starter for DSL Cubs #1 last year. OF Alvaro Ramirez is also at Minor League Camp. Ramirez was signed by the Cubs last June after getting released by the Yankees (he had spent three seasons in the Yankees system, including one year in Tampa with the GCL Yankees), and played with the DSL Cubs #1 in 2009. But (like Borgues) Ramirez was really too old and had too much experience to be playing in the DSL.

Lake probably has the best infield arm in the system. Last year he and Castro were rated about equal going into spring training, but Castro took it up a level offensively, and Lake did not. At 19, he has a lot of time to progress. An awful lot of minor leaguers get a couple of at bats with the big league team in the spring. I believe both lake and Castro appeared in a game last year. I wouldn't read too much into it.

Lake K'd 28% of the time last year...and just 18 walks in 491 PA's. He did show a little power. He better be Ozzie Smith with the glove.

He's not. He looks to me more like a 3rd basemen once he fills out, if he doesn't move to the mound.

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  • Cubster 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    Lefty Matz to Cardinals. 4/44. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 21 min ago (view)

    With the CBA expiring on December 1st, MLB owners and the MLBPA have jointly agreed to move the contract tender date up from Thursday December 2nd to Tuesday November 30th (that's a week from today). 

    Then (presumably) the lock-out will start the next day (Wednesday). 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Not that TJS is ever necessarily a good thing, but taking a year off from catching could give Miguel Amaya a chance to work on his hitting.

    His glove & arm were probably a year ahead of his bat coming into 2021, so once he gets going again hopefully he will be able to spend a significant part of his rehab working in the cages. 

    Also, although he won't be able to throw for a while, he should be able to work on his receiving during the summer, once he is cleared to resume non-throwing baseball activities.  


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    CUBSTER: Unless you consider Erick Castillo and Tyler Payne as legit contenders to be the Cubs back-up catcher in 2022, the Cubs have no catcher who is projected to eventually play in MLB anywhere near MLB ready.


  • Cubster 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    With Amaya's 2022 year as a catcher essentially an non-factor and Robinson Chirinos and Austin Romaine again free agents, It looks like any rumors of moving Willson Contreras will go quiet. At least Chirinos could hit (for a backup catcher). 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released LHP Chris Allen, 1B Shendrik Apostel, INF Matt Burch, INF Widimer Joaquin, RHP Garrett Kelly, RHP Marco Prieto,  RHP Jorge Remon, RHP Dawel Rodriguez, and OF Vance Vizcaino, so the off-season Cubs Minor League Domestic Reserve List is now at 169 (21 slots are open).  

    Six of the nine players who were released (Allen, Apostel, Joaquin, Kelly, Remon, and Vizcaino) were Rule 5 Draft-eligible, and all six had been left off the Iowa Reserve List when rosters were filed last Friday. 


  • Cubster 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    sorry, posted in other thread.


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Also, Justin Steele gets a 4th minor league option in 2022 (must be used in 2022). 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    W-RAT: Of all the TJS rehab types, a catcher TJS rehab is probably most similar to a pitcher's because of the laser pinpoint rifle throws a catcher needs to make to 2nd base.

    So I would expect Amaya will be able to DH by mid-season (hitting shouldn't be a problem by then), and then (hopefully) be able to throw normally in games (as a catcher) at post-season Instructs and then maybe in the AFL, with 2023 Spring Training being when he should be 100%. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    TIM: Yes, except a position player only gets a maximum of 20 days on a minor league injury rehab assignment, so the 30 extra days allowed for a position player rehabbing from TJS would mean a maximum of 50 days, whereas it would be a maximum of 60 days for a pitcher (the original 30 days that pitchers get plus the additional 30 days in the form of three 10-day increments). And this also only applies to players on an MLB IL. 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    DSJ: Exactly. Even though he was just acquired in a trade, the Cubs still might opt to non-tender Ramirez on 12/2, that is, as long as he goes along with the plan. I doubt that the Cubs would non-tender him if he declines (in advance) to sign a 2022 minor league contract.  


  • crunch 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    well...that's one hell of a forearm strain.


  • tim815 3 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Arizona Phil. Would Amaya, as a catcher, be eligible for the TJS exemption?


  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    w.franco (rays) extend 11y/185m

    not bad for a guy with 1/10th of a season service time.


  • Wrigley Rat 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Miguel Amaya to have Tommy John surgery. Will likely miss most of next season. (I speculate that he could maybe DH a bit in the second half and throw towards August.)


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    When you add in the arb-eligibility, that's gotta make Ramirez a real contender for Hermosillo's "non-tender poster boy" title