Theo Epstein, Len Kasper and Peter Gammons will host the second annual Hot Stove Cool Music Chicago benefit concert on June 21 at Wrigleyville’s Metro. Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, will be joined on stage by Kasper, the Cubs’ TV play by play man, and Gammons, a Hall of Fame baseball writer. Proceeds from the event will benefit Chicago Cubs Charities and Epstein’s “Foundation To Be Named Later.” It will feature ensemble performances by headliner Poi Dog Pondering along with the Parkington Sisters, Brede Baldwin and Kay Hanley, former vocalist for Letters to Cleo. Gammons, Epstein and Kasper will perform alongside The Hot Stove All-Stars, featuring Jesse Dee, Local H’s Scott Lucas, Will Dailey, Jimmy Chamberlin and special guests.
Tickets go on sale Saturday at noon CT at http://www.metrochicago.com and the Metro Box Office located at 3730 North Clark Street, Chicago. General admission tickets are $50, with no service fees for cash purchases. VIP tickets will also be available at http://www.ftbnl.org.
In addition to the all-star music lineup, the evening will feature a number of special guests and a live and silent auction featuring signed sports memorabilia and priceless entertainment experiences.
Hot Stove Cool Music was founded in 2000 by Gammons and former Boston Herald sports writer Jeff Horrigan. The biannual event has raised more than $5.5 million for Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and the Jimmy Fund. Foundation To Be Named Later was founded in 2005 by Epstein and his brother Paul as a means to create positive opportunities for disadvantaged children and families. Nonprofit partner beneficiaries include the One Fund Boston 2013, The Chicago Children’s Choir, City Year Chicago, Girls in the Game, Family Reach Foundation, Chicago Wapiti RFC, Late Night Peace Basketball League, and Garfield Park Little League.
Nick Struck gave up four runs over six innings and Donnie Murphy hit a home run and drove in three in Iowa’s 6-4 win over Reno. Murphy was 2-for-4. Struck struck out four and gave up 11 hits. The I-Cubs matched a franchise record with five double plays in the game.
Rubi Silva and Rafael Lopez both homered to lead Tennessee to a 6-4 win over Jackson. The Smokies scored four runs in the top of the ninth for the win. Matt Szczur had two hits, including a double, and was batting .458 in his last five games. Silva hit his third home run in his last six games. Trey McNutt struck out three and picked up the win in relief.
Zach Cates gave up three runs over six innings but took the loss in Daytona’s 3-0 loss to Charlotte. Jorge Soler was named Florida State League Player of the Week. In four games, he was 7-for-15 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, four RBIs and scored five runs. He has reached base in 10 consecutive games.
Pierce Johnson gave up four runs over six innings in Kane County’s 4-0 loss to Clinton. Gioskar Amaya and Dan Vogelbach each had two hits.
Carlos Villanueva takes the mound Tuesday in the second game of the Cubs’ three-game series against the Rockies. Here’s the lineup:
Fans interested in tracking the renovation of Wrigley Field and showing their support for the ballpark’s restoration can follow the progress on a new website, WrigleyField.com, which the Cubs launched on Tuesday.
The site, titled “Restore Wrigley Field,” gives fans a chance to view artist’s renderings of the proposed changes to the 99-year-old ballpark. Plus, fans are encouraged to sign a petition to let the team, the city and community know they back the renovation.
The website, which will be linked to Cubs.com, outlines the $500 million plan that the Ricketts family has proposed for Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, including the addition of a hotel at Clark and Addison where the McDonald’s restaurant is currently located. There are drawings of the plaza proposed for Clark Street next to the ballpark, and the new restaurant at Addison and Sheffield streets. The renovation will be conducted over five offseasons, and updates will be provided on the new website.
Have you missed the initial announcements? There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that covers all the topics, including whether the Cubs will have to play elsewhere — they will not — and the economic impact on Chicago and the region. According to the Cubs, the project will create approximately 2,100 new jobs, including 1,300 permanent and 800 construction jobs.
What should be encouraging to Cubs fans is that the design plan was formed using preservation architects who have worked on Fenway Park, the Rose Bowl, Camden Yards and Lambeau Field. The goal is to return Wrigley Field to its 1930s grandeur but make it much more functional. The Cubs will use recycled materials in the restoration, install energy-efficient water and heating and air conditioning systems, and make Wrigley as environmentally efficient as possible.
The changes also will make it a better fan experience. When the Ricketts family purchased the Cubs and the ballpark in October 2009, they stressed that one of their goals was to preserve Wrigley Field. The proposed renovation will restore the facade of the ballpark and replace aging concrete and steel, which is needed to keep Wrigley Field operating for years to come.
