Results tagged ‘ Edwin Jackson ’

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

1/16 Caravan stop, E-Jax & trade rumors

Manager Rick Renteria joined Anthony Rizzo and Edwin Jackson on Thursday to help Cubs staff spruce up a Chicago school. The Cubs made a winter caravan stop at Casals School of Excellence, where they painted murals on the walls of the gymnasium and cafeteria, decorated a computer room, built benches and cabinets for reading spaces, and re-designed a room for tutoring. Earlier in the day, the Cubs staff stopped at the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines to serve lunch to about 250 military service personnel.

The caravan tour is a lead in to the Cubs Convention, which opens Friday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. This will be Renteria’s first convention.

“They’ve said it’ll be something I’ve never experienced before in my life and from a few conversations I’ve had with different people, it seems that will be the case,” said Renteria, who will answer fans questions in a Saturday afternoon session. “It is evident that the city of Chicago loves their Cubs and they want the Cubs to have success and we feel the same way.”

* The winter fan fest also is the first chance for some of the Cubs to meet their new manager. Jackson is coming off a season in which he led the Major Leagues in losses with 18. It wasn’t how the right-hander wanted to start the first year of his four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. Renteria’s message to Jackson? Learn from what happened and move forward.

“That’s the only way we’ll move the club in the direction we’d like it to go,” Renteria said.

Jackson, who welcomed a new daughter in the offseason, was eager to take Renteria’s advice.

“As an athlete, when you have a season like I had last year, if anything it makes you more eager to start the next season up,” Jackson said. “That edge comes a little quicker and you’re more ready and more excited to go out and perform the way you know you can perform.”

What about Renteria?

“He seems like he’s ready to go,” Jackson said of his new skipper. “He’s excited about being a manager of the team. He definitely sees the potential the team has and he understands what we’re capable of doing.”

Jackson said he had no clue Dale Sveum would be dismissed after the 2013 ended. Maybe change is good?

“I hope so — I’ve changed a lot of teams,” said Jackson, who is playing for his eighth team. “I hope change can be good. Change doesn’t hurt. We have a great team, we have a great manager who is eager to get out and be with the team and help the team learn and teach us different things. We’re ready to go.”

* Renteria is thinking about his lineup but said he has plenty of time before Opening Day, March 31. His plan is to have all the players be able to get on base, get ‘em over, and get ‘em in.

“The reality is if the guys do what they’re suposed to do, it makes it a lot easier for me to set up the lineup,” Renteria said.

* Jeff Samardzija’s name has been mentioned often in trade rumors but Rizzo would like to see the right-hander stay with the Cubs.

“Jeff’s a good friend of mine, so I don’t want to see him get traded,” Rizzo said. “You don’t want that to happen but it’s part of the business.”

– Carrie Muskat

11/8 Pitching, pitching, pitching

Now that the Cubs have a manager in place, the next step is to stock the roster, and Theo Epstein said they are in the market for more pitching. Next week, Epstein will have face to face talks with representatives for free agents and start possible trade talks at the GM meetings. The Cubs have traded 40 percent of their starting rotation the last two seasons but Epstein said they are not looking for free agents who they can sign and then flip at the Trade Deadline.

“Every starting pitcher we acquire is someone we hope is starting Game One of the World Series for us,” Epstein said.

Last offseason, the Cubs courted free agents Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson. Sanchez signed with the Tigers and went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA in 29 starts, while Jackson agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs and finished 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA in 31 starts.

“We believe there’s a lot better ahead for Edwin Jackson,” Epstein said of the right-hander, who led the Majors in losses. “He stayed healthy for the entire season, he’s still only 30 years old, and his underlying performance was better than the stat line that you read on the scoreboard and he never quit. He’s certainly somebody who can impact us and fill a rotation spot going forward.”

Jackson will join Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, and Jake Arrieta in the Cubs’ 2014 rotation, but Epstein would like to add another starter. The Cubs will talk to Scott Baker, who spent the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and now is a free agent, but the right-hander also is exploring other options.

The Cubs also are in the market for a closer. After Carlos Marmol struggled and was then traded, and Kyuji Fujikawa was injured, Kevin Gregg stepped in and totaled 30 saves for the third time in his career. He’s now a free agent and shopping around.

“We have guys who could close,” Epstein said of the Cubs’ in-house options, “but I think that’s an opportunity for us. If you go to market with the closer’s role ready to bestow on somebody, that can help you sign a pretty good pitcher and can help your club. … We’re going to hit the market with a full closing opportunity to offer to the right pitcher we acquire, either through free agency or a trade, and know we have some interesting options in house.”

