Ryno to join #Cubs as ambassador

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg will rejoin the Cubs as an ambassador to the team, with an official announcement expected this weekend at the Cubs Convention.

Sandberg, 56, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs from 1982-94 and again from 1996-97, was on the list of attendees at the Cubs Convention, which officially opens Friday. A team official said details of Sandberg’s role would likely be announced at the fan fest.

A nine-time Gold Glove winner and Most Valuable Player with the Cubs, Sandberg was back at Wrigley Field last October when he threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Maddon doesn’t expect any additions

The Cubs spent $272 million this winter on free agents Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist. Are they done adding players?

“Honestly, there’s a lot of talk,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. “But I’m working under the assumption — and I really mean this — that [the team] is going to look exactly like this when we go to camp.

“Do I anticipate anything? Not necessarily,” he said. “I would imagine we’re pretty close to what we’re going to look like when we get there and into the first part of the season. But if that’s the case, I have nothing to complain about.”

Fangraphs has projected that the Cubs, who were third in the National League Central with 97 wins, will lead the Major Leagues with 95 wins in 2016. The Cubs players know they can’t take anything for granted.

“Now we know what to expect,” Kyle Schwarber said of getting to the postseason. “There will probably be more targets on our back and we’ll have to come with our ‘A’ game every

— Carrie Muskat

Rooftops to watch #Cubs games now for rent

On Wednesday, Wrigley Rooftops launched an interactive website, http://www.WrigleyRooftops.com, to showcase 10 rooftops with a view for rent on both Sheffield and Waveland Avenues.

The website features a 3-D map and 360-degree views from the skybox seats of each rooftop. There also is a list of amenities, photos of group spaces, and real-time reservation availability. Tickets for groups and individuals are now on sale.

Wrigley Rooftops is a brand owned by the Ricketts family, who own the Cubs.

Each site can host groups of up to 200 people, and provides state-of-the-art equipment and customizable group meeting spaces. Tickets to the rooftop space includes food, beverage and a view of the Cubs’ game. Prices start at $65 per ticket.

Wrigley Rooftops includes the following locations: 3609 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3617 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3619 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3637 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3639 N. Sheffield Ave.; 3643 N. Sheffield Ave.; 1010 W. Waveland Ave.; 1032 W. Waveland Ave.;
1038 W. Waveland Ave.; and 1048 W. Waveland Ave.

#Cubs notes: arbitration, Baez & meatballs

*NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta was one of seven Cubs players to file for arbitration on Tuesday. The salary proposals between the players and teams will be made public on Friday is no agreement is reached before then.

Other Cubs players to file for arbitration on Tuesday included Chris Coghlan, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Adam Warren, and Travis Wood. Hearings will be held in February if the two sides do not settle on a salary figure.

The Cubs have talked about the possibility of signing Arrieta, 29, to a long term contract. The right-hander is coming off a stellar year in which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. He will be a free agent after the 2017 season.

*Javier Baez went 1-for-4 with a double in Santurce’s 3-0 loss to Mayaguez in Puerto Rican round robin playoff action. With the loss, Santurce now is 2-5 in the playoffs; Mayaguez is 5-2. Santurce’s next game is Thursday against Caguas (3-3).

*The Cubs Caravan kicks off Wednesday with manager Joe Maddon serving an Italian dinner to folks at the Chicago Help Initiative in Chicago. The Cubs Convention will begin Friday, and if you can’t go, you can watch opening ceremonies on Comcast Sportsnet. Comcast also is showing a feature on Maddon and his hometown on Thursday night.0112Joe

(Photo courtesy of the Cubs)

#Cubs chef Maddon ready for Thanksmas

Manager Joe Maddon plans on serving spaghetti and meatballs to folks on Wednesday night as part of a Cubs Caravan stop, and on Monday, he went shopping for ingredients for the event.

Maddon and his wife, Jaye, visited a Jewel-Osco store in Chicago for supplies that he’ll use at the “Thanksmas” dinner at the Chicago Help Initiative. The dinner is the first event of the Cubs Caravan, which leads up to this weekend’s Cubs Convention.

Winner of the National League Manager of the Year, Maddon is preparing the meal, and will get help from Cubs players and coaches to serve the 200 guests expected to attend to help raise awareness about Chicago’s homeless population.

During their shopping trip, the Maddons met with a cake decorator who designed the “Thanksmas” cakes, talked to a cashier who was obviously prepped for their visit.

Jewel-Osco contributed $5,000 to Cubs Charities to make the event possible.


#Cubs spring report dates

Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 19, and the first workout will be the next  day. Position players are to report Feb. 23 and the first full squad workout will be the next day. Major League Baseball announced the reporting and workout dates.

