Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

4/7 Join Rizzo at “Cook Off for Cancer”

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will host his second “Cook Off for Cancer” on May 16 at Revel Downtown, 440 W. Randolph, Chicago. Fans can join Cubs players and coaches as they serve upscale ballpark food prepared by some of Chicago’s top chefs. Fans will vote for their favorite chef or dish by tipping the Cubs server. The list of chefs participating include:

Tony Priolo, Piccolo Sogno
Doug Tomek, Uncle Dougies
Guiseppe Tentori, GT Fish and Oyster
Mario Hernandez, Del Frisco’s
Doug Psaltis, RPM Italian
David Burns, Levy Restaurants
Joseph Heppe, Untitled 111
Molly Johnson, Limelight Catering
Cosmo Goss, Publican
Joseph Farina, Joe’s Fish
Lee Ann Whippen, Chicago q

Tickets are $200 person, or $1,200 for a table. To purchase a ticket or make a donation, visit Cubs.com/Cook

3/31 Game 1: Pirates 1, Cubs 0

Neil Walker spoiled Rick Renteria’s managerial debut. Walker smacked a walkoff home run in the 10th inning Monday to lift the Pirates to a 1-0 victory over the Cubs on a sun-splashed day at PNC Park. Walker connected on a 3-2 pitch from Carlos Villanueva, who won the fifth spot in the rotation, but was not scheduled to start until Sunday. It was Walker’s first career walkoff hit.

The Cubs had chances, stranding eight batters in the game, and went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Renteria made his managerial debut in front of 39,833, the largest regular season crowd in PNC Park history. He also was the first to use expanded instant replay in the history of Major League Baseball when he challenged a play at first base in the fifth inning.

This was Jeff Samardzija’s second straight Opening Day start, and second in a row at PNC Park. One year ago, he gave up two hits over eight shutout innings in the Cubs’ win. On Monday, he threw seven shutout innings.

“You can only control what you can control,” Samardzija said about the lack of offense. “[Pitchers] have a bat, too. We have a say in how it turns out. We need to take advantage of every opportunity we get. Ultimately, we’re out there pitching and that’s our job. We’re not here to speculate, we’re not here to say this or that. We’re pitchers and we’re out there to pitch. These guys are working hard and we have their back 100 percent. The quicker we can get them in the dugout, the better chance we have to score some runs.”

Renteria, 52, has come full circle. He made his big league debut at Three Rivers Stadium with the Pirates on Sept. 14, 1986, against the Cubs.

The Cubs batted .218 last year with RISP, worst in the National League. Anthony Rizzo doesn’t expect a repeat of that.

“We’re a very confident group,” Rizzo said. “It’s a good thing. There’s a lot of good energy in the dugout and the clubhouse before the game. It’s a tough loss, obviously, but it’s one game. No one’s going home yet. It’s nice to have the energy in here. Runs will be scored.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/25 Edwards: My nerves were crazy

C.J. Edwards was nervous Tuesday night. He had more than a week to prepare for his first Cactus League start, and had taken the advice of his father, who told him to pray and meditate. Edwards tried to visualize his approach.

“My dad actually helped me get ready for this game,” Edwards said.

But Edwards’ father was back in Prosperity, S.C., and the pitcher had to rely on Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and catcher John Baker, who both told Edwards to just keep doing what he had been doing. The slender right-hander was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA last season at Class A Hickory and High A Daytona. He joined the Cubs in July after being dealt from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal. Most of the Cubs front office, including Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, were in the stands in Peoria on Tuesday night to watch Edwards. He didn’t see them because Edwards says he has great “tunnel vision.” The 22-year-old had enough to think about.

“I went out there the first inning, and nerves were crazy,” Edwards said of his start against the Padres. “I can’t even explain the nerves I had. Overall being out there, I felt like I should be out there.”

He retired the first batter, and Seth Smith singled, but Edwards got Kyle Blanks to hit into a double play and end the inning. The second wasn’t as smooth as Xavier Nady singled to lead off and reached third on an error by Ryan Kalish. Rene Rivera hit a sacrifice fly, and Edwards then walked the next two batters. That prompted a visit from Bosio.

