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#Cubs Olt hit by pitch

Cubs third baseman Mike Olt had to leave Saturday’s game after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch in the ninth inning. X-rays did not show a break, and the Cubs will re-evaluate Olt on Sunday.

“We’re going to approach it as if he’s going to be sore [Sunday],” Joe Maddon said. “I don’t know if he can play tomorrow but it does not appear to initially be a break.”

Olt said he was relieved that the wrist wasn’t broken. Olt hit his first home run this season in the third inning in the Cubs’ 9-5 win over the Rockies.

“Yeah, I was relieved,” Olt said of the X-ray results. “It’s a scary spot to get hit. There’s not much meat around it. I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs notes: Fowler, Riz, Denorfia and more

* Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler appreciated the applause from the fans at Coors Field when he was introduced on Friday for the Rockies home opener. After all, he called the ballpark home for six seasons.

“Everybody was awesome,” Fowler said Saturday. “Everybody was like, ‘We miss you.’ It was kind of an emotional day. It was weird. I’m glad we got the first day over with.”

The hardest part for Fowler was just finding his way. He had never been in the visitor’s clubhouse at Coors Field.

“This is a new chapter in my life, I’m a Cub now and happy to be here,” he said.

He got a nice ovation as he tripled to lead off Saturday’s game.

* When the Rockies employed a defensive shift against Anthony Rizzo with two outs in the seventh on Friday, the Cubs first baseman bunted toward third and was safe on the infield hit.

“That bunt by him was all him, and he picked a perfect time to do it,” manager Joe Maddon said Saturday.

Maddon said he prefers to have players make the adjustments on their own, and Rizzo did just that.

“I’ve had this conversation a lot lately,” Maddon said. “It seems it’s assumed to make adjustments easily on a Major League level and it’s really not, meaning a guy who hasn’t really bunted a lot bfeore, just because [the opposing team is] playing there, that player should be able to bunt it there, or because they’re playng there, he should be able to hit it there. You have no idea how difficult it is.”

Maddon’s strategy?

“I think this game works that way, where you try to prep in advance and then stay out of people’s way and let them be baseball players,” he said. “That’s what I’ve found.”

* Chris Denorfia was in Denver and took batting practice Saturday with the Cubs as well as get a check up from the medical staff. The outfielder, who is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, was to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Myrtle Beach on Sunday.

* Maddon has some fond memories of Colorado from his days playing semi-pro baseball in Boulder.

“I’m a Boulder guy back in the day,” Maddon said. “When I was there, I was a power hitter. The ball traveled 5 percent further. I felt I could hit homers when I played in Boulder.”

* Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the first inning Saturday. It’s the fourth time in four games.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Jackson: “I just have to be ready”

Edwin Jackson’s first relief appearance of the season went smoothly and the Cubs right-hander said he was willing to pitch on Saturday. The other relievers have welcomed him.

“It’s cool,” Jackson said Saturday. “I’m like an inbetweener. I still chill with the starters, still chill with the bullpen, still chill with all the pitchers. I’m an inbetweener. I’m a bullpen-starter.”

Jackson began Spring Training vying for a spot in the Cubs rotation but Travis Wood got that job. On Friday, Jackson gave up one hit over two innings against the Rockies in his first relief outing.

“He’s been very professional, and then he gets his chance and does really, really well and that tells you how well he’s processed the whole moment,” manager Joe Maddon said of Jackson. “That speaks well for him and for us.”

Who knows? Jackson could get a spot start and extended innings.

“I just have to be ready for whatever situation arises and just stay in the game,” Jackson said. “That’s all you’re trying to do. Just be ready when the phone rings and your name is called regardless of the situation.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs lineup Sat 4/11

Jason Hammel gets the start Saturday night for the Cubs in the second game of their three-game series against the Rockies. Hammel pitched for the Rockies, but has never faced them. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF
Soler RF
Rizzo 1B
Montero C
Castro SS
Coghlan LF
Olt 3B
Hammel P
Alcantara 2B

* Hammel has made at least three starts against every other Major League team. He has a 4.95 ERA in 49 games (45 starts) at Coors Field.

