Results tagged ‘ Aramis Ramirez ’

9/21 No Ramirez in Cubs lineup

Has Aramis Ramirez played his last game as a Cub at Wrigley Field? He will not start Wednesday’s home finale against the Brewers. Ramirez came out of Tuesday’s game with a mild strain of his right quad and was listed as day to day. DJ LeMahieu will start at third. Although Ramirez said his agent had not spoken to anyone on the Cubs about next season, there were reports that Paul Kinzer will chat with Cubs interim GM Randy Bush on Thursday. The Cubs have a $16 million option for 2012. They have until five days after the World Series ends to pick it up.

Here’s the lineup for Wednesday:

Castro SS

LeMahieu 3B

Johnson RF

Baker 2B

Soto C

Byrd CF

Soriano LF

LaHair 1B

Garza P

— Carrie Muskat

9/20 Ramy: “I don’t know what’s going to happen”

Aramis Ramirez may have played his last home game in a Cubs uniform on Tuesday. The third baseman may test the free agent market after this season if the Cubs don’t pick up his $16 million option or offers him a multi-year deal. Whether he’ll play again in the final seven games is yet to be determined, too. He had to leave Tuesday’s game with a strained right quad, aggravated when he ran to first in the sixth inning against the Brewers. His status health-wise is day to day.

His status with the Cubs is the same. Was Tuesday his last home game with the team?

“Probably. There’s a good chance,” Ramirez said after the Cubs’ 5-1 loss to the Brewers. “I’m a free agent and right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It looks like I’m going to hit the market.”

He’d be the top third baseman available. Ramirez was batting .306 with 25 homers and 92 RBIs. He’s been with the Cubs since July 2003 when acquired from the Pirates. He wants to stay in Chicago.

“I’ve been saying that all along and it’s no secret to anybody,” Ramirez said. “It doesn’t look that way right now. We haven’t heard anything from the front office.”

That’s most likely because the Cubs’ general manager’s position is vacant following the dismissal last month of Jim Hendry. Ramirez said his agent, Paul Kinzer, was in Chicago but that he has not reached out to the Cubs front office.

“We don’t have a GM so I don’t know who to talk to,” Ramirez said.

Retirement doesn’t appear to be a consideration for the 33-year-old infielder.

“I think I can play three, four more years,” he said. “It’s just a matter of being in the right situation and we’ll see what happens.”

Wednesday is the Cubs final home game of the season.

“It’s going to be different,” Ramirez said. “It’s going to be the first time that I don’t know if I’m coming back. All the other times, I knew. I had my place here, I knew I’d have my locker here, the same locker at Wrigley field. Next year, I don’t know. It’s going to be different.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/18 Extra bases

* Mike Quade wants to see how Ryan Dempster fares Sunday and also how Casey Coleman pitches Monday before deciding the rotation for the upcoming road trip to St. Louis. The Cubs want to give Dempster enough starts in the final games so he can get to 200 innings.

* It’s been a long time since the Cubs have had any speed in the lineup and they are taking advantage of Tony Campana’s quickness. Campana has 22 steals, the most by a Cubs player since Ryan Theriot swiped 22 in 2008. He’s been thrown out once this season, and his 95.7 percent success rate is tops in the Major Leagues. Texas’ Ian Kinsler is second, having gone 25-for-27 in stolen bases.

As much as the Cubs like to see Campana run, Quade was happy that the outfielder has been more patient. He has a walk and a stolen base in each of the last two games. Obviously, being more patient at the plate will help the speedy outfielder get on base more.

“People are finding out and trying to make adjustments to him very quickly,” Quade said. “Every time we show up in a new city and he’s in the game or comes in late, I see shallower defenses or shallower outfielders.

“He’s not going to surprise anybody, that’s for sure,” Quade said. “You have to make a decision when he does get on or you use him late in the game how much you’re going to allow his speed to affect the quality of stuff you’re bringing to the plate. If you’re somebody like Enerio Del Rosario, who is normally that quick to the plate, OK, take your shot.”

