November 2012

11/22 Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a great holiday, and a chance to enjoy family, friends, food and football. Thank you for reading and commenting and inquiring.

– Carrie Muskat 

11/22 Winter League update

Tony Campana was 1-for-4 with a double and stole a base for Leones del Caracas in Venezuelan Winter League play on Wednesday. Luis Valbuena was batting .318 for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela, going 1-for-5 on Wednesday. He has two home runs and eight doubles over 24 games.

Junior Lake had a long day Tuesday, playing all 16 innings for Estrellas de Oriente in a 4-3 win over Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League. He went 1-for-7 with one RBI, but was still batting .345, among the tops in the league.

– Carrie Muskat

11/21 Extra bases

* The Cubs have reportedly signed outfielder Brian Bogusevic to a Minor League contract. Baseball America reported the signing on Wednesday. The Cubs also have signed infielder Alberto Gonzalez, outfielder Johermyn Chavez and catcher J.C. Boscan to Minor League deals.

Bogusevic, 28, a first-round Draft pick by the Astros in 2005, batted .203 in 146 games for Houston last season with seven home runs and nine doubles. Gonzalez, 29, has played for the Yankees, Nationals, Padres and Rangers, and batted .241 in 24 games this past season with Texas, playing second, third and shortstop. Boscan, 32, appeared in six games for the Braves, while Chavez, 23, batted .232 and compiled a .725 OPS in 288 plate appearances for the Mariners’ Double-A team.

* Bryan LaHair, who the Cubs designated for assignment on Tuesday, is reportedly close to signing with the SoftBank Hawks in Japan. LaHair, 30, was a National League All-Star but lost his job to Anthony Rizzo, and finished the year batting .259 with 16 home runs in 380 plate appearances.

* The ice rink at Wrigley Field was scheduled to open Friday but that has been delayed because of the unseasonably warm weather in Chicago. Interested skaters should follow the team Twitter @Cubs for updates.

– Carrie Muskat

 

11/21 Holiday ticket packs on sale Friday

Looking for a gift for that hard to please Cubs fan? Holiday Ticket Packs will be available for purchase, starting Friday at 10 a.m. CT with package prices starting at $98 for two seats to four games. Fans can select from eight different four-game packages in both the seating bowl and Budweiser Bleachers. Packages can be customized to include as few as two tickets per game or as many as 12 tickets per game in each package. Fans requesting quantities over 12 tickets per game should contact the Cubs Ticket Office at (773) 404-4242. All other ticket orders may be completed at Cubs.com. Total package prices will vary based on location and the number of tickets purchased.

Game selections for each Cubs Holiday Ticket Pack follow:

Holiday Seating Bowl Pack A
Wed., Apr. 10, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Wed., May 1, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. San Diego Padres
Thu., Aug. 22, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Sat., Sept. 21, TBD, Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

Holiday Seating Bowl Pack B
Tue., Apr. 9, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Thu., Apr. 18, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. Texas Rangers
Sun., May 5, TBD, Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Tue., Sept. 24, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Holiday Seating Bowl Pack C
Thu., Apr. 11, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants
Tue., May 14, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies
Mon., Aug. 19, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Sat., Sept. 7, TBD, Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Holiday Seating Bowl Pack D
Thu., May 2, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. San Diego Padres
Tue., Aug. 20, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Sun., Sept. 8, TBD, Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Mon., Sept. 23, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Holiday Budweiser Bleacher Pack A
Tue., Apr. 9, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Thu., Apr. 18, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. Texas Rangers
Sat., May 4, TBD, Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Tue., Sept. 24, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Holiday Budweiser Bleacher Pack B
Thu., Apr. 11, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants
Mon., May 13, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies
Sun., Sept. 1, TBD, Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Fri., Sept. 20, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

Holiday Budweiser Bleacher Pack C
Tue., Apr. 16, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Texas Rangers
Thu., May 2, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. San Diego Padres
Sat, Aug. 31, TBD, Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Mon., Sept. 23, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Holiday Budweiser Bleacher Pack D
Wed., Apr. 10, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Tue., Apr. 30, 7:05 p.m., Cubs vs. San Diego Padres
Thu., Aug. 22, 1:20 p.m., Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Sat., Sept. 21, TBD, Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

* Holiday Gift Packs must be ordered by Monday, Dec. 10, for U.S. Postal Service delivery, or Monday, Dec. 17, for FedEx delivery before Christmas Day. Advanced ordering is recommended, as these mail delivery dates cannot be guaranteed.

11/21 Winter league update

Tony Campana went 0-for-4 but did steal a base in his first game for Leones del Caracas in Venezuela winter league play on Tuesday. Campana, who led off, played left and center field. The speedy outfielder batted .264 with the Cubs and swiped a career-high 30 bases. Josh Vitters also is playing for Leones, did not play Tuesday. He’s 0-for-7 in two games.

Alberto Cabrera struck out four over two scoreless innings in relief for Toros del Este in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Cabrera now has six Ks in 3 2/3 innings in two games.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Cubs deal Brigham back to Texas

Jake Brigham is headed back to Texas. The Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Barret Loux and a player to be named from the Rangers on Tuesday for Brigham, a right-handed pitcher, who was acquired in July from Texas for catcher Geovany Soto. Brigham had been on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. Loux does not need to be added to the 40-man.

