Results tagged ‘ Bryan LaHair ’

6/29 Cubs lineup

Bryan LaHair is in right field and Steve Clevenger catching on Friday as the Cubs open a three-game series against the Astros. This is the Cubs last home series before the All-Star break. Paul Maholm makes the start. He’s looking for his first win in eight starts. The lefty is 11-6 with a 3.31 ERA in 20 starts against Houston. The Astros may be a little jet lagged. They had a late game at home Thursday against the Padres. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

LaHair RF

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Maholm P

– Carrie Muskat

6/25 Extra bases – UPDATE

* Travis Wood has a 2.27 ERA in June after compiling a 5.94 ERA in May. He also has quality starts in four of his last five outings. How’s his confidence level?

“Good right now — absolutely high right now,” Wood said, smiling.

* The Cubs are 19-15 when scoring four or more runs and now 4-16 vs. left-handed starters after Monday’s 6-1 win over the Mets and Johan Santana.

* When Anthony Rizzo arrives Tuesday, he’ll take over as the Cubs every day first baseman, and bat either third or fourth. Said Alfonso Soriano: “I’d like to see him hit behind me.”

* Bryan LaHair is prepared for Rizzo’s arrival.

“It is what it is,” LaHair said Monday. “He’ll get the opportunity to play. He’s a first baseman and that’s the only position he plays. He’s got a big bat, so we have to have him. I’m comfortable in the outfield and I just want to hit. As long as I’m in the lineup, I don’t really care [where I play].”

* Ryan Dempster, on the disabled list with a sore right lat, was able to throw on flat ground Monday, the first time he’s done so since he was sidelined June 16, and reported no discomfort. However, Dempster was expected to miss at least two more starts.

* Third baseman Ian Stewart, on the DL since June 13 with soreness in his left wrist, was able to hit Monday and was making progress. There is no timetable for his return.

– Carrie Muskat

6/21 Cubs Inbox

We’ll do a quick Cubs Inbox here. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown. Thanks.

Q: To follow up regarding Bryan LaHair and left-handed pitching, what were his stats in the Minors against lefties? I agree we cannot fully develop his talents if we don’t play him against lefties. — Tony H., Los Angeles, CA

A: In 2011, LaHair batted .284 (40-for-141) vs. left-handed pitchers. He had a .546 slugging percentage, .338 OBP, .884 OPS, with nine homers and 10 doubles. Against right-handers, LaHair batted .352 (111-for-315) with a .717 slugging percentage, .434 OBP, 1.151 OPS, 29 homers and 28 doubles. Dale Sveum was asked about LaHair vs. lefties this week.

“I think he’s got to get it out of his own head,” Sveum said. “There’s probably too much thinking, too much worrying about this pitch, guessing too much and not being aggressive enough early in the count, especially.”

Q: Did the Cubs sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler yet? I was really hoping for him to be a Cub. — Riley T., Dyersville, IA

A: Soler has not officially signed with the Cubs. There is still immigration paperwork to be processed, and he must pass a physical.

Q: Being that third base is our weakest offensive position, is it crazy to think LaHair or Anthony Rizzo could make that conversion? — Brian T., State College, PA

A: Yes, it’s crazy to think that.

Q: I have not heard anything about the progress of Wayne Gretzky’s son, who signed with the Cubs for a nice bonus. What’s his status? — John C., Hanford, CA

A: Trevor Gretzky, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft, had a shoulder injury, and was rehabbing at the Cubs facility in Mesa, Ariz.

Q: I love the history of the Cubs uniform numbers. Has a Cub ever worn 00? I remember Turk Wendell and Todd Hundley wore No. 99. — Ed W., Terre Haute, IN

A: No one has worn “00″ on a Cubs uniform or a single “0.” By the way, the last to wear No. 99 was So Taguchi in 2009. Hundley was the first in ’01.

– Carrie Muskat

6/20 Cubs lineup

The Cubs close their intracity Interleague series against the White Sox on Wednesday night, sending Randy Wells to the mound against Gavin Floyd. Bryan LaHair is back at first base because Steve Clevenger is catching. Reed Johnson is starting in right. Can the Cubs complete the sweep? Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

LaHair 1B

Soriano DH

Clevenger C

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Johnson RF

Campana LF

Wells P

– Carrie Muskat

6/19 Cubs lineup

Bryan LaHair is in right field again and David DeJesus in center in Tuesday’s second game against the White Sox. Travis Wood is pitching. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

LaHair RF

Soriano DH

Clevenger 1B

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Soto C

Campana LF

– Carrie Muskat

6/18 Extra bases

The Cubs set season highs in runs (12), hits (15) and home runs (five) in Monday’s 12-3 win over the White Sox. They also tied a season high with six runs in the seventh. They also hit five home runs against the White Sox on July 2, 2006.

“That was obviously, no doubt, our best offensive production of the year — slugging percentage, quality at-bats, hitting the fastball, taking advantage of all the mistakes they made throughout the whole lineup,” Dale Sveum said. “I think everybody had a pretty good day today, one way or another.”

