April 2011

4/20 Castro in the No. 3 hole?

Kosuke Fukudome was expected to be at Wrigley Field on Wednesday by game time after spending the morning with his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s second child, a daughter, on Tuesday. Fukudome could start the second game of the Cubs doubleheader against the Padres and bat leadoff. Where would Starlin Castro go? If manager Mike Quade gives Marlon Byrd the second game off, he is considering inserting Castro there. The lineup is evolving, as Quade likes to say.

“The 1-2-3 hole could be musical chairs depending on who I have in the lineup on a particular day,” Quade said. “Other than my cleanup hitter [Aramis Ramirez], everybody’s able to adjust and understand if we do make some changes.”

Castro has handled the move from No. 2 to leadoff without missing a beat. Geovany Soto could catch both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, depending on how he feels. Don’t be surprised if Castro is batting third in Game 2.

“This is why I’m glad it’s a split doubleheader,” Quade said. “At least I’ve got an hour to figure that out.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/20 Friday is 22q Awareness Day

Friday will be “22Q Awareness Day” at Wrigley Field. The Dempster Family Foundation will have a booth at the main gate at Wrigley Field and fans are asked to help support Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster’s efforts to raise awareness about 22q. The 22q11.1 Deletion Syndrome is a disorder caused by a missing section of chromosome 22 in a person’s body. Dempster’s daughter, Riley, who celebrated her second birthday on April 1, has 22q. The Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation assist charities and organizations supporting children with 22q, also referred to as DiGeorge syndrome.

– Carrie Muskat

4/20 Minor League report

Iowa’s game against Albuquerque was rained out Tuesday. The teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, beginning at 12:05 p.m. CT. Austin Bibens-Dirkx was slated to pitch the first game followed by Robert Coello in the second game.

Rebel Ridling notched his fifth multi-hit game to help Tennessee beat Carolina, 6-2. Rafael Dolis started and threw 2 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings. He walked three and struck out three.

Aaron Kurcz  gave up three runs on six hits over four innings in Daytona’s 4-3 win over Clearwater. Jae-Hoon Ha had four hits and hit his second homer. Welington Castillo reached base three times, getting two hits, both doubles.

Peoria’s game at Quad Cities was rained out. The teams will play a doubleheader Wednesday, starting at 12 p.m. CT.

– Carrie Muskat

4/20 Let’s play two

It’s cold at Wrigley but at least it’s not raining. This is the Cubs’ first doubleheader of any type since a split doubleheader against the Pirates at Wrigley Field Sept. 30, 2009. It’s only the eighth split variety in the last 44 seasons for the Cubs, starting in 1968.

The Cubs did not play a doubleheader last year, the first season in which they did not have a twinbill since 1985.

The last doubleheader sweep was in Atlanta, Aug. 13, 2008, and the last sweep at home was Sept. 27, 2003, vs. the Pirates. On that day, the Cubs clinched the NL Central.

Here’s the lineup for Game 1 of Wednesday’s split day-night doubleheader:

SS Castro

2B Barney

CF Byrd

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

LF Soriano

RF Colvin

C Soto

P Garza

– Carrie Muskat

4/19 Make-up game details

Tuesday night’s game between the Padres and Cubs at Wrigley Field was postponed because of inclement weather and will be made up Wednesday as a separate admission day-night doubleheader.

Matt Garza (0-2, 6.27 ERA) will face San Diego’s Dustin Moseley (0-3, 1.83 ERA) in the first game, scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m. CT. The second game will begin at 6:05 p.m. CT, and lefty James Russell (1-1, 7.20 ERA) will start for the Cubs against Aaron Harang (3-0, 1.50 ERA). Gates will open at 5:05 p.m. CT for the second game.

Rain and high winds off Lake Michigan gusting to 30 mph plus temperatures in the 30s made it a miserable day at the ballpark on Tuesday. Wednesday’s forecast called for temperatures in the low 40s and no precipitation. Mike Quade was dressed in layers in case they did play Tuesday. Some of the players did take batting practice and Casey Coleman got a side session in despite the blustery, wet conditions.

“You don’t want to play in weather like this,” Quade said. “The wind and the cold, that doesn’t [bother me] — you just do it. When it’s raining and you add the moisture to [the elements], that’s tough. If we wouldn’t have had the rain, it would’ve just been a cool night.”

