Results tagged ‘ Geovany Soto ’

5/19 Castillo hurt; Hill back

Welington Castillo has a mild sprain of the MCL in his right knee, and was expected to miss four to seven days, depending on how he responds to treatment. Castillo had an MRI on Saturday to determine the injury. The Cubs are already short-handed at catcher with Geovany Soto going on the disabled list Friday because of a tear in the meniscus in his left knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday and was expected to be sidelined at least three weeks. Rookie Blake Lalli, who was hitting .178 in 20 games at Triple-A Iowa, was added to the roster on Friday from Triple-A Iowa but he’s the backup. On Saturday, the Cubs acquired Koyie Hill, 33, from the Reds for cash consideration. Hill was playing for Double-A Pensacola, batting .195 with one home run and five RBIs in 14 games. He played for the Cubs from 2007-11. Steve Clevenger, the Cubs’ backup catcher, is currently on the DL with a rib cage injury and was to start taking batting practice on Saturday or Sunday. He was ahead of schedule in his rehab but wasn’t expected to be ready until after the Cubs next road trip.

— Carrie Muskat

5/18 Soto needs surgery

Geovany Soto has a tear in the meniscus in his left knee and will undergo arthroscopic surgery, which will sideline him about three weeks. Soto was scratched from Thursday’s lineup against the Phillies because of inflammation in his knee and underwent an MRI on Friday. Steve Clevenger, the Cubs’ backup catcher, is already on the disabled list with a rib cage injury and was scheduled to start taking batting practice on Saturday or Sunday. He was ahead of schedule in his rehab but wasn’t expected to be ready until next weekend. Welington Castillo, who opened the year at Triple-A Iowa, will take over for now. Expect Blake Lalli to be added from the Iowa roster. Darwin Barney is the emergency backup catcher for now.

— Carrie Muskat

5/17 Geovany Soto scratched

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto was scratched from Thursday’s lineup against the Phillies because of inflammation in his left knee. His status was day to day. Welington Castillo, who was batting .150, replaced Soto in the Cubs lineup in the series finale. Soto was hitting .161 with three home runs and six RBIs this season, and has started 27 of the Cubs 37 games. Although his batting average is low, he’s shown some improvement. He hit .127 in April and was batting .211 in May.

— Carrie Muskat

5/8 Theo: “Good things are happening”

After a rough 3-11 start, the Cubs are 9-6 in their last 15 games and Theo Epstein sees some good trends.

“There have been some really good things happening,” said Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations. “It’s baseball, so you don’t get too high when things are going well or too low when they’re not. The effort has been there all year and we’ve been playing hard and trying to play the game the right way. It’s hard to see sometimes when you’re losing close games and when breaks are going against you like they were early but everyone can appreciate it when the results come with it as they have lately.”

Cubs pitchers have compiled a 2.64 ERA in the last 15 games, fourth best mark in the Major Leagues in that stretch, and the team was batting .262, which ranks seventh in the National League.  Looking for positives? Third baseman Ian Stewart, for example, was batting .381 in his last seven games to raise his average from .160 to .208. Geovany Soto was batting .167 overall but was 5-for-17 in his last five games. Ryan Dempster entered Tuesday’s game with a 0.95 ERA yet has not won in four starts.

“I think Stewart and Soto both have been hitting into tough luck all year and it’s starting to turn for both of them,” Epstein said Tuesday. “They’ve really been having quality at-bats for weeks and now balls are starting to fall for them or being driven out of the ballpark, which is a way to take care of your own luck sometimes. ‘Demp’ has been as good as anybody. The won-loss record is out of your control sometimes but he’s done a great job for us every time he’s taken the ball.”

— Carrie Muskat 

5/2 It’s still early, Cubs fans

During early batting practice Wednesday at Great American Ball Park, Ian Stewart was hitting ball after ball to the opposite field. Then he launched a few into the right field seats.

“I like the ones he was hitting to right,” Dale Sveum said.

