Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

2/27 Friday notebook

* How happy was Javier Baez to see Manny Ramirez in Cubs camp?

“I grabbed Manny’s stuff and put everything in my locker and told him he was going to be here with me,” Baez said Friday. “The next day, he moved all his stuff back.”

Friday was Day 2 for Ramirez, who has been hired as a hitting consultant and was to work with both the Major League and Minor League players. Baez and Ramirez got to know each other last year at Triple-A Iowa when Ramirez signed as a player/coach.

What did Baez learn from Ramirez?

“The way they will pitch to you, the way they know how to pitch to you, and they know you have to make that adjustment,” Baez said.

The Cubs are trying to get Baez to shorten his swing to lower his strikeout numbers and have him experimenting with lowering his hands. He dropped more than 15 pounds this offseason and fortunately hasn’t noticed a difference in batting practice.

“I haven’t lost any power,” he said. “I’m driving the ball everywhere. I haven’t seen any difference.”

* C.J. Edwards needs to find a nail salon fast. He had a bandage on his right index finger Friday.

“What I heard was he had a nail problem,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to send him to a manicurist. I think his nail was too long and they have to trim his nails up.”

* Zac Rosscup took a ball off his right wrist during his live BP session Friday. It’s a good thing Rosscup is left-handed. Jorge Soler was the batter, and he and one of the athletic trainers checked on Rosscup, who was able to finish his session. Maddon said the reliever was fine.

* The Cubs were not expected to play an intrasquad game prior to the start of Cactus League games on March 5. The Cubs begin their Spring Training schedule with split squad games, playing host to the Athletics and also sending a squad to Scottsdale to face the Giants.

* Jason Hammel and Travis Wood are among the Cubs pitchers scheduled to throw live batting practice on Saturday. Others on the schedule include Tsuyoshi Wada, who was slowed for a couple days because of a tight left hamstring, plus Dallas Beeler, Justin Grimm, Hunter Cervenka, Armando Rivero and Jorge De Leon.

– Carrie Muskat

2/27 Riz on Lester: “He’s a horse”

Javier Baez had to face Jon Lester twice during the Cubs left-hander’s first live batting practice session on Friday. That was enough.

“I told him right after live BP, I prefer to play defense for you,” Baez said.

The Cubs’ $155 million pitcher was paired on Field 5 with catcher David Ross, who was Lester’s personal catcher with the Red Sox. Ross offered plenty of feedback, shouting, “that a boy, Jonny,” and “very nice” more than a few times.

“I can absolutely see why Jon loves to throw to him, and you can see how David can bring out the best in Jon — it’s just obvious,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They’re on the same frequency. There’s a tremendous amount of trust there. You can’t get any more trust than the both of them have.”

Anthony Rizzo hit two balls deep to left off Lester, but reminded everyone that it was practice.

“He’s a horse up there,” Rizzo said of Lester. “It’s nice to see someone like that — you face them early and hopefully everything else looks a little easier. The biggest thing is he felt good. Talking to him after, it’s good to hear. It’s an exciting stepping stone.”

The Cubs have yet to announce the Cactus League pitching schedule and when Lester will start. Games begin Thursday in Arizona.

– Carrie Muskat

2/27 Saturday’s schedule

Jason Hammel and Travis Wood are among the pitchers scheduled to throw live batting practice on Saturday. The list also includes Dallas Beeler, Tsuyoshi Wada, Justin Grimm, Hunter Cervenka, Jorge De Leon and Armando Rivero.

2/27 Lester’s 1st live BP

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Cubs pitcher Jon Lester had his first live batting practice session on Friday.

2/27 Here’s the cover of the 2015 Cubs media guide

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2/27 International news

According to Baseball America, the Cubs rank eighth among Major League teams with an international bonus pool of $2,230,700. The 2015-16 signing period begins July 2. The bonus pools are determined based on reverse order of winning percentage from 2014. The majority of signings come from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In 2013, the Cubs spent heavily on international players, signing the Nos. 1-2 prospects, Eloy Jimenez ($2.8 million) and Gleyber Torres ($1.7 million).

2/27 Practice schedule

Here’s Friday’s practice schedule for the Cubs. All times are Mountain Time. Remember, it is subject to change:

9:45 a.m.: Stretch
10-10:15 a.m.: Baserunning for position players
10:20-10:30 a.m.: Throwing program (all players)
10:30-10:45 a.m.: Individual defense
10:45-11 a.m.: Team fundamental (pop ups)
11 a.m.-12:05 p.m.: Live BP, Fields 5/6
12:10-12:30 p.m. Batting practice, Fields 3/4/5/6
12:35-12:45 p.m.: First and third defense

2/26 Maddon’s message: Respect 90

Ernie Banks used to come up with a saying every year for the Cubs. This season, manager Joe Maddon’s message has been painted along the first base line of Field 1 at the Cubs complex: Respect 90.

Last Dec. 3, Maddon posted it on his Twitter account @CubsJoeMadd: “Respect 90 … going to make daily push for our players to respect that distance .. run hard for 90 feet, and the respect will come back to you.” It’s also on his Twitter profile. And the Cubs players will see it on other fields as well. It’s something he wants ingrained in their minds.

“It really is the message I want to get out there,” Maddon said. “I believe if we respect that 90 feet every day, a lot of good things are going to happen here.”

Maddon had not used “Respect 90″ while with the Rays but would have done so this year if he had stayed. He’s had other sayings in Tampa Bay, such as “nine equals eight.”

“I guess Mr. Banks used to do it also,” Maddon said. “This was more of an organic moment. I thought of it one day and said, ‘God, I really like that.'”

– Carrie Muskat

2/26 Extra bases

* Javier Baez, Mike Olt and Jorge Soler will be the first to take some swings against new Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, who was scheduled to throw his first live batting practice session on Friday. Lester, Hector Rondon, Zac Rosscup, Brian Schlitter, Pedro Strop, Drake Britton, Corey Black, and Pierce Johnson are scheduled for live batting practice.

Manager Joe Maddon is still in the early phases of evaluating the roster this spring.

“I don’t really read into too many things,” he said. “I’m just watching.”

* Former Cubs outfielder Dave Martinez was the only coach Maddon was able to add to his staff, and having the familiarity has helped. Martinez was Maddon’s bench coach with the Rays for seven seasons.

“It’s very fortunate that we did [add Martinez] and it’s even more obvious to me now,” Maddon said. “People talked about it, and you need to bring somebody with you. Davey is the perfect fit and it really helps me daily because he brings a lot of the message to the guys.”

Of course, when Martinez played for the Cubs, they held Spring Training at Fitch Park. Still, the uniform hasn’t changed much or the fans.

“He feels like he’s home a little bit, too,” Maddon said.

* Maddon was pleased with the energy and execution during bunt drills Thursday.

“I told the boys afterword, ‘That’s pro, and if we can do that 99 percent of the time, we’ll be OK,'” he said.

* How does Maddon relax at the end of the day? He’s been catching up on some television shows, such as “The Office” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“I’d rather go to sleep watching something funny than something way too serious,” he said. “I prefer a comedy to go to sleep with and [‘The Office’] is my favorite.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/26 Respect 90

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Here’s Joe Maddon’s message to the Cubs players: “Respect 90.” It’s painted on Field 1 at the Cubs spring complex.

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