May 2010

5/25 On the air

You’ll have to tweak your radio dial for two upcoming Cubs games. WIND 560 AM will carry the June 2 game at Pittsburgh and the June 4 game at Houston. WGN 720 AM carries both the Cubs and the Blackhawks, but because of the NHL playoffs, the Cubs will switch. The Blackhawks, in case you didn’t know, are playing the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals, starting Saturday night.

— Carrie Muskat


5/25 Toyota sign update

The city of Chicago buildings committee Tuesday unanimously approved a permit for a 360-square foot Toyota sign to be erected behind the left field bleachers at Wrigley Field. Ald. Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward had opposed the sign but now supports it after the Cubs agreed to a four-year moratorium on new signs above the bleachers between the foul poles. The permit still must be approved by the Chicago city council. A vote was expected at the next meeting June 9.

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Rotation this week

The Cubs rotation for the rest of the week will be Tom Gorzelanny on Wednesday, followed by Ted Lilly Thursday, and Randy Wells, Carlos Silva and Ryan Dempster against the Cardinals Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Wednesday will be Gorzelanny’s first start since he was struck on the ring finger of his left hand May 20 in Philadlephia. He had returned to Chicago after that game to be examined and to be with his wife Lindsey for the birth of their first child on Friday.

“It was good timing to be able to go home,” Gorzelanny said Tuesday. “It was nice to be able to help my wife out and get her back home and give her a hand.”

On Monday, the lefty threw a side session at Wrigley and passed all the tests.

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Lineup & Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez did not start Tuesday to give his left thumb more time to heal. Jeff Baker was at third base instead in the series opener against the Dodgers.

Here’s the lineup:

2B Theriot

SS Castro

1B Lee

CF Byrd

LF Soriano

RF Nady

3B Baker

C Soto

P Dempster

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Big Z to start vs. Pirates

Carlos Zambrano appears ready to return to the Cubs rotation next week in Pittsburgh. Big Z, who has been in the bullpen since April 22, threw 73 pitches in a simulated game Monday at Wrigley Field. The team will be one pitcher short Tuesday and Wednesday but Zambrano will be back in the bullpen Thursday, Lou Piniella said.

The Cubs are not going to have a six-man rotation but have yet to determine who will be bumped.

“We don’t have to concern ourselves with it until next week and we have some days off coming up,” Piniella said. “It’ll be a fairly smooth transition.”

Zambrano made four starts before he switched to the bullpen to help bridge the gap to closer Carlos Marmol. In 11 relief appearances, he’s 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA, giving up six runs on 16 hits over 11 1/3 innings. Three of those runs came in a relief outing May 14 against the Pirates that prompted Zambrano to ask to return to starting.

Piniella said the right-hander does not need to be stretched out again prior to the Pittsburgh series.

“We’ll use him short with the idea that on this coming road trip, we’ll insert him into the rotation,” Piniella said.

Zambrano’s outing Monday went better than expected. The Cubs projected him throwing 65-70 pitches and he easily threw 73, facing hitters as teammates Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker took turns.

“He’s ready to go,” Piniella said of Zambrano, who was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in four starts. “His velocity was good. He worked on his split finger, worked on his cutter. He had a nice workout, a real nice workout.”

How difficult will it be to move someone out of the rotation?

“How tough was it to get ‘Z’ out of there?” Piniella said. “I think that’s the best way to answer that question.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Minor matters – Iowa update

The Iowa Cubs scored seven runs in the third inning to beat Salt Lake, 8-2, on Tuesday in front of 9,070 people at Principal Park in Des Moines. It was the team’s 13th win in 15 games. Sam Fuld singled to start the third inning and the team sent nine batters to the plate. Bobby Scales hit a two-run single, Bryan LaHair added a two-run double and Chris Robinson hit a RBI single in the inning. Casey Coleman picked up the win, giving up two runs on five hits over six innings.

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Minor matters

Thomas Diamond struck out eight over six innings and gave up one run but took the loss as Salt Lake blanked Iowa, 1-0, on Monday. The run came on a homer off Diamond, now 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA. Chris Robinson had three hits. Jay Jackson gave up three hits over three innings in relief.

Ryan Buchter picked up the win in relief as Tennessee scored twice in the ninth for a 3-2 victory over Jacksonville. Matt Spencer reached base three times with two hits and a walk.

Chris Rusin threw five scoreless innings to help Daytona beat Brevard County, 4-2. Rusin struck out six for the win. Ryan Flaherty had two hits, including his first homer, and three RBIs.

Jonathon Mota hit his first home run but it wasn’t enough as Peoria lost 8-7 in 10 innings to Quad Cities. Mota had two RBIs in the game.

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Soriano's milestone blasts

With one more swing, Alfonso Soriano will join the 300 homer club. He should do it at Wrigley Field — note that all of these milestone home runs came at home for Soriano.

Alfonso Soriano Milestone Home Runs

1st: Sept. 24, 1999, vs. Tampa Bay off Norm Charlton

50th: Aug. 11, 2002, vs. vs. Oakland off Mark Mulder

100th: May 2, 2004, vs. Boston off Alan Embree

150th: July 23, 2005, vs. Oakland off Kirk Saarloos

200th: Aug. 13, 2006, vs. New York Mets off Steve Trachsel

250th: May 15, 2008, vs. Pittsburgh off Zach Duke

— Carrie Muskat

5/25 Cashner PCL pitcher of the week

Andrew Cashner was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 17-23. Cashner won two games that week, giving up one run on eight hits over 13 innings. On May 22, the right-hander led Triple-A Iowa to a 1-0 victory over Colorado Springs. He threw seven shutout innings, struck out seven and gave up two singles.

The 23-year-old righty was the Cubs’ first-round Draft pick in 2008. He is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA this season.

— Carrie Muskat

5/24 Zambrano sim game

Carlos Zambrano threw 73 pitches Monday in a simulated game at Wrigley Field, his first extended outing since switching to the bullpen on April 22. Zambrano is being stretched out so he can return to the rotation. Lou Piniella said Sunday that Big Z’s first start would be on the road. That means he’ll miss the upcoming series against the Dodgers and Cardinals. The Cubs begin a nine-game trip on May 31 in Pittsburgh.

No stats are kept during a sim game except the pitch count. Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin faced Zambrano in the workout.

— Carrie Muskat