Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’
The Cubs didn’t need to wrap Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro in bubble wrap Wednesday, the first day Cubs batters faced live pitching. One can’t blame Chicago sports fans for being a little nervous after injuries to Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.
“I’m going to be tip-toeing today,” Rizzo jokingly said before Wednesday’s workout. “[The injuries are] unfortunate, especially because their season is coming down to the stretch. I’m pretty sure they have enough depth to hold on.”
Rizzo isn’t going to alter his approach.
“I play the game the same whether I’m on a Little League field and there are 20 people or millions of people watching,” Rizzo said. “It’s the same game. You just have to stay in the moment and that’s all we need to do.”
And he’s not worried about being hurt.
“You can’t play scared and you can’t be scared to go out,” Rizzo said. “If you think about getting hurt, you’ll get hurt. If you just play fearless and relentlessly, usually good things happen. Injuries are unfortunate and a lot of people make good careers, Hall of Fame careers, from someone else getting hurt. It’s obviously not a good thing but injuries are going to happen no matter what sport you’re in.”
– Carrie Muskat
In January, Anthony Rizzo predicted the Cubs would win the National League Central. He’s heard from his Cubs teammates since his statement.
“They were all wondering if I was going to say — ‘What are we going to finish, in fourth place?'” Rizzo said Thursday. “Everyone’s really excited and it’s good. We’re coming in here and we’re preparing to win and the biggest thing is to get everyone pulling for each other, become one unit, one team.
“We all have to pull for each other, from the first man to the 25th man,” he said. “Everyone will be able to be a hero every single day on our team. When someone is in that position to succeed, we all have to be pulling for him.”
Rizzo was one of the early bird arrivals. Thursday was report date for pitchers and catchers; position players don’t have to be in Arizona until Tuesday.
“From the convention to the first few days here, yes, everyone’s more upbeat,” Rizzo said. “Then again, it’s the first few days of Spring Training and everyone all across the league is upbeat. The expectations are set at a higher bar this year and we’re all excited for it.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs got the go-ahead from a federal judge Thursday to erect the video scoreboards at Wrigley Field. First baseman Anthony Rizzo says he can’t wait for the renovations at the 100-year-old ballpark to be completed.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled Thursday in Chicago that the Cubs can continue with plans to install advertising signs at Wrigley Field that could block views from nearby rooftop businesses, and rejected the rooftops’ emergency request for a temporary restraining order. Rooftop owners had argued the video scoreboards will cause “irreparable” harm if installed.
Rizzo, one of the early bird position players in Cubs camp, said he’s eager to see the improvements that are part of the renovation plan.
“That’s exciting stuff,” Rizzo said Thursday. “This will be new stuff, the new generation, the new things to come, hopefully, will start now. The renovations with Wrigley will only help us players and make the fan experience a lot better. With the tradition of the ballpark still there and the new stuff they’re adding, I think it’s great.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo was working out Tuesday at the Cubs facility in Mesa, Ariz., joining the large number of early arrivals in camp. Pitchers and catchers report on Thursday with the first workout Friday. Position players do not have to be in Mesa until Feb. 24. Pitching coach Chris Bosio isn’t wasting time, and on Tuesday, he had pitchers Tsuyoshi Wada, Zac Rosscup and Brian Schlitter throwing side sessions. Among the other pitchers in camp were Travis Wood, Jason Motte, Jason Hammel, Edwin Jackson and Blake Parker.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs manager Joe Maddon and first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be featured in “The Offseason: Hope in Chicago and Miami,” the third installment of MLB Network Presents on Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT.
The Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton also will be featured. Hosted by Bob Costas, the show offers exclusive profiles of three of the most talked-about names in Major League Baseball today as they face enormous expectations in the upcoming 2015 season.
The program begins with a behind-the-scenes look at Stanton’s daily life this offseason, following the signing of his record-setting $325 million contract with the Marlins in November 2014. Joined by MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, Stanton speaks in-depth about the traumatic injury that brought an early end to his 2014 season, and looks ahead to getting back on the field in 2015. Stanton also brings the cameras inside his rigorous workout routine as he goes through hitting drills and practice sessions in Southern California.
The episode continues with a trip to Chicago as Maddon brings MLB Network’s Tom Verducci inside his new life as the Cubs’ skipper at the annual Cubs Convention. Filmed last week in between interviews, autograph appearances, meetings and a coaches Q&A panel, Maddon discusses his decision-making process to leave the Rays and join the Cubs, and his methodology on managing. Maddon also addresses the heightened expectations in Chicago, including Rizzo’s recent comments about how the Cubs will win the NL Central division this season. Maddon’s response? “I totally agree with him that we can win the Central this year. No question in my mind.”