Tickets for Tuesday’s postponed game will be good for admission to Wednesday’s night game. The Tyler Colvin bobblehead promotion, which was scheduled for Tuesday, will take place Wednesday night.

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome was expected back with the team on Wednesday barring any complications. His wife, Kazue, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a daughter, on Tuesday in Chicago.

“I didn’t see a cigar yet,” Quade said. “When a cigar winds up on my desk, I’ll know.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/19 Cubs lineup, weather permitting

It’s raining, windy and cold at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs did post their lineup for Tuesday night vs. the Padres. If they can’t play, there’s talk of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday. The other option is to play on June 23, which is a mutal off day. The Cubs have Thursday off but the Padres open a series against the Phillies in San Diego.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry and team president Crane Kenney went to look at the field shortly after 3 p.m. CT.

If you’re optimistic, here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

CF Byrd

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

LF Soriano

RF Colvin

C Soto

P Russell

– Carrie Muskat

4/19 Minor League report

Thomas Diamond gave up two runs on six hits over six innings and struck out seven in Iowa’s 5-2 win over Memphis. Diamond did not get a decision as the I-Cubs scored four in the seventh for the win. Scott Maine picked up the save, his third.

Ryan Flaherty hit his fourth homer but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost to Carolina, 5-4, in 10 innings. Brett Jackson’s hitting streak came to an end at 10 games.

Nick Struck gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits over four innings in Daytona’s 7-4 loss to Clearwater. Jae-Hoon Ha extended his hitting streak to five games, hitting his first home run of the year in the eighth.

Hayden Simpson gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits over four innings in Peoria’s 4-2 loss to Quade Cities. Greg Rohan extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

– Carrie Muskat

4/18 Sing along

Cubs TV broadcaster Len Kasper will be the guest conductor Monday for the seventh inning stretch. Bears kicker Robbie Gould will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Tuesday followed by secretary of state Jesse White on Wednesday. Friday is to be determined, while band members from Arcade Fire will do so Saturday. Looking ahead, Miss World, Alexandria Mills, will be sing on April 27.

– Carrie Muskat

4/18 Pass10n, Schlitter & more

The Cubs have found an effective one-two combo in Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney, and Aramis Ramirez is set at No. 4. But the rest of the lineup is still evolving. Marlon Byrd, the No. 3 hitter, is batting .292 overall but is 3-for-20 (.150) with runners in scoring position. Carlos Pena was 2-for-14 (.143) with RISP.

“I think the thing that’s great is that even with a kid like Castro, who has been [No.] two, one [in the lineup], could he wind up somewhere else? Absolutely,” Quade said.

“I like what those kids are doing at the top,” Quade said of Castro and Barney, “but I still think the entire thing is a bit of a work in progress.”

* The Cubs received new t-shirts on Monday designed by catcher Koyie Hill. The shirt says “PASS10N” on the front and on the sleeve it says, “Play like a 10.” The shirt commemorates Ron Santo and his passion for the game. He died in December at the age of 70.

* Right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter, who was outrighted to make room on the 40-man roster when the Cubs signed free agent Kerry Wood, has been returned to the Cubs. He was claimed by the Yankees and then claimed by the Phillies but Schlitter had some problems with his right elbow. A Chicago area product, Schlitter will report to the Cubs extended Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz.

* Doug Davis, who signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs, has been throwing in Mesa. He was expected to be assigned to one of the Minor League teams early next month. Todd Wellemeyer, still bothered by a hip injury, and Augie Ojeda, slowed by back spasms, were both rehabbing in Mesa as well.

– Carrie Muskat

4/18 Cashner, Wells update

No official update is expected until Tuesday regarding pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, who were to be examined Monday night by the team orthopedic specialist. Wells did take a positive step in his rehab and started playing catch Monday at Wrigley Field.

Cashner and Wells are both on the disabled list and were scheduled to see team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo at Wrigley Field. Cashner, who has a strained right rotator cuff, and Wells, who has a strained right forearm, were placed on the disabled list April 7 and told they could not pick up a baseball for two weeks.

– Carrie Muskat

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