* Bryan LaHair was hitting .323 with nine home runs and 18 RBIs on the road. LaHair made his first start in the outfield, starting in right. He was tested almost immediately. Gordon Beckham lined a ball to right in the first and LaHair grabbed it on the run.

“I kind of had a feeling I was going to get a ball early in the game,” LaHair said. “It always works that way. I got a good read and got a good jump and took a good angle and was able to make the play.”

* Alfonso Soriano has four home runs and 10 RBIs as the Cubs designated hitter, which are highs for the franchise. It’s a shame they couldn’t play the Tigers in Detroit and the Red Sox in Boston. He’s hitting .363 with five homers and 10 RBIs in an eight-game hitting streak.

* Starlin Castro tied a season high with three hits, and recorded back to back three-hit games for the second time in his career. The shortstop had been in a little funk at the start of the month. What changed?

“Probably his average dropping under .300,” Sveum said. “I’ve noticed a lot of good hitters, when that average gets below .300, I think they start turning it up a notch.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/18 Cubs making room for Rizzo

Dale Sveum called Bryan LaHair Monday morning to give him a heads up. LaHair was going to start in right field for the first time this season, which means first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s arrival may be soon. Rizzo was batting .364 and leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs at Triple-A Iowa, hitting a two-run shot in the seventh inning on Sunday. The Cubs have said they don’t want to rush Rizzo and they are sticking to a plan but Sveum keeps checking his email to get daily updates on the young first baseman.

“Obviously, LaHair playing right field is something that might eventually happen,” Sveum said. “There’s a day when Rizzo is going to be here so this is getting him acclimated to the outfield, too.”

When? Neither Sveum nor Theo Epstein will say. Last year, Rizzo was batting .365 with 16 home runs at Triple-A Tucson when he was promoted to the Padres, and he struggled, batting .143. He’s made some adjustments this year, which include lowering his hands, and has wowed anyone who sees him. Epstein wants to make sure the timing is right.

“You have to look at what happened last year,” Epstein said Monday. “He had great numbers and was rushed a little bit and came up and struggled so its important to put players in position to succeed, and always put your Major League club in position to succeed. You see with the lineup tonight we might be taking a look at players in different positions to allow the team to be in a position to succeed when we do potentially make a move. Those things you don’t want to rush into, there’s more to development than numbers.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/18 Cubs lineup

Bryan LaHair gets his first outfield start. Here’s the lineup vs. White Sox:

DeJesus CF

Castro SS

LaHair RF

Soriano DH

Clevenger 1B

Barney 2B

Valbuena 3B

Soto C

Campana LF

– Carrie Muskat

5/22 LaHair gets a break

Bryan LaHair got a day off Tuesday. The first baseman, who is 1-for-19 in his last six games, did not start against the Astros to get what Dale Sveum called a “mental breather.” LaHair has started 36 of 43 games.

“He’s never really gone through this mental grind in the big leagues and played this many games in a row,” Sveum said.

LaHair, batting .315 overall, took early batting practice and also was able to workout in the weight room and on the field before the game. Can he explain the last few games?

“I’ve had some rough luck for a few games there where I had no results,” said LaHair, whose 10 home runs lead all Major League first basemen. “I thought I was having good at-bats. A couple games against the White Sox, I just didn’t feel good at the plate. Last night, I gave the first at-bat away and I was [ticked] about that and then I just missed a three-run homer [in the third]. It is what it is, it’s baseball. Everybody goes through it. I go through it a couple times a year. I feel like I’m one click away from getting back to where I was.”

He felt as if he knew what to expect but didn’t react. Take Monday against the Astros’ Bud Norris.

“I could’ve bet my life the second pitch would be a curveball and for whatever reason I just didn’t swing and I knew it would be there,” LaHair said. “Just like my second at-bat — I knew the first pitch would be a fastall and I just missed it.”

The early batting practice session was loud as players hit more than a few balls into the empty outfield seats.

“It’s always nice to take early B.P. in parks like this,” Sveum said. “Sometimes that’s what it takes.”

Even Tony Campana, more likely to get an inside the park home run than launch one over the fence, was able to drop a ball into the seats and it rattled around.

“Like I said, it’s nice to take early BP here,” Sveum said, smiling.

– Carrie Muskat

5/22 Cubs lineup

Blake Lalli gets his first Major League start and Bryan LaHair gets a day off Tuesday as the Cubs face the Astros in Game 2 of a three-game series. Lalli has most likely caught Travis Wood at Triple-A Iowa. No roster move yet to open a spot for Wood. LaHair is 1-for-19 in his last six games, and Dale Sveum wanted to give the first baseman a breather. Here’s the lineup:

RF DeJesus

CF Johnson

SS Castro

LF Soriano

3B Mather

1B Baker

2B Barney

C Lalli

P T. Wood

– Carrie Muskat

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