Results tagged ‘ Brett Jackson ’
* The Cubs will say goodbye to HoHoKam Stadium after Thursday’s game. The team has called the ballpark home since its first game, Feb. 28, 1997, against the Mariners. Fittingly, the Cubs will wrap up the 2013 Cactus League season against the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT. The Cubs are 132-118-13 all-time in Cactus League play at HoHoKam Stadium over 17 seasons.
Just because the big league team is leaving after Thursday’s game, it doesn’t mean HoHoKam will be dormant. The Cubs’ Minor Leaguers will play there this spring before breaking camp for their respective sites, plus the stadium will host the team’s Arizona Rookie League squad this summer. The Mesa Solar Sox also will play Arizona Fall League games at HoHoKam, starting in October.
The Athletics have signed a 20-year lease to play at HoHoKam, starting in 2015. Among the changes they will make is a new video scoreboard, wider seats, and a bigger clubhouse. The Cubs are moving to a new facility, currently being built in west Mesa at the intersection of highways 101 and 202, and scheduled to be ready for 2014 Spring Training.
* Outfielder Brett Jackson played in a Minor League game Wednesday, and got some at-bats. Jackson, sidelined with a strained right shoulder, was expected to play four or five innings on Thursday. He will open the season at Triple-A Iowa.
* Third baseman Ian Stewart expects to take batting practice on Friday. He will remain in Arizona and continue his rehab here from a sore left quad.
* The Cubs did claim right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays in their continued search for bullpen help. But they won’t see the pitcher in the final exhibition games. Moscoso is not guaranteed a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, but is an option for the pen. The team did tell right-hander Cory Wade, one of the in-house candidates, that he will not make the 25-man roster. That leaves lefty Hisanori Takahashi in camp, but the Cubs are still monitoring the waiver wire.
To make room for Moscoso on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Takahashi is a non-roster invitee, and the Cubs would need to open a spot on the 40-man for him as well. The lefty has given up six earned runs on 16 hits and four walks over 15 1/3 innings this spring.
* The Cubs also have yet to finalize the position players on the roster. Steve Clevenger is in the same situation as Takahashi. He’s the last in-house candidate.
“It’s a little weird not knowing what your fate is,” said Clevenger, who made the Opening Day roster last year as a backup catcher. “I put stuff on the truck [going to Chicago]. I’m getting ready to head north, and if they tell me different, they’ll have to send it to me.
“It’s a little weird,” he said. “It’s a little nerve-racking, too. At least I’m making them make a decision rather than be already down in the Minor League camp.”
– Carrie Muskat
* The competition for the last bulllpen spot is down to three pitchers after Rafael Dolis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. It’s now down to Hisanori Takahashi, Zach Putnam and Cory Wade.
* Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt was scratched from Sunday’s lineup because of a stiff neck. The outfielder was struck on the right side of his neck by a ball on the fly while sliding into third during Saturday’s game, and had a large bruise to show for it.
“They got me,” Sappelt said. “As soon as I peeked back, it hit me.”
He was expected to be sidelined two to three days.
* Brett Jackson, who has been sidelined because of inflammation in his right shoulder, was expected to resume playing this week, although it could be in a Minor League game.
“They’ll be smart about easing me back into it,” Jackson said.
He doesn’t have any problems hitting, and was able to hit off a batting tee on Saturday, and planned on doing the same Sunday.
* Ian Stewart was examined on Sunday by the team orthopedic specialist, and will begin a rehab assignment in two weeks if he continues to progress. Stewart has been sidelined with a sore left quad since Feb. 21.
– Carrie Muskat
* Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson had an MRI on his right shoulder, which revealed some inflammation. He’ll be sidelined about one week.
“I’m going to keep working everyday,” Jackson said Saturday in Mesa. “No. 1 is to get 100 percent healthy again. I’m confident that we’re going to take care of that quickly, and obviously when I’m back we’ll focus on what’s next.”
He said he felt the soreness throwing.
“I’m confident we’re going to knock it out quickly and be healthy for the season,” he said.
* Ian Stewart, trying to come back from a sore left quad, chose not to play in a Minor League game on Saturday and instead continue to rehab his leg. Stewart did play Thursday, his first game action since Feb. 21.
* Matt Garza is making progress with his throwing program. So far, no time table for him to get on a mound.
