Results tagged ‘ Alan Trammell ’

5/11 The morning after …

Lou Piniella wasn’t too worried about young shortstop Starlin Castro the day after he made three errors in a game. Castro has already experienced the highs and lows of baseball. He set a ML record with six RBIs in his debut game last Friday in Cincinnati, and on Monday, was charged with three errors in the Cubs’ loss to the Marlins.

“We’re going to grow with him,” Piniella said.

The Cubs coaches talked to Castro about one of the plays in which he didn’t hustle after a ball. But he’s getting a crash course on big league baseball in the few days he’s been with the team.

“We’ve talked to him more than anything else about the tags at second base and how to properly get that glove down,” Piniella said.

“He’ll be fine. Let’s not get too occupied with this. He’s got a learning curve ahead of him and he’s got the perfect guy in [Alan] Trammell and [Ivan] DeJesus to help him and a wonderful hitting coach [in Rudy Jaramillo]. He’ll be taken care of the right way.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/7 Castro not wasting time

It’s not even 3 p.m. CT, but the Starlin Castro era has begun. The 20-year-old shortstop is on the field at Great American Ball Park now, working at short with Ryan Theriot at second. Bench coach Alan Trammell and coach Ivan DeJesus are both working with the pair.

— Carrie Muskat

5/4 So long, Ernie

Long time Detroit broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell played 20 years in Detroit and also was the manager there from 2003-05, and became very close to Harwell. Trammell said he got a call Tuesday morning to give him a heads up that Harwell’s condition was deteriorating quickly.

“What a gentleman, what a great person,” Trammell said Tuesday. “It’s a sad day for baseball, not just for the people in Detroit or Michigan. He treated everybody with a quality that very few have — everybody was the same, whether you’re the president or somebody on the street. That’s a quality not too many people have.”
Trammell called another ex-Tiger Kirk Gibson Tuesday to tell him that Harwell was failing. The three were together at an appearance in December and able to laugh then and share memories.
“He was very sharp then,” Trammell said. “I did hear of late that his health was declining and that he was ready. I think we all know where he’s going.”
Trammell never really had a chance to listen to Harwell’s broadcasts — he was always playing. But he does know the voice.
“What a voice,” Trammell said. “Any great announcer, the first thing that comes to mind is the voice and really painting a picture of the game. I’m a little older and remember growing up and listening to games on the radio. I don’t think kids nowadays are as much in tune as we were. I grew up listening to games on the radio. Kirk, growing up in Michigan, [listening to] Ernie Harwell, going to bed with the transistor radio on, that kind of thing. Those are the good old days.
“Very sad. But that being said, I can speak for Ernie saying, he didn’t want us to be sad. He’s had a great life, and he has.”
— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Trammell checks out the infield

Alan Trammell was the acting manager on Thursday in Tucson and was the perfect person to give an assessment of the Cubs’ infielders. Trammell says Mike Fontenot has come a long way. The Cubs have had Fontenot play shortstop to see if he can handle that in a pinch.

“I’m confident to say he can do it,” Trammell said.

The Cubs want to find someone who can give Theriot a day off now and then. It will help determine the bench. If Fontenot can do it, the Cubs may be more likely to carry Chad Tracy or Kevin Millar.

“To me, [Fontenot] looks like a better player this spring,” Trammell said of Fontenot.

* Trammell also got to see super hyped shortstop Starlin Castro, who is now in the Minor League camp.

“There’s no question that as much as he thought he was ready to play — and he should feel that way — he was not ready,” Trammell said. “I just think there’s all parts of his game that he needs to get a little better at. He just turned 20 years old [on Wednesday]. He’s a very good looking ballplayer and I think he’s got a great future, bright future. He needed to go down there to get regular at-bats and regular playing time and we’ll see what happens.”

* One infielder who Trammell says has “opened some eyes” is Darwin Barney. He spent part of Wednesday working on the second base pivot with Theriot.

“He’s a shortstop and learning second base and going back and forth has been an adjustment,” Trammell said of Barney. “I’m confident that in time, he’s a guy we could depend on.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Lou: Age not a factor with Castro

Lou Piniella knows there’s a lot of hype surrounding shortstop Starlin Castro.

“He’s really made a good representation of himself here,” Piniella said Friday. “It’s been fun for me to watch him and for the coaches who worked with him. The other kid who has done really nice here is [Tyler] Colvin. He takes a nice pass at the ball every time, he’s a good outfielder. He’s vastly improved with the bat from what we saw last September.”

