Results tagged ‘ Derrek Lee ’

8/8 Lou: "I'm thinking about winning"

The Cubs are 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 18 in the first two games vs. the Reds. Overall, Chicago is batting .245 with RISP, 15th in the National League and ahead of only San Francisco.Told that Derrek Lee was hard on himself after the game, Lou Piniella said he shouldn’t be.

“Everybody’s trying here, and probably trying too hard,” Piniella said.  This is something that’s persisted for a long time and it has a little bit of a wearing-down effect on you.”

How is the manager holding up?

“It’s not easy on me either,” he said.

There are 51 games remaining in Piniella’s last season at the helm.

“I don’t think of those things,” he said. “I’m thinking about trying to win some games, that’s all I’m thinking about. This isn’t about me, this is about this team winning some baseball games and playing well and that’s all I care about. I haven’t thought about anything else but that, I’ll be honest with you.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/7 Lou: "It's frustrating"

The Cubs’ offensive struggles this year have become so puzzling that all Lou Piniella can do is shrug.

“I don’t even want to talk about it anymore, truthfully,” Piniella said after a 4-3 loss to the first-place Reds on Saturday. “No sense rehashing what could’ve been, whatever. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, is what it is. That’s what it is, it’s frustrating.”

Drew Stubbs doubled and scored in the third, hit a tie-breaking leadoff homer in the eighth, and added a RBI single in the ninth to lift the Reds to victory over the Cubs, who lost for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

“It’s such a bad taste in your mouth when you play like this — you want to play good baseball,” Derrek Lee said. “Even if we lose and play good baseball, you can deal with that. We’re just not playing the way we should be playing.”

The Cubs threatened in the ninth as they loaded the bases with one out on three walks against Francisco Cordero. Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch in the left shoulder to force in a run. But Nick Masset replaced Cordero and struck out Lee, then walked Aramis Ramirez to force in another run, and struck out Marlon Byrd to end the game.

“I didn’t have a good at-bat,” Lee said of the ninth. “Bases loaded, one out, I’m expected to hit something in the gap and I strike out. That’s the disappointing part is when you know what you’re capable of doing and it’s just not happening.”

The Cubs were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. Not good.

“It’s disappointing,” Lee said of the lost season. “We’ve played way below our expectations. In no way, shape or form did we think we’d be sitting in this position now. It’s extremely disappointing.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/6 Arroyo tough on Cubs

The last pitcher the Cubs want to see was Bronson Arroyo. The Reds right-hander threw seven shutout innings Friday and now has held the Cubs scoreless in his last 18 innings at Wrigley Field.

“In years past, I felt their lineup was a little bit deeper,” Arroyo said of the Cubs. “Just the fact that [Aramis] Ramirez and [Derrek Lee] are having an off-year for them, it makes it a little easier to pitch through that lineup, not having those guys be as hot as they normally are.”

The Cubs were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and the key inning was the fifth when they had runners on second and third with none out. But Arroyo escaped when he got Tyler Colvin to pop up and struck out Starlin Castro.

“That was the ballgame in itself,” Arroyo said. “I had good stuff for four innings and kind of cruised through. Running the bases hard a couple of times and [Tom Gorzelanny] having fast innings a couple of times in between, I didn’t get a lot of rest. I got a pinch tired and started missing spots with my fastball. I was getting into some jams.

“I definitely didn’t want to get the bases loaded and have to see Derrek Lee,” Arroyo said of the Cubs first baseman, who followed Castro in the order. “Regardless of how he’s swinging it against me or in general, you never want that guy at the plate with the bases loaded.”

Arroyo now is 4-0 with a 0.81 ERA in his last five starts against the Cubs, dating to Aug. 20, 2008.

“He kept us off balance,” Marlon Byrd said of the Reds pitcher. “He used his fastball when he had to. He might have used it 10 percent in the time, up in the zone, down in the zone, but late in the count.”

Arroyo doesn’t dominate like CC Sabathia or Felix Hernandez. He’s crafty.

“It seems like everybody on that staff and rotation is getting it done and they’re pitching with confidence and playing with confidence,” Byrd said. “When you face a team like that you have to out play them someway, somehow.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/4 Extra bases

The 15 runs the Cubs scored Wednesday against the Brewers were the most since they totaled 17 on Aug. 14, 2009, against the Pirates. Ten of the 15 runs were scored with two outs.

“For them it was probably a matter of time,” Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun said of the Cubs. “They’re a great offense. At some point, you figure they were going to break through and score some. It happened in a big way.”

