September 2011

9/20 Cubs honor Minor League players

The Cubs today announced their first class of Minor League community service winners, a new set of organizational awards to be presented annually to a player from each of Chicago’s four full-season minor league affiliates who demonstrates strong community spirit and leadership. Right-handed pitcher Jay Jackson (Triple-A Iowa), infielder Nate Samson (Double-A Tennessee), infielder Justin Bour (Class A Daytona) and left-handed pitcher Austin Kirk (Class A Peoria) represent the inaugural class of winners. All four players will be honored tonight during an on-field ceremony prior to the Cubs contest at Wrigley Field against the Milwaukee Brewers.
 
– Carrie Muskat

9/20 Gary Hughes will not return to Cubs

Gary Hughes, who was a special assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry since October 2002, has told the team he will not return in 2012. Hughes has spent 45 years working in professional baseball with the Giants (1967-72), Mets (1973-76), Mariners (1977), Yankees (1978-85), Expos (1986-91), Marlins (1992-98), Rockies (1999), Reds (2000-02) and Cubs. He was named one of the top 10 scouts of the 20th century by Baseball America, and in December 2009, was named West Coast Scout of the Year, as voted on by his peers. In February 2008, he was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.

– Carrie Muskat

9/20 Cubs Inbox

Got a question about the Cubs? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, next scheduled for Thursday. Please include your full name and hometown. There’s eight games remaining, including Tuesday’s contest against the Brewers.

– Carrie Muskat

9/20 Cubs lineup vs. Brewers

Bryan LaHair is starting in right field Tuesday in Game 2 of the Cubs’ series against the Brewers. LaHair has hit safely in 11 of his first 12 games played with a plate appearance. Starlin Castro enters the game with 196 hits, four shy of 200. Randy Wells is 5-0 with a 3.57 ERA in nine starts since the beginning of August. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS

Barney 2B

Ramirez 3B

Pena 1B

LaHair RF

Soriano LF

Byrd CF

Soto C

Wells P

– Carrie Muskat

9/20 Movie night at Wrigley Field

The Cubs and Groupon will celebrate their hometown and the 25th anniversary of Chicago’s biggest day-off adventure, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” with a giant movie night inside Wrigley Field on Oct. 1. Tickets went live at 12:01 a.m. CT on Tuesday and feature multiple options to enjoy the movie.

* Pricing is $10 for a bleacher seat; $25 for an outfield lawn seat; $75 for one VIP outfield lawn seat with access to a two-hour VIP pre party, starting at 5 p.m. CT, which includes food and drink.

Guests are invited to set up picnic blankets and enjoy a fall night in Chicago within the Friendly Confines. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the movie will begin playing at 7:30 p.m.  Concessions will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

The crowd also will be asked to join a coordinated attempt to break a world record singing the film’s memorable anthem, “Danke Shoen,” and snap pictures with cast look-a-likes.

You can purchase tickets through Cubs.com or visit the Wrigley Field box office Tuesday and Wednesday.

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Castro at 196 hits & counting

Starlin Castro singled to leadoff the seventh inning Monday for his National League-leading 196th hit and now has reached base safely in a career-high 32 straight games. He’s the first Cubs shortstop to have a streak that long since Woody English also had a 32-game run in 1930. Derrek Lee was the last Cubs player with a 32-game streak, doing so in 2007. Castro now has hit safely in 41 of his last 46 games. Castro is vying to become the youngest Cubs player ever to collect 200 hits in a single season. Billy Herman (206 hits in 1932) and Augie Galan (203 hits in 1935) were 23 when they reached the milestone. The last Cub to collect 200 hits was Juan Pierre, who had 204 in 2006.

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Wrapping things up

Monday marks the start of the Cubs’ final homestand of 2011. How does Mike Quade feel about the season as it winds down?

“It’s not the season I had envisioned and there are a gazillion reasons for that,” Quade said Monday. “In the end, we had our share of adversity and especially these guys in the clubhouse handled it pretty well. It was tough for us just from the get go, from the first week of the season losing [Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells]. We didn’t have enough depth and enough ways to rebound, particularly in the area of starting pitching.”

Those were two weren’t the only injuries the Cubs had to overcome. They had six players go on the DL in a 20-day stretch.

“Nothing caught me by surprise as far as managing — not [the media], not managing in Wrigley, nothing,” Quade said. “It was just frustrating to not be able to piece things together when the injuries started.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Kerry Wood done for season

Kerry Wood is done for the season, but not done pitching. Wood is sidelined with a torn meniscus in his left knee, and he will undergo arthroscopic surgery at the end of the season.

“A couple days ago, I squatted down, stood up, it popped, sharp pain, burning and that’s the way it goes,” Wood said Monday. “I’m glad it happened now instead of getting through the season and having something happen in spring and missing half of the season. I should be ready to go by spring.”

Wood, 34, will stay with the Cubs for the final games. He needs to wait for the swelling to go down in his knee before he can undergo the procedure. He appeared in 55 games this season and compiled a 3.35 ERA.

“When he’s healthy, he’s real good,” Mike Quade said. “He was a huge part of that bullpen. With all the options we had, he was as important as ever.”

The problem is not expected to hamper him next season, and the right-hander is definitely looking to returning to the Cubs. He signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract to return to the Cubs after spending two seasons in the American League. He doesn’t plan on pitching anywhere else, and joked that will hurt his contract negotiations.

“I’m not going to play anywhere else,” Wood said. “This is where I want to be. If they need me back and want me back, I’m sure those conversations will happen in the next couple months.

“I’m home and this is where we’re at,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 It’s official: Clevenger, Dolis added to roster

The Cubs made it official and selected the contract of catcher Steve Clevenger and recalled right-handed pitcher Rafael Dolis from Double-A Tennessee. Clevenger will wear No. 51; Dolis No. 66. The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 40 players, while the active roster stands at 32 players.
 
Clevenger, 25, reaches the big leagues for the first time in his six-year professional career. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 Draft. A left-handed batter and right-handed thrower, he was a mid-season Southern League All-Star for the Smokies for the second year in a row, batting .295 with 27 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 39 RBIs and 39 strikeouts in 95 games. 

Clevenger also played at Triple-A Iowa, and hit .407 in 25 games. Overall, he hit .319 this season. He’s a career .308 hitter in six Minor League seasons with the Cubs.

Dolis, 23, joins the first Major League roster of his pro career after earning Southern League mid-season and post-season honors in 2011.  The righthander went 8-5 with 17 saves and a 3.22 ERA in 51 appearances (four starts) with the Smokies.  He tied for third in the league in saves and tied for 11th in wins. Dolis limited opponents to a .227 batting average, and gave up two home runs in 72 2/3 innings pitched. Originally signed by the Cubs on August 6, 2004, out of the Dominican Republic, his career was slowed when he needed Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on July 6, 2007.

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Cubs vs. Brewers

The Brewers come to Wrigley Field with a magic number of four to clinch the National League Central. Casey Coleman will try to hold them off, facing lefty Chris Narveson. If Coleman can go deep, he’s got a chance. He’s 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA when he goes 5 2/3 innings or more. The Cubs are 4-9 against the Brewers this year, including a 3-1 mark at Wrigley Field.

* The Cubs are 25-21 in the last 46 games since July 31, third best record in the NL Central behind the Brewers and Cardinals.

* Since July 31, Aramis Ramirez’s .356 batting average ranks third in the NL behind Ryan Braun (.367) and Troy Tulowitzki (.361). Alfonso Soriano has 34 RBIs in that stretch.

* Starlin Castro has three games at Wrigley Field to reach 200 hits at home. He has 195 hits so far, tops in the NL. At 21, he would be the youngest player in franchise history to collect 200 hits. The youngest so far are Billy Herman (206 in 1932) and Augie Galan (203 in 1935). Both were 23 at the time.

– Carrie Muskat

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