Edwards regrouped and got a ground out, and then struck out Andrew Cashner to end the inning. In the third, Edwards again retired the first batter, then Smith singled and Blanks walked. Bosio again came to the mound along with all the infielders. Edwards caught his breath, then served up a double to Nady and a sacrifice fly before he was lifted.

As Edwards walked off the field, Baker said something to him.

“His exact words were, ‘Hey, you did a hell of a job, man, and you’ve got a bright future ahead. Just stay with it,’” Edwards said, smiling.

A lot of players are so overcome by the moment that they admit they’re shaking the first time on a mound in a big league game.

“I actually wasn’t that nervous on the mound,” he said. “After I came in the first inning, my right knee just started going by itself and I was trying to look around and hold it down, but it didn’t work, so I let it bounce.”

Edwards also got advice from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who came over to the mound in the second after the pitcher walked two in a row.

“He comes up to me, and he goes, ‘Hey, do you want to play first base?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s switch,’” Edwards said.

But they didn’t. It wasn’t just Baker or Rizzo, it was everyone on the Cubs giving Edwards support. They’ve all been there.

“Overall, the guys were behind me 100 percent and they have faith in me,” he said.

The Cubs just have to figure out a way to add some muscle to his skinny body. He weighed 165 on Tuesday, no change from January when he admitted he’s been eating everything in sight. In fact, he gorged on a large order of French toast at the Breakfast Club in Scottsdale on Tuesday morning. He couldn’t finish the eggs and sausage but did eat all the bread.

He could relax once his outing was over.

“Like I tell everybody, I enjoyed it,” Edwards said. “I feel I can be out there any time to help the club when the time comes. The guys that we have up are already doing great. We’ll have our ups and downs but we’ll go out there each and every day 110 percent. When that day comes and I get the call, I feel I’ll be ready to come up there.”

Hopefully, Tuesday’s start will make it easier when he does get promoted.

“Now, I feel my first game there [at Wrigley Field], I won’t be as nervous, but then again, it’ll be Chicago, and there will be over 100 thousand fans there,” he said, over-estimating the ballpark’s attendance by about 60,000. “It’s a little different here. It was wonderful. The outcome wasn’t good but overall just being around those guys was fantastic.”

Edwards isn’t sure where he’ll open the 2014 season, although the Cubs have said it could be Double-A Tennessee. He can only hope he’s matched up with his roommates, like Duane Underwood, who made the drive to Peoria to cheer on the right-hander. There were more people in the stands than in Edwards’ hometown.

“I believe there was,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

3/25 Good eyes

One of the perks of the Cubs’ new complex in Mesa is that there’s room for a Ping-Pong table, and there have been some competitive matches. One of the top players so far in camp is Darwin Barney, who has beaten Jake Arrieta four times and won two out of three best-of-five series against Anthony Rizzo.

“Riz and I both use it as a warm up for our eyes,” Barney said. “It’s very valuable for hand-eye coordination.”

It gets the competitive juices going, too.

– Carrie Muskat

3/22 Reds 8, Cubs 3

Roger Bernadina hit a three-run home run and a RBI single and Brandon Phillips added a solo homer in the ninth Saturday to lift the Reds to an 8-3 victory over the Cubs in front of a sellout crowd of 15,241, two shy of the Cactus League record. It was the third crowd over 15,000 at new Cubs Park, which opened this year. The Cubs set the Cactus League high 15,243, on Thursday against the Mariners, and have three home games remaining this spring.

Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo had three hits, including a RBI double in the third and a RBI single in the fifth.

Edwin Jackson, who will follow Jeff Samardzija in Chicago’s rotation when the season opens, gave up four runs on eight hits over five innings while striking out seven. Kristopher Negron singled and Brandon Phillips walked with one out in the Reds first, and one out later, they scored on Roger Bernadina’s third home run. Bernadina now has hit safely in 12 of his 18 games.

“It’s just a matter of location,” Jackson said. “Overall, you continue to battle to keep the team in the game. They definitely made me work today, which was good. I needed to get some work in. If you’re going to have a shaky start, I guess you’d rather have it in spring.”