#Cubs extra bases for Sat 4/11

* Both the Cubs and Rockies batted the pitcher eighth, the first time each club did so in the same game since July 13, 2008 (Cardinals and Pirates).

* Joe Maddon has batted the starting pitcher eighth in the lineup in each of the first three games of the season. In 15,848 games from 1914-2014, the Cubs batted the starting pitcher in a spot other than the ninth position just once, Sept. 8, 2012, at Pittsburgh. Jeff Samardzija, making his final start of the season, batted eighth.

* Anthony Rizzo has been hit by a pitch three times in the first three games. According to ESPN Stats and Info, he is the first player to be hit at least three times in a team’s first three games since Atlanta’s Andres Galarraga in 2000 (also three times).

* Rizzo has reached base safely in his last 17 games dating to Aug. 23 of last season, the longest active streak in the Majors. It’s also the longest streak of his career.

* Jonathan Herrera made his Cubs debut Friday. The Cubs now have utilized 1,991 players since their inception in 1876.

Note: There’s another way to see my #Cubs stories. I started a new Facebook page

#Cubs Minor Matters: Rademacher 3-for-5, 3 RBIs

Friday’s games

* The Iowa Cubs totaled five hits, including doubles by Addison Russell and Chris Valaika, in an 8-1 loss to Memphis. Kris Bryant went 0-for-4. Carlos Pimentel took the loss, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings.

* Bijan Rademacher went 3-for-5, driving in three runs, but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost, 8-7, to Mississippi. Wilson Contreras also had three hits in the loss.

* Jacob Hannemann had two hits, including a double, in Myrtle Beach’s 8-3 loss to Wilmington. Daury Torrez took the loss, giving up six runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings.

* Trey Martin drove in three runs and Chesny Young, Jeffrey Baez and Jesse Hodges each had two hits to lead South Bend to a 7-4 victory over Bowling Green. Jeremy Null gave up two hits over five scoreless innings, striking out seven.

Minor League notes:

* C.J. Edwards will be pitching in relief at the start of the season for Tennessee so the Cubs can monitor his innings. The right-hander was limited to 53 2/3 innings last season because of shoulder soreness. He made his first relief appearance on Thursday, giving up one run on two hits over 2 1/3 innings. Also, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Edwards could be on a faster track to the big leagues as a reliever. Hoyer told reporters in Chicago: “No doubt in a short stint, he can be a weapon for us.”

* Pierce Johnson was in extended Spring Training in Arizona to nurse a back injury.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs extra bases for Fri 4/10

* The Cubs fifth annual Bricks and Ivy Ball raised more than $1.35 million to support Cubs Charities’ programs. The event, held Wednesday night at Union Station, featured the 2015 Cubs team and coaching staff, who mingled with more than 700 guests.

* The Cubs will honor Jackie Robinson during the next homestand which begins Monday at Wrigley Field against the Reds. On Wednesday, the Cubs will join MLB by hosting Jackie Robinson Day at Wrigley Field. Robinson’s legacy is memorialized each year on April 15 to recognize the anniversary of the Hall of Famer, who broke baseball’s color barrier. All uniformed players and personnel will wear Robinson’s No. 42.

Each base used at Wrigley Field will feature a commemorative Jackie Robinson Day base jewel. These game-used bases and No. 42 jerseys will be available to purchase through Cubs Authentics to benefit Cubs Charities.

A pregame ceremony will include video highlights from Robinson’s career.

Final: Rockies 5, #Cubs 1

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run double and Justin Morneau smacked a solo home run to lead the Rockies to a 5-1 victory Friday over the Cubs, and improve to 4-0 for the season. Travis Wood took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. The Cubs had chances, but went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and now rank last in MLB (2-for-25 with RISP).

“We had plenty of opportunities,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They found a way through it. We did not get the big hit, they did.”

