Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’

3/7 Just like riding a bike …

Darwin Barney wasn’t sure how it would feel being back at shortstop, and the Indians didn’t waste any time testing him on Thursday. Cleveland leadoff man Michael Bourn hit a slow roller to Barney to start the game, and he cleanly fielded it and threw the runner out. And that was the last ball hit to him. A Gold Glove second baseman in 2012, Barney started at short while the Cubs wait for Starlin Castro to heal from a mild hamstring strain.

“There was a time when going back to shortstop felt more comfortable than playing second base and that was probably the first two years when I moved,” said Barney, who was a shortstop before switching to second full time in 2011. “Over time, that feeling goes away. Now I felt like I had to really focus on certain things.

“After a few innings, I felt really comfortable and you find out how much you miss that position,” he said. “It’s part of the game. I found out I’m a really good second baseman and I’m happy there, too.”

What’s next? Manager Rick Renteria says he’ll continue to rotate the infielders. Barney expects he’ll be back at second base but Renteria is getting to know the roster and what the players can and can’t do.

“As we continue to go through our workouts, he’ll remember,” Renteria said of Barney at short. “I think a lot of his movements are natural. He was over there a long time.”

On Friday, Barney was the designated hitter in one of the Cubs’ split squad games, which was a chance for more at-bats. He wouldn’t mind more playing time at short.

“I think I have value [at shortstop],” he said. “I’m pretty good over there and I like it over there, too.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/6 Cubs lineup

Travis Wood makes his first spring start today when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to play the Indians. Wood was scheduled to pitch Saturday but that game was washed out by rain and he threw in the batting cages. It’s not quite the same as a game. Darwin Barney gets his first start at shortstop. Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio LF
Murphy 3B
Schierholtz RF
Rizzo DH
Castillo C
Olt 1B
Barney SS
Almora CF
Alcantara 2B

T. Wood P

3/3 Castro out 7-10 days

Starlin Castro will be sidelined seven to 10 days because of a mild right hamstring strain that should not hinder the shortstop from being ready for the regular season, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Monday.

“From what we gathered, it’s similar to what happened to him last year at this time,” Renteria said of Castro’s injury, suffered in the first inning Sunday when he tried to steal second. “It’s seven to 10 days and we’re just being cautious with him. It shouldn’t set him back for the regular season.”

Castro was sidelined for two weeks last spring with a sore left hamstring. After Sunday’s game, he said the injury suffered on Sunday was “not too bad like last year” and that the team removed him as a precautionary measure. A year ago, Castro could barely walk after he was hurt.

“This doesn’t seem to be anything like last year to the degree that it was,” Renteria said. “He’s walking around pretty good now.”

The Cubs will give Emilio Bonifacio and Darwin Barney more starts at shortstop while Castro heals and also look at top prospect Javier Baez. They also have infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez in camp.

“What it allows us to do is see other guys at that position and recognize if Barney can go over there and [Bonifacio],” Renteria said. “It’ll give guys playing time.”

Castro spent more time this offseason on conditioning and reported to camp in good shape. The Cubs sent strength coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic for three weeks to work with the shortstop, who also spent four weeks at a training facility in Bradenton, Fla. Castro is coming off a season in which he batted a career-low .245.

— Carrie Muskat

2/27 Sing along

The Cubs began Thursday’s team meeting with a song, performed by catcher John Baker.

“I wrote a song about what it means to be a Cub,” said Baker, who got help from Darwin Barney, Eric Jokisch, Kyle Hendricks, Brett Jackson and strength coach Tim Buss. “Ricky [Renteria] likes to have people do things that make it a little more fun.”

Baker has only been playing the guitar a few years. He wasn’t sure the lyrics would be printable, but we’ll see.

— Carrie Muskat

2/13 Barney pumped for start

Darwin Barney was one of the early bird position players at the Cubs’ spring complex on Thursday. At the convention in January, the second baseman said there was no reason the Cubs couldn’t do what the Red Sox did and go from a last place finish to first.

“Baseball’s a funny game, we all know that,” Barney said. “We’ll just see how it goes. We’re working hard and making some adjustments as a team. We have some fresh faces at the helm, and I think that will help as well.”

In years past, Barney has spent the offseason trying to gain weight and eating as much as he could. This winter was different.

“This year, maybe I’m getting a little older and I had to watch my carbs, per se,” he said. “I tried to get back to the weight I was at a few years ago and maybe be a little more agile on defense.”

Barney said he’s never been as big as he was last year, joking, “I was like [Anthony] Rizzo’s size.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/6 New spring digs

MESA, Ariz. — There’s still some finishing touches to be done at the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility in west Mesa, which will be officially opened on Wednesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The front entrance to the team offices is waiting for a new desk and the walls to be finished, and there’s scaffolding under the stairs. Boxes are stacked in various rooms, waiting to be emptied. Some of the early bird players were wandering the halls, trying to find shortcuts from the meal room to the locker room.

