Results tagged ‘ Andrew Cashner ’

9/27 Cashner begins next phase in AFL

The Cubs’ season may end on Wednesday but Andrew Cashner will begin the second phase of his 2011 season next week when he joins the Arizona Fall League as a reliever. Cashner has been sidelined most of the year because of a strained right rotator cuff, felt after his first start April 5. He has been limited to a relief role since coming off the disabled list Sept. 5.

The plan in the AFL, which gets underway Oct. 4, is for Cashner to continue to pitch in relief. He will be limited as far as his pitch count but also may throw up to two innings per outing, Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins said Tuesday. Can Cashner start again?

“I think he can,” Riggins said. “If he does start, we have to watch the number of innings. Medically, there is a certain amount of innings that you can jump up to before you run into some danger with stress on the arm so you kind of have to build up from year to year the number of innings.”

Where Cashner fits in the Cubs’ pitching plans in 2012 is still to be determined. He has a 1.86 ERA in six games. Maybe he’s better suited to pitching in relief? Maybe he could be the closer some day?

“Eventually, he could be,” Riggins said. “He has the ability for that plus his stuff, his composure on the mound, he throws strikes, he has command of three pitches. It’s not out of the question that he could do that at some point in his career. The thing about a closer is they don’t step in there and be a closer right away. It’s an earned spot on a staff. That’s in the future for us.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/25 Tinkerbell, Hannibal Lecter & Minnie Mouse

Sunday was rookie hazing day, and probably the first time John Gaub, Rafael Dolis, Bryan LaHair and Tony Campana wore the costumes they did. Some didn’t quite fit — Gaub’s short ruffled dress didn’t quite close in the back and DJ LeMahieu had a tough time getting his bright blue skin-tight animal outfit zipper to close. Last year, the dress Casey Coleman was to wear ripped and had to be stapled. The veterans took it easy on Coleman this year, and he was given a bright orange prison jumper with a Hannibal Lecter mask. He seemed to be enjoying it. Tyler Colvin missed last year’s hazing because he didn’t finish the season with the team after being hit in the chest with a broken bat. He had a Minnie Mouse type dress to wear. Andrew Cashner was decked out in a MC Hammer type black and gold get-up. He had to wear his cowboy boots with it — there wasn’t another option. Campana was dressed in a bright green Tinkerbell-type fairy dress. He kept the wand tucked in his socks. The Cubs veterans didn’t spare anyone, giving costumes to the masseuse, video coordinator and one of the bullpen catchers. It’ll be a long flight to San Diego.

— Carrie Muskat

9/6 Extra bases

Andrew Cashner, activated from the disabled list on Monday, will likely need two days off between outings as he continues to strengthen his right shoulder. Cashner has not pitched for the Cubs since his only start April 5. He was placed on the DL with a strained right rotator cuff after that. How will the right-hander be used now?

“Carefully,” manager Mike Quade said Tuesday.

Cashner will get two days off between outings. He will get a chance to start in October when he pitches for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He will be joined in the AFL by Cubs prospects Josh Vitters, DJ LeMahieu, Chris Carpenter, Junior Lake, Trey McNutt and Marcus Hatley.

* Blake DeWitt ran the bases and did some agility drills Tuesday to test a tender left hamstring but was still limited to pinch-hitting. DeWitt has homered in three of his last six starts, including a three-run shot off the Giants’ Tim Lincecum on Aug. 29. He was batting .261 for the season.

* The Cubs wanted to add another catcher when rosters expand but Welington Castillo is unavailable because of a hamstring injury that has sidelined him three times this season at Triple-A Iowa. Castillo was at Wrigley Field Tuesday to be examined by the Cubs medical staff. He was not expected to be ready before the regular season ends.

* The Cubs players and front office staff posed for the team picture on Tuesday. It was missing a general manager — Jim Hendry was dismissed last month — and there could be a lot of new faces in 2012. Manager Mike Quade said he didn’t think about that.

“Just put a smile on and get it done,” Quade said. “Just another picture day. There’ve been 30 some for me now.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/5 Cashner rejoins Cubs

Andrew Cashner was back in the Cubs’ clubhouse on Monday, activated from the disabled list and will be available in the bullpen Tuesday at the earliest. The right-hander has been on the DL since April 6 because of a strained right rotator cuff. He wrapped up his rehab with one inning on Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.