Some highlights from Wednesday:

* Starlin Castro notched his third straight multi-hit game with a career-high four hits. He’s batting .432 since July 10 with 13 runs, 11 doubles, two triples, a home run, and 10 RBIs. He’s hitting .362 at Wrigley Field.

“When you have talent and you’re smart, talent takes over,” Aramis Ramirez said of Castro. “He doesn’t make many mistakes and he has all the talent in the world. He can run, he can hit, he can play defense. When you’re smart and put all those things together, you’re going to be successful.”

* Tyler Colvin hit his 17th homer, and he now leads all Major League rookies. He’s tied with Mel Hall for third most by a left-handed hitting Cubs rookie. Hall of Famer Billy Williams hit 25 homers in 1961, the franchise record.

* Derrek Lee’s single in the seventh was the 1,800th hit of his career and his double in the eighth was No. 400.

* Ramirez’s pinch-hit homer was his first since June 14, 2002, against Cincinnati.

* Geovany Soto has driven in nine runs in his last seven games and 16 in his last 14. His five RBI on Wednesday were the most since he drove in a career-high seven on Aug. 26, 2008, against the Pirates.

* Blake DeWitt finally got a win with the Cubs. The second baseman also hit his first homer since joining the team Sunday from the Dodgers. His other homer came June 7 against St. Louis.

— Carrie Muskat

8/2 A little history

Casey Coleman entered in the sixth for the Cubs, and the Coleman family now is the first in Major League history to have three generations of pitchers reach the big leagues.

Casey’s father Joe pitched from 1965-79, including an All-Star season in 1972, and a stint with the Cubs in 1976. His grandfather, Joe, pitched in the Majors from 1942-55, and was an All-Star in 1948.

They are the fourth third-generation family in Major League Baseball, joining the Bell, Boone and Hairston families. Casey and his father Joe now are the eighth father-son combination to play for the cubs, but the first father-son pitching duo.

His debut inning did not begin well as Coleman walked Casey McGehee. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee went to the mound to talk to the right-hander, who then gave up a single to JIm Edmonds and a RBI single to Alcides Escobar. He got Jonathan Lucroy to ground into a double play and struck out Yovani Gallardo to strike out and end the inning.

Gallardo paid him back by striking out Coleman in the Cubs sixth.

Coleman, 23, was 10-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 20 starts for Triple-A Iowa this year.

— Carrie Muskat


7/30 Zambrano apologizes

Carlos Zambrano apologized to his teammates and Lou Piniella on Friday, saying he was embarrassed by his behavior and that it’s time to move on. The response was hugs from the Cubs players.

“I knew I had to come in front of my teammates to apologize,” Zambrano said. “I knew from the first moment, June 25, when I was upstairs [in the clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field] thinking about it that I had to come to my teammates and say something.

“It was unacceptable and not good and embarrassing to the organization and myself and the fans,” he said. “I apologize to the fans, too. I just want to move on and be at peace with everybody.”

On June 25, Zambrano threw a tantrum in the dugout after giving up four runs in the first inning against the White Sox. He was sent home and suspended for three days before being placed on the restricted list.

Zambrano did all the talking during the meeting.

“It was great,” Derrek Lee said. “He did a good job. I’m sure it was hard to do and I’m glad it’s over with. It’s all over with and behind us.”

“He explained what he did and apologized to the team,” said Alfonso Soriano, who admitted Zambrano’s tirade hasn’t been something he’s thought about much in the month since it happened.

Piniella met privately with Zambrano for 10-12 minutes.

“I thought he was very sincere with his talk in the clubhouse and very contrite,” Piniella said. “He promised to be the best teammate he could possibly be and help us win as many games as he could. We welcome him back and he’ll be in the bullpen starting tonight.”

The anger management sessions have helped, Zambrano said. He has eight or nine more sessions to go.

“So far, they’ve done a good job,” Zambrano said of the doctors he’s met with. “Obviously, I went there and I had to do it and it was good. The sessions have been a lot of exercises and very interesting.”

The Cubs had hoped to have Zambrano return on the road to ease his transition back.

“I feel bad,” Zambrano said. “I feel embarrassed and I feel bad about my conduct on June 25. I’m human and I know when I make a mistake. I know when I do things that are not right. … I have to build my way back to what I was. I promised myself and promise to the Cubs fans I will do anything possible to come back and be the same or better.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/28 Lee puts family first

Derrek Lee said he “agonized” over the decision about whether to accept a trade to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but decided his family came first. Lee invoked his 10-and-5 rights and rejected a proposed deal to southern California, GM Jim Hendry confirmed Wednesday.

