Results tagged ‘ Geovany Soto ’

4/2 Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3

What went right:

Kerry Wood needed just 11 pitches to get through the fifth inning Monday, striking out the first batter he faced. It was his final spring outing and he retired the side in the fifth and picked up the win in relief. Manager Dale Sveum predicted pre-game an 11-pitch outing. Wood will leave Arizona with five innings total. The Cubs hope that’s enough.

“[We’re] just a little more patient this year,” Wood said. “We get here [to camp] and we’re excited to be around the guys and next thing you know, six days later, we’re facing hitters. We backed it off a little bit.”

At 34 and entering his 15th season, Wood should know how to prepare. His 2011 season ended early because of a torn meniscus in his left knee but that hasn’t slowed him. The light workload may be more preventative than anything else.

“I feel good, my body feels ready to go,” Wood said. “Counting back stuff and side stuff, I’ve been off the mound enough.”

He said his command has been good, he’s been able to throw his cutter to both sides of the plate and just needs to fine tune his curve.

* In the game, Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto each had two RBIs, with Soto’s coming on his fourth home run.

What went wrong:

Jay Jackson had a 2-0 lead, then gave up three runs on five hits over four innings. He’ll open the season at Triple-A Iowa.


“It’s coming along. Sometimes it’s a process for people. Sometimes they look too deep into things, especially veteran players in Spring Training. it’s just wait and see what happens during the season. I know Rudy [Jaramillo] and he have talked. It’s been interesting actually. It could be a huge impact on why the numbers haven’t been there the last year.” — Dale Sveum on David DeJesus, who was batting .207 this spring.

Injury report:

* Bryan LaHair was expected to play Tuesday in the Cactus League finale against the Brewers. He has not played since Friday because of tightness in his back. Milwaukee also has a night game Tuesday, so most of the squad will be from the Double-A Huntsville roster.

* Marcos Mateo continues to rehab from right elbow soreness. He will not be ready for Opening Day.

This and that:

* Jeff Samardzija tuned up for the regular season by throwing four scoreless innings at the Cubs Minor League camp. He is scheduled to start April 8 against the Nationals at Wrigley Field.

* The competition for the final bullpen spots is coming down to the wire. There are eight relievers for seven spots. Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell are set and Rodrigo Lopez appears to be the long man. Others to be considered include Rafael Dolis, Lendy Castillo, Manuel Corpas and Shawn Camp.

Camp threw Sunday against the Angels and had a better outing, Sveum said.

“Guys like him, they have to stay out of the middle of the plate and keep the ball down otherwise their stuff doesn’t allow them to be in the middle of the plate up,” Sveum said. “He makes the ball go sideways, but he has to be down because his velocity is only 88 miles an hour.”

Up next:

Travis Wood, who will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, will close the Cactus League action on Tuesday against the Brewers. Tuesday’s game will start one hour earlier at 12:05 p.m. Arizona time and be broadcast on WGN Radio. The lineup will be a preview of Opening Day with DeJesus in right, Darwin Barney at second, Starlin Castro at short, LaHair at first, Alfonso Soriano in left, Ian Stewart at third, Marlon Byrd in center, and Geovany Soto catching. The Cubs will use a DH and Reed Johnson was slated to start.

— Carrie Muskat 

3/29 Cubs position players

Here’s the breakdown of the 13 Cubs position players who will be on the 25-man roster Opening Day:


Geovany Soto

Steve Clevenger


Bryan LaHair

Darwin Barney

Starlin Castro

Ian Stewart

Jeff Baker

Blake DeWitt


David DeJesus

Marlon Byrd

Alfonso Soriano

Reed Johnson

Joe Mather

— Carrie Muskat

3/23 Cubs 10, Rockies 8

What went right:

Geovany Soto was 3-for-3 with a pair of two-run homers and a RBI single. Bryan LaHair was 3-for-3 with a walk. Casey Coleman gives up one unearned run on two hits over three innings in relief.

What went wrong:

Jeff Samardzija was roughed up in the second inning, giving up four runs on five hits. His final line was seven runs on 10 hits over four innings and he did get credit for the win.


“He’s probably as good a young player — I’m in my ninth year coaching in the big leagues and he’s the best young player I’ve seen in Major League camp. I’ve seen some good young ones. He’s the full package. Obviously, the swing and miss is something he needs to work on and cutting down strikeouts but he brings a lot to the table for a Major League team.” — Dale Sveum on Brett Jackson, who was assigned to the Minor League camp Friday.

