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#Cubs Joe and #Dodgers Mr. Scully

When Vin Scully calls, Joe Maddon not only listens, but makes the trek from the clubhouse to the press box to meet with the Dodgers legendary broadcaster. Scully, 87, asked if Maddon would meet with him prior to Friday’s Cubs-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium to go over some of the broadcaster’s notes and to say hello to the manager’s mother, Beanie.

“The one thing he really wanted to make sure of was to send his regards to Beanie,” said Maddon, who sent text messages to his family to pass that on to his mother.

“He’s got all this information, some of the different quotes,” Maddon said of Scully. “It was pretty impressive. I’ve never asked for my photograph to be taken with anybody but we did, and I’ll keep that one.”

Maddon said Scully was very much aware of the young Cubs and wanted to know something about the players.

“It was a nice meeting, I’m very honored, but to get my photograph taken with him is very special,” Maddon said.


#Cubs Hammel starts vs Dodgers

Jason Hammel starts Friday night for the Cubs in the first of three games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Dexter Fowler also is back after missing two games because of a sore shin. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Denorfia RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Szczur LF

Montero C

Hammel P

Russell SS

Despite losing their last two games to the Giants, the Cubs have won 21 of their last 27 games overall. They are second in MLB with 40 home runs in August.

The Cubs have a tough assignment Friday, facing Clayton Kershaw, who is 5-0 with a 0.90 ERA (7 ER/70 IP) over his last nine starts, with 82 strikeouts and seven walks.

Hammel picked up the win in his last start against the Braves on Sunday. He gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings while striking out eight. Hammel is 2-1, 5.40 ERA (17 ER/28.1 IP) over his last six starts.

#Cubs Minor League report

Thursday’s games

Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run over 6 2/3 innings in Iowa’s 3-1 win over Sacramento. Chris Valaika hit his sixth home  run and Javier Baez singled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Mike Olt and Christian Villanueva each had two hits.

Jeffry Antigua gave up four hits over six scoreless innings in Tennessee’s 7-1 win over Chattanooga. Taylor Davis had three hits and one RBI. Willson Contreras had two hits and two RBI.

Myrtle Beach lost, 3-2, to Wilmington. Daury Torrez posted a quality start, giving up two runs over seven innings. Chesny Young and Victor Caratini each had two hits.

Jeffrey Baez and David Bote each had two hits in South Bend’s 4-3 loss to Great Lakes. James Norwood gave up three runs over three innings. Dillon Maples threw three scoreless innings of relief.

Adonis Paula hit a solo home run in Eugene’s 2-1 win over Spokane. Andrew Ely scored the game-winning run in the eighth.

Mesa’s game against the D-backs was cancelled because of rain.

#Cubs add Fernando Rodney

The Cubs added another arm to the bullpen mix, acquiring right-hander Fernando Rodney from the Mariners for a player to be named or cash consideration. Rodney was to join the Cubs Friday in Los Angeles.

“I was there for that year when he had the best in history,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the right-hander’s 2012 season when he compiled an 0.78 ERA in 76 games with 48 saves. “He has the kind of stuff to get out both righties and lefties. I know he had trouble or struggled a bit this year but I’m eager to see him in person and find out what’s going on.”

Maddon talked to Rodney on the phone after Thursday’s game against the Giants.

“He still has a good fastball, outstanding changeup and a great teammate,” Maddon said. “He’s a lot of fun to have on the team. I’m looking forward to it.”

The Cubs didn’t feel a need to add another arm because reliever Jason Motte is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, Maddon said.

“The more the merrier,” Maddon said.

To make room on the roster, lefty Zac Rosscup was optioned to Triple-A Iowa and right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter was designated for assignment.

Rodney, 38, is a two-time American League All-Star, having earned the honor in 2012 and last season with the Mariners. He has 236 career saves and is 35-55 with a 3.77 ERA in 686 relief appearances with the Tigers (2002-03, 2005-09), Angels (2010-11), Rays (2012-13) and Mariners (2014-15).

This season, Rodney was 5-5 with 16 saves and a 5.68 ERA in 54 games for the Mariners before he was designated for assignment on Aug. 23.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Fowler day to day

Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler said he may borrow catcher Miguel Montero’s gear to protect himself in his next at-bat. In three games over three days, Fowler has taken a foul ball off his right hand, his left elbow and his right shin, and he did not start Thursday in the series finale against the Giants.

X-rays of Fowler’s shin on Wednesday were negative, and his status for the upcoming series against the Dodgers is questionable.

“I’m not 100 percent sure yet [if he’ll play Friday],” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Fowler. “He’s still pretty sore. There’s a shot at it, yes.”

Maddon overloaded the outfield with right-handed hitters Thursday against Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, which included moving Kris Bryant from third to right field for his first start there. Bryant has made one start each in center and in left.

“I know [Bryant] has not played there a lot but he’s very comfortable out there and I’m very comfortable with him being there,” Maddon said. “I know it looks awkward from a distance but internally it’s not that bad.”

Fowler planned on being better prepared for his next game.

“I’m just going to go up there with catching gear on,” Fowler said.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs lineup vs Giants

Manager Joe Maddon overloaded Thursday’s lineup with right-handed hitters against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner for the Cubs series finale in San Francisco. Here’s the lineup:

Denorfia LF

Schwarber C

Bryant RF

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Russell SS

Szczur CF

Haren P

Herrera 3B

This is Bryant’s first start in right field. He had started one game each in left and center.