The site also includes drawings of the proposed 6,000-square foot video scoreboard projected for left field as well as the 1,000-foot advertising sign projected for right field.
Want to show your support? You can sign a petition on the new website, adding your name to the list of backers who feel this is a “win for the Chicago economy, the Lakeview community, Cubs fans and the team.” There’s a phone number so you can call 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney and tell him why Wrigley Field is special to you and why the restoration is necessary. You also can join the community campaign and receive email updates on the project.
– Carrie Muskat
* Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting streak to three games with his home run on Monday. It was his 376th career blast, tying him with Carlton Fisk for 69th on MLB’s all-time list.
* Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to four games. Welington Castillo is batting .382 in 15 home games.
* With Monday’s win over the Rockies, the Cubs have won three in a row, matching their season high. They are 11-9 since April 23.
* The Cubs totaled eight extra-base hits and lead the NL with 131. They also lead the NL in doubles.
* Kyuji Fujikawa pitched Sunday and Monday, his first back to back games since coming off the disabled list. That was by design, manager Dale Sveum said. Fujikawa will get Tuesday off, and likely pitch Wednesday. He had been sidelined with a strained right forearm.
– Carrie Muskat
Travis Wood and Hippo Vaughn now have something in common, even if they’re not very familiar with each other. Wood posted his eighth consecutive quality start and hit an RBI double, one of six by the team, while Alfonso Soriano belted a two-run homer, and Starlin Castro, Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus all drove in a pair to lift the Cubs to a 9-1 victory Monday night against the Rockies.
Wood is the first Cubs left-hander to open the season with eight quality starts since Vaughn did so in 1919. Wood admitted he had never heard of Vaughn. That’s OK. This was the 23rd quality start by a Chicago pitcher this season, and while they have a combined 1.90 ERA in those games, the team has won only nine. Wood held the Rockies to two hits and walked three over seven innings.
“That was against a lineup that crushes left-handed pitching,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Rockies, who entered the game batting .277 against southpaw pitchers. “To throw like that against those guys, the way they hit against left-handed pitching, was very, very impressive.”
Wood struggled in spring 2012 and began last season at Triple-A Iowa. He’s a different pitcher now.
“What he’s done since Spring Training of last year is pretty impressive,” Sveum said.
On Monday, the lefty was able to pitch to both sides of the plate and had impressive command of his cutter.
“He’s doing a lot of this without secondary pitches,” Sveum said. “It’s not like he’s throwing a lot of curveballs or changeups. He’s mixing in those pitches and using them when he has to against people who are vulnerable and able to use both sides of the plate and be aggressive and not walk people and help out with his bat, too.”
Basically, Wood has learned how to pitch.
“When they sent me down after spring last year,” Wood said, “I just got some work in on what they thought I needed and what I thought I needed and I was fortunate enough to be able to get those things ironed out and so far so good. I’ve been rolling from last year.”
Wood has a scraggly beard that he isn’t going to trim any time soon.
“I’m not really sure what I’m doing with it right now,” he said of his facial hair. “It just started, and I didn’t intend to let it keep going but it’s kind of hard to cut it right now.”
“I think he’s going to keep it,” catcher Welington Castillo said.
The Cubs have talked about how Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are part of the young core they want to build around, and have signed both to long-term deals. What about Wood?
“I would love to be here for a long time with the Cubs but that’s out of my hands,” Wood said. “I’m not really thinking about that right now at all. We’ve got to go out and win tomorrow, and I’ve got four more days to get ready for my next start and hopefully we can keep going on.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs might want to save Dale Sveum some time and have lineup cards printed with Anthony Rizzo’s name in the No. 3 spot after the first baseman signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension on Monday that includes two club options.
“In my position, it’s nice to have a guy projected for 30 [homers] and 100 RBIs in your lineup for the next seven to whatever years, especially with his makeup and defensive ability,” Sveum said Monday. “It’s pretty important to all of us — the city and the organization — to have somebody like that locked up for that long. It’s a pretty special day for all of us.”
Rizzo, 23, is the second young Cubs player to receive a long term extension. Shortstop Starlin Castro was rewarded with a seven-year, $60 million contract last August.
“Now, you don’t have pressure,” Castro said. “You have your contract, your family is good. The only thing you have to put in your mind is play hard and help your team win.”
With the two signings, GM Jed Hoyer has sent a clear signal as to who they plan on building the team around.
“This is just the base and the start of things to get these core players, those position players who you have control over for a long time and can stay here and be something special,” Sveum said.
