Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

2/25 Morning Joe


New Cubs manager Joe Maddon chats with fans during the first team workout Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz.

2/25 Let’s be careful out there

The Cubs didn’t need to wrap Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro in bubble wrap Wednesday, the first day Cubs batters faced live pitching. One can’t blame Chicago sports fans for being a little nervous after injuries to Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks.

“I’m going to be tip-toeing today,” Rizzo jokingly said before Wednesday’s workout. “[The injuries are] unfortunate, especially because their season is coming down to the stretch. I’m pretty sure they have enough depth to hold on.”

Rizzo isn’t going to alter his approach.

“I play the game the same whether I’m on a Little League field and there are 20 people or millions of people watching,” Rizzo said. “It’s the same game. You just have to stay in the moment and that’s all we need to do.”

And he’s not worried about being hurt.

“You can’t play scared and you can’t be scared to go out,” Rizzo said. “If you think about getting hurt, you’ll get hurt. If you just play fearless and relentlessly, usually good things happen. Injuries are unfortunate and a lot of people make good careers, Hall of Fame careers, from someone else getting hurt. It’s obviously not a good thing but injuries are going to happen no matter what sport you’re in.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/25 Manny on Manny

Manny Ramirez was in uniform Wednesday, ready to start his new job as a hitting consultant with the Cubs. But he didn’t rule out possibly playing baseball again. Has Ramirez retired? He laughed.

“Not yet,” he said, holding court in the middle of the Cubs clubhouse. “If I’m here, I don’t know.”

Could he keep playing?

“Yeah, why not?” he said.

First priority was to get on the field and work with the young Cubs hitters. Ramirez, 42, couldn’t wait.

“There’s so much talent out there — I’m just happy to be a part of that,” Ramirez said. “There’s so much talent. This is the year. We’re going to improve little by little but we have so much talent, the guys only know what’s going to happen.”

Ramirez has had his share of troubles. In January 2011, he agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with Tampa Bay. But on April 8, Ramirez abruptly retired after going 1-for-17 in five games. He had reportedly tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug in his Spring Training test. Ramirez apparently didn’t personally inform the Rays about his decision to leave but did talk to Joe Maddon, now the Cubs manager. Ramirez tried to make a comeback in 2012 with the Athletics, but first had to serve a 50-game suspension.

“When I came here [to the Cubs last year], the first thing I did was go to the theater with all the Minor League players, and I had a meeting,” Ramirez said. “I went in and shared all the things that I went through so they don’t go through that. Some people grow faster than others and the good thing is you learn from your mistakes and you move on. You can go and tell these young players, ‘Hey, don’t do this, don’t do that, this has consequences’ and that’s what I did.”

Ramirez did play in the Dominican Republic this winter but said that was just for fun.

“The thought [of returning] was there,” Ramirez said. “In my career, I learned how to trust in God and put all my dreams to him. That’s it. I was just going to go and I went and played and had fun, and I couldn’t find a team so I’m here to help out.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/25 Time to go to work

The Cubs will hold their first full squad workout on Wednesday, which means the first live batting practice for some of the hitters. Pitchers scheduled to throw live BP include Jake Arrieta, Edwin Jackson, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront, Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, Justin Grimm and Jason Motte. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and manager Joe Maddon will both meet with the players, although in separate meetings.

– Carrie Muskat

2/24 Castro ready to carry Cubs

Starlin Castro is prepared to carry the Cubs on his back. The Cubs shortstop literally did just that in preparation for the season. One of the drills strength coach Tim Buss had Castro do to strengthen his legs was carry 210-pound teammate Mike Olt on his back, and run forwards and backwards.

“I did some things I’ve never done in my life,” Castro said. “It really makes you tired at the moment but after that, a few days later, you feel good.”

The Cubs are counting on Castro, who finished last season on the disabled list because of a high ankle sprain. He’s had hamstring problems the last two springs, which is why the emphasis on leg work prior to the start of camp. The first full squad workout will be Wednesday.

