July 2014

7/30 Bonifacio rumors

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer hinted on Tuesday that the team may move some of the players who will be free agents after this season, and that list apparently includes Emilio Bonifacio. There were reports Wednesday that the Giants, Royals, Mariners and Reds were looking at the switch-hitting Bonifacio, 29, who was batting .279 in 298 plate appearances for the Cubs. This was Bonifacio’s first season in Chicago and he has been slotted into the leadoff spot for most of the year. He did miss time from mid June to mid July with a strained right rib cage.

– Carrie Muskat

7/30 Cubs to acquire Doubront

The Cubs made a significant addition to the pitching corp on Wednesday, acquiring left-hander Felix Doubront from the Red Sox for a player to be named later.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi first reported the deal was close on Wednesday. With starter Jon Lester being scratched for Wednesday’s game because of his uncertain trade status, the Red Sox are already in a position to make a roster move so Brandon Workman could start against the Blue Jays.

The Cubs are in need of pitching. Doubront, 26, has appeared in 17 games for the Red Sox this season (10 starts) and has logged 59 1/3 innings. He’s 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA. He’ll be reunited in Chicago with Theo Epstein, who was Boston’s general manager when Doubront was signed in 2005, and is now the president of baseball operations.

–Carrie Muskat

7/30 Do you remember Fred Pfeffer?

Baseball historian Ed Hartig did some research on the last Cubs position player to pick up a win, and discovered Fred Pfeffer. Hartig’s description of a non-pitcher was someone who pitched in five or fewer games while playing a significant number of games in the field. Pfeffer was clearly a fielder who was called on to pitch in emergency situations in 1885. He played in 112 games that year, 109 at second. He pitched in five games as well, going 2-1.

John Baker, the Cubs’ backup catcher who picked up the win against the Rockies, is still the first true position player to get a win as a pitcher.

– Carrie Muskat

7/30 Countdown to Trade Deadline

GM Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have both indicated the Cubs could make another move by Thursday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline. The players most likely to go would be those who will be free agents after this season. That list includes:

Nate Schierholtz .198/.244/.310
Emilio Bonifacio .279/.318/.373
John Baker .216/.308/.256

Carlos Villanueva 4-6, 5.49 ERA in 28 games (2.87 ERA as reliever; 10.53 ERA in five starts)

Of course, with Baker’s outstanding pitching performance on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, they’ll probably keep him.

7/30 Minor matters – Tuesday’s games

Kris Bryant hit his 12th home run, a solo shot, and Dae-Eun Rhee threw six scoreless innings but it wasn’t enough as Iowa lost, 2-1 in 10 innings to New Orleans. Bryant had been in a mini slump. He was batting .194 (7-for-36) in his 11 games, July 19-27. Mike Olt had two hits, and was batting .320 with Iowa. It was Iowa’s sixth straight loss.

Tennessee tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth but lost, 3-2, to Birmingham. Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits, including a double. He tied the game with a RBI single in the ninth. Pierce Johnson gave up two runs over six innings.

Kyle Schwarber hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th to lead Daytona to a 6-4 win over Bradenton. Schwarber finished with two hits, also hitting a double. Wes Darvill had two hits, and has five RBIs in his last four games.

Jacob Rogers hit two home runs, both solo shots, in Kane County’s 3-2 loss to Wisconsin. Duane Underwood gave up two runs over five innings.

Boise romped 11-2 over Hillsboro. Danny Lockhart was 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Mark Zagunis had three hits and two RBIs and Danny Canela drove in three runs on three hits.

Mesa committed five errors in a 11-4 loss to the Angels. Andrew Ely had three hits, and Gleyber Torres tripled and drove in two runs.

7/29 Cubs 4, Rockies 3 (16 innings)

* Tuesday’s game lasted 6 hours, 27 minutes and marked the longest game by time in Cubs franchise history, breaking the 6:10 game, Aug. 17-18, 1982, vs. the Dodgers (21 innings).

* John Baker became the first Cubs position player to pitch in a game since Joe Mather did so Aug. 27, 2012, vs. Milwaukee. Baker is the first position player to earn a win since Baltimore’s Chris Davis did so, May 6, 2012, at Boston. The previous NL position player to earn a win was Philadelphia’s Wilson Valdez, May 25, 2011, against the Reds. According to Elias, Baker is the first Cubs position player ever to get the win as a pitcher in a game.