– Carrie Muskat
* Brett Jackson was scratched from the Cubs lineup for the exhibition game against Team Japan. He’s been bothered this spring by soreness in his throwing shoulder.
“It’s a little more than that [tightness, stiffness] to take himself out of the lineup,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “It doesn’t bother him hitting, just pinches when he throws.”
* Junior Lake was assigned to the Cubs’ Minor League camp. He’s out with a fractured rib.
* Carlos Marmol was imitating Dominican Republic closer Fernando Rodney’s pose that he does after saving a game. Rodney pretends as if he’s shooting a bow and arrow. Marmol declined an invite to pitch for the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic. Rodney is doing OK as the Dominican team is unbeaten.
“He’s doing a great job,” Marmol said.
* Starling Peralta, who was selected by the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft, was returned to the Cubs on Friday. Peralta was 5-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 20 games (17 starts) last season for Class A Peoria, striking out 86 over 99 1/3 inings. That included a 14 strikeout game Aug. 7 against Clinton.
“He’s a good kid and he loved it here,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “He was disappointed he left. We liked him. Couldn’t work a deal out. He really liked it here, he fit in great. Great kid. He’s got a great arm, he’s got a great attitude, he’s got good stuff and it’s quite possible that over time he’ll develop into a pretty nice pitcher. I know he was really disappointed to leave here, he really enjoyed it here.”
* The Cubs’ split squad games continue this weekend. Half the team will be in Las Vegas to play the Rangers, the other half will play host to the Royals on Saturday at HoHoKam Stadium, and travel to Phoenix to play the Athletics on Sunday. Hisanori Takahashi will start Saturday vs. the Royals, and Scott Baker will make his first Cactus League start Sunday against the A’s. In Las Vegas, Jeff Samardzija will start Saturday and Carlos Villanueva on Sunday.
– Carrie Muskat
Carlos Villanueva gave up one run on four hits over three innings, and that was a solo home run by Pablo Sandoval, in the Cubs’ 9-7 loss to the Giants on Saturday. Brett Jackson doubled and scored on Matt Szczur’s sacrifice fly in the eighth. Steve Clevenger, starting at first base, hit two RBI singles. Logan Watkins added a RBI double and Jackson had a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Brian Bogusevic also had two hits.
“I’m satisfied, even with the home run allowed,” Villanueva said. “It’s the best I’ve felt and I had better rhythm that [third] inning. Sometimes you have to tip your cap [to Sandoval]. I’d rather tip now in spring than in the regular season. It’s a better day but still have work to do.”
Sandoval hit a pitch that was ankle high.
“It was exactly where I wanted to throw it,” Villanueva said, shaking his head.
* On Sunday, the Cubs will play split-squad games, sending half the team to Tempe to face the Angels, and the other half will play the Brewers at HoHoKam. Yovanni Gallardo had been scheduled to face the Cubs in Mesa but was scratched because of a groin strain. Edwin Jackson will start for the Cubs. This will be Anthony Rizzo’s last game with the Cubs before joining Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic. According to their respective Twitter accounts, Albert Almora and Daniel Vogelbach will be on the travel squad for one of the Cubs’ teams on Sunday. Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick last year, said he’s going to be playing in Tempe.
Here are the early Sunday lineups:
Vs. Brewers in Mesa
Vs. Angels in Tempe
– Carrie Muskat
Luis Valbuena led off the second inning with a home run, Junior Lake added a solo shot, and the Cubs scored five runs in the third to post a 11-2 victory Saturday over the Angels in the Cactus League opener in Tempe. Logan Watkins tripled to open the third and scored two outs later on Scott Hairston’s single. Brett Jackson hit his second triple of the game, driving in two, and Welington Castillo and Brent Lillibridge each hit RBI singles.
Lefty Travis Wood gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out two in two innings in his first start. Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon gave up one hit in one inning in his Cubs debut. Dontrelle Willis, who is in the Cubs’ Minor League mini camp and has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011, was on the travel squad, but did not pitch.
– Carrie Muskat
* On Wednesday, Scott Hairston put a Cubs cap on for the first time in his life. He should’ve done so sooner. He grew up in Illinois, prepping at Naperville North High School, and his father played for the White Sox and his brother, Jerry, played for the Cubs. Hairston, who signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs on Sunday, joined the team officially for the first time Wednesday at Fitch Park.
