Results tagged ‘ Carlos Pena ’

3/11 Pena feeling good at plate

Carlos Pena doesn’t gauge his progress this spring by the numbers. He’s going by feel, and on Friday, he felt really good. He hit his first spring homer and first extra-base hit for the Cubs in a 4-3 win over the White Sox. Pena has averaged 36 homers over the last four seasons but last year, hit .196. He came into Friday’s game with two hits in 17 at-bats in Cactus League play. How was he dealing with the slow start?

“It all depends on the way I evaluate myself,” Pena said. “If I evaluate how many hits I get, then I could say I got off to a bad start. The way I’ve been evaluating myself is more on how I feel and if I’m tracking pitches well and making hard contact. I’ve done so over the past few weeks, not with the results I wanted, obviously, but I think as hitters, we have to be careful on how we evaluate ourselves.”

What’s important, Pena said, is to focus on the right things. He’s been working in the batting cage each day with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on his approach.

“If you focus on the outcome sometimes,” Pena said, “you put together a pretty good at-bat, one pitch, you don’t hit it well, and then you are over-criticizing yourself and beating yourself up and it can be really detrimental for the next two weeks instead of building off good evaluation.

“I try to be careful with how I evaluate myself,” he said. “I wouldn’t consider it totally a bad start, but it’s been progressing the way I expected and hopefully I can carry this on through the end of Spring Training and into the season.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/11 Cubs lineup vs White Sox

Going to Glendale, Ariz., for today’s game between the Cubs and White Sox? Ryan Dempser will start for the Cubs. Here’s the lineup:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
C Soto
RF Colvin
LF Soriano
1B Pena
DH Luis Montanez
3B Marquez Smith

– Carrie Muskat

3/9 Cubs lineup vs Royals

Here’s Wednesday’s Cubs lineup vs the Royals:

2B Baker
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
C Soto
LF Soriano
1B Pena
RF Fukudome
P Garza

KC is starting a left-hander, which is why Pena and Fukudome are lower in the order.

– Carrie Muskat

3/4 Wood, Garza on family feud

Who knows? Maybe the Cubs’ recent dugout skirmish can result in a World Series championship season. Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena called a players only meeting on Thursday in the wake of sloppy play and the scuffle between Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva. Players kept the topic of the meeting private.

“It happens every year,” Kerry Wood said. “I’ve been involved in [fights] before and [the media] didn’t know about it. It happens. You never like to see it happen where everybody can see it but it is what it is.

“We’re all grown men,” he said. “We leave here in three, four weeks and we’re going to work together for 162 games. It better bring us closer.”

Not that he would recommend daily fisticuffs, but Matt Garza has seen positives come from negatives. In June 2008, he and Rays catcher Dioner Navarro scuffled in the dugout after a home run and an argument on the mound in Texas. The Rays reached the World Series that year.

“You guys all have families,” Garza said. “We see these guys eight, nine months out of the year. You can’t tell me you never get in an argument with your brother or sister. It happens.

“I think we care enough that it shows,” Garza said. “That’s why I have a good feeling about us. We care enough to say something. If we didn’t care and just swept it under the rug and players didn’t say anything, that’s a bad sign. At least we know here, ‘I’m going to hold you accountable just like you’re going to hold me accountable.’ When push comes to shove, I know he’ll have my back, and he’ll know I have his back.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/27 Colvin to start at 1B this week

Tyler Colvin will start at first base later this week, either Thursday or Friday, manager Mike Quade said Sunday. Quade talked to Colvin about getting him a start. “It’ll happen this week for sure,” Quade said. And Colvin’s response? “He [says], ‘Great — yeah, let’s go,'” Quade said. The Cubs want to see if Colvin can play first as well as the outfield to give them a backup for Carlos Pena.

– Carrie Muskat

2/27 Play ball

They pulled the tarp off the field at 9:30 a.m. MT Sunday at HoHoKam Park and there should be no problem getting the Cubs’ first Cactus League game in vs. the Athletics. First pitch 1:05 p.m. Mountain Time/2:05 p.m. Central Time. You can listen on WGN Radio as Pat Hughes & Keith Moreland begin their first season together. The first TV broadcast will be in one week when the Cubs play host to the Dodgers. This is the Cubs’ 33rd consecutive spring in Mesa, the longest active streak in the Cactus League.

Manager Mike Quade said he’ll take a moment before the game starts, just as he did before his first game in the big leagues as a coach and first game as the Cubs manager back on Aug. 23. He’s done his part to improve communications, and posted not just the starting lineup but also the backups at each position. He’s also posting lineups three days in advance.

“No one can say they weren’t ready if they see three days of lineups,” he said.

Here’s Sunday’s lineup in case you missed it:

RF Fukudome
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
1B Pena
LF Soriano
C Soto
2B DeWitt
P Zambrano

Also slated to pitch are Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Marcos Mateo and Justin Berg. Expect Zambrano and Garza to go two innings each.

– Carrie Muskat

2/26 Colvin hopes to avoid foolish mistakes

Tyler Colvin has been asking a lot of questions this spring. Colvin, whom the Cubs want to see play first base as well as outfield, has been spending a lot of time on infield drills.

“This is something I enjoy,” Colvin said Saturday. “I really do like taking ground balls. I’m used to this because it’s exactly what I had to do at Clemson.”

Manager Mike Quade has asked Colvin if he’s comfortable at first to make sure the transition is smooth. On Sunday in the first Cactus League game, Colvin will sub in right field. So far, Colvin said everything has been great.

He can take grounders forever but is working on being prepared for game situations. For example, if there’s a man on second base and the ball is hit up the middle and Colvin is at first, he can’t just stand there and watch.

“I have to remember, I’m the cutoff man and I have to get out there,” Colvin said. “It’s little stuff like that that worried me last year. You’re fine taking ground balls but once you get in the game, you hve to do a lot more than just catch the ball. You don’t want to look like a fool out there.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/23 Pena speaks up

Carlos Pena may be the new guy in Cubs camp but he made a point of stepping up to talk to the players during defensive drills on Wednesday. The topic was who has priority over certain pop ups and fly balls, and Pena wanted to point out that there are certain areas on the field where it is only one person’s responsibility. For example, Pena is in charge of the area to his left, a triangle, if you will, from him to the pitcher to the catcher. He asked manager Mike Quade if he could say something during the workout.

“He’s like, ‘Do you mind if I say something?’ and I said, ‘No — great,'” Quade said. “It’s a group effort in so many ways. Also, people in other organizations have heard other instructors say different things. Any input seems to make sense to bring up.”

Pena is helping Tyler Colvin learn first. Now, he’s trying to help the team.

“I’m happy he felt comfortable in making the point,” Quade said.

– Carrie Muskat

2/19 Off and running

Cubs manager Mike Quade put the team right to work on Saturday, the first full squad workout day at Fitch Park. One of the items on the agenda was bunt drills, and Quade was acting as the base runner, breaking from second base, as the infielders worked on positioning and signals. It also was good to see Carlos Pena tutoring Tyler Colvin at first. Colvin isn’t afraid to ask questions, and Pena, who won a Gold Glove in 2008, is offering advice. High winds made it a little tricky, creating mini dust storms on the infields.

– Carrie Muskat

2/17 Pena arrives and gets to work

Carlos Pena didn’t waste any time on Thursday. He arrived at the Cubs complex at Fitch Park, got dressed, and was on the field to take batting practice. And, after a vigorous round of infield drills, he headed straight for the batting cage to work with Rudy Jaramillo. He’s ready to go.

– Carrie Muskat

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