September 2010

9/24 Archer throws at Wrigley

Chris Archer, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year, had a chance to get a bullpen session in at Wrigley Field on Friday. Archer and outfielder Brandon Guyer, named the organization’s player of the year, were to be honored Saturday prior to the Cubs’ game against the Cardinals.

Archer, 21, combined to go 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA (37 earned runs in 142 1/3 innings) in 28 games between Class A Daytona and Tennessee. He struck out 149 in 142 1/3 innings and walked 65. He credited Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins with helping him get on track.

“Some things fell in place and I started to feel a lot more comfortable,” said Archer, who improved command of his fastball. “Everybody has told me once you start throwing strikes, you’re going to move fast and be successful and that’s what’s happening.”

Originally selected by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft, Archer was acquired along with pitchers Jeff Stevens and John Gaub in the December 2006 trade for infielder Mark DeRosa. He knows how popular DeRosa was in Chicago.

“I let it motivate me because I wanted to prove to the fans and show they made a good decision,” he said.

Archer will pitch for the U.S. team in the Pan American Qualifying Team tournament in Puerto Rico, which begins next week.

— Carrie Muskat

9/24 Byrd is the word

Marlon Byrd has struggled lately at the plate, batting .224 in September, and was hitting .215 in the No. 3 spot in the batting order. He took over when Derrek Lee was traded Aug. 18 to the Braves.

“I find the three-hole has nothing to do with that,” Mike Quade said of Byrd’s numbers. “He loves the challenge. There’s not a challenge on this planet that he doesn’t enjoy.

“He’s our best hitter day in and day out average-wise,” Quade said. “He had a lot of success in the three-hole before struggling a little bit lately. It’s the ups and downs of the season. You watch him play and how hard he plays and he never wants a day off.”

When Byrd made the great catch Thursday, the Giants had an 11-0 lead. He could’ve let the ball drop.

“He’s oblivious [to the score],” Quade said. “When it comes to effort, the score doesn’t matter. You want that in everybody. He’s got a job to do and takes great pride in his defense. You’re going to see him leave his feet no matter what the situation was.”

The wind Thursday also made the play tough.

“That [catch and effort] is who he is,” Quade said. “That exemplifies to me, who Marlon Byrd is.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/24 Samardzija to sign Friday

Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija will sign autographs for fans at the Best
Buy store at 1000 W. North Avenue in Chicago tonight [Friday] from 6-7 p.m. CT.
There’s a limit of one item per person.

— Carrie Muskat

9/24 Cubs lineup vs Cardinals

Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano are not in the Cubs’ starting lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Cardinals. Instead, Sam Fuld will be in left and Brad Snyder in right. It’s a blustery day at Wrigley Field. Hang onto your hats. Here’s the lineup:

LF Fuld
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Nady
2B DeWitt
RF Snyder
C Hill
P Gorzelanny

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Extra bases

Some tidbits from Thursday’s 13-0 loss to the Giants:

* The nine runs allowed by the Cubs in the second were the most in a frame since yielding 12 in the eighth July 30 at Colorado.

* Ryan Dempster hit Jose Guillen twice in the second. He’s the second Cubs pitcher to hit two batters in one inning this year. Andrew Cashner also hit two batters in the seventh on July 27 in Houston.

* Juan Uribe’s six RBIs in the second were the most for any player since the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez plated seven in the sixth inning October 4, 2009 at Tampa Bay. It’s the most RBI by a player in one inning at Wrigley Field since Andre Dawson drove in six as an Expo Sept. 24, 1985.

* Dempster was charged with a season-high nine runs on seven hits. The nine runs are the most off the right-hander since he gave up nine May 22, 2003, vs. Atlanta. His 1 2/3 innings was his shortest start since 1 1/3 innings on April 30, 2003, in Colorado. It’s only the fourth time in his career he pitched 1 2/3 innings or fewer as a starter.

* Starlin Castro (2-for-4) recorded his 37th multi-hit affair. He’s the 12th Cubs rookie to accomplish the feat and the first since Kosuke Fukudome had 39 in 2008.

* The Cubs served up four homers for the sixth time this season, the most for the club since doing it 12 times in 2006.

* In his first trip back to Wrigley, Mike Fontenot went 2-for-6 with two runs and a double.

* This was the Giants’ largest margin of victory over the Cubs since a 16-3 win Sept. 3, 1963, in San Francisco.