Dexter Fowler remains day to day with a sore right shin. He also has a sore right hand and sore left elbow, all from foul balls over the course of three games. X-rays of Fowler’s shin were negative.

Dan Haren gets the start. The right-hander is coming off a no-decision Saturday vs. Atlanta, a 9-7 Cubs win. Haren gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings. He is making his fifth start for the Cubs, and is 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA so far.

#Cubs Minor League report

Wednesday’s games

Carlos Pimentel gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings in Iowa’s 3-2 win over Fresno. Javier Baez had two hits and two RBI and now is batting .317. In a rehab outing, Rafael Soriano struck out one. Pimentel is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in five August

Ryan Williams gave up one earned run over six innings in Tennessee’s 8-4 win over Chattanooga. Albert Almora Jr. and Dan Vogelbach both homered. Almora finished with four RBI. Vogelbach hit his third homer in eight games.

Myrtle Beach’s game vs. Winston-Salem was cancelled because of rain and will not be made up. Daury Torrez starts Thursday vs. Wilmington.

South Bend gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 4-3, to West Michigan. Tommy Thorpe gave up two hits
over seven innings. Ian Happ hit a triple and one RBI.

Oscar De La Cruz gave up one hit over seven innings in Eugene’s 4-1 win over Spokane. De La Cruz struck out 13 and walked one. The run scored as a result of a dropped third strike and throwing error. Andrew Ely had two hits.

Mesa had the day off and returns to action Thursday night against the D-backs.

#Cubs lineup: Hendricks starts; Fowler gets day off

Kyle Hendricks will start Wednesday night for the Cubs in the second game of their three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants. Dexter Fowler is not starting, and Kyle Schwarber is batting leadoff. Here’s the lineup:

Schwarber LF

Castro 2B

Coghlan RF

Rizzo 1B

Bryant 3B

Montero C

Denorfia CF

Hendricks P

Russell SS

The Cubs have won 21 of their last 25 games for the first time since June 6-July 4, 1936. In those 25 games, the Cubs have hit 44 home runs while averaging 5.6 runs per game.

The Cubs’ 55 homers since the All-Star break are tied with the Blue Jays and Mariners for most in MLB.

Nine of Kyle Schwarber’s 18 hits in August have been home runs. He has 23 RBI in 21 games this month, most in the NL. Schwarber is 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and nine RBI in his five games vs. the Giants this season.

The Cubs have won each of Hendricks’ last five starts. He’s 2-0 in that span despite a 5.61 ERA. The Cubs have supported Hendricks with 32 runs scored in those five games.

#Cubs Schwarb: “It’s a playoff game every game”

Maybe the key to the Cubs’ success is that the kids are so young and naive, they don’t know about the so-called pressure they should be dealing with.

“What I can appreciate is how well these guys are acclimating themselves to this kind of competition so quickly,” Jake Arrieta said of the young Cubs. “That’s the most exciting part for me about our team is how they’re able to make adjustments so quickly and be successful on a ballclub that is however many games over .500 and playing extremely well and being a huge part of what we’re doing here. I don’t think they put much thought into it, which is exactly the way they should be approaching it. Having that mindset allows them to come here and not necessarily feel pressure but come out here and play.”

Kyle Schwarber is a good example. The rookie hit a three-run homer on Tuesday in the Cubs’ 8-5 win over the Giants, and is the first Cubs player in the modern era (since 1900) to hit 12 homers in his first 42 games.

“We’re so young, we really don’t know what we’re doing,” Schwarber said. “Right now, it feels like we’re in a playoff game every game. You saw it when Jon [Lester] was pitching against [the Indians’ Corey] Kluber. I felt it was a playoff game. Like today, we’re winning 8-1, and [the Giants] make that push back and things start getting tight again. We’re trying to maintain focus throughout the game and keep that playoff mentality.”

So, just enjoy the ride.

“That’s probably the biggest part,” Schwarber said. “Just stay in the moment and enjoy it and have fun and take care of business at the same time. If you put too much pressure on yourself, bad things will happen. Just enjoy the moment. Keep that mindset.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Minor League report: 3 HRs for Jimenez

Tuesday’s games

Iowa split a doubleheader against Fresno, winning the first game, 3-2, and losing the second, 7-3. Javier Baez was 2-for-7 for the day with one RBI. He’s now hit in 11 straight games, and was batting .448 in that stretch. Matt Szczur hit a solo home run in the first game. Mike Baxter had two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs in the first game. Mike Olt had two hits in the second game.

Tennessee lost, 4-3, to Chattanooga. Felix Pena gave up one earned run over six innings. Willson Contreras had two hits and one RBI. Albert Almora had two hits and one RBIs, and has hit in six straight games.

Jen-Ho Tseng gave up two runs over seven innings in Myrtle Beach’s 4-2 win over Winston-Salem. The Pelicans scored four runs in the seventh for the win. Jason Vosler had two hits and one RBI.

South Bend lost, 7-2, to West Michigan. Trevor Clifton took the loss, giving up three runs over five innings. Gleyber Torrez, named the Midwest League Prospect of the Year, went 2-for-4. Rashad Crawford had two RBI.

Eugene swept a doubleheader against Spokane, scoring 11 runs in the two games. Eloy Jimenez hit three home runs and drove in five runs in the two games. He’s now batting .285. Donnie Dewees had two hits and a stolen base in the second game.

Mesa’s doubleheader against the Angels was cancelled because of rain.


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