Results tagged ‘ Blake DeWitt ’
The Cubs had scuffled offensively in their last series, were facing two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum on a cool night, and the Giants were fighting to stay in the playoff race. Who would’ve figured Randy Wells would end up with a shaving cream pie to celebrate his first complete game shutout or that Lincecum would serve up three homers?
Blake DeWitt belted a three-run homer and Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena each hit solo shots to help Wells finish August unbeaten as the Cubs roughed the Giants, 7-0, on Monday night in San Francisco. Lincecum had given up three home runs in his 14 previous outings combined, so when Soriano connected to lead off the fifth, that appeared to be it.
“At 1-0, you figure that’s the way it’s going to end,” Mike Quade said.
Wells (6-4) delivered a strong counter. He gave up two hits — a double by Andres Torres with two outs in the third and a single by pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot with one out in the eighth — and struck out seven. It’s a good finish for the right-hander, 29, who had to go on the disabled list after his first start April 4 because of a strained right forearm. Being healthy makes a difference.
He received a celebratory shaving cream pie, his first since his first win.
“It’s pretty fun,” Wells said.
Some other highlights:
* They hit three homers in one inning for the first time since June 9, 2010, when they did so in the fifth against the Brewers.
* Starlin Castro tied a career high with two doubles while Carlos Pena tied a personal best with three walks.
* This was the first time Blake DeWitt tripled and homered in the same game. Soto’s homer ended an 0-for-25 skid.
* Besides being his first shutout ever, it was Wells’ longest career start. His previous high was 8 1/3 innings on May 22, 2010, at Texas.
— Carrie Muskat
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was scratched Tuesday because of back spasms and is day to day. Blake DeWitt started at third base and batted third, his fifth start at third this year.
* If you had tickets to Monday’s Cubs-Nationals game and can’t attend Thursday’s makeup game, don’t be mad at the Cubs. The game was postponed because of rain and Koyie Hill, the Cubs player representative, said they lobbied to play a split doubleheader on Wednesday. The Nationals were already scheduled to stay in Chicago on Wednesday night and wanted to play Thursday, which was an off day for both teams.
“If our players and their players can’t agree on when to play, then it goes to the union and if they can keep from scheduling split doubleheaders and there’s another option, they’ll take the other option no matter what,” Hill said Tuesday. “The only way we could’ve gotten to play Wednesday was if Washington agreed.”
The two sides presented their preference, disagreed, discussed their options with their respective teams again, and still disagreed.
“At that point, it goes to the [players’] union,” Hill said. “[The Nationals] were flying out Thursday at 3 [p.m.], so for them it made sense. They were going to stay one more night and enjoy our wonderful city and then go to Philadelphia in the middle of our off day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much of a say.”
This was Chicago’s fourth rainout this season, the most since 2009 when five home games were washed out because of the weather. The other rainouts this year were April 19 against the Padres; April 27 against the Rockies; and May 15 against the Giants.
Tickets for Monday’s game will be good for admission to Thursday’s game, which will start at 1:20 p.m. CT.
* Darwin Barney, Andrew Cashner and Blake DeWitt took part Tuesday in a “Play Campaign” clinic for more than 60 kids at Wrigley Field, emphasizing good nutrition and activity. The campaign is sponsored by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and Athletico Physical Therapy, and was led by Cubs athletic trainer Mark O’Neal and assistant trainer Ed Halbur. Besides sessions on the dangers of steroids and performance enhancing drugs, the kids were treated to mini baseball clinics. Barney talked to them about fielding, DeWitt discussed hitting and Cashner gave some pointers on pitching. O’Neal and Halbur emphasized the importance of staying active.
All 30 Major League teams conduct “Play Campaign” clinics during the season in an effort to fight childhood obesity, which, according to the Center for Disease Control, has tripled in the last 30 years. The kids at the Cubs event were sponsored by Athletico, the official provider of physical therapy to the team, and also by Sheil Park in Chicago.
* Rodrigo Lopez will make his eighth start on Wednesday for the Cubs. He’s 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA so far compared to a 3.72 ERA in 10 relief appearances.
