July 2012

7/27 Ron Santo Day at Wrigley

Long time Cubs third baseman and radio analyst Ron Santo, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame last Sunday, was celebrated on Friday at Wrigley Field. There were No. 10 flags on top of the ballpark and a “10” imprinted in center field in honor of Santo, who passed away in December 2010, one year before the Golden Era committee voted him into the Hall of Fame. Santo’s wife, Vicki, and Santo’s sons, Ron Jr. and Jeff, and daughter Linda and her two children, Sam and Spencer, received a photo from the ceremonies in Cooperstown in which the family posed with the plaque. The family then shook hands with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, the coaches and all the players lined along the dugout. Santo’s grandson Spencer Brown threw a perfect strike to recently retired Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood for the ceremonial first pitch. As they took the field, the Cubs players clicked their heels as they did last Sunday in St. Louis in honor of Santo, who first did the celebration in 1969.

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Normal day for Dempster

Ryan Dempster threw on the side Friday, hit with the Cubs pitchers, and then joined his teammates in the outfield during batting practice. It was a normal day for the right-hander, who has had anything but normal days leading up to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA) is on track to make his next start, which would be Tuesday, just a few hours after the Trade Deadline. He’s been one of the top targets this season.

“I think there’s no question it’s going to weigh on you a little bit,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the distractions of the rumors. “Everybody’s human.”

Whether Dempster goes is his call. He has 10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team, which allows him veto power over any deal. That may sound selfish, but it’s the players’ rights.

“Fortunately for Dempster, he’s got the 10-and-5 rights, and for whatever reason, people don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and all the reasons why you accept and why you don’t,” Sveum said. “It’s an unfortunate thing that [people] jump to conclusions. He’s one of the most class guys you’ll ever be around and [good] teammate and obviously very productive when he goes out there every five days, too. It’s one of those things where you’re good if you, good if you don’t, and it’s a tough situation to be in.”

Sveum isn’t pushing for a trade.

“We’re only going to be a better team with him on the field all year,” Sveum said.

Dempster and Sveum didn’t agree on Wednesday, which was Dempster’s last start. He was pulled after 93 pitches over six innings, and trailing, 3-2 against the Pirates. Dempster threw a cooler lid, then slammed the cooler and threw a water bottle in the dugout. The two talked later.

“Players have the right to do things and snap and those things happen,” Sveum said. “It’s not all just because of one thing or because he got taken out of a game. It’s a very competitive sport and there’s a lot of reasons why some guys all of a sudden don’t have a good day. We had a good talk and everything’s good.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Garza on hold

Matt Garza will not pitch until late next week, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. The right-hander underwent an MRI on his elbow, which showed evidence of the cramping but was otherwise clean. He just needs to get back on a schedule. Even though he’s sidelined now, Garza could still be traded by Tuesday’s Deadline day. It’s up to the other team as to whether they want to take that risk. Monday’s starter for the upcoming series against the Pirates has yet to be determined, although it could be Justin Germano. Ryan Dempster will start Tuesday and Travis Wood on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Cubs lineup

Travis Wood gets the start Friday against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Soto C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

T. Wood P

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Dempster-Dodgers rumors

According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers are focused on acquiring Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, and continue to hold talks to line up back-up deals if they can’t reach an agreement. The Dodgers are rumored to be involved with nearly every starting pitcher on the trade block, from James Shields and Josh Johnson to Zack Greinke and Matt Garza. Dodgers chairman Mark Walter said Wednesday that after the team added Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers weren’t done. Los Angeles also is looking for another bat.

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Extra bases

The Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday at Wrigley Field, which also is Ron Santo Day. Ceremonies are expected to begin around 1 p.m. CT. As of now, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are both still on the roster.

* Since making his Cubs debut June 26, Anthony Rizzo is first among NL rookies with a .323 batting average, is tied for first with five home runs, and second in RBIs with 12.

* Alfonso Soriano is one home run away from his 11th 20-homer season. One more, and he’ll join Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more home runs in each of their first six seasons with the Cubs.