One of the players currently on the roster who could close is right-hander Pedro Strop, acquired from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman deal.

– Carrie Muskat

9/29 Sveum preps for Game No. 162

Dale Sveum made out the Cubs’ lineup card for Sunday’s game as he has for the previous 161 games this season, not knowing if it’s his last one.

“Like I said the other day, you’d be lying if you didn’t have anxiety about what’s going to happen in 24 hours,” Sveum said Sunday. “That’s human nature.”

Theo Epstein will meet Monday in Chicago with Sveum and some of the coaching staff to discuss their status. It’s part of the evaluation process Epstein is doing. If Sveum is anxious, he hasn’t shown it.

“You try [not to],” Sveum said of keeping a low profile. “There’s obviously frustrations [with the season], but my personality — I can get as [ticked] as anybody, but the focus should be on the players anyway. There’s something wrong if I’m seen too much. That’s my personality. I am what I am.”

It isn’t just Sveum who will find out Monday, either.

“Theo’s still evaluating [the coaches], too,” Sveum said. “He didn’t specifically say he was evaluating me but evaluating the whole staff situation.”

The Cubs will finish with at least 90 losses for the third straight season, the second in a row under Epstein and with Sveum at the helm. The Cubs have used a franchise record 56 different players this year, and only 12 remained on the roster for Game No. 162 who were present for the first game.

Sveum’s fiery side was revealed during the Cubs last series in Milwaukee Sept. 16-18 when he was caught on camera in the dugout arguing with pitcher Edwin Jackson. The next day, Jeff Samardzija was seen arguing with coach David Bell in the dugout. Epstein called those incidents “brushfires” and complimented Sveum because they were the only such incidents during his two years at the helm.

“It happens,” Jackson said Sunday about the argument. “In families, there’s nobody who has brothers or sisters who hasn’t been in an altercation with a brother or sister. It happens in other sports. But when it happens in baseball, it’s the less aggressive sport than other sports, and sometimes it’s made to be a big deal.

“You see a first place team, a playoff team [like the Braves], and it happens,” Jackson said of Atlanta’s dugout tussle Saturday between coach Terry Pendleton and Chris Johnson. “I’m sure they talked it over the next day. I’m sure it’s happened with plenty of players and managers and they make up the next day.”

As to whether Jackson wants Sveum back, the pitcher deferred to Epstein and the front office.

“It’s my first year with the organization,” Jackson said. “That’s a decision for those guys on top to make. My job is to go out and take the ball every fifth day to give the team a chance to win.”

Sveum has met with each of the players, either with Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer present, or just Hoyer, to review the season and talk about next year. Sveum said his relationship with the front office has been good.

“Theo was honest with everybody that there’s an evaluation going on with all of us, myself included with the coaches,” Sveum said. “That doesn’t change your relationship with anybody. It’s my job to do what I do, and Theo’s job to do what he does. Just because there’s an evaluation going on doesn’t change anything.”

It’s impossible to predict the Cubs lineup for 2014. Sveum will find out Monday whether he’ll be part of the continued rebuilding process.

What was on his mind as he prepped for Sunday’s season finale?

“The same thing that was on my mind yesterday,” Sveum said. “Obviously, it’s the last day so it’s a little different than any other day with the players. You know it’s the last day of the season and you’re going to play it out and hopefully win a ballgame.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/28 Cardinals 6, Cubs 2

Edwin Jackson’s final start of the season ended sooner than expected. Jackson was pulled after 2 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 6-2 loss Saturday to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium because of discomfort in his right side. The only good news is that he’ll have a few months to heal.

“It’s just a crazy year, man,” said Jackson, who will likely finish as the Major League leader in losses with 18. “If I had the answer, I would’ve changed a long time ago. It’s one of those years where you forget it but still learn from it. It was a [bad] year to sum it up. There’s a lot of things to take from it.”

The Cardinals continued to tune up for the postseason. Matt Holliday hit a two-run home run and Yadier Molina drove in two runs off Jackson to back Adam Wainwright in front of 42,520 fans. St. Louis clinched the National League Central title with a 7-0 win on Friday night, and now is battling Atlanta to determine the top seed in the NL playoffs.

The Cubs lost for the 13th time in their last 17 games, and are simply trying to wrap up a disappointing season in which they will finish last in the division.

