Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

Now leading off, #Cubs Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo joked with bench coach Davey Martinez that he’d like to lead off, so that’s where the Cubs first baseman will bat on Saturday against the Rockies.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Rizzo said. “They’ve been messing with the lineup a lot, so why not? I think it’ll be fun.”

Martinez had been scheduled to manage the Cubs in Mesa with Joe Maddon going on the road in the split squad game against the Reds, but they switched. Rizzo figures Maddon just wants to see how he does batting first.

“I think I’m your prototypical leadoff hitter,” Rizzo said. “I’m going to try to see some pitches, get on base. We don’t steal much on this team anyways.”

Don’t be surprised if he tries to steal.

Does he model himself after anyone?

“I’m going to try to do my best Dexter Fowler impression,” Rizzo said.

– Carrie Muskat

No home runs? No problem for #Cubs Rizzo

The Cubs rank second in the Majors this spring in home runs but Anthony Rizzo, who led the team last year with 32, has zero, and yet he feels really good at the plate.

“I feel great,” Rizzo said Monday. “It’s really weird. I hit some good balls but they haven’t found a hole.”

In 12 games prior to Tuesday’s contest against the Athletics, Rizzo was 4-for-31. Last spring, he batted .321 with two home runs in 53 at-bats.

“Overall, I feel like I’m having really good at-bats,” said Rizzo, who is working with his third hitting coach in as many years in John Mallee. “We’ve had a good relationship so far and it’s really easy to go in the cage every day.”

But no home runs? Matt Szczur, who hit one in 116 games at Triple-A Iowa last year, has taken advantage of the desert air and hit three this spring.

“I haven’t hit a homer in two years in Spring Training,” Rizzo said, apparently forgetting the pair he hit last year. “It’s just not in my cards. All I care about is I’m seeing the ball real well.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/11 Homer-happy Cubs

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3/11 Winning

The Cubs head into Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers still winless in Cactus League play. Does winning matter now?

“It is Spring Training, yes. Does it matter if we lost? No,” Anthony Rizzo said Wednesday. “We should be winning. It doesn’t matter how you win or lose, you want to win at the end of the day. Granted there’s a lot of moving factors but it’s the same all around. it’s still super early.”

However, the Cubs have committed seven errors in the last two games and it hasn’t been pretty.

“It’s something we need to clean up and come April 5, we need to play perfect baseball,” Rizzo said. “If we lose playing perfect baseball, OK. But if we lose being sloppy like we have in the past, that’s not OK. That’s why you say you need to do the little things every day as far as how we catch a fly ball, how we field a ground ball, how we make our throws, the footwork. All those little things pay off in the long run.”

New manager Joe Maddon has said he senses players might be trying to impress him.

“There’s a lot of hype as well,” Rizzo said. “It’s a couple weeks before we start worrying about that.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/4 Let the games begin

What will Joe Maddon do as the new Cubs manager? Fans will get their first look when Maddon and the Cubs open Cactus League play Thursday with split squad games, including a home contest at newly named Sloan Park against their new neighbors, the Athletics.

The Cubs also will play the Giants in Scottsdale on Thursday. Travis Wood and Jacob Turner, both vying for a spot in the rotation, will start against the A’s and Giants, respectively. Oakland moved into the Cubs’ former Spring Training Fitch Park complex in Mesa.

For Starlin Castro, Thursday means the first time he’ll be on the field since he sprained his left ankle Sept. 2, ending the 2014 season early.

“I’m ready,” Castro said. “I’m excited because I didn’t finish the season playing and I’ve had a long time that I didn’t play a game. I feel real excited for the first game.”

The Cubs’ lineups were not posted in the clubhouse but Maddon did say Anthony Rizzo would bat second against the Athletics. Rizzo has hit there in five games in his young career, Aug. 21-25, 2013. In his first game in that spot against the Nationals, he went 3-for-4 with two home runs. He followed that with an 0-for-6 game.

Don’t read much into the batting order this spring.

“Honestly, I just want to try guys in different slots, especially in split squad situation, it’s really different,” Maddon said. “You’ll see them in different spots the whole camp.”

Maddon said Dexter Fowler, Starlin Castro, Miguel Montero and Javier Baez would also play in Mesa.

* Thursday’s home opener also marks the beginning of a season of tributes to Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who passed away in January, one week shy of his 84th birthday. The Cubs will wear a commemorative No. 14 patch on both their home and away jerseys. On Thursday, the Cubs will wear hats with No. 14 on them to honor Mr. Cub for both split squad games.

– Carrie Muskat

2/25 Let’s be careful out there

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

2/19 Cubs upbeat for 2015

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

2/19 Cubs get go-ahead re: signage

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

1/17 Rizzo among early birds

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

1/27 Maddon, Rizzo on MLB Network

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

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