December 2010

12/16 Remember Ryan Harvey?

Ryan Harvey, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2003, has signed a Minor League deal with the Red Sox, according to Harvey is trying to convert to pitching after eight Minor League seasons. This year, Harvey batted .213 with 11 homers, 36 RBIs in 68 games with the Rangers’ Double-A Tulsa team.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Wood close to return

It looks like Kid K is coming back. Kerry Wood, who went from a hard-throwing starter to closer with the Cubs, is close to signing a one-year contract with the team. The Chicago Sun-Times said Thursday the deal was for $1.5 million. No formal announcement was expected Thursday.

Wood was effective in short relief with the Yankees this season, compiling a 0.69 ERA in 24 games and giving up two earned runs over 26 innings and striking out 31. He would complement lefty Sean Marshall in the Cubs bullpen and provide an experienced right-hander to set up closer Carlos Marmol. The addition of Wood could prompt the team to move Andrew Cashner from the ‘pen to the rotation.

The right-hander needed to pass a physical and contract details had to be finalized before the deal could be made official. GM Jim Hendry is well-versed in Wood’s medical history. The right-hander has been on the disabled list 14 times in his career because of his shoulder, elbow, back and blisters.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Winter ball update

Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run in Escogido’s 3-1 win Wednesday over Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League. Bryan LaHair started in left field and went 1-for-4 for Estrellas. Brad Snyder started in center field in Licey’s 12-6 loss to Aguilas and was hitless. Former Cubs OF/IF Jake Fox hit his fourth homer, a two-run shot, in the first.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Come have lunch with Cubs

Mike Quade will headline the fourth annual Cubs Caravan luncheon on Jan. 12. The event will be held at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, 33 W. Kinzie Street, Chicago from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT. Players expected to attend with Quade include Andrew Cashner, Koyie Hill, Sean Marshall, James Russell and Randy Wells.

Tickets are $100 each and include a buffet lunch and the opportunity to sit at a table with a Cubs player, coach or member of the front office staff. Cubs television announcer Len Kasper will emcee the event. Proceeds will benefit Chicago Cubs Charities. Tickets are available for purchase beginning Friday at 10 a.m. CT by calling (773) 404-2827. Space is limited to 120 guests. Players and personnel appearing at the luncheon are subject to change.

The caravan precedes the annual Cubs Convention, to be held Jan. 14-16.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Minor League staffs

Here are the Cubs’ Minor League staffs for 2011:

Triple-A Iowa: manager Bill Dancy, pitching coach Mike Mason, hitting coach Von Joshua.

Double-A Tennessee: manager Brian Harper, pitching coach Marty Mason, hitting coach Mariano Duncan.

Class A Daytona: manager Buddy Bailey, pitching coach Tom Pratt, hitting coach Barbaro Garbey

Class A Peoria: manager Casey Kopitzke, pitching coach Jeff Fassero, hitting coach Ricardo Medina.

Class A Boise: manager Mark Johnson, pitching coach David Rosario, hitting coach Desi Wilson.

Mesa rookie league: manager Juan Cabreja, pitching coaches Rick Tronerud and Frank Castillo, and hitting coach Jason Dubois.

Dominican rookie No. 1: manager Manuel Callado, pitching coach Leo Hernandez, hitting coach Alberto Garcia.

Dominican rookie No. 2: manager Yudith Ozorio, pitching coach Anderson Tavares, hitting coaches Leo Perez and Franklin Blanco.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Cubs Minor League staff

The Cubs promoted Bill Dancy to Triple-A Iowa manager, named Tom Beyers the hitting coordinator and Dennis Lewallyn pitching coordinator, and added former big leaguer Mariano Duncan as Double-A Tennessee hitting coach. The team made the announcements as it released the Minor League assignments for 2010 on Thursday. Dancy takes over at Iowa for Ryne Sandberg, who left the Cubs organization after not getting the manager’s job with the big league team. Sandberg will manage the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley team in 2011.
Tennessee will have a new staff and be led by manager Brian Harper, a former catcher for 16 big league seasons.

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Could Wood come back?

There are multiple reports that the Cubs could be wrapping up a deal with free agent Kerry Wood. The White Sox reportedly offered the right-hander a two-year contract, but then signed Jesse Crain. Wood, who was originally drafted by the Cubs, had reportedly been seeking a two-year, $12 million deal, which would not appear to be a good fit for the cost-conscious team. The Cubs are well-versed in Wood’s medical history — he’s been on the disabled list 14 times in his career because of his shoulder, elbow, back and blisters. The 33-year-old right-hander isn’t going to strike out 20 in a game but was effective in short relief with the Yankees last season, compiling a 0.69 ERA in 24 games (two earned runs in 26 innings, 31 strikeouts). As a starter, he has a career 71-55 record with a 3.69 ERA, and as a reliever, he’s 12-13 with 62 saves (including 34 with the Cubs in 2008) and a 3.45 ERA.

The Cubs do want an experienced right-hander in the bullpen to compliment lefty Sean Marshall, and Wood would welcome coming back to Wrigley Field. He lives in Chicago year-round.

— Carrie Muskat

12/15 Non-roster invitees

The Cubs have added first baseman Bryan LaHair and outfielder Brad Snyder to the list of non-roster invitees for Spring Training. They join pitchers Angel Guzman and Scott Rice; infielders Scott Moore and Bobby Scales; and outfielder Jim Adduci.

Both LaHair and Snyder are playing in the Dominican Republic this winter. LaHair is batting .300 in six games with Estrellas and Snyder is hitting .306 in 13 games for Licey.

— Carrie Muskat

12/15 Winter ball update

Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 with a double in Escogido’s 5-0 loss Tuesday to los Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Republic Winter League. Meanwhile, catcher Welington Castillo is batting .184 in 25 games and outfielder Brad Snyder is batting .306 in 13 games for Licey in the DR. First baseman Bryan LaHair was batting .300 in six games and Marcos Mateo is 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Estrellas.

— Carrie Muskat

12/13 Greetings from the Dominican

DRtrip01.JPGAlfonso Soriano,
Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro & Aramis Ramirez pose in front of the Cubs’ academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, during a fans trip there earlier this month.