“I was a fan of the players on the Cubs, but my dad played for the Sox, so I was a Sox fan,” he said about growing up. “I used to love coming to Wrigley Field and the history, especially in the late ’90s when Sammy [Sosa] was doing his thing. I sat in the bleachers a few times when he was hitting all his home runs. That was a good time to be in Chicago.”
Coincidentally, Hairston will wear No. 21 with the Cubs, which also was Sosa’s number.
“It’s Sammy’s,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want it? Who wouldn’t want to be 21?”
* Give Dale Sveum an assist in convincing Brent Lillibridge to sign with the team.
“I like to get a feel for the manager, especially in a situation like this,” said Lillibridge, a non-roster invitee. “I wanted to just talk baseball. [Sveum] really sold me on so many different parts of it and was real honest with me. That’s what you want from the manager and the whole organization.”
Now, his wife is already scouting for a place to rent in Chicago. They know the area. He played 3 1/2 seasons with the White Sox, then was traded twice last year — once to the Red Sox and again to the Indians.
He could be the utility player the Cubs need. Anthony Rizzo will be the main first baseman, but there is no backup. Catchers Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro will get some playing time at first in Spring Training just in case but Lillibridge could be the guy. It helps that he has played outfield and shortstop as well.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it gives you a huge edge in the National League,” Sveum said of Lillibridge’s versatility. “He’s got some sock in his bat for a guy who looks like he’s 150 pounds soaking wet.”
* Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija all threw bullpen sessions on Wednesday. All looked good but Sveum was really pleased with Samardzija.
“You would’ve thought it was playoff time,” Sveum said. “That was about as dominant a bullpen as you’re going to see. It was pretty impressive to watch him throw those 30 pitches today.”
The trio of pitchers give the Cubs something they didn’t have, which is power arms.
“It’s nice as a manager, the players, the organization, to know you have three guys who have no-hitter stuff when they walk up on the mound,” Sveum said. “One, they have experience; two, they have great stuff; and three, they all throw over 95 miles an hour, which is always a huge plus.”
* Keep an eye on Brett Jackson. He has changed his swing, and it should pay off.
“I think it’s going to benefit him a lot,” Sveum said of the changes made during a week in November. “A lot of these things, you’re optimistic about change and making adjustments and stuff, and as a player, you really want the games to get going because it all feels great, but how’s it going to work in a game? That’s the final piece of the puzzle.”
* The Cubs front office bunting tourney gets underway Saturday to determine the final spot in the field of 64. GM Jed Hoyer will face Theo Epstein in the first round, with the media relations staff facing several of the clubhouse crew.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team may revisit the issue of whether to invite Sammy Sosa back. Sosa has not returned since he walked out after the 2004 season.
“With Sammy, it’s awkward,” Ricketts said Saturday. “I think over time, there’ll be a good solution for all this stuff, but obviously I think you saw what happened to the Hall of Fame voting this year. I don’t know. It would be nice to put this chapter to rest and just welcome back all the guys who were from that era that people suspected of doing whatever.”
There has not been much communication between the Cubs and Sosa since he left.
* Cubs manager Dale Sveum and hitting coach James Rowson were happy Brett Jackson accepted the drastic changes they suggested to the young outfielder’s swing during a workout in November in Mesa, Ariz. Jackson was promoted to the big leagues Aug. 5 despite leading the Pacific Coast League with 158 strikeouts. He batted .175 in 44 games with the Cubs.
Sveum said it may benefit Jackson that he hit “rock bottom.” The outfielder, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2009, has been hitting more this offseason than in the past. He was still expected to open at Triple-A Iowa.
* The Cubs have the second pick overall in the June First-Year Player Draft, and even though there is a need for more pitching in the organization, they could chose a position player. Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, said usually the best bets at the top of the Draft are position players.
“We will not neglect pitching in the Draft but we’ll take the best player available,” Epstein said.
* Tony Campana is very popular with Cubs fans. One fan asked Sveum why the speedy Campana couldn’t get a spot in the starting outfield. Sveum said Campana is fighting for one of the backup outfield spots, and that he has a hard time getting on base consistently. Expect Dave Sappelt to be one of the backup outfielders.
* Broadcaster Len Kasper said new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer was just like Adam Dunn in terms of high strikeouts, high on-base percentage. That was meant to be a complement. Deer said his philosophy as a hitting coach is: “Do as I say, not as I did.”
