Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

3/19 Looking for that good luck charm

Carlos Silva was looking for a rabbit’s foot on Saturday. The right-hander had a tough luck outing against the Reds Friday in which he gave up eight runs — five earned — on 11 hits over three innings. The numbers are ugly but Silva got nothing but encouragement from Cubs manager Mike Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins.

“Everybody [said], ‘Your stuff is good, your stuff looks great, you’re going to be fine, keep working,'” Silv said Saturday. “I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed and strong but man. I was talking to [Marcos] Mateo and said yesterday, I threw one fastball inside to Joey Votto and it’s a base hit.

“I’m not a guy who believes in good luck, but right now, I’ve got a lot of bad luck,” he said. “I told Mateo we’re going to go to the Grand Canyon to jump to see if it goes away.”

We’re not sure how jumping into the Grand Canyon can change someone’s luck. Finding a four-leaf clover might be tougher but it’s safer.

Carlos Zambrano started Friday’s game and had difficulty getting a grip on his breaking pitches because of the dry air. Silva, battling for one of the openings in the rotation, agreed.

“For a breaking ball, it’s very tough,” he said. “You feel like the ball is coming out of your hand


So, we should look for a good luck charm?

“Find me a big one, too,” Silva said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/19 Cubs lineup & more

Matt Garza starts Saturday for the Cubs in Peoria against the Padres and will be followed by Braden Looper. The game will be on WGN Radio and WGN TV. Looking ahead, Randy Wells will start Sunday against the Giants at HoHoKam Park and Andrew Cashner will start Monday against the Angels in Tempe. Here’s Saturday’s lineup:

RF Fukudome
2B DeWitt
LF Colvin
C Soto
1B Pena
3B Baker
SS Camp
CF Perez
P Garza

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Spring surprise

Every Spring Training, there is one player who makes a case for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Darwin Barney is doing just that. The infielder went 3-for-4 on Friday in the Cubs’ 14-13 loss to the Reds and drew two walks. He started at second and played well.

“He’s doing everything he can to get [on the 25-man roster],” Mike Quade said of Barney. “We talked at the beginning of spring about competition. He’s playing well and swinging the bat well and going about his business well. That’s a real nice trifecta for me.”

Barney is batting .382 so far.

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Getting a grip

Carlos Zambrano has not experienced Spring Training anywhere but Arizona but said the dry air made it difficult for him to get a good grip on his pitches Friday.

“I was telling [Kerry Wood] that for some reason, with the air here, you can’t have a good grip,” Zambrano said. “It makes it tougher for the pitchers. I like to throw other pitches besides my sinker. I like to throw my split finger and slider. Today I threw one good one, one bad.

“Thank God, we play in Chicago and not Arizona,” he said. “It’s better air.”

Mike Quade pulled Zambrano in the fifth one batter after Joey Votto’s two-run homer. The two appeared to have an animated exchange on the mound.

“I told him, ‘What if I don’t want to leave?'” Zambrano said. “He said, ‘Then we’re going to fight here.’ He said, ‘Get out of here.’ It’s about having fun, too. You come in and work hard but at the same time, have fun.”

Quade has made it easy to laugh this spring.

“He’s a great guy,” Zambrano said of the Cubs manager. “He’s always in a good mood. He’s a straight guy. Whatever he thinks, he comes to you or calls you in his office. … He always has respect for us. That’s why we get along good with him.”

* Friday’s crowd of 13,182 is the fourth largest in HoHoKam Park history.

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Golf tourney raises $25,000

The inaugural Chicago Cubs Charities Celebrity Golf Tournament raised $25,000 for charitable organizations in Mesa on Friday. Proceeds will be shared between Chicago Cubs Charities, Sunshine Acres Children’s Home, Banner Cardon Children’s Medical Center and the Mesa HoHoKam Foundation. More than 70 golfers participated, including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams, GM Jim Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush, radio broadcaster Keith Moreland, Major Leaguers Bill Buckner, Mariano Duncan, Jeff Fassero, and John “Blue Moon” Odom, and Phoenix Suns Tim Kempton and Eddie Johnson.

— Carrie Muskat

3/17 Basketball jamming

Have you filled out your NCAA bracket yet? Cubs infielder Bobby Scales will take a pass, although he’ll be rooting for his MIchigan team. Their chances?

“I’m realistic,” Scales said Thursday.

Scales fell in love with the Wolverines in 1991. He and his father attended a first round NCAA Regional game in Atlanta between Michigan and Temple, and got last minute seats near the Wolverines bench. That’s when Michigan had the stellar Fab Five: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Scales can describe the first play of the game in detail, which was a slam dunk.

“I turned to my dad and said, ‘I’m going to Michigan,'” Scales said.

He’d been accepted at Northwestern and his father was hoping he’d go to Georgia Tech. But Scales fell in love with the Fab Five. And he still has his tickets from that game.

— Carrie Muskat

3/17 Get well, Luis Salazar

Blake DeWitt was watching the Braves’ Spring Training game on TV Wednesday, hoping for news about his former Minor League manager and hitting coach Luis Salazar. Salazar, who played for the Cubs from 1989-92, lost his left eye in a freak accident when he was hit in the face by a foul ball during a Grapefruit League game.

“He was a very good friend,” DeWitt said Thursday. “He was a great guy, fun to be around, loved the game. He was a joy to be around every day. It’s an unfortunate deal. I saw that he lost his eye. You’re also thankful he’s still alive. He’s definitely in my thoughts and my prayers are with him and his family.”

Are there things Salazar taught DeWitt that he still uses?

“He just loved the game,” DeWitt said. “He was full of energy, fun to be around, knowledgeable, willing to help anybody. It was a freak accident.”

Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams said he began this spring standing on the top step to watch the games. After the Salazar incident, Williams said he moved back behind the screens.

“You can’t guard against everything,” Williams said.

There aren’t many options to protect players and coaches in the dugouts unless they put screens over the entire thing.

“It’s just one of those things — you’re so close,” DeWitt said. “Sometimes you don’t have   a chance. Every once in a while, it happens [that someone is hit] and it’s surprising it doesn’t happen more.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Off day

Mike Quade was looking forward to Wednesday’s off day, the only one this spring. His plans?

“Absolutely nothing, and loving every minute of it,” he said.

Quade isn’t going to go searching for a fishing hole in Arizona.

“The only reason I would go is to say, you can really catch fish in the desert,” he said. “But I’m such a salt water snob.”

He expects to wake up at 5:30 a.m. just as he does every other day in spring.

“But I can get up and lay there and I don’t have to start the wheels cranking until 7:30 if I want,” he said. “It’s ‘What am I going to do,’ as opposed to ‘Here’s what I’ve got to do,’ and just that makes it a great day.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Japan update

Word from Japan is Micah Hoffpauir is fine, although a little shaken up after experiencing the earthquake there. Hoffpauir is playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters, who were in Tokyo for more training when the quake hit. One of the Cubs players has talked to Hoffpauir since and said all is well.

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Brad Snyder update

Outfielder Brad Snyder was among the 18 players trimmed from the Cubs’ Major League spring camp on Tuesday. He’s been bothered by a small crack in his right rib cage, which he tried to play through. It will be at least three weeks before Snyder can play in a game. He has not picked up a bat since he was injured.

— Carrie Muskat