Stewart enters Wednesday’s game batting .169 overall and .143 in the four-game series in Philadelphia.

“He’s hit into a lot of bad luck,” Sveum said. “For his average to be where it is, I don’t think that’s where his swings are, not that he’s where he wants to be on a consistent basis. But some of the balls he’s hit hard. … It’s not as bad as the numbers look. The way he’s played defense and still centering balls up, it’s not as bad as it looks.”

Sveum has been patient with Stewart and Geovany Soto, who was hitting .127 overall.

“It’s 25 games into the season,” Sveum said. “It’s hard to panic after 25 games when you have 140 left, basically. These guys have a track record, although Stewart had a tough year last year. We didn’t pick him up to give him 25 days of a chance especially when he’s a two-way player, or can be a two-way player. It’s way too early, the weather is just starting to warm up. There’s plenty of guys struggling. [Albert] Pujols doesn’t have a home run yet, Prince Fielder has hit one since the second day of the season. It’s way too early to think about any change or anything like that.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/28 Castillo expected to join Cubs

Welington Castillo will join the Cubs in Philadelphia Saturday night, getting the call to replace Steve Clevenger, who has some tightness in his side. Castillo was batting .320 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 16 games (50 at-bats) for Triple-A Iowa. Clevenger, who was 11-for-22 in 10 games, felt the discomfort during batting practice Friday in Philadelphia. Geovany Soto, the Cubs regular catcher, was batting .135 with one RBI this season.

— Carrie Muskat 

4/22 Reds 4, Cubs 3

The Cubs’ season has been tough enough that they didn’t need to see Starlin Castro lying on the ground at home plate in pain after being hit by a pitch. Castro recovered — and hit a triple in the ninth and scored — but the Cubs came up short against the Reds, who took the series. Chicago stranded 12, while Johnny Cueto struck out seven, Joey Votto hit an RBI double, and the Reds took advantage of botched plays in the sixth inning to score the go-ahead runs.

Castro was Cueto’s last batter in the seventh when he was hit on the left elbow. The shortstop fell to the ground in pain.

“I felt like it broke my whole arm the first time he hit me,” Castro said. “But after I lay down [on the dirt] and ran the bases, the hurt was gone and I felt pretty good.”

Castro stayed in the game and wore a protective brace on his elbow in the ninth when he tripled off Sean Marshall.

“I think [Castro] was more shocked [after he was hit],” Dale Sveum said. “I don’t think it got him on the bone — it got him more on the flesh, thank God.”

Castro has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this season, reaching base safely in 55 of his last 56 games since last Aug. 15. He has a 10-game hitting streak and was batting .425 in that stretch.

“I’ll be ready for tomorrow,” Castro said. “If it’s up to me, I won’t [get hit again] ever.”

* Randy Wells did not get a decision in his substitute start in place of Ryan Dempster, on the disabled list with a strained right quad. A candidate for the Cubs’ rotation this spring, Wells opened the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he was 1-0 with a 9.42 ERA in three games. On Sunday, he gave up two runs on six hits and five walks over five innings.

“It’s always tough to watch your teammates on TV but we were down there [with Iowa] and it was what had to happen and you can’t sit there and dwell on it,” Wells said. “You have to do what you can do down there to help your team win. It’s good to be back up. The circumstances are rough. Hopefully, I can pitch better the next time out and we’ll see what happens.”

Dempster’s DL time was backdated to April 18 and he’s expected to miss two starts.

“He got some big outs when he had to,” Sveum said of Wells. “He made some pitches and did a good job for five innings and did a good job getting out of some jams.”

* The Cubs made two errors, both in the sixth. With the game tied at 2, Rodrigo Lopez (0-1) walked Ryan Hanigan and Cueto was safe on a throwing error by catcher Geovany Soto, who hit the pitcher in the back with his throw. Zack Cozart was safe on another error by Soto, whose throw pulled Blake DeWitt off first. Hanigan scored when Drew Stubbs hit into a fielder’s choice. Scott Maine took over for Lopez and hit Ryan Ludwick with a pitch to load the bases, then walked Jay Bruce to drive in a run.