In the season opener, a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals, the Cubs went 0-for-13 with RISP. Maddon called it an “industry-wide problem.” Trouble is, the lack of clutch hitting hindered the Cubs last season as they batted .223 with runners in scoring position, 14th in the National League.

“We keep putting ourselves in position and battling and getting good at-bats,” Anthony Rizzo said. “We just have to learn to capitalize more on pitchers and when they’re in trouble, not us. We’re not the ones in trouble at that time, that moment. We had the pitcher on the ropes a few times and didn’t come through. If we keep giving ourselves opportunities, good things will happen.”

* Both the Cubs and Rockies batted the pitcher eighth. It’s the first time two teams have done that in the same game since 2008 (Cardinals vs. Pirates). Were the Rockies copying the Cubs?

“Our whole lives are one big plagiaristic moment,” Maddon said. “It’s how we decipher the information and utilize it ourselves that makes us all unique. It’s really hard to have one unique thought these days that hasn’t been attempted before us.”

* Asked if he’s keeping an eye on Kris Bryant at Triple-A Iowa, Maddon said no.

“I have too much to do here,” Maddon said. “I’ll hear the scuttlebutt during the day. I may ask, ‘Do you have a stat sheet from the Minor League situation so I can look at everybody?’ I get so locked into what I’m doing here and I tell you part of it is this – I was a Minor League grunt for so many years. I really didn’t like when the Major League dudes interfered with what I was doing. … They have no feel of what’s going on. They saw what happened in spring training and that’s all they remember. But when you’re a Minor League manager, coach, rover, you’re with these people on a daily basis.”

* Quote of the day:
“The first week of the season, everybody’s excited the season started. Fans and players as well. There’s nerves and jitters that aren’t there the rest of the year. Everything will get ironed out in the end.” — Cubs pitcher Travis Wood

* Up next: Jason Hammel gets the start against his former team. Hammel has never faced the Rockies, who he pitched for from 2009-11. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Plus and WBBM Radio.

— Carrie Muskat 

#Cubs lineup and Grimm update

Sorry for late posting. The weather in the Midwest made a mess of my travel, so got to the press box at Coors Field in time for the bottom of the first. Here’s the Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF

Soler RF

Rizzo 1B

Castro SS

Olt 3B

Szczur LF

Castillo C

Wood P

Alcantara 2B

* The Cubs placed right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to April 2) with right forearm inflammation and recalled right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter from Triple-A Iowa. Schlitter was available Friday. Grimm was in Arizona to rehab.

Grimm, 26, had yet to appear in a game for the Cubs this season.  He went 5-2 with a 3.78 ERA (29 ER/69.0 IP) in 73 relief appearances for the Cubs last season.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Minor Matters: Lake 2 RBIs, Brockmeyer walkoff HR

Thursday’s games

* Addison Russell had two hits and one RBI and Junior Lake drove in two runs in Iowa’s 7-4 loss to Memphis in the season opener. Kris Bryant was 1-for-4 with one RBI, stole a base, and scored a run. Donn Roach started and gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings. Drake Britton took the loss, serving up two runs on two hits over 1 1 3/ innings. Armando Rivero also gave up a two-run homer in the seventh.

* Corey Black gave up one run on four hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 7-2 win over Mississippi in the season opener
Thursday. Black faced the minimum number of hitters through the first three innings.

* Jacob Hannemann, Jacob Rogers and Carlos Penalver each had three hits to back Duane Underwood in Myrtle Beach’s 9-1 win over Wilmington. Underwood gave up one unearned run on four hits and two walks over five innings, striking out five. Rogers hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a double in the Pelicans’ 15-hit attack.

* Cael Brockmeyer hit a walkoff home run leading off the ninth to lift South Bend to a 2-1 victory over Bowling Green in the season opener. Jeffrey Baez also homered in the second for the Cubs, a solo shot. Brockmeyer went 3-for-4 in the game with two doubles. Jake Stinnett gave up one run on three hits over five innings, striking out four.

— Carrie Muskat


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