June 2010

6/29 Minor matters part II

In his first start with Double-A Tennessee, Rafael Dolis gave up seven runs — three earned — on seven hits over three innings in a 9-6 loss to West Tenn. Brett Jackson homered for the second straight game and Josh Vitters also homered. Jackson was named Florida State League offensive player of the week for June 21-27 before he was promoted from Daytona to Tennessee on Sunday.

Trey McNutt gave up three runs on four hits over three innings in Daytona’s 4-3 win over Brevard County. It was McNutt’s first start since being bumped up from Peoria. He struck out six. Junior Lake had two hits.

Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits, including a solo homer, in Peoria’s 3-1 win over Burlington. He now has a seven-game hitting streak, and was batting .448 during that stretch.

Boise beat Eugene, 5-4. Arismendy Alcantara had three hits and a walk and Pierre LaPage and Kyung-Min Na each had two hits.

Dustin Harrington had two hits in Mesa’s 6-5 loss to the Royals.

Triple-A Iowa’s game against New Orleans was postponed because of rain. The two teams will play a makeup doubleheader in Des Moines July 9.

— Carrie Muskat

6/29 Minor matters part I

Pitchers Chris Archer and Aaron Shafer were promoted from Class A Daytona to Double-A Tennessee. Archer was 7-1 with a 2.86 ERA with Daytona while Shafer was 2-1 with a 0.96 ERA in 24 appearances. Alberto Cabrera and Alex Maestri were sent from the Smokies to Daytona.

* Also, nine members of the Smokies were named Tuesday to the Southern League All-Star Game.  Position players Tony Campana, Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli and Ty Wright will join teammates Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Ryan Buchter, David Cales and Hung-Wen Chen on the North Division roster at Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville, Ala. for the July 12 game.

Players were selected by a vote of Southern League field managers, radio broadcasters, general managers and print media.

— Carrie Muskat


6/28 John Grabow update

John Grabow will go on the disabled list Tuesday after re-injuring his left knee and may be out for an extended period. The lefty entered Monday’s game against the Pirates in the seventh and retired the first batter, then gave up an infield single to Ronny Cedeno. Paul Maholm squared to bunt on a 1-1 pitch, and Grabow finished the pitch awkwardly. Athletic trainer Mark O’Neal went to the mound and Grabow immediately headed to the clubhouse.

“It’s pretty bad,” Grabow said. “It’s something I thought I could pitch through and it got worse. I’ll go get it checked out [Tuesday].”

Grabow has received a cortisone shot already this season in the knee and was on the disabled list from May 31-June 15 because of it. In his last outing June 24, he gave up one hit over two innings against the Mariners.

The Cubs’ bullpen has been busy after Carlos Zambrano’s abbreviated outing on Friday. Right-hander Jeff Stevens will be added on Tuesday as Zambrano is moved to the restrictted list. They will add another pitcher to fill Grabow’s spot on the 25-man roster as well.

If the Cubs opt for a left-hander, it could be James Russell, who began the season with the big league team. Russell has given up seven runs on 11 hits and four walks over 11 innings in five games with the Iowa Cubs, striking out 10. Left-hander John Gaub has a 4.33 ERA in 27 games with the Iowa Cubs, serving up 13 earned runs on 24 hits and 16 walks over 27 innings while striking out 37.

If the Cubs opt for another right-hander, Jeff Samardzija is an option. He has a 1.88 ERA in 20 games, including three starts at Iowa. He’s given up eight earned runs on 24 hits and 22 walks while striking out 33 in 38 1/3 innings. He has started in three of his last four outings but that change in assignment was because of injuries or roster moves. Right-handers were batting .173 against Samardzija while lefties were hitting .189.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Zambrano follow-up

GM Jim Hendry met with the Cubs players a little more than one hour prior to Monday’s game to give them an update on Carlos Zambrano, who will be getting help for his anger issues, starting Wednesday.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Lou Piniella said. “I’m glad Carlos is going to get some professional help and at the same time, I guess we’ll see him sometime after the All-Star break. I’m glad it’s over.”

Zambrano was not expected to rejoin the Cubs until after the break, but his return depends on his progress.

“It’s none of my business,” Randy Wells said. “I think what needed to be handled has been handled and we’ll move on from it.”

Said Ryan Theriot: “It’s a rough thing I think for both sides. Hopefully when he comes back it’ll be much better.”

