Results tagged ‘ Bryan LaHair ’

7/24 Trade rumors

Ryan Dempster will likely make a decision today regarding whether he’ll accept a deal to the Braves. The Cubs and Braves were believed to be finalizing a deal, which requires Dempster’s approval because of his status as a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team). The Braves were reportedly offering right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado.

Dempster isn’t the only Cubs player drawing attention leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. The Dodgers, who still could be pursuing Dempster, also are inquiring about Matt Garza. One report said the Dodgers would deal top pitching prospect Zach Lee to the Cubs for Garza, but a baseball source told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick that was premature. Lee was reportedly the player the Cubs asked for in the Dempster talks, but the Dodgers didn’t want to move him for a two-month rental player. Garza, on the other hand, would be under club control through arbitration for one more season.

However, the Dodgers also need a run-producing corner infielder at least as badly as a starting pitcher. Lee apparently still has significant trade value, even though he has struggled to a 9.45 ERA since being promoted to Double-A last month.

And it’s not just the Cubs pitching that’s drawing interest. The Orioles are reportedly asking about first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair.

Dempster’s departure would not just impact the Cubs rotation, but the players. Jeff Samardzija gives the veteran credit for helping him get on track this year.

“He’s easy to watch how he attacks hitters and it relates to me very well,” Samardzija said. “The list goes on — I could sit here all day and tell you what Demp’s done for me. It’s good to have that veteran mind and those veteran eyes around me at any point in the game — ‘Hey, I’m seeing this, and I’m seeing that.’ He’s been that guy for a long time.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/8 All-Star nerves

It hasn’t quite hit Bryan LaHair that he’s an All-Star, and probably won’t until Monday when he shows up in the National League clubhouse in Kansas City. LaHair will travel Sunday night with Cubs first base coach Dave McKay and the Mets’ All-Star contingent.

“I’ve been thinking about it and the closer you get, the more you think about it,” LaHair said, sounding like a little kid before Christmas. “I’m just trying to focus on the job here now and stay as humble as possible.”

LaHair, 29, spent nine years in the Minor Leagues, including six at Triple-A, before finally getting an opportunity in the big leagues with the Cubs this year. He received the second-most votes on the players’ ballot. He still gets a couple text messages a day from friends and family to congratulate him.

“This morning, I woke up and I’m like, ‘Hmm, I’ve got a game today, and I’m going to Kansas City,’ and it’s kind of cool I’m going to meet my brother and wife there,” he said.

The Mets All-Stars were presented their jerseys before Friday’s game. LaHair hasn’t seen his yet. But he’s been trying to visualize what it’ll be like in Kansas City.

“I thought about it yesterday when I was out there stretching,” he said. “I thought about Kansas City for a second, and trying to compare the two crowds, and thinking it probably won’t be close — it’ll be really loud and packed there. Different things pop up — what’s this going to be like? What’s that going to be like?”

He’ll find out Monday.

– Carrie Muskat

7/5 Cubs lineup

Dale Sveum is keeping lefties David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair in the lineup against Braves lefty Mike Minor on Thursday. Left-handed hitters are batting .267 against Minor while right-handers are batting .272. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Soto C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Garza P

– Carrie Muskat

7/3 Cubs lineup

David DeJesus is back in the Cubs lineup, leading off and playing center field, for Game 2 of the four-game series against the Braves. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Volstad P

– Carrie Muskat

7/2 An All-Star bath

So, what do you do to celebrate being named to your first Major League All-Star team after spending nine years in the Minor Leagues? Bryan LaHair took a long bath. LaHair finished second in the player balloting to the Reds’ Joey Votto, who was selected in the fan balloting as a starter.

“In Arizona, Willie Bloomquist came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I voted for you,'” LaHair said Monday. “He said, ‘Just keep swinging, keep hitting.’ I have the numbers. I know my RBIs totals could be higher. I think I’ve handled my role pretty well and been a tough out most of the time. Just the fact I got the respect like that from the players so soon and they respect my game and how I go about my business, I’m really thankful for that.”

LaHair, 29, has toiled in the Minor Leagues for nine seasons, making a Major League team’s Opening Day roster this year for the first time. Cubs manager Dale Sveum told LaHair and Castro they were going to the All-Star Game during a team meeting Sunday.