Injury report:

No update yet on Marcos Mateo who had to leave Thursday’s game. He walked the first batter he faced in the sixth and threw two more pitches. The Cubs medical staff was looking at his right elbow. Mateo was shutdown last year after July 5 because of elbow sorness.


* The Cubs trimmed the spring camp roster by seven on Friday. Adrian Cardenas and Anthony Rizzo were optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Five non-roster invitees were assigned to Minor League camp: Jay Jackson; Bobby Scales; Jim Adduci and Brett Jackson; and Michael Brenly.

* On Sunday, Rodrigo Lopez will start against the Indians in Goodyear and Ryan Dempster will start in a Minor League game at Fitch Park. The Cubs have their last split-squad games on Monday, and Paul Maholm will face the Padres in Mesa while Jay Jackson will start the road game against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.

Up next:

Travis Wood will make his fourth spring appearance and third start on Saturday when the Cubs play host to the Padres at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Wood has struggled this spring, giving up 13 earned runs on 13 hits and six walks over 4 2/3 innings. Randy Wells, who has not walked a batter or given up a run over 5 2/3 innings in two Cactus League games, will follow Wood. Chris Volstad, a front runner for one of the openings in the rotation, will pitch in a game in the Minor League camp at Fitch Park on Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/10 Cubs vs. Brewers

Geovany Soto makes his first Cactus League appearance on Saturday when the Cubs travel to Maryvale to face the Brewers. Ryan Dempster will start for Chicago and there’s no DH, so it’ll be back to National League action. The game will be on WGN TV, starting at 2:05 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

RF DeJesus

LF Johnson

SS Castro

1B LaHair

C Soto

3B Stewart

2B Barney

CF Campana

P Dempster

— Carrie Muskat

3/9 Soto, Jaramillo updates

Geovany Soto hopes to be in the Cubs lineup on Saturday, which would be his first game action this spring. The Cubs catcher has been sidelined with a strained groin. Jason Jaramillo also is making progress. He has been bothered by sore legs and admits he made it worse by trying to play through it.

“I thought I could get through it, and it didn’t go away,” Jaramillo said. “It came to the point where I had to say something and had to get it fixed. Where I’m at is I’m getting a lot better. I’m hoping to get out there soon.”

The problem was both legs, and he said there’s still some tightness in his right leg. However, Jaramillo hoped to hit on Friday for the first time since being sidelined.

“I’m optimistic I can go out there and show them what I’ve got,” said Jaramillo, who was vying for the backup catcher job and was the only candidate with any Major League experience. “I know what  I can do — I just have to get out there.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/6 Cubs Tuesday wrapup

Cubs manager Dale Sveum picked up his first win Tuesday when the Cubs beat the Rockies, 11-4. They’ve now outscored their opponents,  31-21, in three games.

“It’s better than being 0-3,” Sveum said of the win. “You score eight, nine, 10, 11 runs all the time, you’re bound to win.”

One of the keys was the defensive play by the outfielders, who had to deal with a tough sun and swirling wind.

“I don’t think anybody realizes how tough those catches were unless you’ve played here and you’ve played the outfield, especially in the later innings when the sun gets lower,” Sveum said.

Third baseman Ian Stewart also shined on two plays, and Sveum complemented his “athleticism and calmness.”

“It’s just awareness,” Sveum said of Stewart. “You can’t teach that kind of stuff.”

* Matt Garza threw gave up two runs on three hits in his two innings. He also kept things loose by suggesting to Sveum that he was going to do his post-game running wearing a tank top and shorts. Garza will stop by the manager’s office to chat.

“He’s actually asked, ‘Hey, how are things going? How do you like this stuff?'” Sveum said. “He’s not afraid. It’s refreshing. That’s what you want out of your players, not to feel afraid to come into the manager’s office and B.S., no matter what it is, whether it’s an issue or just to B.S. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Why not?” Garza said. “He’s still a person. He likes to talk about stuff besides baseball. I like picking people’s brains. I try to slow him down a little bit — he’s go, go, go, go. He doesn’t say much — I try to get a couple more words out of him than, ‘Hey, go this way’ or ‘Go that way.'”

What do they talk about? Random stuff, Garza said. Whatever comes off the top of his head.

“It just kind of eases the tension and gets his mind off something else right now,” Garza said.

