Results tagged ‘ Blake Parker ’
* Eric Chavez hit the first home run at Cubs Park, a two-run shot in the fifth, and Paul Goldschmidt added a two-run single in the sixth to lift the Diamondbacks to a 5-2 win Thursday over the Cubs and spoil their Cactus League opener at their new stadium. The game drew a Cactus League record crowd of 14,486, breaking the old mark of 13,721 set last March 23 between the Dodgers and White Sox in Glendale.
This was not only the first game at Cubs Park, but Rick Renteria’s first as a Major League manager.
“It feels just like another game,” the Cubs’ new skipper said. “We’re getting ready for the season and today’s the first day of basically a test to see how everybody’s doing. We’re going to use [Spring Training] to see what aspects of the game we need to improve on and basically see where everybody’s at.”
So no butterflies?
“No,” Renteria said, smiling.
* Blake Parker, coming off a season in which he appeared in a career-high 49 games, was the only Cubs pitcher to retire all three batters he faced in his one inning on Thursday in the Cactus League opener. The right-hander came into camp knowing he’s starting fresh.
“Every year you’ve got something to prove,” Parker said. “If you’re getting paid or not, you want to show them you worked hard in the offseason to be ready to pitch at any time.”
Renteria is sorting out the options for the bullpen. Parker knows that.
“You want to show these guys that you’re ready to play, whether it’s these guys or somebody else watching in the stands,” Parker said. “It’s just imperative to get ready for the season.”
* Emilio Bonifacio did exactly what the Cubs want from a leadoff man in his first at-bat when he tripled in the first. Renteria said he considers Bonifacio to be similar to Chone Figgins, who can play second, third, short and the outfield.
“He’s a guy who puts it on the ground and if he gets it through someplace, he’s got a chance to go like he did there, all the way to third base,” Renteria said of Bonifacio. “Those are some of the things he brings to the table.”
Renteria said Darwin Barney is the starting second baseman but expect to see Bonifacio get some playing time there.
* Kyuji Fujikawa, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last June, threw 25 pitches off the mound for the second time this spring on Thursday, and is continuing to make progress. The Cubs hope the right-hander can pitch sometime this season.
* Catcher John Baker livened up Thursday’s team meeting by playing a song on his guitar that was a variation on Eddie Vedder’s “(Someday We’ll Go) All the Way.”
“I wrote a song about what it means to be a Cub,” said Baker, who got an assist on the lyrics from Barney, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Brett Jackson and strength coach Tim Buss.
“Ricky likes to have people do things that make it a little more fun,” Baker said of Renteria.
The lyrics were tweaked so that they were from a player’s perspective, and ended with “This year, we’ll go all the way.”
* Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will host his second “Cook-Off for Cancer” on May 16 in Chicago. The event, which features celebrity chefs, will be held at Revel Downtown.
* Up next: Lefty Chris Rusin, who is competing for a spot in the rotation, faces the Angels and Jered Weaver in Tempe in the Cubs’ first road game this spring. Rusin was 2-6 in 13 starts last season with a 3.93 ERA. James McDonald is scheduled to follow Rusin in his first game action since Sept. 1. McDonald appeared in 16 games last season, six with the Pirates, as he struggled with shoulder problems. Top prospect Javier Baez will start at shortstop for Chicago. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio and on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat
For the second straight game, the bullpen imploded, but this time the Cubs overcame the breakdown and may have found a new closer candidate. Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning to beat the pesky Mariners, 5-3, on Saturday night, with Blake Parker picking up his first Major League save.
With the game tied at 3 in the 11th, Nate Schierholtz reached on a bunt single against Oliver Perez, and Soriano followed with his ninth home run. Soriano also hit a RBI single in the sixth, is now batting .386 in 25 career games as the designated hitter with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.
“The DH thing is working,” Dale Sveum said. “A couple days off hopefully helped him get to that form he was doing this time last year when he took off, too.”
Perez struck Soriano out in the ninth inning on Friday in the Mariners’ 5-4, 10-inning victory. Saturday was different. Perez threw two fastballs, then a breaking ball.
“When I saw the breaking ball, it gave me more confidence at home plate,” Soriano said. “I wanted to try to swing at a strike and make good contact, and he threw me a fastball in the middle and I had a good swing.”
At 37, Soriano may be a better suited to be a designated hitter. His name was bantered about last year prior to the Trade Deadline.
“Who knows? I just come to the ballpark every day and just try to do my job,” Soriano said. “I don’t want to put anything in my mind. The last couple years, always trade rumors and nothing happens. I just want to focus day by day and see what happens.”
