Results tagged ‘ Greg Maddux ’

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

6/17 All's well with Wells

Randy Wells began his self-proclaimed new season with a no decision on Thursday. Wells said before the game he was starting over. He got advice from four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux plus pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“It was nice to get through the first inning,” Wells said. “It’s unfortunate it took this long to get the problem fixed.”

One of his goals was to avoid trouble pitching out of the stretch. Wells gave up an “uh oh, here we go again” double down the left field line to leadoff hitter Rajai Davis but escaped a potential mess by retiring the next three hitters. In the seventh, Wells served up Mark Ellis’ home run but still finished the inning although not without a visit from Lou Piniella. The A’s had a runner at third and two outs and Conor Jackson coming up.

“I had a good feeling we were going to win the game,” Wells said. “I told [Piniella] I was going to win the game. I said, ‘Just give me a chance,’ and he said, ‘Last batter.'”

Wells got Jackson to pop up.

“Today, I was pleased with the way I calmed my emotions and I didn’t let negative things bother me,” Wells said. “I made a couple mistakes but I was able to keep my cool and continually execute my pitches.”

The change he made in his mechanics is pretty simple. Wells called Maddux, now an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

“I went to Larry with what I’d talked to Greg about and before I could get a word out of my mouth, he said, ‘This is what’s happening, your fastballs flat, your ball’s not sinking, you’re spiking changeups and all of that comes from falling towrads the plate,” Wells said. “It was a simple adjustment.”

He did not get the win in the Cubs’ 3-2 come from behind victory over Oakland but did notch his seventh quality start.

— Carrie Muskat

6/16 Wells' season starts Thursday

As far as Randy Wells is concerned, his season begins on Thursday. The right-hander will start in the Cubs series finale against the Athletics, riding a five-game losing streak. He’s wiped that out. That’s all in the past, Wells said.

“I’ve declared tomorrow as the start of a new season for me,” Wells said Wednesday. “Right now, I’m 0-0 in my mind. I’m excited.”

He has struggled in the first inning of three of his starts and pitching coach Larry Rothschild has made some changes in Wells’ mechanics. When he takes the mound Thursday, Wells said he’ll be more compact and more closed in his delivery.

This season has been a wake-up call for the right-hander, who was 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in his first full season in the big leagues last year. He’s now 3-5 with a 5.15 ERA but says it’s not a sophomore jinx.

“I don’t believe in that,” he said. “I’m sitting at 3-5 with a bad ERA, but a good month here and I’m there. Roy Halladay’s 8-5 right now. Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd — people are struggling. I feel I can get back on track and just a little encouragement here and something as easy as that book to reassure your thoughts I think will be beneficial.”

The book is “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching,” by H.A. Dorfman. Rothschild is an advocate of Dorfman’s principles.

“A lot of the stuff, you read and it’s what Larry says,” Wells said. “When you hear it from Larry, you think he’s trying to calm you down or get you going. When you read the meaning behind it and what other guys have done, it’s really inspiring.”

Wells also called Greg Maddux, now an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Maddux offered words of encouragement on how to handle adversity.

“He’s a great resource,” Wells said.

— Carrie Muskat

5/22 Maddux checks in

Greg Maddux took advantage of the Cubs’ Interleague trip to Texas to catch up with his brother, Mike, who is the pitching coach for the Rangers. More important, Maddux has been spending time with the Cubs’ Minor League pitchers to share some advice. He spent one week with the Class A Daytona team and will get a promotion to Double-A. When a four-time Cy Young award winner talks, people listen.

However, he’s chosen to sit in the dugout, not the stands.

“I want to watch the game,” Maddux said Saturday. “You sit in the stands sometimes and you don’t want to be rude to people, but you want to watch the game.”

Apparently, he’s encountered a few autograph seekers. Plus, sitting in the dugout is how Maddux has watched baseball for most of his life.

After this weekend, he’ll head to Birmingham, Ala., to catch up with the Cubs’ Double-A team, the Tennessee Smokies. The feedback he’s gotten from the Minor League pitchers has been good so far.

“They’re cool,” Maddux said. “They want to learn, they want to move up, they want to get better. Hopefully I’ve had an experience or two that might help that. That’s all you try to do is try to help the players help themselves. When they start learning how to help themselves they get better faster.”

And getting the chance to see Mike?

“We told some war stories,” Greg said.

— Carrie Muskat

5/21 Family reunion

Greg Maddux joined the Cubs in Texas for the weekend series. It’s nice timing — he can catch up on the big league team and also see his brother, Mike, who is the pitching coach for the Rangers. Maddux is an assistant to GM Jim Hendry and has spent some time working with the Minor Leaguers.

— Carrie Muskat

5/10 Minor matters & Maddux

The Peoria Chiefs will retire Greg Maddux’s No. 31 in pre-game ceremonies on June 11. Maddux pitched for the Peoria team in 1985. Maddux is currently an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

* Mitch Atkins, making a spot start for the Iowa Cubs, gave up one run on three hits over five innings in a 6-1 win over Oklahoma City. Marquez Smith homered and Chad Tracy had four hits, including a double. Darwin Barney had three hits — all part of a 16-hit attack.