* Jeff Samardzija will make his first start Wednesday against the Royals. The right-hander has been impressive this spring. “There’s nothing not to like,” Sveum said of Samardzija, who is vying for one of the openings in the rotation. “His command is probably as good as I’ve ever seen from a hard throwing guy in live BP. His command of his cutter, his fastball, his slider, keeping the ball down, keeping the ball to his glove side, arm side, wherever he wants to get it, he’s pretty much been on target. He’s on a mission and he’s been as good as you can imagine right now up to this point.”

While Samardzija is pitching in Surprise, Paul Maholm will start in a B game in Mesa on Wednesday. Maholm was slowed this spring by the flu.

* Sveum was ousted in the bunting tournament on Tuesday by Maholm, who advanced to the final eight. Others to advance on Tuesday were Randy Wells, David DeJesus and Starlin Castro. Maholm will face Wells in the next round, while DeJesus and Castro will square off. Other final eight matchups are Jeff Beliveau vs. Casey Coleman and Adrian Cardenas vs. Welington Castillo.

* Geovany Soto remains on track to get into a game by Saturday. He’s been sidelined with a strained groin. However, Jason Jaramillo, one of the candidates for the backup catcher job, has been hindered by sore quads and has yet to play in a game. Castillo started on Tuesday and Michael Brenly was the backup.

* Brett Jackson hit solo homers in each of the intrasquad games, and belted a three-run homer on Tuesday. Is there a chance the highly touted outfielder could make the big league team?

“I don’t think you want a kid like that to not play,” Sveum said. “He hasn’t played a full year in Triple-A. He’s either going to make the team and play everyday or he’s going to be in Triple-A.”

Sveum likes his bench with Blake DeWitt, Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker. There appears to be one spot open and one candidate is Joe Mather, who can play the corners, the outfield and has power.

* The Cubs have been using a DH in three games so far, and will continue to do so as pitchers take their first turn in the rotation. Expect them to start hitting when they make their second starts.

— Carrie Muskat

3/3 Sunday’s Cubs lineup

Alfonso Soriano will lead off for the Cubs in Sunday’s Cactus League opener against the Athletics at HoHoKam Park. The only regular not playing will be catcher Geovany Soto, who is still nursing a sore groin. Soto has been able to take batting practice; he just can’t catch yet. Welington Castillo, one of the candidates for the backup catcher’s position, will start. Rodrigo Lopez was slated to start and other pitchers on the lineup card who could see action include Carlos Marmol, Rafael Dolis, Dae-Eun Rhee, Lendy Castillo and Marcos Mateo. Here’s the lineup:

LF Soriano

3B Stewart

SS Castro

1B LaHair

CF Byrd

RF DeJesus

DH Baker

2B Barney

C Castillo

— Carrie Muskat

3/1 Cubs notebook

Don’t read much into the early Cubs lineups this spring. Dale Sveum is still experimenting.

“I’ll probably have different lineups every day,” he said Thursday. “Like I told these guys, don’t look into any of the lineups that I throw out in the first week or so. I’m just getting a feel for things.”

The Cubs get started Friday with the first of two intrasquad games at HoHoKam Park, beginning at 1 p.m. MT. It’s open to the public and admission is free. Travis Wood and Randy Wells will each start. One thing Sveum hasn’t had to worry about is how hard the players are working in his first camp.

“The effort has been tremendous,” Sveum said.

* Starlin Castro, Joe Mather, Jeff Samardzija and Randy Wells advanced to the sweet 16 of the Cubs bunting tournament on Thursday.

“I’ve got Wells next — and I think we can look beyond that round,” Samardzija said, confidently.

The tourney shifts to the back field at HoHoKam as the Cubs move from the Fitch Park facilities to the stadium. Sveum will face Ryan Dempster in second round action on Friday. Other matches include Carlos Marmol vs. Paul Maholm, Geovany Soto vs. Jeff Baker and Marlon Byrd vs. David DeJesus.

* Soto, the Cubs’ regular catcher who has been sidelined with a groin injury, is making progress.

“He’s hitting a lot more, everything is coming together,” Sveum said. “He’s not having any discomfort or feeling anything in his agility. You can look for him back between [March 7-10] to play in a game.”

* Jeff Samardzija is eager to build off last season and grab one of the spots in the Cubs rotation. In the final two months of last season, the right-hander compiled a 1.26 ERA, giving up four earned runs over 28 2/3 innings. But he was pitching in relief then. Can he be a starter?

