Results tagged ‘ Chad Tracy ’

3/30 Tracy in, Millar out

The Cubs decided they needed a left-handed bat and someone who could backup at third over a right-handed bat, and picked Chad Tracy over Kevin Millar for the final roster spot. Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld were both optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

“He brings intangibles to the table but so do the rest of them,” GM Jim Hendry said of Millar. “He knew before camp started that it was kind of a long shot.”

Hendry met one on one with Millar to give him the news.

“Kevin was great,” Hendry said. “He’s a pro. I think he knew that I agonized over [the decision]. He’s a guy you’d always want in your organization. I’m not here to say he’s done [playing]. He knows down the road he’s a potential employee here. He’d be a great coach. He’s a tremendous human being and helped some guys here even though he’s not getting on the plane Saturday.”

With the Cubs trimming their roster this quickly, Millar may be able to catch on with another team.

The Cubs bench is much different from a year ago and much more experienced. They now have Tracy, Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker, Koyie Hill and rookie Tyler Colvin.

— Carrie Muskat

3/30 Millar waits for word

The Cubs were expected to make their final roster move on Tuesday and Kevin Millar can only wait. He, Chad Tracy, Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld were still in camp, waiting to see who got the last spot on the bench.

Millar knows he has the reputation of being popular in the clubhouse and blended in well with the team.

“That’s the thing — you get labeled, ‘Oh, he’s a great clubhouse guy,'” Millar said Tuesday. “I’m going to give you a tough at-bat late in the game. You’re a threat. Anybody who can hit a home run is considered a threat off the bench. I’m a threat off the bench. I wanted to give Lou some flexibility. ‘Hey, he can go to left.’ If Soriano blew out, am I going to play 60 games in left? No, that’s not my job. You’d call a left fielder up. But if there’s a doubleheader, you go out to left, or a double switch, you go to third base. Those are the things you want to bring. We know I can play first.

“There’s things that I can do to help the club other than being the dancing bear and trying to get everybody to eat together. We forget about that side of it. I’ve had a lot of at-bats in the big league.”

He admits he’s been pressing at the plate a little. This is the second straight season in which he hasn’t found out if he’s made a team until the last week.

“It’s a miserable feeling from the players’ side,” Millar said. “You hear, ‘Well, relax, don’t worry about it, don’t press.’ You’re human. I’m 38 years old and have almost 5,000 at-bats in the big leagues. You’re still going to try to press to do well. That’s the human factor. It’s your career.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/29 The roster, walks & runs

The Cubs are expected to trim the roster to 25 on Tuesday.

“Then we’ll be set to go,” Lou Piniella said.

There are four players — Chad Tracy, Kevin Millar, Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld — battling for one spot. Millar is the only right-handed hitter in the group and he was hitting .242. He pinch-hit on Monday and popped up to the shortstop. Tracy was hitting .243 and can play third base if the Cubs want a backup there. He also has a career .302 average as a pinch-hitter. Hoffpauir was hitting .239 this spring and can play first and some outfield. Fuld, who can play all three outfield spots, was hitting .147.

“We’ve talked about it over and over again,” Piniella said. “Everybody brings a little something different to the equation. I think we have a pretty good idea but we’ll wait until tomorrow.”

* Tyler Colvin now is batting .455 after going 1-for-4 on Monday and driving in two runs. But he hasn’t drawn a single walk this spring.

“He hasn’t swung and missed that much,” Piniella said.

It will be interesting to see who makes the adjustments first — other teams or Colvin.

“If he continues to hit and the scouts start going over the fact that ‘Hey, this young man is swinging the bat so let’s be a little careful,’ then the walks will start coming,” Piniella said. “Right now, they’re just pitching to him.”

* Lefty James Russell, who will be one of three rookies in the bullpen, hasn’t given up a run this spring in 11 innings over nine games.

* Expect Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez back in the lineup on Tuesday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/28 One opening left

Here’s the Cubs’ Opening Day roster so far:

Pitchers: Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, James Russell, and Justin Berg.

Outfielders: Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Marlon Byrd, Xavier Nady and Tyler Colvin.

