Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

9/28 Rizzo: We want to win the division

The Cubs closed the 2014 season with a win and lots of momentum, and Anthony Rizzo made it clear what the goal is for next year.

“To be the [National League] Central champs,” Rizzo said after hitting a two-run homer in the Cubs’ season finale, a 5-2 win over the Brewers. “[We want] to win the division, and obviously, that’s the playoffs and we want to go deep.

“It takes a lot of work and we have a very tough division and teams aren’t going anywhere in it, it’s only getting better,” Rizzo said. “That’s our expectation, that’s the message we want to send.”

The Cubs finished fifth for the fifth straight season, but the future looks bright with players like Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks in the mix.

“All those guys know we want to step it up, and we need to go into Spring Training prepared to be a better club with the expectations of us improving and making ourselves hopefully a topic of conversation throughout the season,” manager Rick Renteria said.

– Carrie Muskat

9/28 Cubs 5, Brewers 2

Anthony Rizzo hit his 32nd home run, a two-run blast in the first, and scored on Arismendy Alcantara’s tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth to lift the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers in the season finale Sunday in front of 33,837 at Miller Park.

Under new manager Rick Renteria, the Cubs finished 73-89, and below .500 for the fifth straight season, but they did top last year’s 66-win total and head into 2015 encouraged by the play of some of the top prospects, including Alcantara and Jorge Soler. It’s the first time the Cubs have won 73 games since a 75-87 season in 2010.

The Brewers, on the other hand, have to be wondering what happened after leading the division for 150 days and not making the playoffs.

Jacob Turner picked up the win, starting in place of Kyle Hendricks, who was scratched after the Cubs decided the rookie right-hander had reached his innings limit. Turner improved to 3-1 in six career games (five starts) against the Brewers, which included a win at Wrigley Field on Sept. 1.

Chris Coghlan walked to lead off the game against Brewers starter Mike Fiers, stole second and one out later, tallied on Rizzo’s 32nd home run. Rizzo is the first Cubs left-handed batter to hit 32 homers in a single season since Rick Monday did so in 1976.

– Carrie Muskat

9/23 Good guy

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Anthony Rizzo stopped by the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Tuesday to visit the in-patient and out-patient pediatric oncology floors. He met with some of the patients and their families.

9/18 Rizzo named Branch Rickey winner

Anthony Rizzo has been named the winner of the 2014 Branch Rickey Award. He is the youngest to receive the award. The announcement was made in Denver Thursday.

Rizzo, 25, will be inducted as the 23rd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame on Nov. 14 at the McNichols Civic Center in Denver. Two days later, on Nov. 16 in Parkland, Fla., Rizzo and his foundation will host his third “Walk-Off for Cancer” 5K walk.

Created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people. Each year, MLB teams are asked to nominate one team member for the award.

Rizzo was chosen by a national selection committee comprised of 400 members of the sports media, baseball executives, past award winners and Rotary district governors. Fans also were given a chance to vote online, and more than 30,000 votes were received. Rizzo won the fan voting by an impressive margin.

Rizzo has overcome Hodgkins Lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with while a Minor League with the Red Sox in 2008. His foundation’s goal is to help families affected by cancer. Besides his fund-raising walk in his hometown, Rizzo has hosted two “Cook-offs for Cancer” in Chicago. So far, he’s raised more than $500,000. The first baseman also is a regular visitor to pediatric cancer patients in Chicago and Hollywood, Fla.

Rickey was known to many as “Mr. Baseball” and is credited with breaking the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1945 when he signed Jackie Robinson.

Previous recipients of this award include Dave Winfield, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Paul Molitor, Torii Hnter, Tommy Lasorda, Roland Hemond, and Clayton Kershaw.

– Carrie Muskat

9/17 Cubs lineup

Kyle Hendricks makes the start Wednesday as the Cubs go for a sweep of their three-game series against the Reds. Anthony Rizzo is back, too. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Rizzo 1B
Soler RF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Valaika 2B
Kalish CF
Hendricks P

9/16 Extra bases

* Anthony Rizzo did not start Tuesday as part of the Cubs’ plan to ease him back into games while Arismendy Alcantara was sidelined with a sore right wrist injured when he crashed into the outfield wall Monday night. Alcantara’s status was day to day.

Rizzo, who had been sidelined since Aug. 26 because of a low back strain, made his first start in 18 games on Monday night
and hit a walk-off home run in the ninth. The Cubs had considered having Rizzo only play seven innings Monday since it was his first game action in 18 games, but went ahead and had him stay for nine. It worked.

“I would say I plan on giving him every other day [off] and will increase his playing time to two days in a row, maybe three,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “I have to let it play itself out first.”

* Alcantara had an MRI on his right wrist and was wearing a brace on Tuesday. He slammed into the brick wall in right center catching Kristopher Negron’s ball in the eighth inning. The Reds had a runner on and two out, and there was no score in the game.

“Somebody was saying somebody forgot to tell him there’s a brick wall behind the ivy,” Renteria said of Alcantara. “That’s a game-saving play. He gave tremendous effort, [ran a] great line, very smooth, explosive action and got to it and was able to make the catch.”

It was an exceptional play for Alcantara who has primarily played in the infield.

