Results tagged ‘ Anthony Rizzo ’

11/21 Rizzo on Maddon: “It’s exciting news”

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

11/16 Rizzo addresses crowd

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Here’s Anthony Rizzo talking to the crowd at his third Walk Off for Cancer in Parkland, Fla.

(Photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)

11/16 Rizzo Walk Off for Cancer

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Here’s the crowd of participants taking part in Anthony Rizzo’s third Walk Off for Cancer, held Sunday in his hometown of Parkland, Fla. Rizzo has raised more than $100,000 each of the first two years of his walk. You can still donate at http://www.rizzo44.com

(photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)

11/13 Rizzo finishes 10th in NL MVP

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo finished 10th in the balloting for National League Most Valuable Player, determined by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won the MVP award, announced Thursday. Rizzo received one sixth-place vote, four seventh-place votes, two eighth-place votes, three ninth-place votes, and four 10th-place votes for a total of 37 points.

It’s the most points by a Cubs player in MVP balloting since Derrek Lee finished ninth in 2009, receiving 66 points. In 2012, Alfonso Soriano finished 20th (eight points) and Starlin Castro was 23rd in 2011 (one point).

Rizzo, 25, led the Cubs this season with a career-high 32 home runs and 78 RBIs, batting .286 in 140 games.

– Carrie Muskat

11/12 Help Rizzo “Walk Off for Cancer”

You can join Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Sunday at his third annual “Walk Off for Cancer” in Parkland, Fla. The event will take place at Pine Trails Park, and consists of a 5K walk, entertainment, refreshments, raffle prizes and guest appearances. The event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. ET, is family friendly. Registration is $30 per person until Saturday, and limited to 1,000 people. The event has raised more than $100,000 each of its first two years.

Can’t make it? You can still participate by making a donation at http://www.rizzo44.com

– Carrie Muskat

9/30 Theo: Goal in ’15 is to win division

The emphasis in the first three seasons under Theo Epstein has been to restock the Minor League system and build a foundation of impact players. In 2015, Epstein feels the Cubs will take a major step and not just develop players, but be competitive.

“I think we’ve proved we can be very competitive in this division and when you have a chance to compete, you should set your sights high and that means our goal is the [National League] Central title next year,” Epstein said Tuesday.

Here are some highlights from a 40-minute media session at Wrigley Field:

* The Cubs will be looking for impact talent via free agency but Epstein cautioned that any deal has to make sense and they will not “sell out just for 2015.” Among the needs are another starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever, and outfield help. The next 15 months will be key in terms of player acquisitions, he said. That time frame includes this coming offseason, the next Trade Deadline, and next offseason.

* They are aware that some of the young talent still needs time, such as Javier Baez, who batted .169 with 95 strikeouts in 52 games after he was called up Aug. 5. Baez is expected to be the Cubs’ Opening Day second baseman, Epstein said. He’s a perfect example of the theme Epstein projected for 2015.

“We’re being open about the fact that we’re here to compete and our goal is to win the [division] title, but at the same time we’re not going to bail on our young players, we’re not going to abandon our vision,” he said. “We just have to make the tough decisions and strike that balance the right way.”

* Epstein admitted Renteria had some limitations with the roster, such as relievers who were restricted because of past injuries and youngsters without much experience. But the manager did fulfill many of the criteria laid out for him, such as developing a positive attitude, setting a good tone for the players and getting them to play hard.

“He established an environment where our young players could continue to grow and feel support, and where they could learn how to be big leaguers, and where they could learn how to win,” Epstein said.

* Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm will stay in the bullpen for 2015, and not be considered for the rotation.

* The Cubs have not made as much improvement in terms of on-base percentage as Epstein would like.

“Frankly, it’s one of the areas where we haven’t had a lot of success,” he said.