* Sveum said he wants coaches who aren’t afraid to say anything to the players. His philosophy? “Don’t ever think these guys know everything,” Sveum said.
* There are often unusual questions during Cubs Convention seminars and Saturday was no exception. One fan complained that the players weren’t paid enough to afford a haircut, and said Sveum looked as if he “sleeps on a park bench.” A youngster asked Epstein to promise he could get a Major League contract once he reaches 18. Epstein said yes.
A father from San Francisco asked Ricketts what he should tell his 8-year-old son, who is teased for wearing Cubs gear.
“I really believe we have the smartest guys in baseball building a championship team and it just takes time,” Ricketts said. “Your son’s 8; he’s got lots of time.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs manager Dale Sveum met with the media on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. Here are some highlights from his session:
* Brett Jackson spent time with Sveum and the Cubs hitting coaches in Mesa. Jackson apparently made “huge, huge strides” and has completely overhauled his swing. Sveum said the young outfielder could be in the mix in 2013.
“I think he’s got a good base to work with going into the rest of the winter and going into Spring Training to understand the art of hitting, so to speak,” Sveum said. “Sometimes it gets lost and taught the wrong way.”
* Darwin Barney also spent time with Sveum in Mesa. The second baseman didn’t have to make huge, drastic swing changes, but the coaches did emphasize driving the ball.
“I think his on-base percentage will gradually get better with experience,” Sveum said. “We all know the glove he has but we have to get that OPS up and he knows that.”
* Sveum was happy Bryan LaHair signed with a Japanese team.
“He had a nice first half for us and it was kind of a unique situation that doesn’t happen every year that a guy makes the All-Star team and basically doesn’t play much the second half of the season, especially after [Anthony] Rizzo got there,” Sveum said. “It wasn’t going to be a super good fit in the outfield because of the speed factor. We want to be more athletic in the outfield. obviously, you’ll miss that kind of bat. I think he made some adjustments the last month of the season to where it’s going to help him. I’m glad he’s going over there, get some money and play, and hopefully has a nice career.”
* Starlin Castro still has work to do.
“The biggest thing with him is we know the talent, we know the ability, the 200 hits,” Sveum said. “We saw huge strides defensively. … What I want to see out of him is keep progressing mentally and understand the process of becoming a winning player and not a hit seeker. [We want him to become] more of a winning hitter, situations, drive runs in, understand the situations. Defensively, I think he came a long way but still has to concentrate more. I think we got him, just throwing a number out there, [concentrating] probably 80 to 85 percent of the time. We’ve got to get that to that 95 percent. I don’t think anybody ever focuses 100 percent — I think you’d be lying if you said that. He took a lot of pride in that and got much better for a 22-year-old kid.”
* The Cubs were happy to add Dioner Navarro as a backup catcher. Said Sveum: “He’s still a young catcher. He switch hits, gives you good at-bats. He’s probably the best backup catcher available out there.”
* Matt Garza, sidelined after 18 starts with a right elbow injury, is on his regular offseason schedule, and should be ready to go in Spring Training. He was expected to start throwing by Christmas.
* Does Sveum expect the team to have a better record in 2013?
“When you lose 100 games, you better go into it with a little more optimism,” he said.
– Carrie Muskat
Brett Jackson will be back in the Cubs’ starting outfield. The only question is when. Jackson spent a few days in Mesa, Ariz., with Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who said Tuesday the young outfielder has made “huge, huge strides” and completely overhauled his swing. Jackson, who batted .175 in 44 games with the Cubs after he was called up in early August, was projected to open the 2013 season at Triple-A Iowa.
“There’s no doubt that Brett Jackson could be part of the Cubs big league team next year,” Sveum said. “These kind of things are obviously all up to the individual now. We brought him up last season hoping he was going to do well but knowing we get to see him first-hand, where a week ago, he went out to Arizona, we were able to fix the things and be hands on,” Sveum said. “I think he’ll tell you it was a huge learning experience. Things obviously didn’t go well but he knows now that sometimes you have to hit that wall to know, ‘wow, I really have to make some huge adjustments to play at this level.’”
The Cubs are in the market for another outfielder, and would prefer a left-handed bat. Jackson could be that guy but needs to show he’s ready.
“I think he’s got a good base to work with the rest of the winter and going into Spring Training to understand the art of hitting, so to speak,” Sveum said. “Sometimes it gets lost and taught the wrong way.”
– Carrie Muskat