The Cubs were wearing replica uniforms from the 1909 season, when they won 104 games under manager Frank Chance and finished second in the National League. That year, they were coming off their second straight World Championship, which, at this point, is the last one. They could’ve used Mordecai Brown on Saturday.
Seattle trailed 3-2 in the ninth and rallied with one out against Kevin Gregg as Henry Blanco walked and was lifted for pinch-runner Michael Saunders, who moved up on Nick Franklin’s groundout. Endy Chavez then lined a single to center to tie the game. It was Gregg’s first blown save in 13 opportunities.
“I got the ball up a little bit and he fought it off to get it over second base,” Gregg said of Chavez.
“It wasn’t the greatest pitch selection,” Sveum said.
That left Parker, who totaled seven saves at Triple-A Iowa this year. He had pitched 1 1/3 innings on Friday, but looked fresh and retired the side in order.
“He showed me a lot today,” Sveum said of the right-hander. “That’s a nice asset to know it wasn’t a deer in the headlights in that situation in the big leagues.”
“It’s a position I’m comfortable in for sure,” Parker said. “Going out there in tight situations is where any competitor wants to be. When it’s a close game and for all the marbles and everything’s on the line, usually that’s when most people are at their best. Gregg’s done a great job all year and I’ll go out and compete no matter what role I’m in.”
Before the game, Sveum hinted he may turn to Parker, who admitted he’s still learning how to pitch in the big leagues.
“You’re expected to pitch every day and that’s the approach I took and I got myself ready to pitch and I was ready when my number was called,” Parker said.
– Carrie Muskat
* Alfonso Soriano will play all six games on the Cubs’ West Coast Interleague trip to Seattle and Oakland, most likely as the DH.
“I like it, especially in a stadium when I can have a batting cage behind the clubhouse and the dugout, that’s good,” Soriano said Thursday. “Between innings, I can work on my swing and be ready with my at-bats.”
Soriano did not start Thursday against the Brewers, getting a second straight day off. The veteran outfielder was batting .245 overall, and .191 in 22 games in June with one home run and seven doubles.
“At my age, now I’m 37, I just hit for one week, it’s good,” Soriano said. “[Being the DH] the whole season, that’s totally different. But for six games, it’s not bad.”
* Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 on Wednesday in his first game back after a one-day breather, and could’ve had a third hit if Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez wasn’t hugging the line.
“Hopefully, that kind of game propels you moving forward and he can be the kid we all know he is,” manager Dale Sveum said of Castro.
* Reliever Blake Parker is experimenting with a new split change pitch.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Parker said. “I like it as a third pitch.”
Something’s working for the right-hander, who has thrown scoreless relief in seven of eight appearances.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs shuffled their bullpen Thursday, promoting right-hander Zach Putnam from Triple-A Iowa and optioning right-hander Alex Burnett to the Minor League team. To make room on the 40-man roster, Kyuji Fujikawa, who needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Putnam was 1-1 with four saves and a 3.26 ERA in 17 games with Iowa. He had 22 strikeouts over 19 1/3 innings. The right-hander, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Rockies, was one of the last players cut in Spring Training. He appeared in 11 Cactus League games, and gave up four runs on 14 hits over 10 innings while striking out six. He and Blake Parker were sharing the closer’s role at Iowa.
“I’ve always loved pitching in the back of the bullpen,” Putnam said.
Burnett was claimed off waivers from the Orioles and arrived about a half hour before the Cubs’ Interleague game against the White Sox. He made his first appearance Wednesday, and gave up one hit in one inning.
– Carrie Muskat
Guillermo Moscoso gave up one run on six hits and struck out seven over seven innings in Iowa’s 4-1 victory over Reno. Dave Sappelt hit a two-run homer and Brett Jackson had two hits and two RBIs. Ian Stewart was 0-for-3 with a walk. Blake Parker picked up his fifth save.
Matt Garza gave up three hits and walked two over 3 1/3 innings in Tennessee’s 5-4 win over Birmingham. Matt Szczur had two hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases, and Christian Villanueva had three hits, including two doubles, and one RBIs. This was Garza’s third rehab start, second with the Smokies, and he threw 66 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Daytona’s doubleheader against Dunedin was canceled because of unplayable field conditions.
Wilson Contreras had three hits, including his fourth home run, to help Kane County beat Clinton, 7-4. Michael Heesch picked up the win, giving up four runs on 12 hits over six innings. Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits.