Jackson found out Saturday where he would be slotted in the order. It didn’t matter, the right-hander said.

“One, two, three, four, five — we all have to have the demeanor that we’re the ace that day,” Jackson said. “When you have the ball, you have to be the best pitcher on the field. You can’t worry about where you are in the rotation. As long as you know you’re getting the ball every five days, you’re giving your team a chance to win, that’s the bigger picture.”

* Jason Hammel will make his third Cactus League start on Sunday when the Cubs travel to Phoenix to play the Athletics. The right-hander has stayed on track with a Minor League start in his last outing, throwing 75 pitches. Mike Olt is scheduled to make his second straight start at third base, the first time he will do so. Olt has been slowed this spring with soreness in his right shoulder. The game will be broadcast on WGN TV and on Cubs.com.

– Carrie Muskat

3/15 Cubs split

Anthony Rizzo hit two home runs, driving in three runs, but it wasn’t enough as the Cubs lost, 9-4, on Saturday to the Mets in Las Vegas in split-squad games for both teams. Rizzo did not have a home run prior to Saturday’s game, and is now batting .417.

“It doesn’t matter,” Rizzo said of the lack of homers earlier. “It’s nice to connect with one, and run around the bases, and feel what that feels like again. I’ve just been pleased the last week or so with the progression at the plate and my approach. It’s been a good progression and where I want to be at this time.”

In Surprise, Ariz., Brett Jackson hit a three-run home run and a two-run single in the ninth to lift the Cubs to a 6-5 win over the Royals. Marcos Mateo, recently returned from the Diamondbacks, picked up the win in relief.

* On Sunday, the Cubs will play split squad games, with Chris Rusin getting the start in Las Vegas against the Mets, and Travis Wood facing the Indians at Cubs Park in Mesa. Wood is set for the rotation, and will be slotted second, while Rusin is battling for a spot. In Rusin’s last outing, he held the Giants hitless over three innings. The Cubs-Indians game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Chicago commercial free, and also available on Cubs.com.

– Carrie Muskat

3/9 Cubs 10, Brewers 8

Justin Ruggiano drove in three runs, including two on his second spring homer, Junior Lake smacked a tie-breaking RBI and a sacrifice fly, Brett Jackson had a two-run pinch-hit single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI triple for the Cubs who rallied to beat the Brewers, 10-8, on Sunday. The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,770. The attendance topped the previous league mark of 14,680 set March 1 at new Cubs Park.

* Right fielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave the game after chasing Jeff Bianchi’s double because of soreness in his right knee. Sweeney was listed as day to day.

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings in his second Cactus League start.

“I’m much happier with this [start],” Hendricks said. “I’m just disappointed that we go out and score two runs and then I go out and give them both back up. That will all work itself out as I get out there more and am more consistent with my mechanics.”

Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd during his two at-bats. Hendricks struck Braun out to end the first, but the Brewers outfielder doubled in the third.

“He got me on the second at-bat, but that wasn’t a bad pitch,” Hendricks said. “His barrel stays through the zone very well. I could’ve thrown a different pitch to him — but it was a good pitch, and he’s a really good hitter. He’s going to get his hits.”

Did Hendricks hear the crowd?

“You could hear those boos,” Hendricks said. “All the Brewers fans were trying to cheer over them.”

* Jeff Samardzija will make his third spring start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants. Samardzija will likely pitch at least four innings. In his last outing against the Rockies, he gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. So far, he has not walked a batter, which is good. The right-hander is working on being more efficient with his pitches. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

– Carrie Muskat

3/9 Cubs lineup

The Cubs play host to the Brewers’ split squad on Sunday at Cubs Park in Mesa. Javier Baez is scheduled to start at shortstop and backup pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013. Anthony Rizzo, who is 6-for-13 this spring, will be at first. If you can’t be in Mesa, you can listen to a webcast on Cubs.com, and it’s free. Here’s the lineup:

Szczur LF
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Ruggiano DH
Sweeney RF
Baez SS
Lake CF
Kottaras C
Barney 2B

Hendricks P

3/8 Rizzo joins forces to fight cancer

Anthony Rizzo is wearing a new T-shirt this spring that he hopes will help cancer patients across the country.