Castro, 23, wasn’t surprised to see Rizzo get the large contract.
“I knew it was coming,” Castro said. “If it happened to me, I think the next one was him.”
Who’s next? Castro wouldn’t say. But Rizzo does give young players the same message.
“[The front office] has been watching me since I was 17,” Rizzo said. “They’ve seen me develop, they’ve seen me make my mistakes, and they’re going to continue to see me develop and do good things and bad things. What I tell the young guys is work hard. You can always control working hard. Once you get labeled as slacking off by one coach, that can stay with you for a long time. That’s the message I try to send.
“Last year at this time, I was in Triple-A and wondering when that call was going to come,” Rizzo said, “and it’s just the hard work pays off. Five years ago at this time, I was in a hospital waiting on my first treatment for cancer. It’s crazy how everything has come full circle.”
Now, the focus is on playing winning baseball.
“The only thing I think about is that, winning here,” Castro said. “I know it’ll be unbelievable. That’s why those people up there started signing players for long-term deals, to be here when the team becomes good every season. I think it’s very soon.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Matt Garza’s next Minor League rehab outing will be Thursday for Triple-A Iowa, and the team will make a decision after that as to whether the right-hander is ready to be activated. Garza is rehabbing from a left lat strain suffered in Spring Training. In his last Minor League outing on Saturday, he gave up three hits and walked two over 3 1/3 innings for Double-A Tennessee. It was his third Minor League rehab start, and he threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Garza threw with a lot of “aggressiveness” in his bullpen session on Monday.
“We just have to get him built up so he can at least go out there for [six innings],” Sveum said.
* Third baseman Luis Valbuena, who sprained the little finger on his right hand sliding into third base on Saturday, was available to pinch-hit. Valbuena has his little finger and ring finger taped together while he does drills. He would not have started Tuesday against Rockies lefty Jeff Francis, so Valbuena will get at least one extra day to rest, Sveum said.
* Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson hosted his fourth “Edwin’s Entourage” event on Monday at Wrigley Field. He created the event to create awareness of baseball to younger African American males. More than 40 participants from local youth leagues, ages 11-18, took part.
* Arodys Vizcaino, who is on the 60-day disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery, was in Chicago to be examined by the team doctors. The right-hander, whom the Cubs acquired in July 2012 from the Braves in the Paul Maholm deal, underwent the surgery early in 2012.
– Carrie Muskat
Starlin Castro got a long-term deal last August and Anthony Rizzo received a new contract on Monday. What about Jeff Samardzija?
“It’s not really important to me, to tell you the truth,” Samardzija said. “I’m the type of guy who the play speaks for itself and if you’re healthy and do everything you’re supposed to do like those guys do and most importantly, do what it takes to win ballgames, that’s what it’s all about. I’m a little older than they are — I wouldn’t mind being 22 or 23 again — but baseball wise, I’m still pretty young. That stuff comes as the game goes.”
In Spring Training, Samardzija said he wanted to pitch first, and then talk contract. That’s still the way he’s looking at it.
“We’re still in only the second month of the season,” Samardzija said. “Coming in and starting Opening Day and pitching every fifth game from there, I’ve felt great. I’m excited to get into the summer and get into August and get toward that high innings count and see where I’m at as a starter. Nothing has changed. The games that happen out here are the most important for me personally.”
He didn’t ask to table negotiations.
“I know they have a lot of things on their minds right now,” Samardzija said of the Cubs front office. “We have an understanding that we both want to be here, and both want me here, and that’s a great place to be. It’s up to me to do my job on the field.”
The right-hander recognizes that players are paid based on what they do on the field.
“I want my play to determine how everything goes down,” he said. “I have high expectations for myself and this team. That comes first. I feel everything after that will fall into line for me personally.”
– Carrie Muskat
Brad Nelson hit his sixth home run but Reno scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Iowa, 9-8, on Sunday. Chris Rusin started, and did not get a decision, giving up five runs on nine hits over five innings. Brett Jackson had his first three-hit game of the season and scored two runs. Dave Sappelt drove in three runs. Ian Stewart was 1-for-1 with a triple and two RBIs.
Kyle Hendricks threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in Tennessee’s 5-0 victory over Jackson. Matt Szczur had three hits and two RBIs. Arismendy Alcantara had two hits.
Daytona had Sunday off, and returns to action Monday against Charlotte.
Dillon Maples gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in Kane County’s 7-4, 10-inning loss to Clinton. Rock Shoulders hit a grand slam in the sixth and Jeimer Candelario had two hits, including his fourth home run. Dan Vogelbach drove in a run, and now has hit safely in six of his last seven games.