This will be the Cubs’ third year at their new complex in Mesa, Ariz. The first Cactus League game will be played March 3 when the Cubs travel to Maryvale, Ariz., to face the Brewers. The first home spring game is March 4 when the Cubs play host to the Angels at Sloan Park.

*Congrats to Pat Hughes, the radio voice of the Cubs,  who was named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

#Cubs Baez 1-for-4, SB in Puerto Rico

Javier Baez was 1-for-4, scored a run and stole a base in Santurce’s 4-1 victory over Caguas Friday night in the round robin playoffs in Puerto Rico. All three teams — Santurce, Caguas and Mayaguez — are 2-2 in the playoffs. Santurce now plays Mayaguez on Sunday. Baez has started at second base in the playoffs; he started at center in four of his 15 total games played.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs new, old to attend convention

New Cubs Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, John Lackey, and Adam Warren will attend the 31st Cubs Convention, Jan. 15-17, which will feature a seminar with Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams.

National League manager of the year Joe Maddon, his coaching staff and players from the current roster, including 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, will take part in the winter fan fest at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

The opening ceremony will be Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. CT, beginning with player introductions.

Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber will share their first-season experiences in the big leagues with fans during the “Rock Star Rookies” panel presented by Wintrust. Arrieta and Jenkins will join another Cy Young winner, Rick Sutclifffe, to talk about their award-winning seasons.

Other current Cubs who will take part include Jon Lester, Miguel Montero, Arismendy Alcantara, Neil Ramirez, Clayton Richard, Dallas Beeler, Anthony Rizzo, Hector Rondon, David Ross, Trevor Cahill, Zac Rosscup, Jeimer Candelario, Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, Jorge Soler, Jason Hammel, Pedro Strop, Kyle Hendricks, Matt Szczur, Dan Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, and Travis Wood.

Cubs alum who will attend include Ryan Dempster, John Baker, Bobby Dernier, Scott Eyre, Randy Hundley, Jon Lieber, Ted Lilly, Bill Madlock, Dave Otto, Scott Sanderson, Lee Smith, Tim Stoddard, Steve Trout and Kerry Wood. Broadcasters Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies, Ron Coomer and Pat Hughes also will take part.

A percentage of the proceeds from the Cubs Convention benefits Cubs Charities. To date, the event has raised more than $4 million for Cubs Charities.

#Cubs notes: Spring, HOF & convention

*Cubs’ Spring Training tickets go on sale Saturday, but you can get a head start on Friday via the Mastercard pre sale. Go to Cubs.com for more info.

*Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and the two took very different paths to get there. Griffey was the first player taken overall in the 1987 First-Year Player Draft. Who did the Cubs take that year? They had the fourth pick overall, and selected right-handed pitcher Mike Harkey, who zoomed through the Minor Leagues. He made 12 starts at Class A peoria in ’87, compiling a 3.55 ERA. In 1988, he went 9-2 with a 1.37 ERA at Double-A Pittsfield, then 7-2 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. Called up in September 1988, Harkey pitched in five games and was 0-3 but posted a 2.60 ERA.

The right-hander was projected to make the Cubs’ 1989 rotation. But he had tendinitis in his shoulder in Spring Training, and kept trying to work through it. But he didn’t have the same velocity, and opened the year in the Minors. Harkey then tore cartilage in his right knee in June, and missed the rest of the season. He was called up to the Cubs in 1990, and went 12-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 27 starts. He spent five seasons with the Cubs (26-21, 3.92 ERA, 71 starts), and now, is the bullpen coach for the Yankees.

Mike Piazza was selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 Draft. In ’88, the Cubs tabbed infielder Ty Griffin with the ninth overall pick. Griffin spent five seasons in the Minor Leagues, played another four years in Independent Leagues, and never made it to the big leagues. Another note from 1988: Robin Ventura was selected by the White Sox 10th overall, immediately after Griffin. Andy Benes was the first player taken overall by the Padres.

*On Friday, the Cubs are expected to announce the attendees for the Cubs Convention, which will be held Jan. 15-17. The event is sold out. We’ll post the list as soon as it is released.

#Cubs Wood to host Winter Warm Up

Tickets are still available for Kerry Wood’s fifth “Woody’s Winter Warm Up” to be held Jan. 15 at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch and the Chicago Sports Museum in Chicago. The event will start at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Guests will be served premium drinks by their favorite Chicago pro athletes, media personalities and local celebrities, who will be competing for tips. And the celebs will be competing with guests in the Museum’s interactive games. Celebrity DJ Niena Drake and DJ Prince will provide the music. Guests will enjoy “meet and greet” experiences with the players, food stations, a raffle and silent auction. Among the prizes is a package featuring a personalized diet and training program, a workout with Wood at Wrigley Field’s new facilities, and a chance to take batting practice there.

Cubs celebrities to take part include Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins. Tickets are $150 per guest and can be purchased at the Wood Family Foundation website.



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