9/23 Cubs Cookbook sales Friday

The Cubs wives will be on the Wrigley Field concourse prior to Friday’s game against the Cardinals to sell copies of the Chicago Cubs Cookbook. Proceeds benefit Ryan Dempster’s foundation, and Dempster himself will make an appearance and sign copies of the book. And if you haven’t tried Steve Trout’s trout recipe, you’re missing something.

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Silva runs out of time

Carlos Silva’s season is most likely over. The right-hander has not pitched since Sept. 7, and missed his next scheduled start five days later because of right elbow strain. He’s simply running out of time.

“The thought of him getting built up in time for the last series — you never rule anything out, but it would be very tough,” manager Mike Quade said. “My way of thinking is to just monitor him carefully. To rush somebody back for no apparent reason as opposed to getting him completely healthy would not make much sense to me. We’ll continue his throwing program.”

Silva has not thrown a side session since Sept. 12.

“He’s been around long enough and he’s smart enough to know what you want and what you’re capable of are two different things,” Quade said. “In the next six, seven days of work, it’ll tell him what he’s capable of doing. If he’s healthy, I’m sure he’d like to pitch. It’s not time for me to get involved until we see a healthy side and maybe a simulated game.”

Silva (10-6, 4.22 ERA in 21 starts) would need time to build up to 70, 80 pitches if he were to start. The Cubs have 11 games remaining.

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Cubs lineup vs Giants – UPDATED

Jeff Baker was scratched from Thursday’s lineup because of the stomach flu. Baker has been bothered by it since Sunday. Rookie Darwin Barney started in his place and led off, playing second base.

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Hendry meets with Ryno

Cubs GM Jim Hendry met with Ryne Sandberg Tuesday and Wednesday in Arizona to discuss the Cubs’ manager vacancy.

“The process is continuing the way I said it would,” Hendry said Thursday.

Sandberg is the second person to be formally interviewed for the Cubs job. Hendry also has talked to former Indians manager Eric Wedge and was expected to interview Pat Listach and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, among others.

Sandberg may be a popular candidate for other teams also looking for a manager. The former Cubs second baseman was named Pacific Coast League manager of the year this season after guiding the Triple-A Iowa Cubs to an 82-62 record. However, teams must contact the Cubs first to get permission to interview Sandberg, and so far, no team has requested that.

Since Lou Piniella retired, Mike Quade has taken over and led the Cubs to an 18-8 record. Quade also is a candidate for 2011.

“I’m very pleased with how he’s run the club and handled himself,” Hendry said of Quade. “The players are playing hard for him. It’s a really positive environment going on in our locker room and it’s a very solid blend of using the veterans properly and getting the kids the development we need to see toward the end of the season. It’s very positive. He’s doing an outstanding job.”

Hendry said he can see players fighting for jobs next season and also sees a lot of confidence.

“I see nothing but positives,” he said. “Let’s not forget, we traded quite a few players and now we’ve got a couple significant guys injured and we’re not playing any different and Mike hasn’t skipped a beat and given everybody a fair chance to earn their stripes.

“Hopefully we can finish it off and continue to get out of the development part of it and the knowledge that [assistant GM] Randy Bush and I need going into the offseason. So far, [Quade] has done an outstanding job.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/23 Maddux staying with Cubs

Greg Maddux will be back with the Cubs in 2011 in the same capacity as an assistant to GM Jim Hendry and be involved in scouting, coaching and player evaluation. New Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told USA Today he’d like to hire the four-time Cy Young winner as Arizona’s next bench coach or pitching coach. Hendry said Thursday he spent part of the last two days with Maddux at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz., where he’s helping with the instructional league.

“Greg’s intent is to stay with the Cubs for 2011 and do exactly what he’s doing now,” Hendry said Thursday.

The two have had numerous conversations since Lou Piniella left, including discussions about Maddux joining the big league staff.

“[Towers’ comments] didn’t bother me because I knew what Greg was going to do,” Hendry said. “I don’t blame anybody for wanting Greg Maddux.”

The former Cubs pitcher has not expressed a desire to get back in uniform.

“He could probably do any job in the game that he chooses to down the road,” Hendry said. “He made the commitment to his family to work this way. When he wants to come back, if he wants to be in uniform, I’ll always try to accommodate him. He made it real clear to me and we talked about it then, looking ahead. We already knew Lou wasn’t coming back and that he was going to retire. I said, ‘Hey there are going to be some changes’ and he said, ‘I’d prefer to be doing what I’m doing for another year.'”

— Carrie Muskat