The hour-long show concludes with a look at the journey Rizzo has taken from battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2008 to becoming a first-time All-Star with the Cubs last season. Sitting down with MLB Network’s Lauren Shehadi at his home in Florida, Rizzo discusses the initial shock of being diagnosed with cancer and how he was able to persevere with the help of his family and the baseball community. Also included are interviews with Rizzo’s parents, John and Laurie, as well as Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who discusses Rizzo’s character and the relationship he has with the first baseman, which began when Epstein, then-GM of the Boston Red Sox, drafted Rizzo in the sixth round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Cubs pitcher and cancer survivor Jon Lester and Rizzo also detail the bond they share, beginning with their first-ever conversation at Fenway Park shortly after Rizzo’s cancer diagnosis, and continuing up to today, when they became teammates after Lester signed with the Cubs as a free agent in December.
MLB Network Presents is a series of documentaries and access-driven profiles on some of baseball’s most prominent personalities that will air on Tuesdays throughout the offseason on MLB Network.
– Carrie Muskat
Just in case you missed it, some current Cubs, future Cubs and past Cubs shared their feelings about Ernie Banks on Twitter:
* Anthony Rizzo:
“Mr Cub. What you have done for the game of baseball the city of Chicago and everyone you have touched will never be forgotten. RIP”
* Kris Bryant:
“RIP Mr. Cub. What he accomplished on and off the field is truly amazing. I’m honored ot wear the same uniform as him. #LetsPlayTwo”
* Joe Maddon:
“Never met Ernie, but heavily feel the loss … uniquely lived life … will always wish I had … my sympathies to the Banks family”
* Justin Grimm:
“R.I.P. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks! It was a pleasure to shake the hand of a Hall of Famer and a wonderful man to have around the clubhouse!”
* Darnell McDonald:
“Mr. Cub had the ability to instantly make you feel like a lifelong friend when you met. HOF person. #ThankYou #Salute”
* John Baker:
“Talk about star struck, try walking by [Banks’] statue on your way to work, then shaking the hand of the man. #MrCub”
* Sammy Sosa
“I wanted to express my sincere condolences to the family and fans of #mrcub, the legendary, #ErnieBanks. He was the first African-American to play for the Chicago Cubs paving the way for many future baseball players like myself. Rest in peace. #chicagocubs”
Here’s a photo of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hosted his first “Laugh-Off for Cancer” last Thursday in Chicago. The event raised more than $130,000 for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, and will be used to help children and their families battling cancer. Rizzo, who has hosted three 5K walks in his hometown in Florida and two “cook offs” in Chicago to raise money for his foundation, said the comedy night was the best event. Players such as Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Jake Arrieta and Ryan Dempster took part in the event. Thanks to everyone who contributed and participated. It was all for a good cause.
(Photo by Mark Kosterman)
With plenty of eyes on the Cubs as they kick off their winter convention Friday, Theo Epstein spoke on MLB Network Radio about the remaining plans for the offseason and the 2015 season outlook. Epstein, on “The Leadoff Spot” with Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth, said that despite the big-name starting pitching free agents still on the market, the Cubs are content with their current rotation.
“We feel pretty good about the rotation as it stands, and especially good about the depth,” Epstein said. “We like our sixth, seventh, eighth starters this year better than we have in a long time.”
With newly signed ace Jon Lester at the top of the rotation, the Cubs also have incumbents Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood joining free agent acquisition Jason Hammel.
In other hot stove news, Epstein said the Cubs have kicked the tires on a few deals involving their bounty of catchers, but nothing has come to fruition.
“It might be a situation if we don’t find a match that we like and we’re not overwhelmed, we might just go into Spring Training because a quick way to derail a potentially good team is if you have an injury to one of your catchers and most teams, most organizations aren’t deep enough to call up a Minor League free agent or someone from Triple-A and it can really create a bit of a black hole in your lineup,” Epstein said.
That may leave the club largely as-is, and it’s a team the organization is excited about. First baseman Anthony Rizzo said Thursday he expects the club to win the National League Central, and Epstein didn’t have a problem with that statement.
“I think enthusiasm is great, especially with our players,” Epstein said. “I want our players thinking that way and having a little bit of swagger.”
– Joey Nowak, MLB.com
Anthony Rizzo sent a message to the rest of the National League Central: The Cubs intend to win the division.