“His immersion into center field was a pretty easy transition, in terms of chasing balls down, reading balls off the bat,” Renteria said. “He’s continued to learn where to throw the ball, how aggressive to be with certain plays. He’s continued to improve. That’s a testament to him because he’s taken on a lot.”

* Edwin Jackson, sidelined with a strained right lat, will make his first start since Aug. 20 on Friday when the Cubs play host to the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Jackson threw an extended side session as a tune-up. Rookie Eric Jokisch will be available to piggyback because Jackson was not expected to go deep in the game.

– Carrie Muskat

9/16 Cubs lineup

Anthony Rizzo, who came back after an 18-game break because of low back problems, was not in the lineup Tuesday night for the Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series against the Reds. According to the Cubs, this was a planned off day to ease him back into games. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan LF
Baez SS
Valbuena 3B
Soler RF
Castillo C
Valaika 1B
Watkins 2B
Szczur CF
Arrieta P

Rizzo and manager Rick Renteria did caution that they would take it easy with the first baseman, who played for the first time since Aug. 26 on Monday. Rizzo delivered a walk-off home run in the ninth in the 1-0 win over the Reds.

9/16 Rizzo is Clemente nominee

Anthony Rizzo was named the Cubs’ nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet. Major League Baseball made the announcement Tuesday. The Cubs first baseman is one of the 30 club finalists for the annual award, which recognizes a MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

Wednesday marks the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB to honor Clemente’s legacy and to officially recognize local club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. The 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Rizzo started the nonprofit Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to raise money for cancer research and provide support to children and their families battling the disease. As a cancer survivor, Rizzo understands the impact cancer has on the entire family. Through fundraising for research and providing support for pediatric cancer patients and their families, the foundation aims to help give every family a fighting chance against cancer.

Since its inception, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation has hosted a Walk-Off For Cancer held in the offseason in his hometown of Parkland, Fla., and the Cook-Off For Cancer in Chicago, which raised close to $140,000 this year. Mark your calendars: the next 5K walk is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Together, these events have raised more than $500,000 for cancer research since 2012. Currently, the organizations selected as beneficiaries of this fundraising include Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Family Reach Foundation, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and The Lymphoma Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System.

In addition to these fundraising efforts, Rizzo makes monthly visits to Lurie Children’s Hospital. He has built strong relationships with several patients who have come out to games to cheer on their favorite player.

In recognition of his achievements both on and off the field, Rizzo has received many awards and nominations this year, including his first time being selected as an MLB All-Star after winning the 2014 All-Star Final Vote, chosen by fans.

Rizzo will be recognized for his nomination before Wednesday’s game against the Reds at Wrigley Field. He will be presented with a $7,500 grant to the charity of his choice, Cubs Charities, as a result of his nomination for this award.

9/16 Walk-off facts

How rare is a walk-off home run being the only run of a game? According to baseball historian Ed Hartig, the last time the Cubs won on a walk-off home run that accounted for the only scoring in the game was June 16, 1995, when Howard Johnson hit a two-run home run off Rudy Seanez of the Dodgers in the ninth for a 2-0 win at Wrigley Field. The last time the Cubs did it in a 1-0 win was June 8, 1971, when Joe Pepitone connected off the Pirates’ Mudcat Grant in the 12th inning at Wrigley.

In case you missed it, Anthony Rizzo smacked a walk-off home run leading off the ninth Monday for a 1-0 win over the Reds.

9/15 Cubs 1, Reds 0

Anthony Rizzo showed why the Cubs missed him for the last 18 games. Playing his first game since Aug. 26, Rizzo hit a walk-off home run leading off the ninth inning to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over the Reds on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Rizzo belted a 1-0 pitch from Pedro Villarreal to straightaway center for his 31st home run. Rizzo hit his 30th on Aug. 26 in Cincinnati, and then had to leave the game because of tightness in his lower back.

“First pitch, I was taking all the way, just to see his arm,” Rizzo said of his at-bat in the ninth. “The second pitch, I just let loose, and fortunately, put a a good swing on it.”

When Rizzo was running away from the celebration at home plate, he grabbed his back. Don’t worry, Cubs fans. He was joking.

“I did it on purpose, just messing around with the guys,” Rizzo said. “I definitely thought about [his back] the whole game. To get through the game tonight was nice. The next couple days, we’ll completely forget about it.”

The Reds won’t forget this one.

“It was a mistake that Rizzo took advantage of,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “[Rizzo] looked a little rusty the first couple of at-bats, then he had the infield hit, and certainly is always a dangerous hitter. But it’s typically going to be a simple mistake or someone taking advantage of something in a [0-0] game like that’s going to be the deciding factor.”

Rizzo did not have a chance to rehab anywhere, so Monday’s game was his first live action in nearly three weeks. Alfredo Simon struck him out in his first two at-bats in the first and third, and Rizzo reached on an infield single in the sixth.

“[Simon] has got a good split, I know that, and he exposed me there,” Rizzo said. “He pitched well, pitched a great game. That little infield single turned everything around.”

It was Rizzo’s third walk-off hit this season. He also beat the Marlins with a walk-off homer on June 6, and delivered a game-winning RBI single in the 12th on Aug. 10 against Tampa Bay.

“The game’s over, one swing of the bat,” Rizzo said. “It’s a good feeling. The biggest thing is the win. To win in that fashion is always fun.”

– Carrie Muskat

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