“We only have nine innings left this year,” said Anthony Rizzo, who hit his 23rd home run leading off the ninth. “Hopefully, those nine innings get us going and we can go into the offseason on a high note.”

With one out in the St. Louis third, Jackson walked two batters, and both scored on Molina’s double. One out later, Pete Kozma hit a ground-rule double that bounced into the Cubs’ bullpen, and Jackson intentionally walked Adron Chambers to face Wainwright, who hit a RBI single. Cubs manager Dale Sveum and athletic trainer PJ Mainville then went to the mound, and Jackson was pulled after 65 pitches. The right-hander said the problem began when he was warming up and continued as the game progressed.

“He hasn’t had the year he wanted or anything like that but [Travis Wood] has pitched really good and [his record is] under .500,” Sveum said. “[Jackson] has kept us in some games. He’s been a .500 pitcher his whole career. Obviously, you don’t want losses, but at the same time, the games we’ve been in, we don’t seem to win or get a lead.”

Since Jackson reported to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training, he’s been asked about the four-year, $52 million contract he signed with the Cubs, his first long-term deal. Maybe his struggles were related to putting too much pressure on himself with a new team?

“He handles everything really well and he’s ready to come back next year and prove himself,” Sveum said. “I think a lot of things go into it pressure-wise — you get a contract like that, you’re with a new team. I think next year he’ll be a lot more comfortable and settle in and have a good year.”

That’s the goal, Jackson said.

“I don’t feel like I pressed as far as playing,” Jackson said. “There were times when I was over analyzing things and thinking too much and not allowing myself to go out and do what I’m capable of doing athletically. As far as pressure with the new contract and new team and all that, I didn’t feel like there was a lot of pressure.

“When you’re not pitching well, it’s easy to make excuses and point out things that could be happening,” he said. “It’s the craziest year I’ve had in baseball for a long time. You just look forward the working in the offseason and coming back and turning it around.”

The Cubs avoided being shutout for a second straight game when they tallied in the ninth against Edward Mujica. Rizzo led off with his first home run since Sept. 13 and second of the month. J.C. Boscan doubled and scored one out later on Donnie Murphy’s double.

On Sunday, the Cubs close the 2013 season. The players will head home, and Sveum will find out if he’s coming back next year on Monday.

“At the end of the day, the manager can’t play for us,” Jackson said. “The 25 guys who go on the field, we have to produce and play baseball like we know we can. I think we’re capable of doing that. It takes everyone to believe we can win games and go out and play like that.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/28 Cubs lineup

Edwin Jackson makes his final start of the season on Saturday when the Cubs face the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Schierholtz RF
Murphy 3B
Bogusevic CF
Barney 2B
E. Jackson P

9/25 Cubs vs. Cardinals

The Cubs close the season with a three-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals, who are trying to wrap up the NL Central. The Cubs have three pitchers to reach 30 starts apiece (Jeff Samardzija, 32; Travis Wood, 31; Edwin Jackson, 30) for the first time since 2008, when Ted Lilly (34), Ryan Dempster (33) and Carlos Zambrano (30) did so. Despite setting a franchise mark with 56 players used, the Cubs have utilized just nine starting pitchers, its fewest since nine started in 2010.

Here are the pitching matchups vs. the Cardinals:

Friday: LHP Travis Wood (9-11, 2.98) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (14-10, 4.09)
Satuday: RHP Edwin Jackson (8-17, 4.74) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (9-5, 2.81)
Sunday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.33) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (18-9, 3.01)

9/16 Brewers 6, Cubs 1

Edwin Jackson lost Monday’s game and his argument with manager Dale Sveum in the dugout. Jackson gave up two runs in an abbreviated four-inning start and made an error in the Cubs’ 6-1 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park. But it was his animated discussion with Sveum after he was pulled that was the focus. The right-hander was lifted after throwing 76 pitches in his shortest start since lasting three innings on May 23. Jackson gave up two hits and three walks, and he committed one of three errors in the game by the Cubs. Then the fireworks.

After he was replaced by pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic in the fifth, Jackson was seen in the Cubs dugout arguing with Sveum. Bench coach Jamie Quirk, pitching coach Chris Bosio and a few players also were present. Jackson then went into the clubhouse.

“He wasn’t real happy being taken out of the game and I understand that,” Sveum said. “That’s my decision, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Was it Jackson’s performance on the field that prompted Sveum to make the switch? The Cubs trailed 2-0 at that point and Jackson was to bat third in the fifth.