Brent Lillibridge, Michael Brenly, Jeff Samardzija and Blake Parker advanced in the Cubs bunting tourney on Tuesday. Here are the players who have reached the sweet 16 and their next match:
Travis Wood vs Nate Halm, video guy
Jeff Samardzija vs Blaker Parker
Brent Lillibridge vs Michael Brenly
Edwin Maysonet vs Andy Lane, bullpen catcher
– Carrie Muskat
* Josh Vitters also had an MRI on Friday, and it revealed that he has a mild to moderate quad strain, and could be sidelined 10 to 14 days. Vitters was injured before he got into a game — he was hurt doing a base running drill. What happens now at third with both Ian Stewart and Vitters sidelined? Expect to see a lot of Luis Valbuena, Junior Lake, Christian Villanueva and even Brent Lillibridge.
“We really don’t have a whole lot of other third basemen,” Dale Sveum said. “They both just went down.”
Lake played at Double-A Tennessee last season. He’s still a little rough at third.
“In the intrasquad games, he’s done fine,” Sveum said. “He hasn’t been tested. There’s some mechanical things. He’s very tall and playing tall. He’s got to play the position smaller. What I mean by that, he wants to stand straight up after he fields a ground ball, so there’s some things we have to tweak. He’s such a good athlete. He’s going to be one of those third basemen who’s not going to look like Scott Rolen but the athleticism will allow him to do a lot of things at that position.”
The Cubs will not move top prospect Javier Baez to third base. If he does play third, it will be more because of need numbers-wise.
* If you’re looking ahead to Sunday’s HoHoKam opener, here’s the lineup:
The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com, with Len Kasper doing the play by play.
* Cubs pitcher Shawn Camp was showing pictures of a bobcat he saw on the golf course on Friday. Camp said he let the ‘cat play through.
* Blake Parker’s intrasquad outing didn’t go well — he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer to Edwin Maysonet — but it felt good to get back on a mound. Parker missed most of last season because of problems with his right elbow.
“I’m still getting back into baseball mode, just thinking out there on the mound and knowing what pitches to throw and reading hitters,” Parker said. “As far as physically, my arm felt good.”
– Carrie Muskat
Here are some updated transactions on players who were in the Cubs system. Thanks to Iowa Cubs’ Randy Wehofer for doing the research.
* The Cubs have re-signed right-handed pitcher Blake Parker and added catcher J.C. Boscan from the Braves. Both signed Minor League deals. Parker had been outrighted off the 40-man roster after missing most of the season with an elbow injury. Boscan batted .189 in 70 games with Triple-A Gwinnett.
* The Cubs have released Rebel Ridling. Right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.
* The Rangers signed left-handed pitcher Neal Cotts, catcher Juan Apodaca and outfielder Jim Adduci to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.
* The Brewers signed catcher Blake Lalli and right-handed pitcher Frankie De La Cruz to Minor League deals.
* Outfielder Brad Snyder signed with the Diamondbacks. The Marlins claimed left-hander Scott Maine off waivers from the Blue Jays. Infielder Marquez Smith signed a Minor League deal with the Reds.
The Cubs tweaked the 40-man roster on Friday when they outrighted four players to Triple-A Iowa, including outfielder Joe Mather. Right-handed pitchers Manuel Corpas, Justin Germano and Blake Parker also were outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Mather, who started in all three outfield spots and third base, batted .209 in 103 games with the Cubs.
Corpas, coming back from Tommy John surgery, which he had in September 2010, was 0-2 with a 5.01 ERA in 48 games. Corpas has elected free agency.
Germano, acquired from the Red Sox July 19 for cash considerations, went 2-10 with a 6.75 ERA in 13 games (12 starts). Parker spent most of the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury, appearing in just seven games. On Thursday, the Cubs outrighted infielder Adrian Cardenas and right-handed pitchers Miguel Socolovich, Jason Berken and Marcos Mateo were assigned outright to Iowa. Catcher Anthony Recker also was claimed off waivers by the Mets. With the addition of pitcher Carlos Gutierrez, the Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 33.
– Carrie Muskat
So, with Jeff Samardzija being shutdown after Saturday’s start, who takes his spot in the Cubs rotation? On Friday, the Cubs claimed right-handed pitcher Jason Berken off waivers from the Orioles, and he will be slotted into the rotation. Berken, 28, was 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Norfolk, walking 39 and striking out 98 over 144 innings. He had a 1.35 ERA in four April starts, and finished well, compiling a 3.00 ERA (12 earned runs over 36 innings) in six August starts. Berken did make a relief appearance for the Orioles in May but was optioned back to the Minor Leagues. He was the Orioles’ sixth-round pick in 2006.
To make room on the Cubs roster, they placed right-handed pitcher Blake Parker on the 60-day disabled list with a bone contusion in his right elbow. Parker had been sidelined earlier this season with a stress reaction in his elbow.
– Carrie Muskat