“That’s going to be the million dollar question in Spring Training,” Sveum said Thursday. “Against live hitters today, he threw the heck out of the ball and had great command, which he has every time. It’s going to be an interesting decision later this month.”

The difference is that his command is better, and he’s more aggressive with his command.

“I started bringing my cutter back in that I had two years ago when I was starting [at Triple-A] Iowa,” Samardzija said. “It’s understanding that as a starter I want these guys to put my ball in play early and I want to pitch deep in games. An emphasis on command. As a reliever, you come in and you can throw as hard as you want and get away with that but as a starter, I want low effort and get a lot of action early in the count.”

* Sveum is featured on billboards as part of a “Baseball is Better” ad campaign for the Cubs back in Chicago.

“You appreciate it but it’s not something — I’ve never had my picture on a billboard,” the new Cubs manager said. “I’m not the most fashionable guy or somebody who is going to smile and take pictures very well all the time. I’ve heard [the billboard] is OK. I’m not real comfortable with it.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/28 Cubs Tuesday notebook

The Cubs will tune up for Cactus League play with two intrasquad games at HoHoKam Park Friday and Saturday. Cubs manager Dale Sveum will handle one of the teams and Triple-A Iowa manager Dave Bialas may be assigned the other squad. The games will last between five to six innings each.

Chicago opens Cactus League play Sunday against the Athletics. Do wins and losses in the Cactus League count?

“I don’t care where you’re playing,” Sveum said, “winning is winning and you want to win all the time. At the end of the Cactus League, will the record matter? Of course not. I think the bottom line is to stress to beat the other team every time you step on the field. It’s not always what the final score dictates. Can you go home at night and say you kicked the other team’s butt besides the final score of the game? You can win a lot of games and a guy can hit a walkoff, two-run homer on a great pitch and you lost the game but you really won 8 2/3 innings, too. There’s a difference between winning and losing sometimes and how you get it.”

* Paul Maholm, who had been slowed by the flu, beat Rodrigo Lopez to complete the first round action Tuesday in the Cubs bunting tournament. Maholm was able to handle a 40-pitch bullpen session on Monday but felt a little weak. He wasn’t able to eat for two days but said the problem was “nothing major.”

* Casey Coleman could fill a spot as a starter or as a long man in the Cubs bullpen.

“He’ll be built up as a starter and compete,” Sveum said of the right-hander, who was 3-9 with a 6.40 ERA with the Cubs and 5-2 with a 3.65 ERA at Triple-A Iowa.

“The long man [spot] is open in the bullpen,” Sveum said. “[Coleman] brings a lot of depth to the rotation. He’ll be built up to compete for a job, any job that might come up.”

* Geovany Soto, sidelined with a strained groin, is improving but wasn’t expected to be ready by the Cactus League opener on Sunday.

“[The athletic trainers] said he came in and was feeling better,” Sveum said. “It’s still one of those things where he’s a week away from being on the field all day long.”

The Cubs do have to decide on a backup catcher for Soto this season. Koyie Hill held that job for the last five seasons, but is now in the Cardinals camp. The candidates include Welington Castillo, who has played just 11 big league games over two seasons; Jason Jaramillo, who has played for the Pirates the last three years; Steve Clevenger, a former shortstop who was called up last season for the first time. Other catchers in camp include Minor Leaguers Blake Lalli and Michael Brenly.

“It’s probably the first time in camp I’ve had so many quality catchers,” Sveum said. “You have to keep your eye on them to make that decision when we break camp.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/27 Cubs early notebook

Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm had been sidelined with the flu but he was throwing his side session on Monday. Catcher Geovany Soto is day to day because of a groin injury. He was held out of Sunday’s practice as a precautionary measure.

* Sveum arrives at Fitch Park at 4:45 a.m. every day and is working out 15 minutes later. He’s always been an early bird but admits that as the manager, he arrives a tad earlier than he used to when he was a coach. Is he a morning person?

“I don’t like to be,” Sveum said. “Spring Training forces you to be a morning person. I’m just practicing getting ready for all the day games at Wrigley.”

* Former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe is one of the instructors in camp this spring, and on Sunday, he threw batting practice for the first time in two years.

“I still gave up a lot of home runs,” Sutcliffe said, laughing.

— Carrie Muskat