Atkins was subbing for Mike Parisi, who has been assigned to Double-A Tennessee.

“He was throwing the ball OK but he’s still not as sharp as he should be,” Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said of Parisi.

* Su-Min Jung gave up six runs on seven hits over four innings in Peoria’s 15-6 loss to Kane County. Greg Rohan extended his hitting streak to eight games with a hit.

* Tennessee and Daytona had the day off.

— Carrie Muskat

5/2 Wasn't that Greg Maddux?

If the extra coach on the Daytona Cubs looked familiar, it’s because it was Greg Maddux, who just completed five days with the Cubs’ Class A team. It’s part of the four-time Cy Young winner’s new job as an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Maddux was in uniform in the dugout to talk to the players, give advice, maybe throw a little batting practice. The plan is for the former pitcher to spend time with each of the Cubs’ Minor League affiliates in the first half of the season. He’ll also join the big league team as well.

— Carrie Muskat

4/5 Bobby & Lou

This is the last season at the helm for Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. He and Lou Piniella, who is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, talked at Turner Field on Sunday before the Cubs workout. Did they talk about retirement plans?

“He said he had a long Spring Training in Florida and was looking forward to the start of the season and that he likes his team, as do I,” Piniella said. “Nothing one way or another.”

Piniella is 66, and said he didn’t realize Cox was only a couple years older.

“He retired at an early age,” Piniella said. “He’s had a heck of a Major League career managing. He’s a good friend and has been a great manager and ambassador for baseball. We talked about quite a few things. Actually. he’s looking forward to this season as am I.”

One other person who knows Cox well is Greg Maddux, who won three of his Cy Young awards with the Braves.

“Bobby is a great manager and it was a privilege to play for him the 11 years I got to,” said Maddux, now an assistant to general manager Jim Hendry. “A great man, great manager and he’s a winner. He knows how to win. He’s great with people. He taught me so much about the game that when things come up, ‘Oh yeah, Bobby taught me that.’ ‘Oh, yeah, I saw Bobby do that.’ ‘Oh, this is how Bobby would do it.’ He’s one of the best.”

This spring was the first chance Maddux had to be around Piniella.

“Lou’s very good, very good with people,” Maddux said. “I haven’t been able to spend near the time around him that I did with Bobby. I’ve enjoyed being around him this spring and enjoyed watching how he does things. I’ve enjoyed watching him and the relationships that he has with his coaches and players. Spring Training is kind of a different thing. Things change once the season starts and I haven’t been around [Piniella] then. I like Lou and wish him great success.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/31 Zambrano ready to go

Carlos Zambrano made his final spring start and says he’s ready for the regular season. He tuned up by throwing four innings against the Angels at HoHoKam Park but was outdueled as Jered Weaver struck out nine over five innings in a 11-0 victory.

“He’s thrown the ball well here in camp, he’s nice and healthy, he’s been stretched out really well,” Lou Piniella said of Zambrano. “He’s ready to go. We’re pleased. He’s been working hard on his breaking ball and thrown some changeups and he’s had good life on his fastball.”

Every spring, Zambrano says he’s more mature, he’s going to settle down and keep his emotions in check.

“He tells me he’s changed,” Piniella said.

Does he believe his pitcher?

“To me that means there might be a little slippage at times,” Piniella said. “Let’s not expect perfection. I see a guy who is really focused and has really worked hard and he’s been under good control.”

Zambrano, who is coming off a disappointing 9-7 season, is focused on 200-plus innings. He’s topped that figure five times in his career.

“That’s the goal for this year,” he said. “A month ago, Greg Maddux came to me and told me to put in my mind 215 innings, 220 innings, and that’s what I want to do. I want to throw more than 220 innings and build my arm strength.”

Maddux, an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, has been available for Zambrano and all the other pitchers.

“Thank God he’s here and helped not only me but anybody who needs some tips or needs to chat with him,” Zambrano said.

One thing the right-hander wasn’t able to accomplish this spring was to drop another five pounds. He reported about 15 pounds lighter and looking very trim.

“I have to keep myself in better shape during the season,” Zambrano said. “That’s another challenge that I have. I think so far I’ve been mentally prepared and mentally ready to enter the season with a much better weight. Like Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] told me the other day, ‘You just have to keep yourself in shape and you will be good.'”

— Carrie Muskat

3/21 A scout's view

On Saturday, Greg Maddux tried on a scout’s cap. The four-time Cy Young winner, who is an assistant on GM Jim Hendry’s staff, joined Randy Bush and Gary Hughes to get a scouts’ view of the game. He was in Phoenix to watch the Cubs’ game against the A’s.

“He said that’s the first time he’s sat in the stands and watched a game since he was 10 years old,” said Bush, the Cubs’ assistant general manager.

Scouts like to joke that there are some unwritten rules such as not missing a press room meal, not missing the first pitch, and making sure they turn in expense reports on time. But Maddux taught Bush and Hughes a few things about what to watch for with pitchers. For the rest of spring, Maddux will spend time with the big league team, in the Minor League camp and scouting. On Sunday, he was in Tempe to watch the Angels with Hughes.

What’s next for Maddux?

“I think he’ll pick up whatever he wants to do in the game,” Bush said.

— Carrie Muskat