— Carrie Muskat


6/28 7th inning stretch singers

Former Ohio State basketball star Evan Turner will sing the 7th inning stretch Monday. On Tuesday, it will be Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, co-hosts of the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show on ESPN. On Wednesday, actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, star of “Rookie of the Year” and “American Pie” will lead the crowd and Ron Santo will do the honors Thursday. Former Cubs catcher Randy Hundley will sing Friday and another former Cub, Bob Dernier, will do so Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Good cause

On Monday, Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall and coach Ivan DeJesus held a clinic for 46 kids with special needs at California Park. The event was co-sponsored by the Rehab Institute of Chicago Wheelchair Cubs. The kids received jerseys and food as well as some tips about playing baseball.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Cubs help kids be active

On Tuesday, the Cubs athletic trainers, Marlon Byrd and Ted Lilly will host a PLAY campaign event at Wrigley Field. PLAY stands for “Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth” and is a public awareness campaign developed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in 2004 to combat child obesity.

Through a series of fitness programs at all 30 Major League ballparks, PLAY was designed to encourage kids throughout the country to be active, eat right and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Cubs head athletic trainer Mark O’Neal will run the event, which will feature 60-70 Chicago area youths, ages 11-15, from the neighboring Sheil and Gill Parks.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Cubs honor Santo

Cubs pitchers Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly presented Ron Santo with a “Santo 50” flag autographed by all the players to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Major League debut. Santo was feted during pregame ceremonies on Monday. The former Cubs third baseman, now a color analyst for WGN Radio, made his debut on June 26, 1960, in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. He went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the first game, including his first big league hit, a single off Bob Friend.

“I could never think about retiring,” Santo said. “I love what I do and then I have five months off to be with my grandchildren. I want to be here when they win. And I think I will.”

He was presented with a photo of the Wrigley Field marquee with the message, “Thank you Ron for 50 great years.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Zambrano placed on restricted list

Carlos Zambrano will be placed on the restricted list, effective Tuesday, and will undergo evaluation by doctors picked by Major League Baseball and the Players Association. Zambrano has been suspended without pay since a dugout tantrum on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field after the first inning of the Cubs’ game against the White Sox. He accused his teammates of not making plays behind him as the White Sox opened a 4-0 lead, adding three runs on Carlos Quentin’s three-run homer.

Starting Wednesday, Zambrano will begin a treatment program in New York by mutually agreed upon doctors selected by MLB and the Players Association. He will then be re-evaluated.

“If the program is acted upon properly and in accordance with what the doctors signify he needs to work on and improve on, Carlos would not be reinstated until sometime after the All-Star break,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said Monday.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Hendry said. “His actions certainly were inappropriate. As I said Friday, those actions toward his teammates and staff will not be tolerated.”

When Zambrano was suspended, the Cubs played with a 24-man roster. With him being assigned to the restricted list, the Cubs will be able to add a player and pitcher Jeff Stevens will be called up Tuesday. Stevens had been sent down to Triple-A Iowa.

— Carrie Muskat


6/28 Soriano on Z: "He needs to apologize"

Alfonso Soriano tried to call Carlos Zambrano again on Sunday night to try to get an explanation for the pitcher’s behavior on Friday but didn’t reach him.

“I wanted to talk to him — we’re friends,” Soriano said Monday. “Whatever happened on Friday, he’s still my friend. I want to talk to him, what he was thinking, and have him explain it. We’re friends.”

Zambrano was suspended indefinitely after his dugout tantrum at U.S. Cellular Field after the first inning against the White Sox. He yelled at his teammates, accusing them of not playing behind him.

“We’ve moved on,” Soriano said. “We have to move on and play one day at a time and focus on the other team. We have a lot of things to do and not think about what happened on Friday.”

Soriano planned on trying to reach out to Zambrano again Monday but he’s not losing sleep over the rant.

“We have a lot of things to do, a lot of things to think about,” Soriano said. “We can’t think about Zambrano.”

Does Big Z need to apologize to the team?

“I think he needs to apologize,” Soriano said. “What he said was not good for the team and not good for anybody because he did it in front of the camera and in front of a lot of people. I think we need a little explaining about what he did on Friday.

“I want to know how he feels, why he did it. … Everybody knows Zambrano, but I know he has a very good heart and he likes to play hard for the team.”

— Carrie Muskat