Loux, 23, was named the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 25 regular season starts with Frisco. He helped the team reach the Texas League Championship Series, and led the league in wins and finished sixth in ERA while striking out 100 batters and walking 41 over 127 innings.

Originally selected by the Diamondbacks sixth overall in the 2010 Draft out of Texas A&M, Loux was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and signed with the Rangers on Nov. 18, 2010. He was a finalist for the Golden Spikes award, presented annually to the nation’s top amateur player. He already has a Cubs connection as Loux and Brooks Raley were teammates at Texas A&M.

Brigham, 24, was assigned to Double-A Tennessee after he was acquired but was limited to two starts, going 0-2 with a 19.64 ERA because of right elbow strain that ended his season. The Cubs and Rangers had a verbal agreement to revisit the deal if Brigham was injured.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Cubs add 4; LaHair DFA

The Cubs selected the contracts of four players, including Logan Watkins, the Minor League Player of the Year, and added them to the 40-man roster but also designated All-Star Bryan LaHair for assignment. Besides Watkins, right-handed pitcher Trey McNutt, infielder Christian Villanueva and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack were added to the Cubs’ roster, which is now at 40.

Tuesday was the deadline for Major League teams to protect eligible prospects from next month’s Rule 5 Draft. Among the players left unprotected were right-hander Nick Struck, who was the organization’s 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The Cubs are pursuing an opportunity for LaHair, 30, with a Japanese team. He batted .259 with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 130 games but lost the first base job to rookie Anthony Rizzo. LaHair batted .390 in April with five home runs and 14 RBIs, but then struggled. Rizzo was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on June 26, and won National League Rookie of the Month honors in July by batting .330 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. LaHair did consider playing in Japan after the 2011 season if he couldn’t get regular at-bats.

The Cubs also announced right-handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez, 26, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins Oct. 24, has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 The Kaepernick connection

San Francisco backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick had no problems firing strikes against the Bears on Monday night. Kaepernick was a pitcher in high school, but wasn’t selected in the Major League Baseball Draft until he was in college at Nevada. Who picked him? The Cubs chose Kaepernick in the 43rd round in 2009, but he didn’t sign. They reportedly wanted him to make four starts in July, finish playing football, then commit to baseball. He said no and did not sign.

“What kind of leader would my teammates think I am if I left for a month to play baseball?” he said in a 2011 interview.

In an October interview this year, Kaepernick was asked if he was ever serious about baseball.

“Not if football was going to work for me,” Kaepernick said. “Out of high school, if I got a football scholarship, that’s what I was going to do. That was part of my scholarship deal with Nevada. I told them, ‘If I sign here, I won’t enter the Major League Draft.’ So, I declined it out of high school and actually got drafted three years later when I hadn’t picked up a baseball in three years.”

He reportedly threw about 93-94 mph.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Winter League update

Junior Lake went 3-for-4, stole a base and scored a run on Monday for Estrellas de Oriente in Dominican winter league play. He was batting .363 in 25 games, but has been primarily used as a designated hitter. There’s no problem with his defense; it’s just tough to break into the lineup. Lake is leading the Dominican winter league in batting.

Jeffry Antigua is 4-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 13 games, all in relief, for Toros del Este in the Dominican. He has struck out 12 and walked two over 13 1/3 innings.

– Carrie Muskat

11/20 Decision day

Today is the deadline for Major League teams to file their reserve lists and set their 40-man rosters prior to the Rule 5 Draft, which will be held Dec. 6. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is at 39.

Players who have been in the Cubs’ Minor League system for four years and were 19 years old or older on June 5 the year they were drafted are eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. If a player was 18 or younger on June 5 of his Draft year, that player becomes eligible after five years.

Among the names of players who could be selected are Logan Watkins and Nick Struck, who were picked as the Cubs’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, in 2012. Here’s a list of Cubs prospects eligible for Rule 5 Draft. We’ll update later when the team announces any changes to the roster:

Jeffry Antigua, Frank Batista, Jason Berken, Justin Bour, Michael Brenly, Michael Burgess, Kyler Burke, David Cales, Esmailin Caridad, Marcelo Carreno, Matt Cerda, Hunter Cervenka, Evan Crawford, Willengton Cruz, Michael de la Cruz, Antonio Encarnacion, Carlos Figueroa, Eduardo Figueroa, Marcus Hatley, Ty’Relle Harris, Jay Jackson, Alvido Jimenez, Austin Kirk, Luis Liria, Jeff Lorick, Marcos Mateo, Edwin Maysonet, Trey McNutt, Pedro Medina, Jose Montesino, A.J. Morris, Jonathon Mota, Felix Pena, Starling Peralta, Nelson Perez, Dae-Eun Rhee, Greg Rohan, Jose Rosario, Zac Rosscup, Julio Sanchez, Brian Schlitter, Ryan Searle, Matt Spencer, Nick Struck, Larry Suarez, Francisco Turbi, Christian Villanueva, Brett Wallach, Logan Watkins, Casey Weathers, Rob Whitenack, Ty Wright.

– Carrie Muskat

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