Results tagged ‘ Brett Jackson ’
Justin Ruggiano drove in three runs, including two on his second spring homer, Junior Lake smacked a tie-breaking RBI and a sacrifice fly, Brett Jackson had a two-run pinch-hit single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI triple for the Cubs who rallied to beat the Brewers, 10-8, on Sunday. The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,770. The attendance topped the previous league mark of 14,680 set March 1 at new Cubs Park.
* Right fielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave the game after chasing Jeff Bianchi’s double because of soreness in his right knee. Sweeney was listed as day to day.
* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings in his second Cactus League start.
“I’m much happier with this [start],” Hendricks said. “I’m just disappointed that we go out and score two runs and then I go out and give them both back up. That will all work itself out as I get out there more and am more consistent with my mechanics.”
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd during his two at-bats. Hendricks struck Braun out to end the first, but the Brewers outfielder doubled in the third.
“He got me on the second at-bat, but that wasn’t a bad pitch,” Hendricks said. “His barrel stays through the zone very well. I could’ve thrown a different pitch to him — but it was a good pitch, and he’s a really good hitter. He’s going to get his hits.”
Did Hendricks hear the crowd?
“You could hear those boos,” Hendricks said. “All the Brewers fans were trying to cheer over them.”
* Jeff Samardzija will make his third spring start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants. Samardzija will likely pitch at least four innings. In his last outing against the Rockies, he gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. So far, he has not walked a batter, which is good. The right-hander is working on being more efficient with his pitches. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat
It took a clinic with 9 and 10 year old kids to help Brett Jackson find joy in baseball again.
Jackson is coming off a year he’d like to forget. Once one of the Cubs top prospects, the outfielder struggled with injuries, was demoted, and finished with a .210 average, and 121 strikeouts in 95 games.
“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of soul searching,” he said Sunday. “I’ve never been more excited to be back in Spring Training, I’ve never been more excited to be back on the field. When you’re not playing well, the game’s not fun. I wasn’t having fun last year — I was hurt and struggling.
“I rediscovered that fun a little bit this offseason,” he said. “I feel I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in and the best mental state I’ve been in in a long time. I’m very confident coming into camp and am excited to be part of this new regime.”
Part of the change in attitude occurred because of the clinic that he and his childhood friend, Lars Anderson, conducted in Berkeley, Calif.
“I want to get back to that, I want to get back to playing for fun and playing for the guys and playing for the team,” he said. “So much has been on performing on an individual level that I’ve forgotten the importance of why I play and the reason I play. I’m back to have fun and enjoy it and to win.”
The Cubs have had high expectations for Jackson since selecting him in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California, Berkeley. He batted .297 in 2011 at Triple-A Iowa, but the next season, hit .256 and struck out 158 times in 106 games.
Don’t ask him about the strikeouts any more.
“It’s something I’m not going to acknowledge moving forward,” Jackson said. “I can’t put a finger on it. The last couple years have been a search for finding myself at the plate and overcoming the pressures I was putting on myself. The strikeouts were in the corner of my mind — being told I was striking out too much. Not to put the blame on anyone but myself. I’m confident in the adjustments I’ve made. That’s something I can improve on.”
The Cubs gave Jackson an offseason program that included improving his mental approach to the game. He addressed that as well as looking at videos of successful players. He hasn’t reverted to his old swing, but it’s more natural now.
“The changes I was trying to make last year had all the right intentions and all the right cues for me to become a better player,” he said. “However, I was fighting my nature, I was fighting who I was as a natural athlete and I think that made my time at the plate a struggle.
“Having said that, I’m thankful for last year and I’m thankful for what happened and overcoming the injuries I had and the challenges I had at the plate and on the field. I feel the best I’ve felt moving into Spring Training.”
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs head into the 2014 season without a closer but Theo Epstein feels the team may have that pitcher on the roster now. Kevin Gregg, whom the Cubs signed to a Minor League deal in mid April after he was released by the Dodgers, has stepped in and posted his third career 30-save season. The Cubs began the season with Carlos Marmol as the closer, and he was replaced by Kyuji Fujikawa, until he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
“I’m a believer that closers come from a lot of different places,” said Epstein, president of baseball operations. “You find a guy with some swing and miss stuff and some courage and effectiveness earlier in the game, you should try him in the ninth inning because he has enough balls and enough stuff that he can handle the ninth inning.”
