Results tagged ‘ Chris Bosio ’
C.J. Edwards was nervous Tuesday night. He had more than a week to prepare for his first Cactus League start, and had taken the advice of his father, who told him to pray and meditate. Edwards tried to visualize his approach.
“My dad actually helped me get ready for this game,” Edwards said.
But Edwards’ father was back in Prosperity, S.C., and the pitcher had to rely on Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and catcher John Baker, who both told Edwards to just keep doing what he had been doing. The slender right-hander was a combined 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA last season at Class A Hickory and High A Daytona. He joined the Cubs in July after being dealt from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal. Most of the Cubs front office, including Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, were in the stands in Peoria on Tuesday night to watch Edwards. He didn’t see them because Edwards says he has great “tunnel vision.” The 22-year-old had enough to think about.
“I went out there the first inning, and nerves were crazy,” Edwards said of his start against the Padres. “I can’t even explain the nerves I had. Overall being out there, I felt like I should be out there.”
He retired the first batter, and Seth Smith singled, but Edwards got Kyle Blanks to hit into a double play and end the inning. The second wasn’t as smooth as Xavier Nady singled to lead off and reached third on an error by Ryan Kalish. Rene Rivera hit a sacrifice fly, and Edwards then walked the next two batters. That prompted a visit from Bosio.
Edwards regrouped and got a ground out, and then struck out Andrew Cashner to end the inning. In the third, Edwards again retired the first batter, then Smith singled and Blanks walked. Bosio again came to the mound along with all the infielders. Edwards caught his breath, then served up a double to Nady and a sacrifice fly before he was lifted.
As Edwards walked off the field, Baker said something to him.
“His exact words were, ‘Hey, you did a hell of a job, man, and you’ve got a bright future ahead. Just stay with it,'” Edwards said, smiling.
A lot of players are so overcome by the moment that they admit they’re shaking the first time on a mound in a big league game.
“I actually wasn’t that nervous on the mound,” he said. “After I came in the first inning, my right knee just started going by itself and I was trying to look around and hold it down, but it didn’t work, so I let it bounce.”
Edwards also got advice from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who came over to the mound in the second after the pitcher walked two in a row.
“He comes up to me, and he goes, ‘Hey, do you want to play first base?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s switch,'” Edwards said.
But they didn’t. It wasn’t just Baker or Rizzo, it was everyone on the Cubs giving Edwards support. They’ve all been there.
“Overall, the guys were behind me 100 percent and they have faith in me,” he said.
The Cubs just have to figure out a way to add some muscle to his skinny body. He weighed 165 on Tuesday, no change from January when he admitted he’s been eating everything in sight. In fact, he gorged on a large order of French toast at the Breakfast Club in Scottsdale on Tuesday morning. He couldn’t finish the eggs and sausage but did eat all the bread.
He could relax once his outing was over.
“Like I tell everybody, I enjoyed it,” Edwards said. “I feel I can be out there any time to help the club when the time comes. The guys that we have up are already doing great. We’ll have our ups and downs but we’ll go out there each and every day 110 percent. When that day comes and I get the call, I feel I’ll be ready to come up there.”
Hopefully, Tuesday’s start will make it easier when he does get promoted.
“Now, I feel my first game there [at Wrigley Field], I won’t be as nervous, but then again, it’ll be Chicago, and there will be over 100 thousand fans there,” he said, over-estimating the ballpark’s attendance by about 60,000. “It’s a little different here. It was wonderful. The outcome wasn’t good but overall just being around those guys was fantastic.”
Edwards isn’t sure where he’ll open the 2014 season, although the Cubs have said it could be Double-A Tennessee. He can only hope he’s matched up with his roommates, like Duane Underwood, who made the drive to Peoria to cheer on the right-hander. There were more people in the stands than in Edwards’ hometown.
“I believe there was,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs named manager Rick Renteria’s coaching staff on Friday. Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach), Mike Borzello (catching and strategy coach) and Franklin Font (staff assistant) return. Joining Renteria’s staff in 2014 are Brandon Hyde (bench coach), Gary Jones (third base/infield coach), Bill Mueller (hitting coach), Mike Brumley (assistant hitting coach) and Jose Castro (quality assurance coach). Castro will handle scouting and defensive assignments, among other things. The club has yet to name a first base coach.
Jaron Madison, who joined the Cubs as director of amateur scouting, has been named director of player development, replacing Hyde in that role. Matt Dorey, who this year worked for the Cubs as a national and regional crosschecker, has been named director of amateur scouting.
— Carrie Muskat
The only way Carlos Marmol will get back on track is to keep pitching, and that’s the Cubs’ plan. Marmol struggled on Saturday, walking two and hitting another batter, and was the losing pitcher in a 6-4 loss to the Reds. The right-hander, who lost his job as the Cubs closer after the first week of the season, now has walked 12 and hit three batters over 11 2/3 innings as well as serving up 11 hits. His ERA is an ugly 6.17.