“He was already at 75 pitches, and I felt as many one-run games that we play and in this ballpark, I was going to take a shot at tying it back up and making sure we score that one run,” Sveum said. “He was at 75 pitches, and he wasn’t happy with coming out of the game at that point and not getting to five innings. You respect that about players who want to stay in the game, and I made that decision.”

Jackson said he still felt strong despite the high pitch count at that point.

“I was just ready to go,” Jackson said. “As a pitcher, we’re always ready to go. We have a lot of competitors on this team. We’re ready to battle at all times. Everybody wants to stay in the game, the whole staff wants to stay in the game. He made his decision that he wanted to pinch-hit.”

What set off Sveum?

“I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I don’t have a problem with him, I’m sure he doesn’t have a problem with me. Something happened, but it’s not really a big deal. It might be made more of a big deal than it is, it might be blown out of proportion more than it really is. I don’t have a problem with anybody on the staff.”

Jackson ended up with the loss, and is now tied for the most losses in the Major Leagues with the Astros’ Lucas Harrell at 16. That’s not what the right-hander probably expected when he signed a four year, $52 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason.

“It’s the competitive nature,” Jackson said. “We see it all the time in football.”

Was he surprised at Sveum’s outburst?

“Maybe a little bit,” Jackson said. “But right after that, I didn’t have a problem, I didn’t have a problem with him, I still don’t have a problem with him. No grudges or anything like that.”

On this night, Caleb Gindl hit an RBI triple, a single, and a two-run home run to help Starling Peralta pick up the win. In the Milwaukee fourth, Scooter Gennett singled with one out and scored on Gindl’s triple. Gindl then tallied on Martin Maldonado’s sacrifice, and Maldonado was safe at second on Jackson’s throwing error. Peralta lined out to third baseman Luis Valbuena, but he overthrew second and Maldonado moved up on the error. Aoki struck out to end the inning. Then Jackson was told his day was done.

“I was caught off guard a little bit,” he said. “That’s the nature of the game. He’s the manager. He can make the calls whenever he feels like he needs to.”

The Cubs would need a strong finish to pass the Brewers and not finish last in the NL Central. It’s surprising there haven’t been more problems.

“We have a group of guys who are going to go out there and fight, good year, bad year, good game, bad game,” Jackson said. “It’s been a crazy year for us but like I said, everybody is out working every day and striving to get better.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/16 Jackson, Sveum disagree

Edwin Jackson had an abbreviated outing that got even uglier once he was pulled from the game. Jackson gave up two runs over four innings, made a costly error, and most likely didn’t win his argument with manager Dale Sveum in the dugout. The right-hander was lifted after throwing 76 pitches in his shortest start since a three inning stint on May 23. Jackson gave up two runs on two hits and three walks, committed one of three errors in the game by the Cubs.

After he was replaced by pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic in the fifth, Jackson was seen in the Cubs dugout having an animated discussion with Sveum. Bench coach Jamie Quirk, pitching coach Chris Bosio and a few players also were present. Jackson then went into the clubhouse.

Jackson and Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta began the day tied for the most losses in the National League with 15 each. Both also have turned in their share of quality starts — Jackson has 13 and Peralta 16. They are two of six NL pitchers to have at least 13 losses and at least 13 quality starts this year, joining the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick, the Padres’ Eric Stults and the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.

Jackson was in line to tie the Astros’ Lucas Harrell for most losses in MLB.

– Carrie Muskat

9/16 Extra bases

* The Cubs’ 3-2 loss Sunday against the Pirates dropped them to 20-31 in one-run games. The 51 games are tied for the most in the National League and tied for third in all of baseball. Only the Marlins and White Sox have more one-run losses than the Cubs this season (both have 32).

The Cubs are 34-47 in games decided by two runs or less. Overall, 81 of their 149 games (54 percent) have been decided by two runs or less, third most in the NL and fourth in the Majors.

* Monday’s match-up features a pair of pitchers who lead the NL with 15 losses apiece. However, both Edwin Jackson and Wily Peralta have turned in a handful of quality starts, as Jackson has 13 and Peralta has 16. They are two of only six in the National League to have at least 13 losses and at least 13 quality starts this season, joining Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick, San Diego’s Eric Stults and San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum.

* With a win Monday, Jackson would match Travis Wood for the team lead with nine victories this season. Jackson has a chance to lead the Cubs in both wins and losses, which would mark the third season in a row a Cubs pitcher accomplished that feat. Jeff Samardzija (9-13) did so last year and Ryan Dempster (10-14) did so in 2011.


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