“The velocity was there and I’m really pleased with the way everything has gone,” Cashner said. “No pain and I feel like I’m 100 percent and ready to roll.”

In three appearances for Double-A Tennessee, he gave up two runs on three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out six over 2 2/3 innings. All of the runs came in his first outing. In two outings at Iowa, he did not allow a baserunner in two innings, and finished with two strikeouts.

“His pilgrimmage is over,” Mike Quade said.

“I threw the ball well,” Cashner said. “The main thing I wanted to work on was my fastball command down there. It’s there right now, so I’m feeling good and have a lot of confidence now and throwing good breaking balls and changeups. Everything’s been good.”

He will be used strictly out of the bullpen for the Cubs’ final 21 games. In October, he’ll pitch for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and was expected to start.

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 August happenings

The Cubs enter Wednesday’s game with a 16-12 mark this month. It’s the team’s first winning month this season, and first August with a record above .500 since the Cubs were 20-8 in August 2008. They’ve hit 39 homers this month, most in the National League and second in the Majors. They have hit 40 homers in August four times in franchise history.

What’s the difference?

“Everybody’s healthy,” Matt Garza said. “We only have one guy on the DL [Andrew Cashner] who should be coming back in a couple days. This is the way we expected to come out of spring but when you lose [Randy Wells] and ‘Cash’ in the first week and then you have to mix and match your rotation and it was injury after injury after injury, it just seemed like it never stopped. Now that we’re all back together with the team we broke camp with, it’s fun to watch.”

After an off day Thursday, the Cubs will have 25 games remaining, including 13 road games and 12 home games.

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Jackson, Carpenter, Cashner to play in AFL

Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Chris Carpenter are among the Cubs prospects who will play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 4. The trio will be joined on the Mesa Solar Sox by Trey McNutt, Junior Lake and DJ LeMahieu. Left-hander Jeff Beliveau is on the taxi squad as well. The AFL begins its 20th season this October. The six-team league plays six days per week (Monday-Saturday) in six Cactus League stadiums in the Phoenix area. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick has been added as the new home of the Rafters, joining Mesa Hohokam Stadium (Solar Sox), Peoria Sports Complex (Javelinas), Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Desert Dogs), Scottsdale Stadium (Scorpions) and Surprise Stadium (Saguaros) as the league venues.

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Cubs Minor League report

Bryan LaHair hit his 37th home run to tie the franchise record and Brad Snyder hit a go-ahead RBI single to help Iowa beat Nashville, 8-5, on Monday night. Chris Rusin gave up five runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings but Hung-Wen Chen picked up the win in relief. Brett Jackson scored three runs and Lou Montanez had three hits and three RBIs. LaHair now is tied with Joe Hicks for the single-season Iowa home run mark.

Josh Vitters, Nate Samson and Trey McNutt each homered in Tennessee’s 7-2 win over Jacksonville. McNutt picked up the win in relief, giving up one run on six hits over six innings. The homer was his first pro hit. Vitters had two hits, including his 13th homer, and two RBIs. Rebel Ridling extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Andrew Cashner started in his third rehab outing, and struck out the three batters he faced. He now heads to Triple-A Iowa to finish his rehab.

“The ball comes out of his hand real easy and smooth,” Smokies manager Brian Harper said of Cashner. “It kind of jumps on the hitter. He obviously looks healthy.”

Jake Optiz hit two home runs to pace an 18-hit attack and lead Daytona to a 9-6 win over Dunedin. Matt Loosen picked up the win, giving up two earned runs on four hits over five innings. Also, Evan Crawford, Frank Batista, Justin Bour and manager Buddy Bailey were named Florida State League All-Stars. Batista now has 26 saves.

Rafael Valdes had two hits and scored a run in Peoria’s 5-4 loss to Kane County. Anthony Giansanti had two hits and a stolen base.

Boise had Monday off and opens its final homestand of the season Tuesday against Vancouver. The Mesa club ended its season on Sunday, finishing 28-28.

— Carrie Muskat

8/29 Extra bases

Iowa’s Bryan LaHair belted his 37th home run on Monday to tie the Triple-A team’s single-season mark, set by Joe Hicks in 1984. LaHair was named to the All-Pacific Coast League team earlier in the day.

* This season could be Aramis Ramirez’s last with the Cubs. His contract includes a club option for $16 million for next season.
What is Ramirez’s legacy?