* Chicago’s bullpen tossed 12-scoreless innings, scattering just three hits while striking out 14.

* The Cubs improved to 5-6 in extra-inning games this season.

* Starlin Castro’s sac-fly RBI in the bottom of the 16th gave the Cubs their first walk-off win since July 11 vs. Atlanta.

* Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, going 18-for-56 (.321). Rizzo is 15-for-43 (.349) with five home runs and nine RBI in 11 games since the All-Star break.

* Emilio Bonifacio went 4-for-7 and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 home games (.419/18-for-43). This was his fourth game with at least four hits. Bonifacio tied the game at 3-3 with a fourth-inning, two-run homer.

* Edwin Jackson did not get a decision. He gave up three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four in four innings. It was the fifth time in 22 starts this season where he did not last at least five innings. In six July starts, Jackson went 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA (25 ER/30.0 IP). Opponents hit .328 (40-for-122).

7/29 Good guys

Photo_4_-_Will_and_his_family_are_happy_to_be_visited_by_Chris_Coghlan

Chris Coghlan visited Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn on Tuesday, and handed out Cubs caps and items, posed for photos with patients and signed autographs. Also Tuesday, Arismendy Alcantara went to Lloyd Elementary School on the Cubs’ Fitness Trolley, and did stretches, fitness drills and played Wiffleball with the children.

7/29 Iron man

Starlin Castro entered Tuesday’s game batting .225 in July (20-for-89), with four doubles, seven RBIs, and zero home runs. Manager Rick Renteria talked to Castro on Monday about the possibility of the shortstop taking a day off.

“I think his at-bats, even though the results haven’t been what he was doing previous, his at-bats have still been pretty good,” Renteria said.

On Monday, Castro did hit a double, but he hasn’t been as productive as he was prior to the All-Star break.

“I’m not worried about Starlin,” Renteria said. “He wants to play every single day. I spoke to him [Monday], and said, ‘Hey, maybe I’m thinking about giving you a day off,’ and he went out and took a half hour of ground balls like it was the end of time. He said, ‘Do I look tired?’ He wants to play every day.

“He deserves the courtesy of me talking to him and saying, ‘Let’s get together and talk about what might be a good day [for a breather] if there’s a day.’ We’ll sit down and talk about it.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/29 Trade rumors

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer has had plenty of conversations with other teams prior to Thursday’s Trade Deadline but said they may not make another deal.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we made no moves,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “I expect to be active, we’re having a lot of conversations. It’s still early. [Wednesday] is sort of moving day. I expect things will get more serious as we move into tomorrow. People have some reluctance on the last day.

“[Wednesday] evening is when a lot of people hone in on the deals they want to make,” he said.

The Cubs made their blockbuster move on July 4, trading starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics for four players, including highly touted shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney.

Other teams are still trying to find the right match.

“People try to find a dance partner on the 30th and 31st,” Hoyer said. “As you get to [Wednesday] evening, people want to make deals and they’re more willing to pair up, and I expect that to be the same thing.”

There has been some interest in the Cubs’ left-handed relievers, James Russell and Wesley Wright.

– Carrie Muskat

7/29 Ramirez to DL

Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday to give him some rest, was placed on the Major League disabled list on Tuesday because of right triceps soreness. Ramirez had given up three earned runs over 28 innings in 33 games for a 0.96 ERA, and the Cubs had made clear that Saturday’s demotion to the Minors was not performance related. But Ramirez had some soreness, which prompted the team to switch him to the disabled list, retroactive to Saturday.

“All year, we’ve talked about giving these guys some rest,” GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “You convert a bunch of starting pitchers to the bullpen, they’ve never done it before, and that was the intention to give him a rest. We’ve tried our hardest to be careful with him, getting him up and down, and pitching back to back days.”

When he was optioned, the plan had been for Ramirez to be sidelined the minimum of 10 days, but now he will get 15 days to rest and was expected to return once his DL stint was over.

“That was probably the right way to handle it, once he was sore,” Hoyer said.

Manager Rick Renteria said the Cubs may try to give other relievers some extended rest but Hoyer said he hopes that isn’t necessary. When rosters expand in September, the Cubs should have reinforcements.

– Carrie Muskat

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