Results tagged ‘ Hector Rondon ’

2/21 Rondon is closer but ‘pen is “work in progress”

Manager Joe Maddon didn’t mention the closer’s job to Hector Rondon during their one-on-one pre-spring meeting. Maddon didn’t think he had to.

“Mr. Rondon looks like he’s going to be pretty darn good here,” Maddon said Saturday.

Rondon took over the Cubs closer duties last season, converting 29 of 33 save opportunities, and liked the job but said he’ll do whatever Maddon asks, and that could be to pitch in the seventh or eighth, depending on the situation.

“Every reliever wants to close games,” Rondon said. “For me, it’s no big deal. Give me a chance to pitch whenever — second inning, third inning, last inning. The only thing that matters is put me in the game.”

The only possible change to Rondon’s role could be because of the addition of Jason Motte, who saved 42 games in 2012 for the Cardinals but missed 2013 after needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. But Maddon sees Motte as what he calls a “force multiplier,” which is someone who makes the group around them better.

“He’s a perfect guy to fit in a variety of spots,” Maddon said.

The Cubs bullpen is still a work in progress. Maddon is looking for pitchers who can handle both right- and left-handed hitters. He’d like a reserve split guy, like a right-hander who is stronger against righties. There isn’t a clear-cut lefty for the mix. Having that one closer, though, will make things much easier.

“It’s always nice to have one guy but you have to have the one guy who’s able to do it,” Maddon said. “When you have one guy who permits you to think differently during the course of the game, then you have to manage eight innings worth of pitching because you know the ninth inning is taken care of.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/14 Cubs (heart) JRW


6/16 Rondon update

Hector Rondon has not pitched since June 6, but manager Rick Renteria confirmed Monday that the right-hander is available, and could have been used on Sunday.
Rondon, the designated closer, had some tenderness in his right elbow, and the Cubs wanted to be careful. He had pitched in four straight games in mid May, but has been in only three games this month.

“He’s good to go,” Renteria said. “We had an opportunity to go and use Neil [Ramirez on Sunday], and give Hector another day. We could’ve used him yesterday.”

Rondon was shut down last week, and threw a bullpen on Saturday. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2010. Will the Cubs be more careful?

“I think, more than anything, we’ll just see how he is on a daily basis,” Renteria said. “I’m not going to limit or put a limit on where he’s going to be. We’ll just monitor all of them normally and see how he is the next day.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/14 Cubs lineup and more

Edwin Jackson gets the start today as the Cubs face the Phillies in the second game of their three-game series. Here’s the lineup:

Lake CF
Ruggiano LF
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 2B
Schierholtz RF
Olt 3B
Whiteside C
Jackson P

* Zac Rosscup was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

* The Cubs announced Emilio Bonifacio has a right oblique strain, and there is no timetable for his return. Bonifacio was injured on a swing Thursday in Pittsburgh.

* Hector Rondon has some tenderness in his right elbow. The Cubs were going to evaluate Rondon on Saturday.

5/30 Roster move

Hector Rondon was placed on paternity leave on Friday to be with his wife, Keilin, who is expecting their first child. Pedro Strop, who had been sidelined with a groin strain, was activated from the disabled list.

5/18 Cubs 4, Brewers 2

Travis Wood settled down after a shaky first inning, rookie Mike Olt continued his hot home run pace, and Hector Rondon picked up his fifth save in as many chances to help the Cubs make a statement Sunday. Welington Castillo belted a two-run home run and Olt added his team-leading ninth blast to back Wood and lift the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the first-place Brewers.

“We were able to come through with big two-out hits,” Olt said. “That’s how you win ballgames.”

That, and having Wood recover from a first inning in which he walked the bases loaded with two outs. The lefty scattered two hits over seven innings to improve to 3-1 in five home starts with a 2.43 ERA. He’s now served up nine earned runs over 33 1/3 innings at Wrigley. The lefty is 1-3 with an 8.02 ERA in four road outings.

Wood walked the bases loaded in the first, then got Khris Davis to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

“It was a struggle in the first,” wood said. “We weren’t missing bad, but we were missing. It was a minor adjustment that we had to make.”

The trouble was that he was flying open in his mechanics, and once corrected, he shut down the Brewers. The lefty retired the next 10 batters he faced before Logan Schafer doubled with one out in the fifth. One out later, Rickie Weeks launched a 2-0 pitch from Wood over the bleachers in left-center field for his second home run.

“He didn’t make any mistakes really,” Weeks said of Wood. “The one mistake he made, I hit the ball out. Other than that, the cutter in, he was spotting it dead on under the hands. He was painting that little sinker away. You can’t do too much about that when a pitcher is going like that.”

The Cubs had the lead before Weeks’ blast, going ahead 2-0 in the second when Luis Valbuena walked to set up Castillo’s fifth home run, which landed in the first row of the left-field bleachers.

With two outs in the third, Starlin Castro and Valbuena hit back-to-back doubles to open a 3-0 lead. It’s an encouraging sign for the Cubs, who entered the game batting .190 with runners in scoring position and two outs. Olt made it 4-0 with a leadoff homer in the fourth, his ninth, which leads the team and all National League rookies.

Olt is the first Cubs rookie to hit nine home runs before June 1 since Geovany Soto did so in 2008. Soto won the NL Rookie of the Year that season.

“I’ve just gotten some good pitches to hit,” Olt said. “As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy. The home runs come in bunches. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”

Rondon survived a scare in the ninth, too. He gave up a double to Ryan Braun, but locked down his fifth save in as many opportunities.

“Like I’ve said, I’ll be ready for any situation,” Rondon said. “If they want to put me the second inning, third inning, whatever situation, I’ll take it.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/5 Extra bases

* Cubs reliever Hector Rondon was not available on Monday after pitching in four straight games over five days. Rondon was a perfect 3-for-3 in save situations, picking up saves on Friday and Saturday, but served up a tie-breaking two-run single to Yadier Molina in the ninth inning on Sunday. The Cardinals held on for a 5-4 win. Catcher Welington Castillo gave Rondon a pep talk.

“I told him, ‘Don’t worry about anything. You threw the ball really good,'” Castillo said Monday. “‘You faced a good hitter. You tried to make a pitch and it didn’t happen. Sometimes you make a bad pitch and you get out of it, sometimes you make a good pitch and they hit it.’ Baseball is hard. I tried to tell him, ‘Come [today] with your mind fresh and ready to go.'”

* James Russell appeared in 14 games in April 2013, but so far has seen limited action with the Cubs this season, pitching in 11 games. The lefty totaled 70-plus appearances the last two seasons. What’s going on?

“It’s a little different,” Russell said Monday. “We haven’t really been playing many teams that have a lot of lineups set up to where I can get extended work. It’s just one of those things. It happens. I haven’t really talked to them about it. I figure if there’s a problem, they’d come to me and tell me.”

The Cubs added lefty Wesley Wright in the offseason, and he’s been getting more action recently. Wright has a 1.86 ERA in 10 games; Russell has a 4.50 ERA in his 11 games. Maybe manager Rick Renteria is riding the hot hand?

“[Wright] has been doing a little better job than me,” Russell said. “I didn’t start as well as I have the last two years. You can’t expect to go out there and start off with a zero all the time. It’s always nice but it doesn’t always happen. I’m not worried about it. As long as we keep winning, then so be it.”

* Cubs players get a text message each night telling them if they’re going to be in the lineup the next day. Manager Rick Renteria also makes sure he gives players a heads up.

“We make sure they understand why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Renteria said Monday. “I’ve got no complaints about any players I have in terms of understanding what we’re trying to do. I think its best we communicate and make sure they understand.”

He has encouraged players to talk to him, saying his office door is always open.

“If there’s somthing you need to get off your chest, bring it,” he said.

Has that happened?

“Not yet,” Renteria said. “I don’t know if it’s because we talk. Even during [batting practice], you might call somebody to have a conversation. I haven’t had an issue.”

* Tickets are on sale for Anthony Rizzo’s second “Cook-Off for Cancer” fundraiser to be held May 16, 6-10 p.m. CT, at Revel Downtown, 440 W. Randolph, in Chicago. Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 to help and support families with children fighting cancer. Rizzo and the Cubs players and coaching staff will be serving food and competing for tips, with proceeds going to benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. Tickets for the event are $200 per person with limited number of tables available for $1,200. For tickets and information, visit

* Jose Veras, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique since April 24, was to begin a rehab assignment soon with Double-A Tennessee. Veras has been throwing bullpen sessions with the Minor League team.

* Top prospect Jorge Soler, who strained his right hamstring in his first game with Double-A Tennessee, was playing in games at extended Spring Training in Mesa, Ariz., and close to returning to the Minor League team.

— Carrie Muskat

5/4 Cardinals 5, Cubs 4

Yadier Molina hit a tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the ninth off Hector Rondon to lift the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs, snapping Chicago’s three-game winning streak. Sunday was Rondon’s third straight game, and he entered in the ninth with the game tied at 3.

“[The ninth inning] is really tough because I need to come in aggressive against the hitter,” Rondon said. “I tried to make a good pitch today but something happened. I tried to throw a pitch for a breaking ball but it went for a base hit.”

With one out, Rondon walked Randal Grichuk and Mark Ellis singled. Rondon, who was 3-for-3 in save opportunities, picking up two of those Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals, then struck out Peter Bourjos, but he walked Matt Carpenter to load the bases for Molina. The veteran then lined a 1-2 pitch to center, driving in Grichuk and Ellis.

“I was looking to not strike out,” Molina said. “I mean, I got real lucky with that — they were playing me to pull. It was a good at-bat. He wanted to strike me out and I put the ball in play and good things happened.”

Rondon said he wasn’t tired; he’d only thrown seven pitches on Saturday.

“I tried to throw a sinker inside but it stayed a little in the middle,” Rondon said. “It was down and that’s why I got a ground ball. He fought me with a lot of pitches. I tried to go away, away, away, and finally I tried to go in. I missed the location but I still made a good pitch. I got a ground ball.”

Manager Rick Renteria is going with matchups as they try to fill the closer’s role.

“Every game is a test,” Renteria said. “He needs to keep his head up. Games like this are going to happen. He went out there and he wanted the ball.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/3 Who’s the closer? – UPDATED

Hector Rondon picked up his third save of the season on Saturday. Before the game, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he wasn’t ready to designate the right-hander as the closer.

“Rondon has been used in that particular situation but it’s still fluid,” Renteria said Saturday. “It’ll depend on where we’re at as to who we use in those innings.”

On Saturday, Rondon gave up singles to the first two batters, but got Jon Jay to hit into a 1-6-3 double play, then struck out Mark Ellis. It was Rondon’s third save. So, is the situation still fluid?

“It’s organic still, as they say,” Renteria said.

The Cubs have been trying to find the right combination since removing Jose Veras as the closer on April 11 after he blew a two-run lead against the Cardinals. Rondon finished that game and picked up his first save. He notched his second on Friday in a 6-5 win over St. Louis.

Rondon has come a long way. The right-hander was the Cubs’ Rule 5 Draft pick in December 2012.

“It feels amazing right now,” he said. “Everything I’ve been working for last year, everything is coming together this year. It’s good for me.”

The Cubs’ other options at closer include Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm. Veras is on the disabled list with a strained oblique and was to begin a rehab assignment soon. In the meantime, Rondon will be ready.

“I need to be more aggressive,” Rondon siad. “I need to make my first pitch for strikes. That’s big for me.”

Does he get nervous entering a game with a one-run lead?

“Sometimes in the bullpen, everybody has nerves, but when we go to the mound, everything goes away,” he said.

The Cubs haven’t had much of a need for a closer. They now have eight save opportunities.

— Carrie Muskat

12/2 Winter ball updates

Sunday’s games

Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with one RBIs for Lara de Cardenales in Venezuela. Valbuena was batting .270 with two home runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs.

Winter ball statistics:

Junior Lake: .360/.404/.465 in 22 games with three doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs, six stolen bases.

Arismendy Alcantara: .200/.231/.280 in 17 games with one double, one home run, four RBIs, two stolen bases.

Rubi Silva: .372/.413/.465 in 11 games with four doubles, six RBIs.

Luis Valbuena: .270/.352/.413 in 16 games with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs, one stolen base.

Christian Villanueva: .244/320/.411 in 28 games with six doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, one stolen base.


Marcos Mateo: 3-0, 1.04 ERA, 15 games, seven saves, 17 1/3 innings.

Marcus Hatley: 1-3, 3.94 ERA, 17 games, six saves, 16 innings.

Hector Rondon: 2-0, 2.38 ERA, 12 games, 11 1/3 innings.