5/7 Extra bases & lineup

* Today marks the two-year anniversary of when Starlin Castro made his Major League debut at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati (May 7, 2010). He went 2-for-5, hitting a three-run homer in his first plate appearance. Castro added a three-run triple that game, and his six RBIs were the most recorded by a player in his first career ML appearance. In his first two calendar years of big league play, Castro has hit .308 with 73 doubles, 16 triples, 14 homers and 125 RBIs in 311 games.

Since making his debut, Castro ranks fourth in the Majors with 385 hits, trailing the Rangers’ Michael Young, the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki and the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez.

* On Sunday, the Cubs bullpen threw five scoreless innings without issuing a walk. It’s the first time that’s happened since Aug. 30, 2009, against the Mets, when the Cubs ‘pen gave up one hit over 5 2/3 innings.

* Ian Stewart, back in the starting lineup on Monday, was batting .389 (7-for-18) in his last six games with a double, homer and two RBIs.

* Bryan LaHair has reached base safely in a team-high 24 straight games. He’s the first Cubs first baseman to do that since Derrek Lee had a 30-game run May 16-June 23, 2009.

* Here’s Monday’s lineup vs. the Braves:

RF DeJesus

CF Campana

SS Castro

1B LaHair

3B Stewart

LF Johnson

2B Barney

C Soto

P Samardzija

* Pitching matchups:

Monday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.41) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.74)

Tuesday: RHP Ryan Dempster (0-1, 0.95) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14)

Wednesday: LHP Paul Maholm (3-2, 5.13) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (1-0, 6.55)

— Carrie Muskat


stewart please keep hitting… we need you…

Gosh yes. If there is a black hole in this organization it IS third base. If Stewart rebounds this year at even half of Aram’s production that would give us hope for 2013…if not…oh boy. I’m a little concerned about his defense too, he doesn’t seem to be comfortable or “right”, I was expecting better defense. Maybe something is still nagging him.

Stewart does have quick reflexes and glove and moves but most every play is an adventure. Sometimes does not hold ball in glove for transfer and arm is all over the place. LaHair is no Pena but he has helped him out. Agree Joey that he just is not right–not fluid with the whole play.

Carrie – Today, I read an article about a couple of phenom pitchers in the minor leagues (one is with the Orioles) and how their throwing programs are against the norm these days. One of the main aspects is around letting the pitchers throw “long toss” between 300 and 350 feet. The article said that more clubs are embracing the concept of letting pitchers throw long toss to help strengthen and exercise their shoulders/arms. Are the Cubs a team that prohibits this practice or encourages it in a pitcher’s development? Thanks.

I’ve seen the Cubs pitchers long toss quite a bit in Spring Training, between starts, and prior to their starts to build up arm strength. As far as I know, the Cubs are doing whatever they can to encourage building arm strength

At least Stewart is young enough to rebound in time and since Vitters isn’t knocking down the door….

long toss is nothing new…. I guarantee you every player on that field plays long toss on a regular basis. Its the best thing to help strengthen your arm.

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