November 2010

11/15 AFL update

Josh Vitters and Ryan Flaherty both went 1-for-4 in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 5-5 tie with Phoenix on Monday in Arizona Fall League play. Vitters hit a double in the fourth, his sixth. David Cales pitched in relief and helped the Solar Sox escape a jam in the fourth. He now has a 1.80 ERA. Mesa scored two runs in the ninth to tie the game. On Tuesday, the Solar Sox travel to Surprise.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Castro finishes 5th NL ROY

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro finished tied for fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, announced Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Giants catcher Buster Posey won, getting 20 first-place votes and totaling 129 points. The Braves’ Jason Heyward was second with nine first place votes and 107 points, followed by the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia (24 points) and the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez (18 points). Castro finished tied with the Pirates’ Neil Walker for fifth, each receiving three points. Castro received three third-place votes. Others getting votes included the Mets’ Ike Davis, the Pirates’ Jose Tabata and the Braves’ Jonny Venters.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Sandberg to Phillies

Ryne Sandberg has come full circle. The Phillies announced Monday they’ve hired Sandberg as their Triple-A manager, and he is back with the organization where he started. He’ll now be skipper of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It’ll be his fifth year managing in the Minors after four seasons in the Cubs system. Sandberg was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year after leading the Triple-A Iowa Cubs to an 82-62 record. He interviewed for the Cubs managerial opening but GM Jim Hendry picked Mike Quade after he led the team to a 24-13 record in the final six weeks. The Phillies drafted Sandberg in 1978, and he was traded to the Cubs in 1981.

“I’m happy for him and applaud him for wanting to pursue his goal,” said Hendry, who was in Orlando, Fla., for the GM meetings.

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 The color purple

The Wrigley Field marquee will switch from red to the color purple on Monday to kick off the week-long festivities leading up to Saturday’s college football game. Northwestern plays host to Illinois at the Cubs’ home, which has been converted to a football field. The Wrigley marquee was actually a blue-green color when installed for the 1934 season and remained that color until it was painted red in the mid 1960s. Saturday’s game will be the first college football game at Wrigley since 1938 and the first football game since 1970. Kickoff is 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 AFL update

Ryan Flaherty hit a RBI single in the second inning in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 2-2 tie with Phoenix Friday in Arizona Fall League action. Flaherty’s RBI hit gave the Solar Sox a 2-0 lead but Phoenix tied the game in their half on a ground-rule RBI double by Ivan DeJesus Jr. and a sacrifice fly by Caleb Joseph. Cubs prospect David Cales gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two in one inning of relief. He has a 1.93 ERA. The Solar Sox travel to Peoria, Ariz., to face the Javelinas on Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 Tickets available for football game

A limited number of partial view tickets for the Nov. 20 football game between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. CT. The seats for the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic will be available at These seats, primarily located in the terrace reserved and upper deck reserved sections of Wrigley Field, have been released to allow the more fans the chance to watch college football at the Cubs’ home ballpark.

These tickets will be the final inventory available for purchase to the public. Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the Cubs have each sold out of their allocations.

Partial view tickets are located throughout Wrigley Field and include occasional structural obstruction while viewing the field. This allotment of partial view tickets has been viewed and approved for sale after the final placement of the football field within the ballpark.

The game will mark the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, and first football game of any kind at the ballpark since the Chicago Bears played there in 1970. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/12 Purple reign at Wrigley

Wrigley Field’s fabled marquee will turn purple on Monday. The sign will be changed from red to purple to promote the Nov. 20 college football game between Northwestern and Illinois. The marquee was created by the Federated Sign Co., and was a blue-green color when it was installed for the 1934 season. It remained that color until it was painted red in the mid-1960s.
The game will be the first college football game at Wrigley since 1938, and kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 Dye looking for job

Jermaine Dye rejected an offer last year from the Cubs of one-year, $3 million, and wound up sitting out the season. Now, Dye is trying to connect with a team for 2011. The outfielder told that he’s been contacted by three teams, the Phillies, Rays and Rockies. Dye says that besides the Cubs, he also was contacted by the Brewers and Nationals last year. Dye says he won’t do a Minor League deal and wants to play for a contender.

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 Castro back at work

Starlin Castro’s offseason is over. The 20-year-old shortstop has reported to the Leones de Escogido in the Dominican Winter Leagues and was expected to play his first game Saturday or Sunday. Former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou is Escogido’s general manager. Castro is playing without any restrictions from the Cubs.

“I came to work on my defense, primarily on my throw to first base,” Castro said.

The shortstop batted .300 in 125 games with the Cubs in his rookie season, hitting three home runs, including a three-run shot in his first at-bat May 7. He also committed 27 errors, and Cubs coach Ivan DeJesus and Minor League infield instructor Franklin Font were expected to visit Castro in the Dominican Republic this offseason to work on his defense.

Castro will find out Monday how he finished in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

— Carrie Muskat

11/11 AFL update

Josh Vitters went 2-for-4, hitting a two-run double in the fifth, and Ryan Flaherty was 1-for-5 in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 9-6 loss Wednesday to Phoenix in Arizona Fall League play. Jake Muyco started and gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. Chris Carpenter pitched 1 2/3 innings, and gave up two runs on three hits and one walk. Kyle Smit took the loss as he was charged with three runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings. All the runs came in the eighth as Matt Wallach led off with a home run and Michael Taylor hit a two-run double. Smit, acquired from the Dodgers in the Ted Lilly-Ryan Theriot-Blake DeWitt deal, had given up only three runs in 10 innings over seven outings prior to Wednesday’s game. On Thursday, the Solar Sox travel to Surprise.

— Carrie Muskat