* Aramis Ramirez was batting .308, which is 67 points higher than his .241 average last year. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 67-point improvement is second-best for any player with 500 or more plate appearances each of the last two seasons. The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp beat Ramirez for the top spot by one point. He’s batting .317 this season after hitting .249 last year.

* Here are the pitching matchups for the upcoming series vs. the Brewers:

Monday: Chris Narveson (10-7, 4.40) vs. Casey Coleman (2-8, 7.06)

Tuesday: Shaun Marcum (12-7, 3.40) vs. Randy Wells (7-4, 4.93)

Wednesday: Randy Wolf (13-9, 3.45) vs. Matt Garza (8-10, 3.51)

— Carrie Muskat

9/17 Q on lineup: “I’m mixing and matching”

Marlon Byrd got Saturday off and Mike Quade said he’s “99 percent sure” he’ll give Aramis Ramirez Sunday off. But Quade is keeping the veterans in the lineup as the season winds down.

“I’m mixing and matching,” Quade said Saturday. “They deserve an opportunity — they don’t deserve to be shelved. I don’t think we’ll be successful in a lot of areas if I shelve all thoseguys.”

DJ LeMahieu will likely start at third if Ramirez sits. Carlos Pena is getting at-bats as he aims for 30 homers. He’s reached that figure in three of the last four years, missing last season with the Rays when he hit 28.

“You got a guy driving toward 30 home runs who has been a huge part of this ballclub both on the field and off the field — we need him in the lineup to win ballgames and he’s been a big part of that this year,” Quade said of Pena.

The first baseman is hitting .278 with 14 doubles, two triples and eight homers i his last 39 games since Aug. 3.

Said Pena: “It’s kind of cool that he’s looking out for me. I respect that — that’s awesome.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/7 Pena power, Demp, Castro & Ramy

Carlos Pena’s three-run homer in the eighth Wednesday was his ninth first-pitch home run of the season, good for second most in the Major Leagues behind teammate Aramis Ramirez, who has 12. It was Pena’s seventh home run off a lefty this year, and 26th of the season, and gave the Cubs a 6-3 win over the Reds. The ball soared over the right field bleachers onto Sheffield Avenue.

“I would’ve liked to have seen that with no wind let alone the wind blowing out,” Ryan Dempster said. “That’s a big win for us.”

The Reds brought in lefty Bill Bray to face Pena.

“We had the match-up we wanted,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Billy has been great on lefties all year, hitting [.188] off him. Pena is hitting [.135] off of lefties. He made a mistake and hung a slider that didn’t slide. It just spun up there. He didn’t miss it.” 

Pena now has five homers and 16 RBIs against Cincinnati.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Baker said. “Evidentially, he must like hitting off of us.”

 * Dempster now is 6-6 with a 3.59 ERA in his last 17 starts, but has not won since Aug. 11.

* Starlin Castro has reached base safely in his last 21 games since Aug. 15, a career high. He has hit safely in 32 of his last 35 games, batting .323 in that span. He has 49 hits in his last 34 games, and leads the NL with 182 hits. He’s on pace for 206 this season. Castro is riding a 12-game home hitting streak.

* Aramis Ramirez hit his 254th double as a Cub, tying him with Wildfire Schulte for 14th on the team’s all-time doubles list.

— Carrie Muskat


8/29 Extra bases

Iowa’s Bryan LaHair belted his 37th home run on Monday to tie the Triple-A team’s single-season mark, set by Joe Hicks in 1984. LaHair was named to the All-Pacific Coast League team earlier in the day.

* This season could be Aramis Ramirez’s last with the Cubs. His contract includes a club option for $16 million for next season.
What is Ramirez’s legacy?

“This year speaks for itself,” Mike Quade said of the third baseman, who entered Monday’s game against the Giants batting .309 with 24 homers and 83 RBIs.

“He’s always been — since the first time I saw him in Double-A a long time ago — a guy you looked at who you said would be a productive RBI guy,” Quade said. “His approach lends itself to being really good in RBI situations. Even as a young kid coming in the Pirates system, he looked like that kind of guy.”

