Results tagged ‘ Dusty Baker ’

6/13 Dusty, Blackhawks & injury updates

* Reds manager Dusty Baker compiled a 322-326 record in four seasons as the Cubs manager (2003-06), which included a trip to the playoffs his first season and a 96-loss season his final year.

“I’ve been through it,” Baker said Thursday. “Any manager that’s been around has been through it. Everybody’s like, ‘Shake up the lineup.’ You shake it up, you’ve still got the same stuff. And I’m cleaning it up, of course.

“It’s very frustrating,” Baker said. “You’re not sleeping much. You’re trying to figure out something that you’ve already figured and it’s hard to accept that maybe you’re not good. Sometimes you’re not good. You’ve got some good players but you might not be good overall.”

Baker did notice the empty seats at Wrigley.

“I don’t think about that,” he said. “I’m on the other side now. But it’s different. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or if school’s not out, but it’s always a little different early, and then the weather got nicer.”

* Cubs manager Dale Sveum had no trouble staying awake to watch the Blackhawks beat the Bruins, 4-3, in triple overtime Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“Even without the overtime, it was probably the best hockey game I’ve ever seen,” Sveum said Thursday. “Obviously, both teams came right out, and the Hawks came right out pounding and hitting. The competition the whole night, the level of the first three periods was just incredible for two teams. The opportunities both teams had — for watching on TV, it was no doubt the best hockey game I’ve ever seen.”

Extra bases:

* Cubs reliever Shawn Camp will pitch two innings Friday for Class A Kane County in his second rehab outing. Camp, on the disabled list with a sprained right big toe, was scheduled to throw two innings and no more than 35 pitches in the outing. He threw one inning on Tuesday for the Minor League team, and gave up one hit and struck out one.

* An MRI of right-hander Zach Putnam’s right elbow confirmed that he has a bone spur. Putnam was placed on the disabled list Wednesday.

* Kyuji Fujikawa, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Tuesday, rejoined the Cubs on Thursday. Dr. James Andrews did the procedure in Pensacola, Fla.

5/27 Dusty to Garza: Take care of it

Reds manager Dusty Baker was told Monday about Matt Garza’s comments regarding Johnny Cueto’s pitch over David DeJesus. Garza wasn’t happy with Cueto’s actions, and the Cubs pitcher said he’ll take care of things.

“Take care of it then,” Baker told reporters in Cincinnati, including’s Mark Sheldon. “I mean, [Cueto] couldn’t hit Wilt Chamberlain with that pitch. I haven’t talked to Johnny about it. I don’t think there’s any bad blood between them or whatever.”

Baker said Garza should deal with Cueto face to face.

“Johnny ain’t running. Know what I mean?” Baker said. “A guy can say what he wants to say, but it’s better if you go over and say it to his face. … I just wish, just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with, know what I mean? I’ve always said this. Let it be like hockey. Let them fight, somebody hits the ground and then it’ll be over with. I’m serious about that. I come from a different school. Guys didn’t talk as much. You just did it.

“Guys are nicer now,” Baker said. “They all have the same agents, they all played on certain All-Star teams, they text each other, email each other. Nice game now. They talk before the game about how far you hit one yesterday off me. They’re nice.”

In case you’re wondering, the Cubs play host to the Reds June 10-13 at Wrigley Field. Stay tuned.

— Carrie Muskat

9/20 Stress tests

Reds manager Dusty Baker remained in a Chicago hospital Thursday to undergo tests for an irregular heartbeat.

“It’s a demanding job, there’s no question about it,” Chicago’s Dale Sveum said about being a big league manager. “Whatever health issues we all have, you never take your health for granted. All our prayers go out to [Baker] and I hope everything’s good for Dusty. He’s a great guy and the rest of this year will be important for him to be around and healthy.”

Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003-06, missed Thursday’s game and was expected to join the team Friday in Cincinnati.

Will Sveum need some time to decompress after the season ends?

“I think we all have to kick back and just relax for a while and get away from it,” Sveum said. “There will be that point when you start grinding all over again.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/18 Cubs lineup

Justin Germano will face the Reds on Tuesday in the first game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.  This will be former Cubs manager Dusty Baker’s 3,000th game as a manager. His record includes 1,556 games for the Giants, 648 for the Cubs, 795 for the Reds.

Here’s the Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF

Valbuena 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Clevenger C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Germano P

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Sveum: “I know what goes on”

Dale Sveum says he hasn’t sought out other past Cubs managers to get advice on how to deal with the job. He’s well aware the job is different from others in baseball.

“It’s one of the bigger markets and the history and everything that goes along with Chicago and the Cubs [makes it different],” he said. “Of course, it’s different from managing in small markets. That’s the way it is here and in Boston and New York and the big markets. There’s no doubt it’s different.”

On Monday, Sveum could seek out Reds manager Dusty Baker for advice. He was in Chicago from 2003-06 but said he won’t.

“There’s nothing I don’t know,” Sveum said. “There’s going to be second guessing of everything, all that. It’s not like I’ve never been in a big market before. You know what all goes on. I was in Boston for two years with [Terry] Francona so I know what goes on in those places.”