The Cubs need a repeat of last season from Castro, who batted .292 and matched his career high with 14 home runs. Manager Joe Maddon has yet to figure out where the shortstop will be in the lineup, preferring to study the numbers and talk to Castro.

“Wherever they put me, I’ll try to do my job,” said Castro, who has batted everywhere in the lineup. “The only thing I like is if he puts me six, seven, leave me there. I like one spot and that’s it.”

What Castro also is hoping for is a winning season, which would be his first since he was called up to the big leagues in 2010. The Cubs have finished in fifth place the last five seasons.

“It’s been tough, but this year will be my first time,” Castro said, confidently.

– Carrie Muskat

2/24 Sloan Park


The Cubs officially dedicated their Spring Training ballpark in Mesa, Ariz., as Sloan Park on Tuesday.

2/24 Cubs hire Manny, Youkillis

The Cubs have hired Manny Ramirez as a hitting consultant and Kevin Youkillis as a scouting and player development consultant.

The team also announced the establishment of the mental skills program, which will include noted sports psychologist Dr. Ken Ravizza as a consultant. Ravizza, a professor of applied sports psychology at Cal-State Fullerton, has worked with Cubs manager Joe Maddon since the 1980s. Ravizza met with the Cubs pitchers and catchers for the first time on Tuesday.

* Ramirez joined the Cubs last season as a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa. A two-time World Champion and 2004 World Series MVP, he played 19 Major League seasons with the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays. In his new role with the Cubs, Ramirez will continue to work with the Major and Minor League hitters on the “fundamental and mental aspects of hitting.”

Ramirez, 42, played in the Dominican Republic this winter, and batted .313 with six home runs in 41 games. While at Triple-A Iowa last season, he batted .222 in 24 games, but was credited with helping Javier Baez and others on the team.

* Youkilis, 35, recently retired after an 11-year Major League career with the Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees. In his role, he will assist the front office by scouting amateur and professional hitters in northern California and will work with hitters in the Minor League system under the direction of the hitting coordinator.

– Carrie Muskat

2/24 Single game tickets on sale March 6

Cubs single game tickets for the 2015 season go on sale March 6 at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets will be available on or by calling 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).

Fans can participate in the MasterCard Pre-sale prior to the general on-sale date. Starting March 3 at 10 a.m. CT, single game tickets will be available at for a 20 percent premium, or a 15 percent premium for fans using a MasterCard.

The single game on-sale will include a selection of tickets to Opening Night, April 5, against the Cardinals, plus weekend bobblehead promotional games, Family Sundays and Interleague matchups against the Indians, Tigers and Royals.

The 2015 promotional schedule features unique items, including a Cubs winter aviator hat, Wrigley Field football, Chicago Whales replica throwback jersey, and several Cubs player debut bobbleheads.

For the 2015 season, “Weekends Start Here” with new Budweiser Bleacher Friday games. On select Friday games in May, June, July, August and September, the Budweiser Bleachers may feature pre- or post-game entertainment, exclusive giveaway items, special food and beverages and more. For an up-to-date promotional schedule, visit

Fans interested in purchasing Cubs tickets in person can visit The Cubs Store, 3616 N. Clark Street, Chicago, beginning March 9 at 9 a.m. CT. Because of the ongoing construction at Wrigley Field, single game tickets will be sold at The Cubs Store during regular store hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT every day leading up to Opening Night with the exception of March 14.

Here are the details for single game purchasing options:

* The Cubs will offer the MasterCard Pre-sale starting March 3 at 10 a.m. CT through March 4 at 10 p.m. CT. Fans using a MasterCard can purchase single game tickets in advance of the general on-sale date at a 15 percent premium, while fans using other forms of payment may purchase tickets at a 20 percent premium. MasterCard Pre-sale tickets may be purchased at

* Fans have three ways to purchase single game tickets.