Gregg will be a free agent, and could return next year. The other options include Pedro Strop, acquired from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal, and possibly Justin Grimm.
“The bigger story for me is that we started out the year with a bullpen that didn’t perform well and that’s our fault,” Epstein said, pointing the finger at the front office. “I think over the course of the year, it really steadily improved. The pitchers deserve a lot of credit.”
* Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson were on the Cubs’ big league roster last season at this time but this year was a difficult season for the first-round picks. Epstein said Vitters, who was the No. 1 pick in 2007, will be converted to an outfielder this offseason.
“We’re converting him to left field,” Epstein said. “He’s going to come to Spring Training ready to re-establish himself and force himself into the mix as one of our right-handed hitting outfielders.”
Jackson, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2009, battled injuries this season and ended on Double-A Tennessee’s roster. Epstein said Jackson may follow the same program as Vitters this offseason.
* Javier Baez, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2011, was named the Minor League Player of the Year after an impressive season. Fans want to know when Baez will be in the big leagues.
“He’s got all the ability that he needs to play Major League shortstop, not that he’s not still developing,” Epstein said. “We have a shortstop now [in Starlin Castro]. If we’re fortunate to get to that point in time where Baez is pounding on that door and Castro is healthy, then we will look to move Baez around so he can perform at other positions. I think he has a lot going for him, that he can do that. For a young kid, he has tremendous baseball instincts.”
Epstein also said Albert Almora, the Cubs’ 2012 first-round pick who was sidelined with a groin injury, is healthy and preparing for the Arizona Fall League. Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, bothered by a stress fracture of his tibia, was doing baseball activities as well, and preparing for the AFL.
– Carrie Muskat
Kyle Hendricks threw seven shutout innings in Iowa’s 2-0 win over Memphis. Hendricks now has a quality start in three of his four outings with Iowa this season. He’s holding right-handed batters to a .197 average.
Javier Baez hit his 17th home run and Rubi Silva added his 14th but it wasn’t enough as Tennessee lost, 3-2 to Mobile. Baez had two hits, and was batting .404 in 22 games this month. He also hit 17 home runs at Daytona before he was promoted to Double-A. Brett Jackson reached base three times, hitting a triple and drawing two walks.
C.J. Edwards struck out eight over four shutout innings in Daytona’s 5-1 win over Tampa. Edwards now has struck out 28 batters over 18 2/3 innings. Chadd Krist had two hits, including a three-run homer in the second. Dustin Geiger drove in one run.
Scott Baker gave up one run on a solo home run over four innings in Kane County’s 5-2 win over Beloit. Baker, making his fourth rehab start with the Cougars, walked two and struck out three. Rock Shoulders hit his 18th home run, a two-run shot in the seventh. Trevor Gretzky had two hits.
Paul Blackburn gave up one hit over five scoreless innings in Boise’s 8-1 win over Salem-Keizer. Blackburn did walk six. Kevin Encarnacion was 5-for-5, hitting a home run and driving in two. Justin Marra hit a three-run homer in the first.
Mesa had Friday off and returns to action Saturday against the Angels.
Jake Arrieta threw five scoreless innings to help Iowa snap a 12-game road losing streak with a 8-4 win over Tacoma. Arrieta struck out 11 and walked three, giving up two hits. Darnell McDonald had three hits, including a double, and scored three runs. Jae-Hoon Ha had three RBIs and three hits. Mike Olt had two hits, including a double and a triple, and two RBIs. In his first game with the Iowa Cubs, Daniel Lockhart had two hits, including a double.
A.J. Morris gave up seven runs over 1 1/3 innings in Tennessee’s 10-4 loss to Jacksonville. Javier Baez had three hits, including a double, and two RBIs. Brett Jackson had two hits and scored two runs.
Daytona’s doubleheader against Bradenton was postponed. The two teams will try to play a doubleheader Monday. Scott Baker was slated to start the second game, his fifth rehab outing. Daytona has lost eight games to weather this year.
Tyler Skulina gave up three runs over two innings in Kane County’s 11-1 loss to Clinton. Giuseppe Papaccio was 3-for-3.
Rob Zastryzny gave up four runs over 2 1/3 innings in Boise’s come from behind 10-5 win over Everett. The Hawks totaled 15 hits. Kris Bryant was 3-for-5 with two doubles, scored two runs and drove in two. Rony Rodriguez had three hits, including two home runs.
Ryan Searle gave up two runs — one earned — over one inning in Mesa’s 7-3 win over the Athletics. Jesse Hodges had two hits, including a double, and scored two runs.