“This year speaks for itself,” Mike Quade said of the third baseman, who entered Monday’s game against the Giants batting .309 with 24 homers and 83 RBIs.

“He’s always been — since the first time I saw him in Double-A a long time ago — a guy you looked at who you said would be a productive RBI guy,” Quade said. “His approach lends itself to being really good in RBI situations. Even as a young kid coming in the Pirates system, he looked like that kind of guy.”

Ramirez had a 16-game hitting streak end on Sunday. He batted .508 in that stretch, and is one home run shy of joining Billy Williams as the only players in Cubs history with 30 doubles and 25 homers six times.

* On Friday, Quade, interim GM Randy Bush and player development director Oneri Fleita will meet to discuss who will be called up from the Minor Leagues. Brett Jackson’s name will certainly come up. The Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Jackson was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa in mid July. In 42 games at Iowa, the outfielder has hit .319 with 12 doubles, two triples, nine homers and six stolen bases. He got off to a slow start, hitting .233 in his first 17 games, but was batting .369 in August. If called up, Jackson’s service time clock would start ticking. Do the Cubs feel he’s ready? Is it worth it to call him up now or wait?

“I want to do what’s right for the organization and the kid, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” Quade said Monday. “He’s a fine-looking young player. People who are watching him and see him every day are in a good a position to make a decision as to whether we should bring him up here.”

* Andrew Cashner struck out all three batters he faced in his third rehab outing on Monday for Double-A Tennessee. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes. The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since April 6 with a strained right rotator cuff, was expected to move up to Triple-A Iowa next for at least two more appearances. If all goes well, Cashner will join the big league team when it returns Friday for a six-game homestand. In his three rehab outings, Cashner has struck out six, giving up three hits and not walked a batter over 2 2/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

8/28 Cashner update

Andrew Cashner will make his third rehab start on Monday for Double-A Tennessee and then the team will decide if he’s ready to move up to Triple-A Iowa. Cashner, who has been on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff since April 6, will be limited to one inning in Monday’s outing. After that, Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins and the medical staff will determine whether the right-hander is ready to pitch out of the Iowa bullpen or if it’s better to have him start at Triple-A. By starting, they can give him enough time to warm up before his outing. If all goes well, Cashner, who turns 25 on Sept. 11, will join the Cubs when they return from a three-game trip to San Francisco, which starts Monday. Cashner, who won the fifth spot in the rotation this year, only to be sidelined after his only start with the shoulder injury, was expected to start in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 4.

— Carrie Muskat

8/25 Extra bases

 The Cubs are 20-18 since the All-Star break heading into Thursday’s game. What’s been the difference from the 37-55 start in the first half?
“A little bit of progress everywhere,” Mike Quade said. “We’ve hit the ball out of the ballpark more than we did. We’ve gotten more quality starts than we were getting. The bullpen has maybe been the one constant but [Carlos Marmol’s] little two-week issue [in mid July] where he needed to get straightened out, he’s recovered from that and gotten very good. I think we’ve played much better defense and cleaner baseball. All of that contributes to it, to my way of thinking as far as why. And we’re healthy, and amazingly, have been for a while.”
* Alfonso Soriano did not start Thursday for the Cubs because of a tender right forearm. He was hit by a pitch there in the eighth inning Wednesday night. Soriano, who hit his 22nd home run in the second on Wednesday, was available to pinch-hit and should be ready for the weekend series against the Brewers.

* Andrew Cashner was expected to make his next outing for Double-A Tennessee on Friday. Cashner threw two-thirds of an inning Tuesday in his first game action since April 5. He went on the disabled list after that start with a strained right rotator cuff. The plan is for Cashner to throw one day, take two days off, then throw the next day. If all goes well, he should be able to rejoin the Cubs in the first week of September.

* Bryan LaHair hit two home runs to raise his season total to 36 in Triple-A Iowa’s 12-7 win over Oklahoma City. LaHair, who also drove in five runs, was batting .336 with 105 RBIs this season. The first baseman was expected to get called up in September when rosters expand.

* Before he grounded out in the seventh Wednesday night, Aramis RAmirez had reached base safely in a career-high nine straight plate appearances. He was the first Cubs player to accomplish the feat since Ryan Theriot did so, Sept. 15-16, 2009.

— Carrie Muskat