“Walking the leadoff guy, it snowballed the whole inning as well as the bunts,” Sveum said. “They were giving us outs and we didn’t get outs on the bunts.”

Soto agreed.

“They were good bunts but that bunt play has got to be made, it’s got to be made,” Soto said.

What may have contributed to the problem was that Joe Mather was at first, not Bryan LaHair, in the sixth.

“We’re supposed to charge but I think [Mather] may not have read it properly where he thought Geo was going to be able to get there easily,” LaHair said of the plays. “Sometimes when you don’t play over there enough it’s hard to be perfect. He can handle the position. He’s going to be fine.”

* The Cubs and Reds combined for 14 errors in the three-game series, the most in a Cubs series since Chicago and San Diego committed 15 in a set, April 28-30, 1989.

* Castro has reached safely in 55 of his last 56 games starting Aug. 15. He also has a 10-game hitting streak, and was batting .425 in that stretch.

* Next up, the Cubs have a rematch with the Cardinals. Matt Garza faces Jamie Garcia on Monday night followed by a rematch between Jeff Samardzija and Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night. Chris Volstad faces Lance Lynn on Wednesday to close the homestand.

— Carrie Muskat  

4/19 Marlins 5, Cubs 3

The Cubs began their first road trip with a confidence-boosting win over the defending World Series champions, and ended it Thursday with a sputtering offense. Greg Dobbs hit a two-run double to back Ricky Nolasco and lift the Marlins to victory and a sweep of the Cubs. They went 1-5 on this trip. Jeff Samardzija (2-1) took the loss in the shortest outing by a Cubs starter this season, lasting 3 2/3 innings. He deflected Logan Morrison’s liner off the meaty portion of his right hand in the fourth but stayed in to strike out Giancarlo Stanton and was then pulled.

“I should’ve caught it,” Samardzija said. “That was the least of my worries.”

The problem was a lack of first-pitch strikes. In Samardzija’s first start of the year against the Nationals, he threw first-pitch strikes to all but five of the 31 batters he faced. On Thursday, he did so for 12 of the 21 batters faced.

“I’m not 100 percent disappointed,” Samardzija said of his outing. “There are just things you have to work on.”

* The Cubs rank last in the Major Leagues in home runs and are 28th in the Majors in slugging percentage. Since their April 13 win over the Cardinals, they’ve been outscored, 34-10. They’re not panicking; just need some consistency in all facets of the game.

“It’s tough,” David DeJesus said of the five-game skid and overall 3-10 record. “We come to the field to win the games. It’s not like we’re coming to hang out and have fun. We just have to get better as a team. We have to focus and take every at-bat the way professionals do. I feel that will lead to better innings and ‘W’s in the win column.”

* The Cubs finally got the big inning they’ve been looking for in the second, sparked by Darwin Barney’s three-run triple. But in the three-game series at Marlins Park, the Cubs were 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 15 baserunners.

* Geovany Soto posted his first multi-hit game of the season. He led NL catchers in 2011 with 21.

* Starlin Castro extended his hitting streka to seven games, and is .444 in that stretch. He’s reached base safely in 52 of his last 53 games since Aug. 15, 2011.

* Ian Stewart had two hits to end an 0-for-13 skid.

* On Friday, the Cubs open a three-game series and six-game homestand against the Reds. Chris Volstad will face Homer Bailey on Friday.

— Carrie Muskat

4/11 Brewers 2, Cubs 1

Once again, Ryan Dempster pitched well enough to win Wednesday but once again, the Cubs couldn’t come up with enough runs to back him up. George Kottaras was Dempster’s 1,000th strikeout victim in the fifth, and the backup catcher got revenge in the seventh when he hit a two-run homer to lift the Brewers to victory over the Cubs. On Opening Day, Dempster (0-1) struck out 10 and was charged with one run on two hits. On Wednesday, he fanned five over 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. The problem was, one of those hits landed in the Wrigley Field bleachers.