“[Sunday] was a really weird feeling,” LaHair said. “I went out in the dugout at the start of the game, and the first time the fans got loud, it kind of hit me — ‘I’m in a Major League ballpark right now and they just told me I’m going to the All-Star Game.’ You see Wrigley fans and the crowd and you remind yourself you’re in a Major League ballpark again. I was kind of like a little short of breath — I wasn’t sure how to feel or react.”

Once the Cubs arrived in Atlanta and he got settled into the hotel, he took a long, warm bath.

“I tried to breathe a little bit and soak it all in and just enjoy it and visualize it,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

7/2 Cubs lineup

The Cubs have two All-Stars in the lineup Monday as they open a four-game series against the Braves. Both Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair get the start against against Atlanta right-hander Tommy Hanson. Plus, Tony Campana is back and leading off. Here’s the lineup:

Campana CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Samardzija P

– Carrie Muskat

7/1 Congrats to LaHair

Bryan LaHair toiled for nine seasons in the Minor Leagues, getting a brief taste of big league baseball in ’08 with the Mariners. He led the Pacific Coast League with 38 home runs last year, and made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster this season for the first time. And now, he’s an All-Star. LaHair can thank his peers — he was voted in on the players’ ballot. Some may argue he’s not deserving but how can you not root for a guy like this?

“I think he was pretty emotional about it,” said Dale Sveum, who got to tell LaHair the news. “It kind of caught him off guard a little bit. That was one of those times as a manager, a special time, when you can tell a kid who’s 30 years old that he’s making an All-Star team after spending so much time in the Minor Leagues. It’s one of those special stories. That’s what we live for in this game is one of those special moments.”

LaHair, who actually turns 30 in November, had said he was humbled just to be on the ballot.

“It gives you chills,” he said. “You get a chance to quickly reflect, and I’m sure I’ll reflect more later on, but you think about all the work you put in and the adversity you’ve been through and the different adventures you’ve had along the way to get your first opportunity in the big leagues and now an All-Star Game is just incredible.”

Those adventures include playing in Venezuela in the offseason to work on his swing. He may no longer be the Cubs starting first baseman, but he’ll represent the team in Kansas City on July 10 along with Starlin Castro.

Could he even imagine this?

“It was a dream as a little boy to be an All-Star, but to think it would happen this fast or if at all — it’s really tough to get into that game,” he said. “It’s not something I play for — I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I’m thankful the players voted me in. I’m extremely thankful for that.”

– Carrie Muskat

 

7/1 Player favorites

Starlin Castro was named the top National League shortstop on the players’ All-Star ballots while Bryan LaHair was second among first basemen to the Reds’ Joey Votto, who was selected as a starter by the fan votes.

“I’m humbled by the talk,” LaHair said in an interview in May regarding the All-Star Game. “I’ve got to stay in the moment and prepare for today’s game. I never like to get too far ahead of myself. There’s a lot of good players in this league and a lot of guys with time served. It’d be great to go to the All-Star Game but it’s just so hard for me — I’m in such a young part of my Major League career so I can’t say I deserve to be there. I’d be lying if I stood here and said I wouldn’t want something like that. It’s a great honor. It’s reaching the top.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum gathered the entire team in the clubhouse to give Castro and LaHair the news on Sunday.

– Carrie Muskat

7/1 All-Stars Castro & LaHair

Starlin Castro is an All-Star for the second straight year and Bryan LaHair gets the nod for the first time. On Sunday, Castro and LaHair were named to the National League team as reserves during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell. Castro finished third in the balloting behind the Cardinals’ Rafael Furcal and the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki, even though he leads all NL shortstops with 94 hits and a .298 batting average. Last year, Castro was the youngest Cubs player ever named to the mid-summer classic. He also is the first Cubs shortstop to be selected in back to back All-Star Games since Don Kessinger was picked in 1971-72. Kessinger was named to the All-Star team from 1968-72 and again in ’74.

LaHair was batting .284 with 13 homers and 28 RBIs. He led the Pacific Coast League in home runs last season with 38.

– Carrie Muskat

6/30 Cubs lineup

Dale Sveum is sticking with left-handed hitting David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair against Astros lefty J.A. Happ on Saturday in Game 2 of this series. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Soto C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Garza P

– Carrie Muskat

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