OK, but let’s get back to Castro. The Cubs will make some roster moves next week but Castro will stay in the big league camp. Aramis Ramirez said he thinks the 19-year-old shortstop is ready.

“We’ve talked about the fact that young players, the real good ones, come up early,” Piniella said. “The average age for a Major Leaguer is 23, 24, in that time frame. As a starter, you get 300, 400 innings [in the Minor Leagues], 2,500 at-bats as a hitter. The ones who are good, the ones who are exceptional, they come up early. They can adapt and adjust. I don’t think the age is a determining factor here.”

The Cubs do have a good shortstop already in Ryan Theriot. There isn’t a need for one.

“He’s fun to watch play, he plays very relaxed, very self assured,” Piniella said of Castro. “Obviously, he has the physical talents, the good arm, the good hands, smooth. With the bat, he hits the ball this way [to right] and yesterday he turned on one. Let’s continue to play here.”

Castro’s age is not the determining factor. Piniella was Alex Rodriguez’s manager when he first came up to the big leagues at 19. He played three weeks and then was sent back to the Minors.

“The big thing is get their feet on the ground, get the goosebumps out, let them know what it feels like,” Piniella said. “Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, they came up and they never went down. The kids who are super good, they don’t fit in that 23 [year old] category.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Vegas, baby

If you’re going to be in Las Vegas to see the Cubs vs. White Sox Friday night and Saturday, here’s a list of the players scheduled to be there:

Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Dempster, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, Matt Camp, Josh Vitters, Geovany Soto, Robinson Chirinos, Welington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Kosuke Fukudome, Brad Snyder, Xavier Nady,
Thomas Diamond, Blake Parker, Justin Berg, Jeff Kennard, Mitch Atkins, John Gaub, and J.R. Mathes.

Alan Trammell will manage the Vegas squad. Lou Piniella is staying in Arizona for the split squad games Friday in Maryvale vs. the Brewers and Saturday in Mesa vs. the Reds.

— Carrie Muskat


3/11 Cubs notebook

Ted Lilly may face hitters in a live BP session on Sunday, which will be his next day to throw. Lilly is coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He threw 35 pitches on Wednesday.

“No problems,” Lilly said. “I’ve thrown a few changeups, no curveballs. In the past, I haven’t thrown a whole lot of breaking stuff in Spring Training. That’s not something you want to overdo at this point.”

* Alan Trammell will manage the Cubs in Las Vegas. Lou Piniella is staying back with the other half of the team in Arizona for games Friday against Milwaukee and Saturday against Cincinnati. Jeff Samardzija will face the Brewers while Tom Gorzelanny will start Friday in Vegas against the White Sox. Ryan Dempster makes his second start Saturday in Vegas while Sean Marshall faces the Reds. Piniella said he hopes the team can make some definite plans with the pitching by March 21-22.

* If Starlin Castro is going to open in the Minors, will he stay long in the big league camp? Piniella said that decision is up to Jim Hendry.

* Andres Blanco (sprained knee) is another week or so away from resuming baseball activities.

“Depending on what happens with Blanco will have a bearing on what we do with our bench,” Piniella said. “We have choices with our bench. Do we focus on defense? Do we focus on more offense? With the [Xavier] Nady situation, do we carry a couple extra outfielders because he can’t play outfield?”

Nady will be able to play outfield on Opening Day but is not expected to be able to throw at full speed until June 1. There’s been no talk about having Nady open the year on the disabled list.

“My understanding from talking to the trainer and our medical people is he can play a couple days a week early in the season and hopefully by the first of June, if need be, we can put him out there on a more consistent basis than that,” Piniella said. “We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t see the DL scenario at all. We haven’t even discussed that.”

* The Cubs do need five starters when they open the season. Sometimes with off days, a team can get by with four. The way it’s projected, the Cubs’ fifth starter would make four starts in April.

“I asked [Larry Rothchild] if we could get by with 11 pitchers in the month of April,” Piniella said. “I haven’t heard a positive response on that one yet.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/22 The bench & Monday notebook

Lou Piniella, Alan Trammell, GM Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush met Monday at Fitch Park to discuss the Cubs’ bench and bullpen.

“There’s different ways we can go with our bench,” Piniella said. “We’ve got some decisions to make, whether we go a little more defensive-minded bench or offensive-minded. We’ll see how Spring Training plays itself out.”