He won’t check the Chicago sports talk shows or open a Twitter account either.

“I don’t do anything like that now and I’m not going to start,” he said. “Basically all I know how to do is get on the Internet and check scores or on my phone and email a little bit but I”m not searching articles. To me, that doesn’t make sense why you’d read good or bad. Obviously, we know there’s going to be more bad than good so it’s irrelevant to look at articles or seek any kind of media that way. I’ve got better things to do than seek out articles on myself or the team. I’m living the team, the nine innings, every single night. I know what goes on. I don’t have to look to find out what somebody else thinks. I know what’s going on.”

— Carrie Muskat


10/31 So long, Tony

Tony La Russa announced his retirement Monday, and Cubs-Cardinals series won’t be the same without him.

“Enough’s enough” La Russa said. “It’s time to do something different.”

Remember the La Russa-Dusty Baker fracas at Wrigley Field in September 2003? On Sept. 4, 2003, Baker, then the Cubs manager, and La Russa met for nearly six minutes behind the batting cage. In the end, they shook hands. They were trying to settle differences that had been on display the day before.

“We explained to each other about different things, different things that might have upset him, upset me, different things that might have hurt his feelings or different things that might have hurt mine,” Baker said at the time. “That’s baseball, and that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Tensions snapped in the third inning on Sept. 3 after Cubs pitcher Matt Clement was hit by a pitch and both benches were issued a warning. Cardinals pitcher Dan Haren had been hit by a pitch the inning before. The two managers shouted at each other from their respective dugouts, and La Russa promised after the game he wanted to talk to Baker before talking to the media.

So, after their session behind the cage, did they reach an accord?

“Relatively so,” Baker said.

Did they agree to disagree?

“He has an opinion and I have an opinion on things — what was right, what was wrong, what was enough,” Baker said of La Russa. “It’s a big series, and there’s a lot of emotions. I’m not proud of myself when I display that kind of action. I don’t really like that person when he comes out, and he rarely comes out unless he’s provoked to come out. When he comes out, then he’s got to stay out.”

The two managers did have an altercation in the 2002 playoffs when Baker, then the Giants manager, accused the Cardinals of throwing at Kenny Lofton.

“Me and Tony were teammates,” Baker said. “He was my last manager. He’s the guy who gave me my first advice when I started managing. There wasn’t any tension. Sometimes there’s tension between myself and my brother. I still love my brother.”

In the Sept. 2, 2003, game, Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris was knocked down three times.

“I took offense to the unwritten threat [by La Russa]. That’s what I took offense to,” Baker said. “If you’re going to do it, just do it.

“We’re just playing hardball,” Baker said. “Then, there’s the war of words with [Kerry Wood] being a head hunter, [Mark] Prior being a head hunger, ‘Dusty Baker better do something about it.’ I think each manager should take care of their own club. You take care of yours, I’ll take care of mine.”

* La Russa and Lou Piniella grew up in Tampa, Fla., and played against each other as kids. Piniella, who is one year older, did top his friend in the 1990 World Series when his “Nasty Boys” Reds swept La Russa’s A’s. The two were teammates in 1961 hen they traveled to California to play in the Colt League World Series.

During the 2006 Winter Meetings, after Piniella had taken over the Cubs, the two talked.

“Tony and I, we had a nice conversation ’til about 3 in the morning, and we vowed that we would remain friends, that we would leave our competition on the field, and that would be the end of it,” Piniella said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tony. I really do. And I think we are both at times in our careers where we realize that, hey, we are going to go out there and try to beat each other every day, but when it’s over, just leave it there, go back and compete the next day.”

Ah, memories.

— Carrie Muskat 

8/20 Hendry timeline with Cubs

During Jim Hendry’s tenure as GM with the Cubs, they won three division titles. Here are some highlights and lowlights:

* Named general manager in July 2002, taking over for Andy MacPhail. Inherited team with $75.7 million payroll. In offseason, hired Dusty Baker as manager from the NL champion Giants.

* In December 2002, traded Todd Hundley to the Dodgers for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros. In July 2003, acquired Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton from Pirates for Jose Hernandez, Minor League player and Bobby Hill. Also added Randall Simon from Pirates. Cubs win first NL Central Division title, finishing 88-74, and beat Braves in NL Division Series. Cubs were five outs from getting to World Series but lost in NL Championship Series to Marlins.

* In November 2003, acquired Derrek Lee from Marlins for Hee-Seop Choi and Minor Leaguer. In January 2004, gave Kerry Wood three-year, $32.5 million contract. Signed Greg Maddux in Spring Training 2004. Acquired Nomar Garciaparra at Trade Deadline. Cubs finished 89-73, and lost bid for Wild Card spot in final weeks. Season ends with Sammy Sosa leaving Wrigley Field early during last game.

* In February 2005, traded Sosa to Orioles. Acquired Jeromy Burnitz (.258, 24 HR, 87 RBIs) to play right field. Neifi Perez plays more games at shortstop than injured Garciaparra, and Cubs finish fourth, 79-83.