Ramirez had a 16-game hitting streak end on Sunday. He batted .508 in that stretch, and is one home run shy of joining Billy Williams as the only players in Cubs history with 30 doubles and 25 homers six times.

* On Friday, Quade, interim GM Randy Bush and player development director Oneri Fleita will meet to discuss who will be called up from the Minor Leagues. Brett Jackson’s name will certainly come up. The Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Jackson was promoted from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa in mid July. In 42 games at Iowa, the outfielder has hit .319 with 12 doubles, two triples, nine homers and six stolen bases. He got off to a slow start, hitting .233 in his first 17 games, but was batting .369 in August. If called up, Jackson’s service time clock would start ticking. Do the Cubs feel he’s ready? Is it worth it to call him up now or wait?

“I want to do what’s right for the organization and the kid, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” Quade said Monday. “He’s a fine-looking young player. People who are watching him and see him every day are in a good a position to make a decision as to whether we should bring him up here.”

* Andrew Cashner struck out all three batters he faced in his third rehab outing on Monday for Double-A Tennessee. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes. The right-hander, who has been on the disabled list since April 6 with a strained right rotator cuff, was expected to move up to Triple-A Iowa next for at least two more appearances. If all goes well, Cashner will join the big league team when it returns Friday for a six-game homestand. In his three rehab outings, Cashner has struck out six, giving up three hits and not walked a batter over 2 2/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

8/28 Callups, Campy & Barney, and Ramy

Interim GM Randy Bush, Mike Quade and player development director Oneri Fleita will meet Friday in Chicago to discuss which players will be added when rosters expand Sept. 1. The Cubs’ Minor League teams wrap up their seasons next weekend. Among the players expected to be added are first baseman Bryan LaHair, who was batting .330 with 36 homers and 105 RBIs for Triple-A Iowa.

* One thing Quade would like to see by both Tony Campana and Darwin Barney is to be more selective at the plate and take advantage of their speed. That means they have to get on base.

“I think a huge thing for ‘Campy’ down the road is to get stronger,” Quade said Sunday. “Don’t touch his legs but if he can get stronger, he can drive the ball a little more. If he can get the outfield to respect his swing and do some things, that will be huge.”

Quade also told Barney in Spring Training that the second baseman will thrive if he can lay off the high fastballs.

“His swing is good enough,” Quade said of Barney. “If he can add that discipline on a regular basis, it will put him in favorable counts and keep the ball out of the air. He’s such a good mid-thigh, low-ball hitting guy.”

* Aramis Ramirez leads the Major Leagues with a .427 batting average in August while teammate Reed Johnson is fifth at .400. Ramirez is tied for tops among any Cubs player in the month of August, dating to 1946. Shawon Dunston batted .427 in August 1991; Bill Madlock hit .425 in August 1975; and Manny Trillo hit .409 in august 1986.

— Carrie Muskat

8/28 Extra bases

The Cubs close out their series against the Brewers on Sunday, sending Casey Coleman against Zack Greinke, who is the first of two Cy Young winners the team will face in back to back games. On Monday, Randy Wells will have to deal with the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, who won the award in 2008 and ’09. Looking ahead, here’s the pitching matchups for the three-game series against the defending World Champs:

Monday: Randy Wells (5-4, 5.53) vs. Tim Lincecum (12-10, 2.46)

Tuesday: Matt Garza (6-10, 3.68) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (10-4, 2.54)

Wednesday: Rodrigo Lopez (4-5, 4.80) vs. Madison Bumgarner (8-12, 3.59)

* After hitting .270 with runners in scoring position in July, the Cubs are batting .179 (42-for-234) this month. That includes a .157 mark in the last 13 games.

* Tony Campana and Starlin Castro are tied for the team lead with 17 stolen bases each. The last time the Cubs had a pair with at least 17 steals was 2008 when Ryan theriot swiped 22 and Alfonso Soriano stole 19.

