April 2014

4/27 Extra bases

* For the first time this season and 10th time in his career, Ryan Kalish was the leadoff man.

“He has the ability and the history coming up as being a guy who can work the count,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Sunday about having Kalish lead off. “I thought it was an appropriate substitution.”

Renteria wanted to give Emilio Bonifacio a day off and preferred keeping Junior Lake in the No. 2 spot, so Kalish got the assignment. Does it make a difference?

“The only difference is you see the first pitch of the game — that’s it,” Kalish said. “It’s all standard from there.

“I will say about the leadoff position is that being out there, it’s important to have a good idea of the strike zone, especially early,” he said. “I’m not saying you can’t be aggressive early, because that’s cool, too. You want to make sure you have control of the zone and show that we’re going to do that today.”

* Jake Arrieta, who made his fifth Minor League rehab start on Saturday, will join the Cubs in Cincinnati on Monday. When the right-hander returns to the rotation is still to be determined. Arrieta was slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder. On Saturday, he threw 44 pitches over two innings for Double-A Tennessee, which was a short outing because it’s the equivalent of the last Spring Training start for pitchers.

“Jake did a nice job yesterday,” Renteria said. “He worked through it healthy and we’ll see where he’s at once we put our eyes on him.”

Carlos Villanueva is 1-3 with a 10.19 ERA in four starts, and scheduled to pitch Wednesday in the series finale against the Reds. It’s unlikely Arrieta would be activated and take Villanueva’s spot, pitching on four days rest, but Renteria said no decision would be made until he and pitching coach Chris Bosio get a chance to see the right-hander.

* Nate Schierholtz started on Sunday against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta even though the Cubs outfielder is 0-for-14 in his career against the pitcher.

“He doesn’t like being out of the lineup,” Renteria said. “I thought, let me give Nate another day. He’s a pretty strong man and he’s prepared on a daily basis to come out and perform. We wanted to give [Ryan] Sweeney a day and keep him off his feet a little bit. Schierholtz is a pretty resilient individual and I think he’ll work his way out of it.”

Schierholtz is scuffling against right-handers, and entered Sunday’s game 10-for-59 (.169) against righties.

— Carrie Muskat

4/27 Cubs lineup

The Cubs try to salvage a win in their three-game series Sunday against the Brewers. Jason Hammel, who leads MLB in WHIP, gets the start. Ryan Kalish is leading off for the first time this season. Here’s the lineup vs. right-hander Wily Peralta:

Kalish LF
Lake CF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Olt 3B
Baker C
Barney 2B
Hammel P

4/27 Looking ahead: Cubs vs. Reds

The Cubs travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds, starting a three-game series on Monday. Here are the pitching matchups:

Monday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-2, 1.53) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (3-1, 1.30)
Tuesday: RHP Edwin Jackson (1-2, 5.02) vs. LHP Tony Cingrani (2-2, 2.86)
Wednesday: RHP Carlos Villanueva (1-5, 10.42) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (1-2, 6.15)

4/27 Minor matters

Chris Valaika, Jonathan Mota and Eli Whiteside all homered to lift Iowa to a 9-6, 13-inning win over Colorado Springs on Saturday. Arismendy Alcantara had five hits, including a triple, and three RBIs. Valaika had three hits and two RBIs. Blake Parker picked up his second save.

Kris Bryant and Jeudy Valdez each homered but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost, 4-3, in 13 innings. It was Bryant’s fifth homer, and he’s now hit in nine straight games. Jake Arrieta started for the Smokies and gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits over two innings. He was scheduled to go shorter, which starters usually do in their last game of Spring Training. Ryan Searle struck out three over three scoreless innings.

Jose Rosario threw six shutout innings in Daytona’s 2-0 win over Brevard County. Rosario struck out six and walked three. Tim Saunders had two RBI.

Kane County scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 walk-off win against Wisconsin. Starter Duane Underwood gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits over 3 2/3 innings. Yasiel Balaguert had two RBI, and drove in the winning run in the ninth. Gerardo Concepcion threw four scoreless innings in relief.

4/26 Arrieta update

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta may have made his last Minor League rehab start. On Saturday, Arrieta threw 44 pitches over two innings for Double-A Tennessee, in his fifth Minor League outing. This was the equivalent of a starting pitcher’s last Spring Training start, and was intended to be shorter.

The right-hander, who was slowed this spring because of tightness in his shoulder, gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and one walk over two innings and struck out two.

As of now, Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Cubs against the Reds. The Cubs want to see how Arrieta feels after Saturday’s outing before deciding whether he’s ready to join the big league team or needs more rehab time.

4/26 Veras to DL

The Cubs placed right-hander Jose Veras on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, because of a left oblique strain and recalled right-hander Brian Schlitter from Triple-A Iowa. Veras said he felt something while pitching Thursday, which was his last outing. That was only his second appearance since April 11 when he blew a two-run lead against the Cardinals and lost his job as the closer. Schlitter was closing games at Iowa, and manager Rick Renteria said he may use the rookie in that role with the big league team.

4/26 Minor matters

Chris Rusin gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings in Iowa’s 9-2 win over Coloradio Springs. Rusin struck out six and walked one. Arismendy Alcantara drove in two runs with a pinch-hit triple in the eighth. Matt Szczur had two hits and one RBIs.

Matt Loosen gave up three runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings in Tennessee’s 15-1 loss to Huntsville. Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to eight games with a double. He’s batting .364 in his streak.

Bijan Rademacher hit his second home run in Daytona’s 6-3 win over Brevard County. Dan Vogelbach had three hits and picked up his 11th RBI. Starling Peralta gave up one run on three hits over four innings in relief for the win.

Daury Torrez gave up three runs and struck out six over 6 1/3 innings in Kane County’s 8-4 win over Wisconsin. The Cougars now are 15-6 in the Midwest League. Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert each had three hits, while Daniel Canela and Will Remillard each drove in three runs.

4/26 Cubs lineup

Travis Wood gets the start Saturday night for the Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series against the Brewers. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Valbuena 2B
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Schierholtz RF
Olt 3B
Sweeney LF
Castillo C
T. Wood P

4/25 Cubs vs. Garza

Who has the edge when players face a former teammate? The Cubs will find out Friday when they have to deal with Matt Garza, now starting for the Brewers.

“Obviously, these guys have played alongside him and know him and they’re preparing to face him like they do against any other pitcher,” manager Rick Renteria said. “You’d be surprised — sometimes when you have a guy on the same team and you think you know exactly what they’re about until you face them and then you realize you really didn’t have as good an idea as you thought you did.”

Garza has never faced the Cubs in his career.

— Carrie Muskat

4/25 Veras sidelined

Cubs reliever Jose Veras has a sore left oblique and is day to day, manager Rick Renteria said Friday. Veras pitched on Thursday against the Diamondbacks, and gave up two runs in one inning. It was his sixth appearance this season. The right-hander lost his job as the closer after blowing a two-run lead on April 11 against the Cardinals, and Thursday was only his second appearance since then.

“Veras is a little sore with his left oblique and hopefully he’ll be OK,” Renteria said. “He’s been working really hard and developed a little soreness. He’s a very hard worker. We’ll monitor it and see how he’s doing.”

The Cubs have eight relievers in the bullpen, including Veras, after adding lefty Zac Rosscup and right-hander Neil Ramirez on Thursday.

— Carrie Muskat