“It’s going to happen this year,” Rizzo said Thursday during a Cubs Caravan stop at an elementary school. “[Get to the playoffs] is what we’re going to do. We’re going to play, we’re going to win the NL Central. You guys will quote me on that. We should be the team — with all due respect to every other team, they’re just as good talent wise — but we’re going to do some things this year and that’s what we’re expecting, that’s what we’re going to put our sights on and we’re not going to accept anything less.”
Flashback to Sept. 28 when the Cubs wrapped up the regular season at 73-89 with a win over the Brewers, and Rizzo said the same thing. But he sounded more convinced Thursday now that Joe Maddon is the manager and Jon Lester is in the rotation.
“[The] 2014 [season] is over with, and 2013 is over with, and 2012. This is it,” Rizzo said. “I was saying this to my family that when everything was going down getting Lester and Maddon and signing those guys, that for the rest of my career, I should be on a contending team now. That’s exciting. The expectations now are set this year and every year on out.”
Rizzo’s prediction didn’t surprise teammate Jake Arrieta.
“I don’t think it’s out of reach at all,” Arrieta said about getting to the playoffs. “I expect the guys on our ballclub to have that same sort of mindset, especially starting with a clean slate, a fresh season, a lot of new faces. Optimism is a good thing to have. I think everybody’s excited and ready to get started.”
Rizzo said the fact that Maddon has battled in the tough American League East will help the Cubs. Plus, the players can learn from Lester’s and catcher David Ross’s postseason experience. The Cubs should head into 2015 better prepared.
“I’ve never been [to the World Series], Starlin [Castro] has never been there,” Rizzo said. “[Lester and Ross] are going to help us with everything. That’s what’s great with how our roster is shaping up is we’ll have a lot of knowledge, a lot of youth, and a lot of talent.”
Rizzo’s prediction is tame compared to the movie, “Back to the Future 2,” which predicted the Cubs will win World Series this year.
“They’re smart,” Rizzo said. “‘Back to the Future’ said we’re going to win in 2015. We’re going to be a fun team and I’m going to say it now, our goal is to make the playoffs, and once you make the playoffs, the ultimate goal is the World Series. That’s our goal every single year.”
Said Arrieta: “We’ll do our best to make sure that happens.”
– Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo made a point of reaching out to Rick Renteria shortly after he was dismissed as the Cubs manager, but also has talked with new skipper Joe Maddon and can’t wait to start working with him. Rizzo, who was in Chicago Friday to promote his first “Laugh Off for Cancer” event Jan. 15, said the addition of Maddon was “exciting news.”
“It’s obviously tough losing Rick but it’s business,” Rizzo said. “With Joe, I can’t wait to start working with him. Speaking with him, everything is so on point with how I view the game of baseball as well.”
What did Maddon say that clicked?
“Seriously, everything,” Rizzo said. “The whole philosophy of not over-working, not doing too much, and getting your work done in a professional manner is something I preach. You’ve got to stay fresh in this game. That’s what I believe in.
“The family style that I feel like he’s going to bring will be unbelievable,” Rizzo said. “I don’t want to say too much because I want to get to know him more. I’m real excited from people I’ve talked to and have seen from afar.”
Rizzo hasn’t done any recruiting of free agents, including Jon Lester, who visited Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
“The best sales pitch I can give is that we’re an exciting team and this is Chicago,” Rizzo said.
The first baseman said the Cubs do have a good foundation of “impact players” and added that bringing in outside talent can’t hurt.
“If we bring the team back that we had last year, I’m confident we can win a lot more baseball games than we did last year,” he said.
The Cubs front office has said it wants to add some veteran players to the mix and Rizzo agreed that would help.
“I think it’s needed just to show some guys the ropes more, including myself — [guys] who have been there and done it,” Rizzo said. “We have a very talented group of players who we’re going to put on the field next year — there’s no doubt about it. Now it’s just about grooming all of us to be champions and winners and bringing in guys who have won before and have done it before can never hurt.”
Renteria had hoped to be at the helm this coming season but was dismissed in late October to make room for Maddon, who opted out of his contract with the Rays and became a free agent.
“It’s tough [for Renteria] but it’s also tough when a guy gets traded or released because of financial purposes or a guy gets sent down because he has an option and doesn’t deserve to be sent down,” Rizzo said. “It’s all part of the business. No one likes to see it happen. I called and just reached out and thanked [Renteria] for everything.”
And Renteria responded as Rizzo expected him to.
“Rick’s a great, positive person, and that’s what made him a good manager,” Rizzo said. “He always had our back, and he’ll still have our back watching from afar.”
– Carrie Muskat