“I’m committed to him right now,” Mike Quade said of the right-hander. “As I look at this thing, we take it four days at a time. We’re going to play Washington, which is in the hunt still. We’ve got contenders the rest of the month and that’s part of the reason I want to keep the pitching in line, at least a couple of the big three in each series to face these better clubs.”
The big three, in case you didn’t know, are Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
* The unexpected off day on Monday gave the Cubs bullpen an extra day of rest and they are fully loaded. Said Quade: “That’s always a good thing.”
— Carrie Muskat
Darwin Barney has had an impressive spring camp and appears to have passed Blake DeWitt on the Cubs’ depth chart at second base. This will be Barney’s first Opening Day on a big league roster; he batted .299 last season at Iowa and was hitting .359 this spring.
“He’s played himself into significant time and, it’s Spring Training,” manager Mike Quade said. “[Barney] is making progress. He does a lot of things outside of the batter’s box that you really like. He’s given himself every chance to be an important part of this infield. Now we’ll go north and see what happens in April.”
DeWitt has struggled. He’s been playing only second base this spring but will now play some third because the Cubs may need to use him as a backup there.
“We’ll be patient with him,” Quade said of DeWitt. “He’s 25 years old. He’s a .260 lifetime big league hitter and we’ll expect him to get a lot better.
“We want to give him a chance to develop as much as he could at second base,” Quade said. “That’s still a work in progress, there’s no question. He did a good job for us last year and his numbers at the big league level were good. … He needs to get better and he will.”
Reed Johnson, a non-roster invitee on the Cubs for the second time, also made the Opening Day roster. He was hitting .231. Fernando Perez, acquired from the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, hit .143 in 16 games and was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
“I believe Fernando needs to go play,” Quade said. “The guy’s blessed with unbelievable speed.”
— Carrie Muskat
The competition at second base for the Cubs is getting interesting with eight games to play. At the start of camp, Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker were expected to platoon at second. But Darwin Barney was batting .371, Baker .395 and DeWitt .163. Does DeWitt have a spot on the roster?
“Right now he does,” Mike Quade said, “but there are some guys pushing and we ain’t left yet, so we’ll see.”
The Cubs would like a left-handed bat in the mix. Scott Moore and Bobby Scales are both left-handed hitters. Quade said he likes the job Moore has done at first and third base. Scales has done well at second.
“Are they Gold Glovers? No, I don’t think so,” Quade said.
But he also won’t rule either out automatically. That will be part of the discussion on Tuesday when Quade sits down with GM Jim Hendry and others to discuss the roster.
— Carrie Muskat
Mike Quade will meet Tuesday morning with GM Jim Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush, pitching coach Mark Riggins, bench coach Pat Listach and others to discuss the state of the Cubs and make some roster decisions.
“It’s time to sit down,” Quade said Monday.
The Cubs have nine games remaining this spring.
“I think the conversation tomorrow basically talks about everybody’s role on this club — who’s still alive to make this club, who’s not, where we see the depth, the rankings from the pitching to the bullpen, the whole club,” Quade said. “We have decisions to make. We know a healthy [Aramis] Ramirez is our third baseman, but we’re going to go through the whole club — at least that’s what I want to do. We’ll look at every angle, every possibility.”
Quade has his opinions on certain players. For example, catcher Welington Castillo has opened his eyes. Castillo was batting .706 this spring. That’ll get your attention. However, they have to determine whether Castillo and the Cubs are better served if he’s starting at Triple-A Iowa or backing up Geovany Soto on the big league team. Blake DeWitt, on the other hand, is hitting .163 and still has work to do at second base.
Quade said he’s already had some healthy disagreements with Hendry, Bush and others, and that’s OK.
“I’m not of the mentality that I have to win,” Quade said. “I’m not an ego guy. I want to do the right thing.”
— Carrie Muskat
Blake DeWitt was watching the Braves’ Spring Training game on TV Wednesday, hoping for news about his former Minor League manager and hitting coach Luis Salazar. Salazar, who played for the Cubs from 1989-92, lost his left eye in a freak accident when he was hit in the face by a foul ball during a Grapefruit League game.