Taking batting practice at HoHoKam Park with the Cubs’ Rookie League players on a muggy Sunday night was not where Brett Jackson expected to be in mid July.
Jackson, the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2009, was in Mesa as part of his rehab from a sore right calf. He began this season at Triple-A Iowa, and has been limited to 61 games because of a turf toe injury and the subsequent calf problem. The outfielder was examined by specialists in Chicago, and then told to stay off his feet.
“I’m 100 percent now and trying to get back into baseball and playing shape because I missed three weeks,” Jackson said Sunday before his workout with the Rookie League team.
The injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Cubs have needed outfield help because of injuries to David DeJesus (sprained right shoulder), Ryan Sweeney (fractured rib), and most recently Brian Bogusevic (hamstring). Junior Lake, who has played more games at third base than outfield in the Minor Leagues, was called up on Friday, and has started the last three games in center field. DeJesus made his second start Sunday for the Rookie League team, and could be activated from the disabled list by the end of the week.
The Cubs will be playing a few miles away in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks, opening a four-game series on Monday. Jackson could’ve been on the big league roster if he was healthy and producing.
“You can let that frustrate you but it is what it is,” Jackson said about the missed opportunities. “I have no control over that. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have been hitting the way I was, been injured the way I have been, the same way [the other outfielders] would prefer not to be injured themselves. It is what it is, and you keep pushing forward, upward and onward, and get into shape and get back into games.”
Last Aug. 5, Jackson was promoted to the Cubs’ big league team, and batted .175 in 44 games. He spent time with Chicago manager Dale Sveum in October working on his swing to cut down on the strikeouts — he led the Pacific Coast League with 158 Ks in 106 games in 2012. This season, he was batting .223 before he was injured, and had six home runs, seven doubles, three triples, 23 RBIs, and 77 strikeouts in 215 at-bats.
When Jackson is ready to play, he could be assigned to Double-A Tennessee rather than rejoin Iowa.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to better myself as a player and get back to the big leagues and help the team,” Jackson said. “If going back to Double-A is what the team thinks is the right move for me, I have my faith in that decision. To me, it’s baseball and all about getting healthy and back into the shape as a player to have success and help the team win at the top.”
Right now, he’d just like to play anywhere.
“I’ve missed more time than I would’ve liked this year to nagging injuries,” he said. “I’m ready to be 100 percent and playing like I’m capable of.”
The center fielder is still young — he turns 25 on Aug. 2 — and is a valuable left-handed bat with speed. He began this season with a career Minor League average of .282.
For now, he’s working out with the Cubs’ most recent first-round pick, Kris Bryant.
“I’m just trying to stay positive and keep moving forward regardless of what’s happened this year,” Jackson said. “I still believe in myself and still believe I can help the team.”
– Carrie Muskat
Nate Schierholtz did not start Saturday and most likely will not play Sunday to give him time to heal some nagging injuries. Dale Sveum said Schierholtz was “banged up” and the injuries involved several body parts. The right fielder has never had this many at-bats prior to the All-Star break in his career. He’s been scuffling a little at the plate, too, batting .138 in his last eight games.
“He’s a little banged up,” Sveum said. “I’ll probably give him [Sunday] off as well and let him get six days off. I might have to use him to pinch hit or something. He’s just banged up and struggling a little bit.”
There is good news on outfielder David DeJesus. He will go to Arizona and take batting practice at the Cubs facility in Mesa, and if everything goes well, could begin a rehab assignment at the end of the week.
“He won’t have to play in tons of games as long as everything goes good, and then he gets in a real game and hopefully doesn’t swing and miss,” Sveum said DeJesus. The Cubs hope DeJesus doesn’t “swing and miss” and re-aggravates his right shoulder, which he sprained crashing into the outfield wall at Citi Field on June 14.
Other outfielder related news involves Brett Jackson, who has been rehabbing in Arizona from a sore calf. Jackson was playing at Triple-A Iowa, and batting .223 in 61 games, but when ready, he could be assigned to Double-A Tennessee. That’s still to be determined.
– Carrie Muskat
It wasn’t that Scott Hairston wasn’t doing enough for the Cubs. The Nationals need him more. The Cubs dealt Hairston to the Nationals for a Minor League pitcher, Ivan Pineyro, who was pitching at High A Potomac. Hairston, 33, had been part of a platoon in right field but has gotten limited playing time. GM Jed Hoyer said Monday that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called, seeking to solidify their bench with another right-handed bat.