* In case you missed it, here are the pitching matchups for this weekend:

Friday: LHP Travis Wood (4-5, 4.33) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (12-4, 3.10)

Saturday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.25) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (1-3, 2.78)

Sunday: LHP Paul Maholm (9-6, 3.88) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (8-10, 4.31)

— Carrie Muskat


7/26 Minor League report

Chris Rusin gave up seven runs on 10 hits over five innings in Iowa’s 10-8 Wednesday loss to Oklahoma City. The Iowa Cubs now have lost seven games in a row. Rusin struck out seven and walked two. Dave Sappelt, Adrian Cardenas and James Adduci each had two hits.

* The Cubs announced that right-handed pitcher Jairo Asencio was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.

Junior Lake hit two home runs and drove in four runs in Tennessee’s 7-5 win over Jacksonville. Dae-Eun Rhee gave up three earned runs over five innings for the win. Nelson Perez had two hits, including a home run. Lake now is batting .285. Justin Bour had three hits and one RBIs.

Daytona was swept in a doubleheader by Brevard Count. In the first game, P.J. Francescon gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings in a 6-4 loss. Rafael Lopez homered and had two RBIs. Matt Szczur stole three bases. In the second game, Szczur had two hits and one more stolen bases in a 3-0 loss.

Joseph Zeller gave up no earned runs in Peoria’s 8-6 win over Cedar Rapids. Javier Baez had two hits and now is batting .360 in July. Zeller has not given up an earned run in his last three appearances.

Dong-Yub Kim hit his fourth homer but it wasn’t enough in Boise’s 10-8 loss to Yakima. Daniel Vogelbach had three hits, and Rock Shoulders and Gioskar Amaya each had two.

— Carrie Muskat

7/25 Dempster vents

If Ryan Dempster was distracted by all the trade rumors, it didn’t show. But he was upset at his outing Wednesday. Dempster served up two solo home runs and Garrett Jones hit a tie-breaking RBI double in the sixth. After he was pulled from the game, he slammed the water cooler and threw a bottle in the dugout.

Since the right-hander threw 33 consecutive scoreless innings, he now has given up seven runs on 12 hits over 12 innings in his last two starts. A free agent to be, he’s still a hot commodity on the trade market. The speculation on where the right-hander could go won’t end until Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.

“It’s that time of year,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Anything can happy on any hour, any minute. We’ve still got six days [under the Deadline] and right now we just focus on what we’ve got and everybody’s in the rotation and all the hitters are still here. We don’t worry about that, we can’t worry about that. It’s part of the game.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/25 Braves have moved on

On Wednesday, Braves GM Frank Wren said the team is “moving on” and no longer trying to acquire Ryan Dempster. During an interview on 680-AM The Fan in Atlanta, Wren said the deadline had passed for a deal to be completed. Dempster has 10-and-5 rights, and can veto any trade. The Dodgers were believed to be still pursuing Dempster.

“I think it’s very highly unlikely,” Wren said. “We put parameters on the deal that expired [Tuesday]. We were moving on from the time we heard that there was the potential of another club being really where he wanted to go. And he had a lot of personal reasons for that.

“We haven’t stopped pursuing other pitchers. We’ve had scouts in ballparks seeing everyone. It’s one of those bumps in the road but at the same time we put parameters on it that expired yesterday so we’ve moved on.”

When asked about Wren’s comments, Randy Bush, Cubs assistant general manager, said: “We can let his comments stand.”

— Carrie Muskat


7/25 Cubs lineup

Ryan Dempster will close the Cubs series in Pittsburgh, taking the mound Wednesday at PNC Park. Dempster enters the game with a 2.11 ERA (23 ER/98 IP) in 15 starts. The 2.11 ERA is the lowest among Major League qualifiers, as Dempster has given up three or fewer runs in 11 of his 15 starts. That includes nine starts in which he gave up one or no runs. Opponents are batting .209 against Dempster this season, tied for the third-lowest mark in the NL behind only the Nationals’ Gio Gonazalez (.203) and the Giants’ Matt Cain (.208).

Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Valbuena 3B

Barney 2B

Campana LF

Dempster P

— Carrie Muskat


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 74,540 other followers