* Injuries to Derrek Lee, Mark Prior and others result in 66-96 season. Baker and staff dismissed at end of season; pitching coach Larry Rothschild retained. Lou Piniella hired, and team spends $300 million on players, including eight-year, $136 million deal for Alfonso Soriano. Signed Ted Lilly to three-year deal while hooked up to EKG machine at 2006 Winter Meetings.

* Cubs win division in 2007 under Piniella with 85-77 record but are swept in NLDS by Diamondbacks. In August that year, Carlos Zambrano given five-year, $91.5 million extension.

* In December 2007, sign Japanese batting champ Kosuke Fukudome to four-year, $48 million contract. Add Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds. Gave Aramis Ramirez five-year, $75 million contract. In 2008, Cubs win second straight Central Division at 97-64, but are swept by Dodgers in NLDS. In offseason, traded Mark DeRosa, acquired closer Kevin Gregg, signed Ryan Dempster to four-year, $52 million contract.

* In January 2009, signed free agent Milton Bradley to three-year, $30 million contract. He hits .257, 12 homers, 40 RBIs, then is suspended in September. Cubs tied for first on Aug. 5, but finish second at 83-78. Bradley traded to Mariners in offseason for Carlos Silva and cash.

* Signed free agent Marlon Byrd to three-year, $15 million deal in December 2009. Piniella announces in July 2010 he is retiring at season’s end. Mike Quade named manager on Aug. 23. Cubs go 24-13 under Quade and finish season in fifth, 75-87. Quade gets two-year contract.

* Signed Carlos Pena to one-year, $10 million deal in December 2010 and re-signs Kerry Wood for $1.5 million. In January 2011, acquired Matt Garza from Rays for top prospects in eight-player deal. Signed Carlos Marmol to three-year, $20 million contract in February. Placed Carlos Zambrano on disqualified list in August after pitcher walks out, announcing his retirement in Atlanta.

— Carrie Muskat

9/14 Cubs manager search

Cubs GM Jim Hendry is expected to interview former Mariners and D-backs manager Bob Melvin for the team’s managerial position, according to Currently a scout for the Mets, Melvin interviewed for the Cubs job in 2003 but Hendry chose Dusty Baker. Melvin then got the Mariners job.

Hendry already has talked to former Indians manager Eric Wedge and had some preliminary discussions with Ryne Sandberg, named Pacific Coast League manager of the year this season at Triple-A Iowa. Pat Listach, Bob Brenly and current manager Mike Quade also will be considered for the Cubs job in 2011.

On Monday, Hendry said Quade was doing an “outstanding job” since taking over Aug. 23 for Lou Piniella, who retired earlier than planned to go home and take care of family business. The Cubs are 12-7 under Quade.

“He’s certainly done a very good job,” Hendry said. “Like I told him, I was never hung up on what our record would be. We’re winning our share and getting improvement out of some of the young kids. I give him a lot of credit. I think he’s done a real good job so far.”

The Cubs want the manager in place by the organizational meetings, held in early November. Hendry will compile a short list of candidates to present to the Cubs owners.

— Carrie Muskat

8/12 No La Russa vs Cubs

Lou Piniella will be back on Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis but Tony La Russa will not be in the dugout for the first two games. Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson suspended La Russa and Reds manager Dusty Baker two games for their part in the brawl Tuesday in Cincinnati. The only other player suspended was Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who was given a seven-game suspension. St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina were fined as was the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and Russ Springer.

— Carrie Muskat

8/6 Manager search

GM Jim Hendry says he expects the search for the next manager to be an extensive process as he tries to find the right guy for what he called a “marquee job in the industry.”

“It’s going to be a long process, it’s going to be a couple months process,” Hendry said Friday. “I don’t have a definite time frame on it.”

The only deadline is that the Cubs would like to have the next manager in place by their organizational meetings, which are usually held the first week of November. Lou Piniella announced July 20 that he is retiring at the end of this season with the Cubs. This weekend, the Cubs are playing the first-place Cincinnati Reds, managed by Dusty Baker, who preceded Piniella in Chicago from 2003-06.

“I’ve hired two really good managers who did well the first couple years and for a lot of reasons — and not blaming them — but things didn’t always go on an upscale plan and we got derailed a couple times,” Hendry said.

“It’s a huge decision now going forward because I don’t think in a long time we’ve had this many people coming up on a fairly steady path and a lot more coming from the system,” Hendry said. “It’s a big decision moving forward and I take the responsibility of getting  it right very seriously.”

Hendry planned on touring the Cubs’ Minor League system with stops at Triple-A Iowa at least once and possibly twice before Sept. 1. That will give him a chance to talk to Iowa Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg, who has made it known he’d like to one day manage the big league team.

Hendry will consult with special assistant and four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux as well.

“As everyone knows, this is a marquee job in the industry and you won’t find too many people who wouldn’t have interest in becoming the manager of the Cubs and that’s the way we have to look at it,” Hendry said. “We have a plum job and we found that the last two times — Lou and Dusty really wanted this job. Both did really well at it and we’ll go about our business and take our time until we find the right guy.”

— Carrie Muskat