“I think the biggest thing with Carlos is concentration from pitch to pitch,” Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said Sunday. “When Carlos gets in trouble, along with the rest of the guys, is when they get going too fast and [Saturday] was a classic case of that. You’ve just got to slow it down, visualize the pitch and execute the pitch. He’s certainly capable of doing that.”
Marmol struggled at the start of last season, and lost his job as closer then. But he was able to rebound and posted a 1.52 ERA in 30 games after the All-Star break.
“He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”
Bosio and Marmol reached an agreement in the second half last season that the catcher would call all the pitches. If Marmol shook them off, he had to pay the pitching coach a case of wine. Marmol only shook off once in the second half. That same rule applies this year but that’s not the problem; it’s executing the pitches.
“I think it’s his tempo and concentration for Carlos,” Bosio said. “Those are two huge things for him. I just think that at times he tries too hard. He grips the ball too hard and that’s when we see those pitches that aren’t executed.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said they’ll continue to use Marmol.
“He’s one of the seven guys [in the ‘pen] and he’s got to pitch and we’ll get him back out there in some fashion,” Sveum said. “You can’t hide people. They have to pitch.”
— Carrie Muskat
Carlos Marmol is still the Cubs closer, and pitching coach Chris Bosio would like to see the right-hander get back in a game as soon as possible. Marmol was pulled in the ninth inning of the season opener Monday against the Pirates. He struck out the first batter, then hit a batter, gave up a RBI single, and walked another before he was lifted.
“He’s the closer,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday. “We’ve talked, and he knows he’s got to throw strikes. … When the starter goes eight [innings], you’re going to do whatever you can to save that lead.”
Jeff Samardzija threw eight scoreless innings, and Kyuji Fujikawa got the final out for the save in his first U.S. appearance.
“It’s just one game,” Sveum said, trying to downplay any closer controversy. “We had the opportunity to get matchups in there when Marmol didn’t have his fastball or slider, but it isn’t going to affect anything right now. You just play nine innings.”
* The Cubs signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who was released by the Red Sox, and infielder Donnie Murphy, who was let go by the Brewers, to Minor League deals, and both were to report to Triple-A Iowa. Murphy batted .239 in 24 games this spring with Milwaukee, and has a career .205 average in 244 big league games with the Marlins. Sweeney has a career .280 average in the big leagues.
* Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was expected to join the team in Atlanta on Friday and start throwing off the mound. Garza has been limited to playing catch on flat ground since he first felt the discomfort in his side Feb. 17 in a live batting practice session. The good news is Garza has had no problems with his right elbow, which limited him to 18 games last season.
* Carlos Villanueva, who will make his Cubs debut on Saturday, starting against the Braves, threw a simulated game on Tuesday, an off day for the team.
— Carrie Muskat
Q: With Kyuji Fujikawa only able to speak Japanese, how will pitching coach Chris Bosio talk to him when he’s in the game? Will the translator go out with Bosio to the mound or will Bosio just tell the translator what he wants Fujikawa to do and the translator just runs out and do it alone? — Erik S., Rockford, IL
A: Major League Baseball has adjusted its rules so the interpreter — in this case, Ryo Shinkawa — can go to the mound with Bosio if needed. Fujikawa does speak some English — and some of the terminology is the same. For example, a fastball is “fastball” in Japanese. Bosio also is trying to learn enough Japanese necessary to communicate, so if there is a key word needed, he can use that. In Fujikawa’s first appearance in an intrasquad game, Shinkawa went to the mound with catcher Rafael Lopez to make sure the pitcher and catcher could communicate.
Chris Volstad isn’t getting any margin for error during his starts, so when he has one bad inning, it hurts him. It’s happened each start, including Saturday when he gave up five runs in the Brewers sixth.
“Right now for him, he’s not getting any run support and every pitch is magnified,” Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander, who is 0-5 in seven starts. “As a staff, we need to have plays made behind us. Yesterday, he did a poor job of trying to execute the pitch in an 0-1 count [to Edwin Maysonet] and the ball cut a little bit and a light-hitting Triple-A guy hits the ball down the line for a grand slam.”
Volstad now is winless in his last 18 starts, dating back to last July. The Cubs won’t skip him in the rotation, and he was scheduled to make his next start Thursday when the team returns home to face the Phillies. One option the Cubs could do is move Casey Coleman into Volstad’s spot in the rotation. Coleman was added to the roster Saturday when Carlos Marmol was placed on the disabled list.
“How do you fix [Volstad] is the million dollar question,” Dale Sveum said.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs pitching is set for the upcoming four-game series in Philadelphia, which starts Friday, but apparently the Phillies are still making decisions regarding games on Sunday and Monday. Chicago will start Paul Maholm on Friday followed on Saturday by Randy Wells, then Matt Garza on Sunday and Jeff Samardzija on Monday.
“They have a [2.93] ERA as a team,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Phillies. “It’s going to be tough to score runs and put things together. That’s why they have one of the best pitching staffs over the last few years. Hopefully, getting into more of a hitters park, we can hit some home runs. You have to do that against those type of pitchers because it’s hard to string hits together. They don’t walk anybody either.”
The Cubs have been tested, having to play the Cardinals six times in the last 12 games.
“We knew going in, the first six weeks with the teams we were going to play and the pitching we were going to face would be a really tough stretch of games,” Sveum said. “That’s baseball. Every team is good, every team has more pitching than it had before. You see that by how runs are down in Major League Baseball.
“You take every game as if you’re playing the World Champions every day because baseball is baseball and you put your guard down and you’ll find yourself in a lot of trouble,” he said.
* Tony Campana has four stolen bases in four games. Sveum will keep him in the No. 2 spot for now because of Campana’s bunting ability. He can either bunt to advance a runner or bunt for a hit.
* You won’t see Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio making many trips to the mound. The Cubs are trying to have their catchers keep an eye on the pitchers.
“You’ll notice the catchers are going out more and doing that kind of thing,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “We’re leaving it up to them. When we need to, we’ll go out. For the most part, we leave it up to the catchers and see how that works out. So far, we’ve had some pretty good catchers meetings on the mound.”
* The Cubs posted walkoff wins over the Cardinals Monday and Tuesday night. The last time they had two consecutive walk off wins was last June 29-30 against the Giants.
— Carrie Muskat
Lefty Travis Wood struggled on Monday against the Mariners and said it’s the first time he’s had trouble in Spring Training.
“Things aren’t going my way now and I’m trying to work on some new stuff and it’s just a battle,” Wood said.
What he’s trying to do is work on throwing pitches in different counts, building a different repertoire.
“I’ve got to do better,” he said.
Manager Dale Sveum said Wood may make a start in the Minor Leagues this spring.
“Right now, I think it’s more confidence than anything,” Sveum said of Wood. “Hopefully, we could see him get through a quick inning and build confidence through that. Right now, it’s a tough time and he can’t get through an inning without some damage being done.”
The Cubs acquired Wood from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal. He’s been trying to make a good first impression.
“You get traded for a guy like Marshall, who’s an outstading pitcher, and you want to come over here and show what you can do and I haven’t been,” he said. “It’s all going to work out. I’m going to get it together and get after it.”
The problem isn’t pitching coach Chris Bosio. He was Wood’s coach at Double-A in 2008. Wood’s bullpen sessions have been good.
“That’s the frustrating part, to go out there and feel so good going into it and things just don’t pan out,” he said. “I’ll get itfigured out for sure.”
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol threw his first side session under the watch of new manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio on Sunday, and made them laugh.
The topic was Marmol’s cutter. Last season, when Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach, he would study video of Marmol to prepare for the Cubs-Brewers series. Sveum couldn’t figure out what the heck the right-hander was throwing.
“We were thinking, ‘What is he doing? Is that just a bad slider?'” Sveum said.
Brewers hitters would return to the dugout shaking their heads as well.
Marmol has admitted the cutter gave him problems and was part of the reason his mechanics were messed up. Last season, he was tied for the Major League lead with 10 blown saves.
“He is what he is — he’s an impressive closer but he’s a slider guy with one of the best, unhittable sliders that we’ve seen in a long time,” Sveum said. “That’s what he is and unfortunately sometimes he can get into a lot of pitches in innings because of it, but it’s so devastating he gets out of it, too. You don’t want him doing anything that Carlos Marmol isn’t used to. I think he’ll be back to that this year.”
Bosio didn’t waste any time. On Sunday, he was giving Marmol reminders to get him back in line.
“Chris Bosio has talked to him about a few mechanical things about his shoulders and keeping his shoulders level and things like that,” Sveum said. “He wants to lean back and crank velocity and create arm strength through his shoulders and then he gets out of whack. It’s more just keeping his shoulders in line with the strike zone. I think that will help him tremendously.
“Every time ‘Bos’ mentioned it to him after a scud, right away he got his shoulders back on line and made quality pitches,” Sveum said. “Some guys, it’s big fixes, and some guys, if they take to it in the right language it hits home with them.”
The communication began earlier Sunday when Marmol met with Sveum and Bosio in the manager’s office at Fitch Park. The message: Marmol is one of the veterans now and players will be looking up to him.
“That’s what we talked about and I have to work a little harder and try to be one of the leaders on the team,” Marmol said. “There’s a lot of young guys here.”
He did report in shape, losing 15 pounds after spending the offseason running, working out and riding horses on his ranch in the Dominican Republic.
“I worked hard out there and I’m going to try to work more than the year before and have a better year,” Marmol said.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs Caravan will stop Jan. 12 in Peoria, Ill., and Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Matt Sczcur, Tony Campana, Chris Carpenter and Casey Coleman were expected to take part. New Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, bench coach Jamie Quirk, first base coach Dave McKay, scouting director Joe Bohringer and assistant GM Shiraz Rehman also were scheduled to attend. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and an autograph and photo session will run from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Peoria RiverPlex. Tickets are $15 and include the autograph/photo session, beer, soda, hot dogs, chips and cookies. Tickets will not be sold at the door. You can purchase them at the Peoria Chiefs’ offices at O’Brien Field.
— Carrie Muskat