Infielders: Derrek Lee, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, and Aramis Ramirez.

Catchers: Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

Caridad, Russell, Berg and Colvin are rookies. There’s one opening left and still in camp are Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Micah Hoffpauir, Sam Fuld and Chris Robinson.

— Carrie Muskat

3/28 Colvin is in

Tyler Colvin is in. Lou Piniella said Sunday the young outfielder, who was batting .475 this spring, has made the final 25-man roster.

There’s now four players — Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Micah Hoffpauir and Sam Fuld — battling for one spot. When first asked about the bench, Piniella talked in generalities.

“Everybody who is here has special merits,” Piniella said before Sunday’s game. “It’s just a question of which way we decide to go. We’ll probably sit down and talk about it at length. Everybody brings something to the table. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. We only have one spot. That’s the problem and there are four people left and we can only keep one.”

OK, if there are four left, then Colvin is in?

“If we can’t keep Colvin after the spring he’s had, something’s wrong,” Piniella said.

Colvin said he won’t believe he’s made the big league roster until he’s traveling to Atlanta for the season opener. Has Piniella told him?

“I’ll help him today get on the plane,” Piniella said. “He’s had a heck of a spring. My gosh, you should be rewarded for coming to Spring Training [like that]. Look at [reliever James] Russell — he hasn’t given up a run this spring and he’ll be with us. You reward the performance in spring. If not, there’s no sense in keeping statistics.”

It will come down to Piniella giving Colvin enough playing time to stay sharp.

“I have to do that,” Piniella said. “I’ve talked to Jim [Hendry] about that. I’ve got to find some playing time for him. We don’t want him just making the club and being a defensive replacement. We want him to do a little playing.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Lee, Ramirez, Nady & more

Both Lou Piniella and Derrek Lee were nursing sore backs on Thursday. Piniella skipped the trip to Tucson. Lee was injured in Surprise on Wednesday. He was apparently eating in the clubhouse and the chair he was sitting in collapsed. Lee was slow running to first on a play and was pulled after three innings. The first baseman was expected back in the Cubs’ lineup on Friday.

* Third baseman Aramis Ramirez should be back Friday as well. He was able to play catch on Thursday at HoHoKam and was tentatively scheduled to start at third Friday when the Cubs play host to the Athletics. He got some at-bats in a Minor League game Wednesday.

* Xavier Nady started in right field in a Minor League game Wednesday but never had a ball hit to him. He was hit on the right hand by a pitch and had X-rays, but they were negative. Expect to see Nady in a Cactus League game soon.

“He didn’t get any balls hit his way but just the preparation, getting set and running out, it’s good for him,” Piniella said. “It’s part of the regimen of being an outfielder.”

The Cubs have one more game in an American League park this spring and Piniella also doesn’t want to use the designated hitter at HoHoKam so his pitchers can get used to hitting in a game and bunting. That also means Nady will have to play the outfield to get at-bats.

* Jeff Gray is unlikely to make the Opening Day roster. The right-hander been slowed because of a strained groin.

“He’s got a nice arm,” Piniella said. “But if you’re rushing to get him ready, you’re looking at something (bad) that could really happen. But we’ll see. We’re going to sit down with [athletic trainer Mark O’Neal] and [pitching coach Larry Rothschild] and see. But I like what I see. But if you get him on a fast track, then you’ve got a little problem.”
* Expect some roster moves on Friday. The Cubs will get down to either 12 or 13 pitchers, and 16 or 17 position players.
* Chad Tracy did as ordered on Wednesday, hitting two doubles against the Rangers.

“I said I wanted to see him smack it, and he hit a couple balls well, in the right-centerfield gap and the left-center field gap,” Piniella said. “That last spot, it’s not an easy decision. We’ve got a lot of things to consider. We’re not set one way or another. Things will go on for a little bit. And [Micah] Hoffpauir is swinging the bat a little better here at the end of camp.”

The Cubs are trying to decide whether to keep Tracy, Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, Andres Blanco, or Bobby Scales.

— Carrie Muskat

3/23 Decisions, decisions

The Cubs will trim the spring roster to 30 on Friday. Right now, it’s at 40, but that includes pitchers Ted Lilly and Angel Guzman, who will both open the season on the disabled list. After Monday’s game, Lou Piniella met with GM Jim Hendry, the coaches and front office staff to discuss the final roster decisions.

The staff is weighing how it wants to handle the bench makeup. For example, they’d be more inclined to keep outfielder Tyler Colvin if he was going to get at least three starts a week to stay sharp rather than just come off the bench in a double switch.

So far, Mike Fontenot has looked fine at shortstop. If he can handle that, the team might be more inclined to keep someone like Chad Tracy or Kevin Millar, who are both non-roster invitees and both can contribute offensively.

“I think he’s done fine,” Hendry said of Millar. “He brings a lot to the table. We knew that when we signed him. It wasn’t just show up ‘cuz we like you. We have to balance how much does he have left, can he hit off the bench, the intangibles he brings.”

* Xavier Nady will begin playing in the outfield in the next 10 days, including some games at Fitch Park with the Minor League teams. There has been no talk about having Nady open the season on the DL. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. If Nady is in the outfield in a regular season game, the Cubs will take precautions to protect his elbow. This is his second Tommy John procedure.

— Carrie Muskat

3/21 Cubs Sunday notebook

Mike Fontenot started the second straight game at shortstop on Sunday. If he can play there, the Cubs may be more inclined to keep Kevin Millar or Chad Tracy on the bench than a defensive player like Andres Blanco. Millar started in left and had no problems. Expect to see Xavier Nady in the outfield and first base in the final two weeks of Cactus League play.

“You have to get a little game ready, get some balls off the bat, get your legs in shape, get out there running around,” Lou Piniella said. “It’s a lot different than just DH-ing. We have to give him some time.”

* Aramis Ramirez stayed at HoHoKam on Sunday to hit with coach Rudy Jaramillo and the regulars. There’s no time line for when Ramirez, nursing a sore tricep, will get in a game.

* Blanco, who has been out since March 6 with a strained right knee, played shortstop in the Minor League camp on Sunday.

* Pitcher Brian Schlitter survived a liner off his right calf by Ryan Hanigan in the fifth inning Sunday.

* In the 10th inning Sunday, the Cubs had players from Korea (Hak-Ju Lee), Italy (Alex Maestri), Canada (Chris Robinson), the Dominican Republic (Jose Valdez) and the U.S. on the field.

* Angel Guzman will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. James Andrews will do the procedure.

— Carrie Muskat

3/20 Down to the wire

Justin Berg not only won the Cubs Idol competition on Saturday but also appears to have locked up a spot in the bullpen. Lou Piniella said there are four pitchers competing for one spot and that group includes John Gaub, James Russell, Marcus Mateo and Mike Parisi. When asked about Berg, Piniella said: “Berg is in. Berg has done a nice job.”

That means the ‘pen now consists of closer Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Berg, and two of the four pitchers who don’t make the rotation. That list includes Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

“I like the arms we have and I like the mix we have,” Piniella said.

Piniella said they have an idea as to which way they’re leaning but won’t announce anything yet. The staff will sit down after Monday’s game to discuss the roster.

As for the bench, that’s still to be decided. Andres Blanco has been out with an injury, which hasn’t helped his chances. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen there,” Piniella said.

They’d like to keep an outfielder who can play all three spots, especially because Xavier Nady is limited. And they like both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar.

“There’s a lot to say about a veteran’s contribution and leadership from your bench players,” Piniella said. “There’s some nice subtle important decisions to make here over the next four, five days.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 D-Lee back vs. Dodgers

Derrek Lee was back in the Cubs lineup for Thursday’s game against the Dodgers but Aramis Ramirez was given one more day. Ramirez, sidelined by a sore right tricep, was expected to make the trip Friday to Glendale to face the White Sox. Lee has been out because of a bruise on his left foot, suffered when he fouled a ball off it.

Thursday’s lineup is:

SS Theriot

RF Fukudome

1B Lee

CF Colvin

2B Fontenot

LF Soriano

3B Tracy

C Soto

P Dempster

— Carrie Muskat