* Aramis Ramirez enters Sunday’s game with a 16-game hitting streak. He’s batting .508 in that stretch. It’s his longest streak since a 22-game stretch May 14-June 11, 2003. Ramirez also is one home run away from tying Billy Williams as the only Cubs players to hit at least 30 doubles and 25 homers six times. Williams did so 1963-65, 1968, 1970 and 1972.

* Starlin Castro leads the National League and is third in the Majors with 169 hits. He’s on pace for 206 hits this year.

— Carrie Muskat

8/21 Extra bases

* The Cubs are looking for their first sweep of the Cardinals since a four-game series, July 27-30, 2006. Chicago has won its last four series at Wrigley Field for the first time since a five-series win streak Aug. 1-24, 2008. They have won this series vs. the Cardinals and now are 5-1 in six series this month after going 1-7 in eight July series.

* The Cubs are 13-5 in August and look to win 14 of the first 19 games in the month for the first time in 82 years. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 1929 Cubs squad began August with a 14-5 record.

* Aramis Ramirez needs one home run to become the fourth player in Cubs history to record at least six seasons with 25 doubles and 25 homers. So far, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ryne Sandberg have accomplished the feat.

* Sean Marshall has 27 holds, setting the franchise mark for holds by a left-hander. Jeff Fassero set the mark of 25 in 2001. Marshall is three holds shy of matching Carlos Marmol’s single-season club record of 30 in 2008.

* Here are the pitching matchups vs. the Braves, who come to town for the four-game series starting Monday night:

Monday: Jair Jurrjens (12-5, 2.84) vs. Ryan Dempster (10-8, 4.61)
Tuesday: Mike Minor (3-2, 4.26) vs. Casey Coleman (2-5, 7.43)
Wednesday: Derek Lowe (8-11, 4.73) vs. Randy Wells (4-4, 5.84)
Thursday: Brandon Beachy (6-2, 3.32) vs. Matt Garza (6-9, 3.62)

— Carrie Muskat

8/19 Players reaction to Hendry’s departure

Friday was a difficult day for some of the Cubs. GM Jim Hendry’s dismissal caught them off guard.

“He’s responsible for every single person in here,” Ryan Dempster said, looking around the clubhouse. “He’s a really good person and good man and he was let go because we didn’t do our job on the field.

“He’s been a big part of my life and gave me the opportunity to play for the Chicago Cubs and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for,” Dempster said. “It’s tough for us in the locker room, I’m sure it’s tough for the coaches. I’m glad we won today because I know he’d be happy for us.”

The Cubs rallied to beat the Cardinals 5-4 in 10 innings on Friday, just hours after meeting with Hendry in the clubhouse to get the news.

“It was a tough day and a tough thing to hear that sadness,” Dempster said. “He doesn’t have anything to be sad about because he did a great job in every aspect. Everyone was thankful to go out and play for him.”

The Cubs did improve to 12-5 in August with Friday’s win but they are 55-70 overall, and now searching for a new GM.

“Whatever his legacy is, in my time here with the Cubs, he’s as good a baseball man as I’ve been around,” Mike Quade said of Hendry, “and I’ve been around some pretty good ones.

“My friend won’t be my boss,” Quade said, “but he will always be my friend.”

Hendry, who took over the GM duties in July 2002, signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year deal in November 2006.

“He tried to do what’s best for the team,” Soriano said. “He’s very honest with the players. He does what’s best for the players and what’s best for the team, too.

“I was very surprised,” Soriano said of the news Friday. “I talked to him after practice today. I thought they wanted to make a move, but I didn’t think they’d make that kind of move. It’s very sad for Jim and for the players because we love him.”

It’s impossible to fire 25 players when the team isn’t performing well.

“We didn’t play the way we should play and a lot of veteran guys are making a lot of money and not performing like they should and someone had to pay the price,” Aramis Ramirez said. “The players are responsible. [The GM] doesn’t play. He signs guys and brings in guys and puts this guy in this position and gets the manager and the coaches.

“The bottom line is to get the job done between the lines,” he said, “and we didn’t.”

— Carrie Muskat