8/16 Looking to the future
Andrew Cashner and James Russell gave up two runs each in Monday’s 9-5 loss to the Padres.
“These young kids we have here pitching-wise, we give them the opportunity of a lifetime and none of them want to step up,” Lou Piniella said. “You can’t have better opportunities than what we’ve given these guys.”
There isn’t much margin for error.
“It’s just a learning experience,” catcher Koyie Hill said of the pair, two of five rookies in the Cubs bullpen. “They’re learning on the job a little bit and that’s tough. [The Padres] are good, real good.
“There’s not much wiggle room there,” Hill said. “To their credit, they keep their heads up and come back with confidence. Nobody’s given up on them, that’s for sure. I guarantee they’ll be good ones and better for it. We’re asking an awful lot of them.”
Hill is already working on 2011.
“One of my priorities this last month or so,” Hill said, “has been working with them more closely and talking more in the outfield and after games and before games and what things mean and what we’re trying to do. It’s just a matter of time. I think these guys have good ability. Sometimes you have to get drug through the mud a little bit.”
Take the Padres’ eighth inning, for example. Cashner, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2008, gave up a single to Chris Denorfia, a double to pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr., and got the next batter to ground out. But a run scored on a wild pitch and Miguel Tejada hit a RBI single to open a 7-2 lead.
Cashner, to his credit, struck out both Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Ludwick to end the inning.
“It’s definitely there,” Hill said of the ability. “The biggest difference between the Minor Leagues and big leagues is consistency and execution and that will come. It’s no different than with a young hitter who learns how to hit first and the power will come. I think all these experiences will be good for them in the long run.”
— Carrie Muskat