“He was a very good friend,” DeWitt said Thursday. “He was a great guy, fun to be around, loved the game. He was a joy to be around every day. It’s an unfortunate deal. I saw that he lost his eye. You’re also thankful he’s still alive. He’s definitely in my thoughts and my prayers are with him and his family.”
Are there things Salazar taught DeWitt that he still uses?
“He just loved the game,” DeWitt said. “He was full of energy, fun to be around, knowledgeable, willing to help anybody. It was a freak accident.”
Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams said he began this spring standing on the top step to watch the games. After the Salazar incident, Williams said he moved back behind the screens.
“You can’t guard against everything,” Williams said.
There aren’t many options to protect players and coaches in the dugouts unless they put screens over the entire thing.
“It’s just one of those things — you’re so close,” DeWitt said. “Sometimes you don’t have a chance. Every once in a while, it happens [that someone is hit] and it’s surprising it doesn’t happen more.”
— Carrie Muskat
How eager was Blake DeWitt to get out of the snow in Missouri? He took a cab from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix directly to Fitch Park on Sunday.
“I couldn’t wait to get out here,” said DeWitt after getting out of a taxi with his suitcase, bat bag and gear bag. “I think everybody’s looking forward to this season. I think everybody’s excited about how we finished the season last year and the moves we made this past offseason. There’s a lot of potential here.”
DeWitt has been mentioned as one of Cubs manager Mike Quade’s options at leadoff.
“To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it,” the infielder said. “It’s one of those things where you prepare yourself for anything. If they ask me to do it, I’ll be more than happy to do it. It’s a big responsibility. But it’s also a big responsibility hitting eighth. You’ve got to play hard and do whatever you can do to help the team win.”
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs manager Mike Quade hinted he may rotate players in the No. 1 spot in the order.
“You look at this club, as I do right now, and you say, ‘Who’s a perennial leadoff guy?'” Quade said. “‘Who’s the prototypical leadoff guy? Do we have one?’ And I would say, ‘I don’t think so.’ OK, when the answer is ‘I don’t think so,’ I can mix and match. Maybe somebody asserts himself as that guy, again, keeping an open mind and just making sure you weigh all the variables.”
That’s something that will play out this spring. Among the candidates to watch are Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Kosuke Fukudome.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs announced the players, coaches and front office personnel who will take part in next week’s Cubs Caravan. There will be two tour groups. On Wednesday, group No. 1 will include Randy Wells, Justin Berg, James Russell, Bob Dernier, DJ LeMahieu, Chris Carpenter, Oneri Fleita, Ivan DeJesus and Dave Keller. Bob Brenly and Dave Otto will take part in the morning sessions, and Len Kasper will join the tour in the afternoon.
Tour No. 2 Wednesday will include Mike Quade, Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner, Koyie Hill, Jay Jackson, Lester Strode, Randy Bush and Mark Riggins. Kasper will take part in the morning session and Otto will cover in the afternoon.
On Thursday, Tour group No. 1 will include Pat Hughes, Blake DeWitt, Berg, Wells, Hill, Jackson, Carpenter, Fleita, Strode, Riggins, Dernier, and Keller. Group No. 2 will include Quade, Sean Marshall, Kasper, Bush, DeJesus, Russell, Cashner, LeMahieu. Elio Benitez will join the group at Strode School.
— Carrie Muskat
Mesa Solar Sox manager Casey Kopitzke, who managed the Cubs’ Class A Peoria team, posted an 8-3 win on Tuesday over the Phoenix Desert Dogs and manager Don Mattingly in the Arizona Fall League opener. The Solar Sox, who have seven Cubs prospects on the roster, will face the Desert Dogs again Wednesday night at HoHoKam Park in Mesa (6:35 p.m. Arizona time).
The Cubs pitchers slated to go include Jake Muyco, a converted catcher; plus David Cales, Chris Carpenter and Kyle Smit, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Ted Lilly-Ryan Theriot-Blake DeWitt deal. Also, third baseman Josh Vitters, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2007, may play. He missed most of the 2010 season because of a broken hand.
— Carrie Muskat