The Cubs did talk to Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park, who reached an agreement Monday with the Yankees. Hendry is still looking at trade options but right now, the young pitchers in camp have a shot.

“This gives them a really great opportunity to establish themselves and get themselves in roles,” Piniella said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the rotation with the [Ted] Lilly situation but possibly one or two of those kids can work into the bullpen situation, too. Then we have the kids like [Justin] Berg, [Jeff] Gray who we got from Oakland, and maybe another young kid who wants to pop up and get in the mix. You hate to get too young but that’s what we have in camp here.”

Those pitchers in the rotation mix include Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall and Carlos Silva. Rule 5 Draft pick Michael Parisi also could be in the ‘pen.

Rain on Monday forced the Cubs pitchers to throw again in the batting cages. Some of the team went to HoHoKam Park to get their work in.

* The Ricketts family was expected in Mesa on Tuesday for the first full squad workout.

“It’ll be a new start for Cubs baseball,” Piniella said. “I think it’s going to be a really good thing to have a family-owned team. They’re going to care, they’re going to take pride in it. The short conversations I’ve had with Tom Ricketts is he wants to win and that’s what we want to do for him.”

Chairman Tom Ricketts was expected to speak to the players. Piniella also will deliver a message to the team.

“First of all, we’ve got some good talent here,” Piniella said. “Last year, this baseball team finished second in this division with a whole lot of injuries and some problems. I’m proud of the way they hung in there. The message [to the team] is basically, ‘Let’s stay healthy and let’s work hard this spring and let’s tack on another 10 or so wins and give ourselves a chance in postseason again.’ That’s going to be the message.”

* Rudy Jaramillo said he’s encouraging Kosuke Fukudome to communicate with him about hitting, adding “I want more feedback.” The two met Sunday and Jaramillo made a few suggestions. Fukudome applied a few of the tips on Monday.

“I think we’re getting somewhere,” Jaramillo said.

Piniella has seen nothing but positives in the batting cages.

“Rudy’s available, he’s knowledgable about what he’s talking about, he’s had success with hitters,” Piniella said. “He’s got a regimen that the players seem to like. I know when I played, I had a guy like Charlie Lau and I learned as much as I could under his tutelage.”

* Ryan Dempster hosted a few of his teammates on Sunday night to watch the U.S. hockey team play the Canadians in the Winter Olympics, and bet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the outcome. He lost a few bets.

“It’s a lot of peanut butter — trying to figure out who wants crunchy and who wants smooth will be the tough part,” Dempster said.

Dempster’s Canada team lost, 5-3, but the game lived up to the hype.

“That game yesterday was as good a game as I’ve seen in a long time,” Dempster said.

— Carrie Muskat

Motor city reunion

Alan Trammell stopped by Tiger Stadium on Tuesday to get one more look at the ballpark before it’s totally demolished. Now the Cubs bench coach, Trammell spent 20 years playing for the Tigers and also was the team’s manager. He’s a little grayer since he was last in Detroit and has a new hip following replacement surgery in 2006. He wasn’t sad about seeing the demolition — he’ll always have his memories.

“I’m happy to be on a baseball field,” Trammell said. “That’s where I feel most comfortable.”

Lou Piniella described his bench coach as a “good baseball man.” What’s surprised Piniella about Trammell?

“He’s more intense than I thought he was,” Piniella said. “I didn’t realize that. He likes competing and he likes to win. He does a great job with our infielders. During the course of the ballgame, I’ll ask him numerous questions, soliciting what he would do. I utilize my coaches. The intensity factor surprised me. He’s an intense young man.”

Told that Trammell always wants to be in uniform, Piniella concurred.

“He belongs in uniform,” Piniella said. “He’s a baseball guy, he loves talking baseball. I really enjoy having him on my staff and he’s been very helpful. And hopefully he’ll get another opportunity to manage at the big league level.”

— Carrie Muskat

One last look

Tiger Stadium is slowly being demolished, and driving by Tuesday, there were a few folks taking photos of what’s left of the old ballpark. It’s a sad sight. As Alan Trammell said, you can’t take away the memories. Do you keep lists of ballparks you’ve been to? I started to think about the ones I’ve been to that now are gone, like Three Rivers, Metropolitan Stadium, Riverfront, Comiskey Park, Yankee Stadium, and Shea (good riddance). Candlestick and Qualcomm no longer host baseball. Makes you appreciate Wrigley’s longevity even more.

— Carrie Muskat