November 2009

11/18 Mr. Ricketts meets the owners

New Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts will have a chance to meet the other Major League Baseball owners at a dinner Wednesday night. Ricketts, whose family took over the team in October, was not taking part in any of the owners committee meetings at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. Team president Crane Kenney was at the hotel Wednesday for committee meetings on finance and revenue sharing.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig will address the owners on Thursday.

Kenney did say the Ricketts family will meet with Florida officials after Thanksgiving week as they continue to explore Spring Training options for the Cubs. The Ricketts family looked at several sites in Collier County, and were believed to have narrowed the list to three possible options. The Cubs have the option of buying out their contract in Mesa, Ariz., and moving after 2011.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 AFL update – Tuesday's game

Andrew Cashner didn’t exactly finish the way he would’ve liked. In his last Arizona Fall League start on Tuesday, the Cubs’ 2008 No. 1 Draft pick gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk over three innings. The Mesa Solar Sox lost, 9-2, to Surprise. Cashner finished with a 4.58 ERA.

Shortstop Starlin Castro went 2-for-4 and scored a run — he’s batting .387 — and Michael Brenly hit a double and drove in a run for Mesa. Cubs prospect James Russell struck out two in one inning, and now has a 1.26 ERA.

The Mesa Solar Sox will play Wednesday at Scottsdale and end the AFL season Thursday at HoHoKam Park against the Peoria Saguaros.

— Carrie Muskat

11/17 AFL update

Starlin Castro went 1-for-4 in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 11-1 loss to Phoenix on Monday in Arizona Fall League action. Castro started at second base in the game. On Tuesday, Mesa plays host to Surprise at HoHoKam Park.

— Carrie Muskat

11/16 AFL & winter ball update

This is the final week of games for the Arizona Fall League. Josh Vitters apparently is recovered from the strained muscle, and hit a two-run homer Saturday in Mesa’s 4-2 win over Peoria. He’s batting .359 in the AFL. Starlin Castro went 2-for-5 with a double and was hitting .388. John Gaub and Blake Parker both pitched one inning of relief, and both picked up holds on Saturday.

On Monday, Mesa plays host to Phoenix at HoHoKam Stadium.

Cubs’ prospect Andrew Cashner is 2-2 with a 4.32 ERA in five starts in the AFL. In his last outing Nov. 11, he was roughed up, giving up four runs on seven hits over three innings. In his previous outing, the right-hander threw four shutout innings, serving up five hits. He has fanned 16 over 16 2/3 innings this fall. Catcher Michael Brenly was hitting .294 with one homer in six games.

In Venezuela, infielder Andres Blanco was batting .316 with one homer, 11 doubles, two triples and 22 RBIs for Magallanes. Blanco has primarily played second base and was hitting second in the lineup there. Cubs prospect Robinson Chirinos was batting .357 with six homers, five doubles and 19 RBIs for Magallanes.

J.R. Mathes has returned home after making six starts for Caracas. He went 1-2 with a 5.08 ERA, striking out 12 over 28 1/3 innings. In his last outing Nov. 6, Mathes gave up two runs, 11 hits and did not walk a batter over five innings.

In the Dominican Republic, outfielder Nelson Perez was batting .362 in 17 games with two homers, three doubles, two triples and five RBIs for Toros del Este.

In Mexico, shortstop Matt Camp was batting .336 for Mexicali with 10 doubles, one homer and 21 RBIs. He’s been leading off for the Mexican League team, and has a .401 on-base percentage. Brian Schlitter has seven saves and a 4.24 ERA in 16 games there, striking out 12 over 17 innings. The right-hander pitched on Sunday, and gaveup one run, two walks and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

11/14 AFL roundup

The Mesa Solar Sox lost 9-7 Friday to Phoenix in Arizona Fall League play. Catcher Michael Brenly was hitless in four at-bats, but is batting .294. On Thursday, Starlin Castro had two hits, a double and one RBI in Mesa’s 11-5 loss to Phoenix. Josh Vitters was back at third, and also had two RBIs. The Solar Sox play at Peoria Saturday night.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 AFL & winter ball update

Josh Vitters returned to action in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday. Vitters was the DH in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 9-8 win over Surprise, and went 2-for-5 with a RBI. He had been sidelined with a strained pectoral muscle. Andrew Cashner, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2008, started the game for the AFL team and gave up four runs on seven hits over three innings. He struck out five.

In Mexican League play, Thomas Diamond picked up his first win Wednesday in his second start. The right-hander threw five shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out six in Mexicali’s 3-1 win over Mochis.

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 GM meetings wrap up

The GM meetings ended Wednesday, and Milton Bradley is still with the Cubs. That should come as no surprise. GM Jim Hendry did not specifically address Bradley as he left the meetings at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton. According to news reports, he has spoken to a handful of teams about possible trades, and it’s unclear how many teams were asking about the outfielder.

The Cubs won’t be making a huge splash this offseason as far as free agent signings go.

“We don’t need mega-moves,” Hendry told reporters in Chicago.

He did say that the team could have a deal done in the next week or so with lefty reliever John Grabow. Hendry did not meet with Arn Tellem, who is Rich Harden’s agent, but the two have talked since the season ended. Harden has indicated he’d like to come back to Chicago, and Tellem told Chicago media it’s still early in the process.

— Carrie Muskat

11/10 AFL update

Michael Brenly had two hits in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 6-4 win over Surprise on Tuesday. Starlin Castro was 0-for-5, and his average has dipped to .387. Castro was back at shortstop on Tuesday; he started at second base on Monday, and went 1-for-4 in a 3-2 win over Scottsdale. On Wednesday, the Solar Sox play host to Surprise at HoHoKam Park.

Cubs prospect Josh Vitters, who has been sidelined with a strained pectoral muscle suffered last Wednesday, was expected to resume playing with the Solar Sox this week.

— Carrie Muskat

11/8 Rising Stars

Starlin Castro had two hits in Saturday night’s Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars game, played in Surprise. Castro’s East team scored seven runs in the first inning, but lost the game, 8-7, to the West. Cubs prospect Blake Parker pitched one inning in relief for the East.

The Mesa Solar Sox have Sunday off and return to action Monday, playing host to the Scottsdale Scorpions at HoHoKam Park.

— Carrie Muskat

11/7 Winter ball roundup

Thomas Diamond made his first start in the Mexican League on Friday night, and struck out three over three-plus innings in Mexicali’s 5-4 win over Obegron. Diamond did not walk a batter and did not give up a hit until the first two batters in the fourth connected off the right-hander. He was then pulled. Brad Snyder went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Mexicali, and was batting .348. Brian Schlitter, who totaled 22 saves at Double-A Tennessee, picked up the save, pitching one inning.

In Venezuela, J.R. Mathes gave up two runs on 11 hits over five innings, striking out two, but did not get a decision in Caracas’ 4-3 win over Lara.

Catcher Robinson Chirinos hit his fourth homer, a solo shot, to help Magallanes beat Caribes 3-1. Chirinos was batting .405 and has 12 RBIs. Andres Blanco also had a hit.

— Carrie Muskat