Fans who want to watch workouts can enter on Cubs Way off of Rio Salado Parkway on the far west side of the facility. A security guard said fans should be able to park there, watch the workouts, then walk along the west side of the facility and get to the stadium without having to move their cars. That is subject to change, of course.

It was cloudy and cool on Thursday but there were several players in camp, including Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Logan Watkins, Donnie Murphy, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Blake Parker, Edwin Jackson, Josh Vitters, Matt Szczur and Chris Rusin. There also were a few non-roster invitees, including Ryan Kalish.

Pitchers and catchers report in one week, Feb. 13, with the first workout the next day. The first game is Feb. 27 vs. the Diamondbacks.

— Carrie Muskat

2/6 Cubs and Barney settle

The Cubs avoided arbitration with second baseman Darwin Barney as the two sides reached agreement Thursday on a one-year, $2.3 million contract. Barney had filed for $2.8 million and the Cubs had countered at $1.8 million, so they settled in the middle.

The only player still unsigned who is arb eligible is Jeff Samardzija, and his hearing was slated for Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Cubs offered Samardzija $4.4 million, and he was seeking $6.2 million.

— Carrie Muskat

1/17 Cubs and Valbuena

The Cubs have reportedly reached a contract agreement with infielder Luis Valbuena and avoided arbitration. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Valbuena has signed a $1.71 million contract with the Cubs. The third baseman is one of eight Cubs who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures were to be exchanged today. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21.

Valbuena made $930,000 last year, and was projected by to receive $1.5 million this year. He appeared in the most games at third base for the Cubs in 2013, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 14 doubles.

Other Cubs who filed for salary arbitration include Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Pedro Strop, and Justin Ruggiano. Wood could get the biggest increase. The lefty, who was 9-12 last season, posting career-highs in starts and innings pitched, earned $527,500 in 2013 and was projected to receive $3.6 million this year.

A quick refresher on salary arbitration: Eligible players are those with at least three years of Major League service but less than six years needed to qualify for free agency. If a case goes to a hearing, the player and the team each present their case to a three-member panel.

— Carrie Muskat

1/14 Arbitration figures – UPDATED

Eight Cubs players were among the 146 MLB players who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures will be exchanged Friday between the Cubs and the eight if no agreement is reached before then. Arbitration hearings will be Feb. 1-21. Here are the players involved, their 2013 salary, and projected 2014 figure, according to

Jeff Samardzija: $2.64 million in 2013; projected $4.9 million in 2014
Travis Wood: $527,500 in 2013; projected $3.6 million in 2014
Nate Schierholtz: $2.25 million in 2013; projected $4.4 million in 2014
James Russell: $1.075 million in 2013; projected $1.7 million in 2014
Pedro Strop: $502,500 in 2013; projected $1 million in 2014
Luis Valbuena: $930,000 in 2013; projected $1.5 million in 2014
Darwin Barney: $562,000 in 2013; projected $2.1 million in 2014
Justin Ruggiano: $494,500 in 2013; projected $1.8 million in 2014

The last time the Cubs went to arbitration was in 2010 when an arbitrator ruled in favor of the team’s $2.6 million offer over the $3.4 million bid submitted by Ryan Theriot.

— Carrie Muskat

1/2 Mark your new 2014 calendar

* Do you have tickets yet for the Cubs Convention? This year’s annual fan fest will be Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water Street, Chicago. Call 1-800-325-3535 for more information. Individual weekend passes are $60 per person without a hotel reservation, and are valid for all three days. Passes are $20 if you stay at the hotel.

Among the players scheduled to participate are Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva, and Travis Wood. New manager Rick Renteria will introduce his coaching staff, and Cubs alum scheduled to take part include Fergie Jenkins, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Mark Prior, Dwight Smith, Jody Davis, Todd Walker, Billy Williams, Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks.

* On Jan. 16, you can sing along with some of your favorite Cubs players and help a good cause. The David DeJesus Family Foundation and Cubs Charities will present “Strike a Chord” celebrity karaoke event at American Junkie, 15 West Illinois Street, Chicago, on that date. Cubs players, alumni and their wives will sing at the fundraiser, with proceeds to benefit ALS research and support the DeJesus foundation. There are reports Travis Wood will be singing a country song.

There will be karaoke duets, an open bar, live auction and raffle. Tickets are $125 per person ($150 at the door), and $1,000 per table (four tickets plus reserved seating). The karaoke show begins at 8 p.m. CT. There will also be dancing after the event. Cubs Charities will donate half of the proceeds raised to ALS Research and Support in the name of the David DeJesus Family Foundation. Go to for more information.

* Had enough of the winter weather in Chicago? Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training at the new facility in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 13.

— Carrie Muskat