“[Hairston] is a real pro, and as far as bench guys who can hit lefties, he can hit a homer against a lefty as good as any bench bat in baseball,” Hoyer said. “Given the makeup of who we’ve been playing and the pitching makeup in our division, he hasn’t been playing as much as we’d hoped, and I think this is a good opprotunity for Scott and the Nationals to get more playing time. It was a good opportunity for us to get a young pitcher we liked.”
Hairston was batting .172 overall, and .179 against left-handers, and eight of his 14 hits off lefties have been home runs.
Pineyro, in his third Minor League season, began the year with Class A Hagerstown, going 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts. The 21-year-old right-hander was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team before he was promoted to Hagerstown. He will join the Cubs’ Class A Daytona team.
The Cubs have been busy in the last week, dealing Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Steve Clevenger and now Hairston. More deals are expected leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Matt Garza, who has been rumored to be dealt since Spring Training, was scheduled to start Monday against the White Sox.
Last year, the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker. Could free agents be hesitant to sign with the Cubs? Hoyer said no.
“Looking at Scott Feldman’s situation, we gave him a great opportunity,” Hoyer said. “A lot of places weren’t willing to guarantee him a rotation spot coming off a so-so year in Texas. We were wiling to do that, and I think he appreciated that. With Scott [Hairston], he looks at this as an opportunity to get more playing time. I think everything is taken on an individual basis.
“I would hope that we cease being sellers on an annual basis,” Hoyer said. “We want to be buyers. We need to acquire a lot of talent and build that wave that can come up here and give us that sustained success, and with that we hope we can move in the other direction and be buyers and not sellers.”
What about Garza? The right-hander has given up two earned runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.
“He’s been a popular name and a guy we’ve gotten a lot of phone calls on,” Hoyer said. “I think he’s opened a lot of eyes the way he’s thrown the last four, five times out.”
Because the Cubs bullpen has been overworked the last few games, they will promote left-hander Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa, and not add another outfielder.
“Our bullpen is pretty taxed right now with [Carlos] Villanueva still getting stretched back out,” Hoyer said. “We don’t want to push those guys too hard. We would like to add another right-handed bat. We’ll explore and discuss those options over the next couple days until our bullpen is rested.”
Raley was 6-6 in 16 starts at Iowa, posting a 5.08 ERA as a starter. He did make one relief appearance on May 16, and gave up two hits and one walk over three innings.
* Who else could the Cubs call up? Brett Jackson would be among the candidates at Iowa if he was healthy but he was on the disabled list with a right calf strain.
“I think we all have high expectations for Brett,” Hoyer said. “We’d love nothing more than to be able to give him playing time later in the year. He’s got to get out there and play and earn it, but he’s still a guy we’re very high on.”
Both Junior Lake and Logan Watkins have played well at Iowa, but Hoyer said they both need more at-bats in the Minors.
“They’ve both played well and both got our attention with how they’ve played and been part of the discussions,” Hoyer said. “I think both of those guys have development left. It’s nice to see them performing well at Triple-A. That bodes well for our future.”
– Carrie Muskat
Third baseman Ian Stewart was reinstated from the suspended list, and rejoined the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa on Saturday. The Minor League team also placed outfielder Brett Jackson on the disabled list with a right calf strain, and outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha was promoted from Double-A Tennessee.
On Friday, the Cubs traded infielder Brent Lillibridge to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations, and on Saturday, left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi was dealt to the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Both began the season with the Major League team.
Stewart was suspended 10 games for violating the loyalty clause in his contract after he made disparaging comments about the Cubs and manager Dale Sveum on Twitter. He last played June 11 at Oklahoma City, and was batting .168 (19-for-113) with six doubles, five home runs, and 20 RBIs in 40 games before he was suspended.
Jackson was batting .223 with seven doubles, three homers, and 23 RBIs in 61 games. He had an earlier stint on the DL with turf toe.
Ha joins Iowa after batting .284 with one homer, 14 RBIs, and eight stolen bases in 28 games with the Smokies.
The Cubs also announced that catcher Steve Clevenger, whose Minor League rehab assignment was to end Saturday, was experiencing some tightness in his oblique area. Clevenger will rest, and then be re-evaluated by the Cubs’ medical staff. In 15 games, he batted .327 with five doubles, three home runs, and 11 RBIs.
– Carrie Muskat