The Cubs first baseman has joined forces with the Cardinals’ Jason Motte and his “Strike Out Cancer” movement. One player from each Major League team will promote the T-shirt — which will be in that team’s colors — and $5 will go to Motte’s foundation and $5 to the other player’s charity of choice. That will definitely benefit Rizzo’s foundation, which has already hosted two walk-a-thons in Florida and a celebrity “Cook-Off for Cancer” in Chicago.

“It’s nice that he reached out,” Rizzo said of Motte. “I saw the Cardinals wearing them last year and I liked it because of the cancer angle.”

Rizzo does have t-shirts promoting his foundation and has worn shirts given to him from cancer patients he has visited in hospitals. Rizzo is a cancer survivor himself, having been diagnosed with limited stage classic Hodgkins lymphoma in 2008.

“It’s really cool that [Motte] is doing this and hopefully one day, my foundation can be as big as that,” Rizzo said. “It helps mine, it just helps the cause. That’s really the nicest part that you can help out — it doesn’t matter if it’s my foundation or someone else’s. It’s just to help the cause.”

The Cubs version of the shirt was expected to be available for sale on http://www.108stitches.com later this month. Some Cubs fans apparently couldn’t wait for the blue shirt and have purchased the red one now on the site.

“I have had Cubs fans tweeting me, ‘Hey, man, I’m a Cubs fan, but my mother just got diagnosed with cancer and I’m showing my support for her,’” Motte told MLB.com.

– Carrie Muskat

3/4 Cubs 6, Athletics 4

* Justin Ruggiano and Anthony Rizzo combined for three runs, Albert Almora delivered a tie-breaking RBI single and Mike Olt smacked a two-run home run to lift the Cubs to a 6-3 victory Tuesday over the Athletics’ split-squad team. Ruggiano hit a RBI double in the first and a two-run homer in the third, driving in Rizzo both times, and Almora delivered a tie-breaking RBI single with one out in the eighth as the Cubs won for the second straight game.

Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 13-4 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, gave up one run on two hits and three walks over two innings in his first Cactus League start. The right-hander walked three batters in four of his 27 starts last season, and posted a 1.058 WHIP for the season.

* Last spring, Mike Olt struggled to bat .194. On Tuesday, he collected his first Cactus League home run in just his third at-bat and it wasn’t a relief as much as affirmation that everything is going well. Olt, hoping to find a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, belted a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth.

“I’ve been feeling good at the plate the last couple days and as long as I’m feeling comfortable, I think good things will come,” Olt said.

The infielder was dealing with vision problems last year, although it took him while to figure that out. He went 6-for-31 in 19 spring games last year with the Rangers, including two home runs. He was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he continued to struggle, batting .213. Texas included Olt as one of the four players in the deal to get Matt Garza from the Cubs. Tuesday’s home run was another step in Olt’s comeback.

“It’s really not me getting hits,” he said. “It’s about me seeing the ball well and that’s my main goal in Spring Training. Obviously, you want hits and you want to perform but the main goal in Spring Training is to get comfortable and it’s definitely a noticeable difference just the way I feel right now, and that’s what I’m happy about.”

* Cubs reliever James Russell has yet to appear in a game this spring. He said Tuesday it was because of his allergies but manager Rick Renteria said the lefty is going through a “dead arm” phase, which Russell has dealt with in the past. Russell is coming off his second straight season in which he appeared in 70-plus games. Renteria wasn’t worried about the lefty, who threw on the side Tuesday.

* Looking ahead, Jeff Samardzija starts on Wednesday against the Rockies and will be followed by Chris Rusin. Travis Wood will go Thursday, and James McDonald will make his first Cactus League start on Friday against the Angels in one of the Cubs’ split squad games. Edwin Jackson will get his second spring start in Mesa against the Indians. McDonald gave up six runs on three hits against the Angels in his first outing last Friday.

* Samardzija on the addition of Ted Lilly to the Cubs front office: “I wouldn’t have had the success I did my rookie year without Teddy.”

– Carrie Muskat

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