Results tagged ‘ Alberto Gonzalez ’

4/5 Extra bases

* Friday’s game marked the start of a stretch of 19 in a row for the Cubs against teams that finished .500 or above last year. Thirteen of those games are against teams that reached the playoffs, beginning with the Braves. It’s going to be challenging.

“That was last year playoff teams,” Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. “Things change.”

* Cubs manager Dale Sveum cringed when he saw the replay of Louisville guard Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In 1988, Sveum’s career changed after a freak collision with Brewers teammate Darryl Hamilton. Sveum was playing shortstop and chased a pop fly down the third base line, crashing into Hamilton, who was playing left. Sveum broke his left leg, which had to be refractured a year later because it didn’t heal properly. Seeing Ware go down brought back lots of memories for Sveum.

“I felt horrible about it,” Sveum said of Ware, who was expected in Atlanta with his Louisville teammates for the Final Four. “I went through the same thing. It was kind of a freak accident. His was even stranger to come down and do something like that in such a horrific way. It makes you nauseated, that’s for sure. It was one of the more horrible injuries, if not the most horrible injury, we were able to see and witness. Hopefully, he can come back. I don’t know if he can come back from something like that. That was eye opening to day the least.”

Sveum recalled his injury immediately.

“It’s a flashback knowing exactly how much pain you’re in when something like that happens,” he said. “You basically kind of go into shock. It’s something you’ll never forget. I flashback every time [Darwin] Barney or [Starlin] Castro go down this line for a pop up.

“It’s such a trauma incident that you’ll never forget it,” Sveum said.

* There were too many ballplayers on the field during the Braves’ batting practice. The Cubs relievers were doing their normal pre-game routine, but they were in left field while the Braves were hitting. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren asked the players to get off the field, but they didn’t.

“[Wren] came in and asked me a favor, if I could keep the guys off the field, because they were trying to do defensive work,” Sveum said. “Realistically, two teams can’t be on the field at the same time but we all know that at the end of [batting practice], everybody always goes and throws and everybody’s work is done by then. The [batting practice] times got all goofed up. That’s part of why that happened.”

The Cubs pitchers were amused that they were being chased off.

* Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will sing the seventh inning stretch Monday at the Cubs’ home opener. Another Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, will lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Tuesday. On Wednesday, members of the 1963 Loyola men’s basketball team, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the NCAA championship, will sing, and be followed on Thursday by Blackhawks Hall of Famer goalie Tony Esposito.

* The Braves have done some remodeling in the visitor’s clubhouse. However, they didn’t check the Cubs roster very well. Alberto Gonzalez’s name plate said “Alberto Castillo.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Updating the roster

Infielder Alberto Gonzalez and reliever Zach Putnman were told Tuesday that they will not make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, and the team is still monitoring the waiver wire to fill the final spots on the bench and in the bullpen.

With Putnam out of the mix, the in-house candidates for the final bullpen spot comes down to Cory Wade and Hisanori Takahashi, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday.

“He’s been pitching really well, he’s been getting right-handers out a little easier than left-handers,” Dale Sveum said of the left-hander. “He’s very durable. We know he can pitch two, three, even four innings and get to 90 pitches. He’s valuable in a number of ways. If the game goes really smooth, you can have the possibility of two left-handers in the last three, four innings. I want him to keep throwing strikes like he has and keep doing what he’s doing.”

With Gonzalez out of contention for the bench, that leaves left-handed hitting Steve Clevenger as the only option in camp. He made the Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher, and can fill in at first or third if needed. The Cubs want another left-handed bat.

“I look at the transactions, and from what I’ve seen there hasn’t been anything that fits our needs as of now,” Sveum said.

Gonzalez may be headed to the Minor Leagues but he will travel with the Cubs to Houston for exhibition games Friday and Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/24 Final two

The Cubs have one opening in the bullpen and one on the bench remaining. Here’s an update on the candidates:

Position players
Alberto Gonzalez: Started at 3B, moved to SS vs Indians. Went 1-for-2
Steve Clevenger: Entered at 3B. Went 1-for-1, 1 RBI vs. Indians

Zach Putnam: Replaced Casey Coleman in the eighth Sunday vs. Indians with two on and two outs, and gave up two-run single to Mike Aviles.
Hisanori Takahashi: Did not pitch Sunday
Cory Wade: Did not pitch Sunday
Rafael Dolis: Optioned to Triple-A Iowa Sunday