* Epstein’s feelings on the Cardinals? He says: “How do you balance admiration and contempt? I’m a Cub, so I have to hate the Cardinals, but I also admire the way they run their baseball shop. They’re really consistent, they make good decisions, all the way back to George Kissell. They teach the game the right way, they stay true to the vision of how to play Cardinal baseball. In some respects, and I hate to say this on the record, but we have to do a lot of things that they do to be successful. On the other hand, I think we’re building something that has a chance to go toe to toe with them and surpass them. I think we have a chance to win this division and win it on a consistent basis, and we’re going to need to beat them to win the World Series.”

He feels the NL Central is becoming a powerhouse. When Epstein first joined the Cubs in October 2011, he thought the NL Central would be a little easier than the AL East.

“I was dead wrong,” Epstein said. “If you look forward over the next five years, or so, I think this has a chance to be the most competitive and best division in baseball. When you have the talent to compete you should set your sights high.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/30 The Year in Quotes

CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney compiled a “Year in Cubs Quotes,” which summed up some of the highs and lows of the 2014 season. Here are excerpts:

* “It’s as peaceful as I’ve ever been as a person.” — Rick Renteria, the 53rd manager in franchise history, at the opening of spring training, Feb. 13.

* “You guys are going to crown them the next Babe Ruth.” — first baseman Anthony Rizzo, responding to reporters asking about all the prospects, Feb. 18.

* “Just be myself. Be me. My mind’s clean and ready to play hard.” — shortstop Starlin Castro, promising to return to an All-Star level, Feb. 19.

* “It sucks for the person who parked there. They’re parking too close to the field.” — mega-prospect Javier Baez, after shattering a car window with a batting-practice bomb at Cubs Park, Feb. 21.

* “(Baez) doesn’t care. He’s like: ‘Oh, cool.’ Not cool for whoever’s car it was, I guess.” — eyewitness Logan Watkins, Feb. 21.

* “Losing sucks.” — Theo Epstein, after a reporter asked if winning is “overemphasized” in professional sports, April 22.

* “I was pretty hungry for that one.” — Jeff Samardzija, after allowing one unearned run in nine innings and throwing 126 pitches during a 12-inning loss to the White Sox, May 5.

* “I do believe in second chances. I do believe in redemption. I do believe that Manny has turned his life around for the better in the last couple of years.” — Epstein, stunning the baseball world by signing Manny Ramirez to a minor-league deal as a player/coach for Triple-A Iowa, May 25.

* “I got some goose bumps there. That’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that.” — Jake Arrieta, after being four outs away from a no-hitter against the Red Sox and getting a standing ovation at Fenway Park, June 30.

* “We shared a beer and a cigarette and sent him on his way. It’s just tough to see your boys leave.” — James Russell’s farewell to Samardzija, July 5.

* “We certainly hope that this is the last year that we’ll be obvious sellers at the trade deadline.” — Epstein, July 5.

* “I got beer. I got chocolate milk. I got hair gel. I got shampoo. I got body wash. And then I got some more beer. It was great. Best shower I’ve ever taken.” — catcher John Baker, after pitching the 16th inning and scoring the game-winning run to beat the Rockies in the longest game in franchise history, July 29-30.

* “I was like: ‘Are you serious?’ And then I realized I was really going to the big leagues. I got really excited. I called my mom, told my brother and everybody started jumping around and crying.” — Javier Baez, before debuting at Coors Field and hitting the game-winning homer against the Rockies, Aug. 5.

* “The best thing to happen to the whole city of Chicago this summer — certainly from a baseball standpoint — was put together by 13-, 12-year-old kids from the South Side. At industry meetings, in lots of front offices around the game, people talk about (it). People ask the question: How can we get young kids playing baseball again, especially in cities, especially in the inner-city? There’s nothing that a bunch of suits in a boardroom can do that would be as powerful as what those 12-year-old kids did to demonstrate how compelling the game of baseball can be, make baseball cool again for young kids.” — Epstein, on the Jackie Robinson West team that won a national title at the Little League World Series, Aug. 27.

* “We’re just waiting for Bryant now.” — Baez, after Jorge Soler hit two homers to beat the Cardinals in St. Louis, Aug. 29.

* “To be the NL Central champs … that’s the message we’re going to send.” — Rizzo’s expectations for next year’s team, Sept. 28.

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.

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