Via the Internet: On March 6, fans can purchase tickets at A virtual waiting room will begin accepting customers at 9:30 a.m. CT. At 10 a.m. CT, customers will be selected from the virtual waiting room to begin purchasing tickets. All Internet customers will need a valid account. Customers are recommended to register for an account prior to March 6.

By Telephone: Tickets can be purchased by telephone beginning March 6 at 10 a.m. CT by dialing 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).

At The Cubs Store: Tickets will be available for purchase starting March 9 at 9 a.m. CT. The team will offer in-person single game tickets for purchase at The Cubs Store every day through April 5 during regular hours with the exception of March 14.

For updated ticket pricing, visit

2/23 Maddon: Bryant “gets it”

Kris Bryant had his one-on-one meeting with Joe Maddon Monday, and, no, the Cubs top prospect did not tell the manager that he belonged on the Opening Day roster. Bryant, 23, is confident, but knows he has to show Maddon and the Cubs he’s ready.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the big leagues,” Bryant said Monday. “I feel I’m pretty close now. I’m going to use this Spring Training as a way to go out there and get better in those areas.”

The Minor League player of the year last season after batting .325, hitting 43 home runs and driving in 110 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Bryant first met Maddon in December during the Winter Meetings.

“He’s a guy I want to play for — I sure hope I get the chance this year,” Bryant said.

Cubs fans hope so, too. They can be assured that Bryant didn’t bring all his trophies to Mesa. He left them at home and has moved on.

“I know I have a lot to prove on the field and those [rankings] are just opinions I can’t control,” he said. “The only expectations I have to live up to are the ones I have on my own and I can assure you mine are greater than anybody’s out there.”

Maddon’s first impressions of the Cubs top prospect?

“That he gets it,” Maddon said. “Of course, he’s talented, great body, great power, wonderful arm, good third baseman, good outfield. He’s a lot of good things and he gets it. I think he understands the work involved necessary to be great. He’s rather humble for me. He’s not outgoing in a sense in a negative way. He knows he’s good. There’s also a humility about him, too.”

Maddon said Bryant could see some playing time in outfield this spring but will likely focus on third.

“Long term, Kris would be a nice long term solution,” Maddon said. “Is he ready right now? I don’t know. I’ve never seen the guy on the field. There’s other really good candidates who can play there, probably not to the level he can. At the conclusion of this camp, what’s the right thing to do then? That’s what we have to decide.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/23 Monday notes – UPDATED

* Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Jacob Turner, Eric Jokisch, C.J. Edwards and Dallas Beeler threw side sessions on Monday in Cubs camp. Position players report Tuesday, but several were in the clubhouse Monday, including Chris Coghlan, Junior Lake, Mike Olt, Addison Russell, Ryan Sweeney, Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo.

* On Tuesday, sports psychologist Ken Ravizza will meet with the pitchers prior to the workout.

* On Wednesday, the hitters had better be ready. It will be the first full squad workout and at least eight pitchers are scheduled to throw live batting practice, including Arrieta, Edwin Jackson, Turner, Felix Doubront, Hendricks, Jokisch, Justin Grimm and Jason Motte.

* Lake played in the Dominican Republic this winter and worked with Minor League hitting coach Desi Wilson. The focus was to get on base somehow, someway.

“[Wilson] told me when you get on base, it’s like 80 percent the run will score,” Lake said. “I worked a lot with him about that, about walks, about getting on base no matter what. I know that’s what I need to get on base and then [Anthony] Rizzo or [Starlin] Castro can drive me in, or somebody in the lineup.”

* Manager Joe Maddon was very hands-on with the catchers on Monday, offering suggestions on positioning and technique. It isn’t that Maddon doesn’t trust all the catching coaches, which includes Mike Borzello, Henry Blanco and Tim Cossins.

“Part of it is I really like the catching component of the game,” Maddon said.

* Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who missed Sunday’s side session because of tightness in his left hamstring, is scheduled to throw on the side Wednesday.

– Carrie Muskat


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 288 other followers