“When the trade was presented to me, I felt for me and my family the best thing to do was to stay here,” Lee said. “That was a decision we made. Jim and I had a great conversation about it. That was the decision.”

Lee is building a home in southern California but that wasn’t a factor. The house, he said, isn’t ready yet.

“It’s not as simple as you have a home there,” Lee said. “There’s a lot of thought that goes into it outside of just a home.”

Lee has been traded twice before but never in-season.

“I thought about it for a good 24 hours and really kind of agonized over it,” the first baseman said. “I think the bottom line is family. I like Chicago, I enjoy my teammates. It was the decision we made.”

Cubs manager Lou Piniella found out mid-game.

“I did talk to Derrek in the seventh inning today and asked him about it,” Piniella said. “He said he wanted to stay here. As a manager, I couldn’t be more pleased.”

The Angels were looking for another bat after Kendry Morales was injured. Lee does have a full no-trade clause and is owed about $4.95 million for the rest of the season. But he also has been in the league for 10 years and five with the same team, which gives him the right to veto any deal.

Lee, who will be a free agent after this season, is batting .248 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs, well off his usual pace. In 17 games since July 6, he is hitting .333 with 17 runs, seven doubles, one homer and eight RBIs. Someone asked if Lee had considered retiring after this season.

“That hasn’t crossed my mind,” he said.

But what about next year? Lee said he touched on that briefly with Hendry but the focus was more on the possible trade.

“There’s no secret I enjoy Chicago,” Lee said. “But also understand that’s out of my control. That didn’t go into my decision. There are other things that went into the thought process.

“You guys know I’m having a terrible season,” he said. “We’ll worry about other stuff later.”

The Rangers also were looking at adding a right-handed bat who could play first but Lee, 34, was not a good fit.

“It was very tempting,” Lee said of going to the Angels. “I didn’t say ‘no’ right away to Jim. There was a lot of thought that went into it.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/28 Lee says no to deal

Derrek Lee has invoked his 10-and-5 rights and rejected a proposed trade to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Lee did not want to comment prior to Wednesday’s game, saying he had talked to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry about his options but was keeping those discussions private. Hendry confirmed Wednesday that Lee was invoking his rights and wanted to finish the season with the Cubs.

The Angels were looking for another bat after Kendry Morales was injured. Lee does have a full no-trade clause and is owed about $4.95 million for the rest of the season. But he also has been in the league for 10 years and five with the same team, which gives him the right to veto any deal.

Lee, who will be a free agent after this season, is batting .248 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs, well off his usual pace. In 17 games since July 6, he is hitting .333 with 17 runs, seven doubles, one homer and eight RBIs.

The Rangers also were looking at adding a right-handed bat who could play first but Lee, 34, was not a good fit.

— Carrie Muskat

7/28 Cubs Cookbook on sale

Looking for that perfect gift for a Cubs fan? Know someone who likes to cook? Or are you curious about what Ryan Theriot likes to eat? Check out the Cubs Cookbook, now on sale on


Proceeds benefit the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Foundation. Ted Lilly and bullpen catcher Corey Miller came up with the idea, and players contributed their favorite recipes. Plus, some of Chicago’s top restaurants provided secrets to some of their popular dishes, such as Harry Caray’s crab cakes (a favorite of Aramis Ramirez) and the parmesan crusted filet from Wildfire (Derrek Lee’s personal pick). You will also find a history of food at Wrigley Field and a few surprises plus some great photos.

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Rumors

There are at least a half dozen Major League scouts on hand at Minute Maid Park to watch Ted Lilly and the Astros’ Brett Myers. Lilly has drawn interest despite his 3-8 record because that mark is a reflection of the lack of run support. The lefty leads the Major Leagues in least amount of runs (2.43 per start). Through five innings Tuesday, he’s rarely topped 90 mph on the stadium radar gun but his curve has been sharp.

There are rumors that teams also are interested in Derrek Lee, who will be a free agent at season’s end like Lilly. However, the interest is limited. Lee is batting .352 in his last 16 games since July 6 with seven doubles, one homer and eight RBIs but he’s hitting .251 overall.

According to reports, the Cubs are offering Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Zambrano to teams, but both have significant guaranteed money on their contracts. Fukudome is batting .253 and has been bumped by rookie Tyler Colvin. It’s uncertain how Big Z will do in his comeback from the restricted list.

Neither GM Jim Hendry nor assistant Randy Bush are in Houston, opting to stay in Chicago. The trading deadline is Saturday at 3 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat