Results tagged ‘ Hisanori Takahashi ’
Infielder Alberto Gonzalez and reliever Zach Putnman were told Tuesday that they will not make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, and the team is still monitoring the waiver wire to fill the final spots on the bench and in the bullpen.
With Putnam out of the mix, the in-house candidates for the final bullpen spot comes down to Cory Wade and Hisanori Takahashi, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday.
“He’s been pitching really well, he’s been getting right-handers out a little easier than left-handers,” Dale Sveum said of the left-hander. “He’s very durable. We know he can pitch two, three, even four innings and get to 90 pitches. He’s valuable in a number of ways. If the game goes really smooth, you can have the possibility of two left-handers in the last three, four innings. I want him to keep throwing strikes like he has and keep doing what he’s doing.”
With Gonzalez out of contention for the bench, that leaves left-handed hitting Steve Clevenger as the only option in camp. He made the Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher, and can fill in at first or third if needed. The Cubs want another left-handed bat.
“I look at the transactions, and from what I’ve seen there hasn’t been anything that fits our needs as of now,” Sveum said.
Gonzalez may be headed to the Minor Leagues but he will travel with the Cubs to Houston for exhibition games Friday and Saturday.
— Carrie Muskat
Hisanori Takahashi will make his second spring start on Saturday for the Cubs but it’s not an audition for a spot in the rotation. The Japanese left-hander is hoping to secure a place in the bullpen.
“That’s what I’m aiming for and that’s why I’m on the mound,” said Takahashi through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “I think I do have an opportunity to make the team. I think I need to show what I’m good at and prove to the staff that I have a spot on the team and I think my command, showing my pitches will be my sales point.”
Takahashi, 37, isn’t going to overwhelm hitters. Asked the velocity of his fastball, he smiled.
“One hundred [mph],” he said, in English.
He’s kidding. Takahashi has pitched for the Mets, Angels and Pirates, appearing in 51 games last season combined, and posting a 5.54 ERA.
“There’s a lot of pitchers in Japan who are like [Greg] Maddux or [Jamie] Moyer, and I fit in that type of pitching,” he said. “There’s a pitcher in Japan named Masa Yamamoto, and he’s 47 now, but he’s still a current player in Japan.”
Yamamoto is left-handed, which helps his longevity.
On Friday, the Cubs will play an exhibition game against Team Japan at HoHoKam Stadium. Takahashi was asked for scouting report.
“They’re definitely a good team and detail oriented,” he said. “They’re good at doing the little things.”
Maybe they’re a little jet-lagged? The Japan team arrived Tuesday night and played the Giants Thursday.
“That’s an area to attack for the Cubs, probably,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat
* Hisanori Takahashi has pitched for the Mets, Angels and Pirates, coming to the U.S. Major Leagues in 2010. Has the Japanese left-hander given new Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa any tips on adjusting?
“I feel he’s an accomplished pitcher in Japan and since we’re from the same country, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do over here,” Takahashi said Wednesday. “Some of the system, pitching-wise, might be a little different compared to what he’s used to in Japan. We’re kind of joking about stuff, and just having fun.”
Takahashi, 37, who is competing for a spot in the Cubs bullpen, made his first spring start and gave up three runs on five hits over three innings against the Rangers. He’s a non-roster invitee in Cubs camp, and didn’t know Fujikawa well.
“Him being an accomplished closer, I felt a closer has to be in his own world to do his job, and there was some mystery about him,” Takahashi said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “Once I got to know him, he’s really friendly and a nice guy.”
Japanese ballplayers do train a little differently, but in exchange for longer days, they get an off day every fourth day. Takahashi did talk to Fujikawa about adjusting to the lifestyle in the U.S. Food isn’t a problem.
“There’s a lot of Japanese [restaurants] around, and I’m sure you guys all go for sushi,” Takahashi said.
The Phoenix area is well known for Mexican food.
“I love it,” Takahashi said.
* Fujikawa, Carlos Marmol, Shawn Camp and James Russell are locks for the bullpen. The Cubs will have to make a decision on Hector Rondon, the Rule 5 Draft pick, who threw one inning in relief Wednesday, giving up one hit and striking out one. He’s given up two hits over four innings in four games this spring. That leaves at least six players competing for two spots, including Takahashi, Blake Parker, Michael Bowden, Zach Putnam, Jensen Lewis, and Cory Wade. Parker missed most of last season because of an elbow injury.
“At this time last year, he opened your eyes a little bit with the life on his fastball,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Parker. “He has an above average slider that he can get swings and misses on. He’s interesting as well.”
* Brent Lillibridge is sidelined with a groin strain, injured one week ago. Lillibridge, a non-roster invitee who is competing for a spot on the bench, could return early next week. Being sidelined now doesn’t necessarily hurt his chances.
“He got to play,” Sveum said of Lillibridge who appeared in five games before he was injured. “It was nice before he got hurt that at least I got to see him at first, second, third and short. Toward the end he’ll play a little outfield.”
* Third basemen Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters, both sidelined with left quad strains, are making progress, and could get back in Cactus League games next week.
* Pitcher Matt Garza, still out with a strained left lat injured Feb. 17, apparently was feeling better.
“[Tuesday] was the most upbeat he’s been and the best he’s felt,” Sveum said, adding that the right-hander might try to play catch this weekend.
Garza was expected to miss the first month of the season.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have reportedly agreed to sign left-handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan reported the signing late Thursday. Takahashi, 37, has pitched for the Mets, Angels and Pirates. Last season, he totaled 51 games and 50 1/3 innings with the Angels and Pirates. He has a 3.97 ERA over 240 1/3 innings, making 12 starts and 153 relief appearances.
— Carrie Muskat