“I could’ve won that game today if I make a couple better pitches in the seventh inning,” Dempster said. “Those games are the ones where a mistake can cost you a game and I made a mistake and it cost us the game. I’d like to make some better pitches there and unfortunately I left a cutter over the plate and he hit it out. That was enough to win the game for them.”

Sveum had no complaints about his starter.

“He pitched great, he pitched awesome,” Dale Sveum said.

The Brewers trailed 1-0 going into the seventh when Mat Gamel doubled to lead off and one out later, Kottaras launched a 1-2 pitch to right.

“He threw everything for strikes and kind of kept us off balance,” Kottaras said of Dempster, who notched his 1,000th K with the Cubs when he got the catcher swinging to open the fifth. “It’s tough to get in a rhythm when he does that, but we definitely came out on top today. [The pitch] was down and in, and I was trying to stay through the middle. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. It put a good swing on it and off it went.”

Extra bases:

* All six of the Cubs games this year have been decided by three runs or less. Last season, they opened the year with seven such games, which was the first time the team had done that since 1950.

* David DeJesus has a .391 on-base percentage, which is 128 points higher than his batting average (.263).

* Kerry Wood struck out the side in the eighth. It’s the first time he’s done that since last Aug. 22 vs. the Braves. Wood was able to mix in a few curveballs.

“I think it’s going to be a huge asset to him to get that curveball back,” Sveum said.

* Dempster did notch his 1,000th strikeout with the Cubs when he fanned Kottaras in the fifth. He’s the 12th pitcher in franchise history to reach 1,000 Ks with the Cubs.

* After closing the series against the Brewers, the Cubs travel to St. Louis to face the defending World Champs.

“I don’t see much of a breather throughout the whole season,” Dempster said. “I think there’s more parity in baseball. Every series you play, every game you play, any team has a chance to win. That’s the nice part about the game nowadays. For us, that’s what we’re going to do is try to win as many as possible and put losses behind you and build off the wins.”

* Matt Garza closes the series vs. the Brewers Thursday, facing Zack Greinke. First pitch scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT.

— Carrie Muskat 

4/11 When you’re smiling …

At one point in the seventh inning Tuesday night, Geovany Soto made Rafael Dolis laugh. The Brewers were threatening to add on after Dolis walked the first two batters. Soto, the Cubs catcher, went out to the mound to talk to Dolis, who was making his second appearance this year and third of his career, to make sure the right-hander was breathing.

“I told him, ‘Feel like you’re playing Wiffle ball in the Dominican and it’s cold because we just had a hurricane and there’s no power,'” Soto said Wednesday. “I was trying to get his mind away from [the game]. Maybe he’s feeling a little pressure or is nervous or is cold. I was trying to get him away from that so he could regroup.”

Telling Dolis there’s a hurricane sounds like an odd way to expect him to relax.

“I told him the power is out, the conditions are really bad,” Soto said. “We can only be outside playing Wiffle ball. I said, ‘This guy’s got two homers off you so you want to strike him out with Wiffle ball.’ He’s looking at me, like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I just tried to calm him down. When you’re calm and feel comfortable, that’s when your talent comes out. I wanted him to feel like he was at home. He has unbelievable talent and an unbelievable fastball that I want to come out.”

Dolis, who is from the Dominican Republic, has seen his share of hurricanes. But he laughed again when asked about Soto’s efforts. The right-hander did give up a run in the seventh and ended the inning by striking out Nyjer Morgan.

Soto also spent some time on the mound Tuesday night with Lendy Castillo, 23, who pitched the ninth. Castillo spent last season at Class A and is making a huge leap to the big leagues.

“It’s going to take a little bit for these guys,” Soto said. “I remember my first time when I was in the big leagues and my knees were shaking a little bit. It goes like that. You can’t teach experience. You just have to go out there and play.”

— Carrie Muskat