Results tagged ‘ Ian Stewart ’

3/22 Roster breakdown

With Friday’s roster moves, the Cubs have set the final 25-man roster with the exception of one spot in the bullpen and one on the bench. Here’s the breakdown:

Jeff Samardzija
Edwin Jackson
Travis Wood
Scott Feldman
Carlos Villanueva
Carlos Marmol
Kyuji Fujikawa
James Russell
Shawn Camp
Hector Rondon
Michael Bowden

* Last spot to be determined among: Cory Wade, Hisanori Takahashi, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis

Position players
Anthony Rizzo
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Luis Valbuena
Alfonso Soriano
David DeJesus
Nate Schierholtz
Welington Castillo
Dioner Navarro
Scott Hairston
Brent Lillibridge
Dave Sappelt

* Last spot to be determined among: J.C. Boscan, Steve Clevenger, Alberto Gonzalez

Matt Garza, Ian Stewart, Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino are expected to open the season on the disabled list.

— Carrie Muskat

3/19 Stewart has setback

Third baseman Ian Stewart will open the season on the disabled list. An MRI showed a pocket of fluid in his left quad, which he had drained on Tuesday. The Cubs will see how he responds to treatment over the next several days, and then expect to have a better timetable for his progress. Stewart said he felt something in his leg during the Minor League game last Thursday, and wasn’t sure if that aggravated his left quad. There’s stil pain, and he hasn’t been on the field since. On Monday, he tried to work out.

“I just tried to run, and can’t run, can’t get through the running part,” Stewart said. “That’s really the last hurdle. I can hit, take grounders, I just can’t run.”

Is he upset, frustrated?

“I would say frustration, because I can pretty much do everything somewhat pain-free without being able to run,” Stewart said. “I know what it’s like to play through pain and that’s what’s hard about this is I can’t get through the pain because it’s just too much.”

Luis Valbuena was expected to start Opening Day, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Brent Lillibridge appears to have made the team. He’s “too valuable a commodity,” Sveum said of the versatile Lillibridge, who can play all infield positions and the outfield.

— Carrie Muskat

3/17 Stewart running out of time

Ian Stewart is running out of time to get ready for the regular season. The Cubs third baseman will undergo another MRI on his left quad because there’s been some lingering soreness, which has kept him from running the bases and out of games. Stewart injured his leg Feb. 21 during an intrasquad game, and did not play again until March 14 in a Minor League game. He has been unable to get into another game since.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Stewart told the athletic trainers that the latest problem isn’t a setback. However, the reality is the Cubs have two weeks remaining before Opening Day, April 1.

“I don’t know if he’s got enough time,” Sveum said Sunday. “It’ll be interesting.”

Stewart was limited to 55 games last season before of a sore wrist, which needed surgery. That hasn’t been a problem this spring. Whether Stewart is ready for April 1 will affect how the Cubs put together their bench. Brent Lillibridge and Luis Valbuena can play third, as well as Edwin Maysonet and Alberto Gonzalez.

“It just comes down to what do you want in that spot,” Sveum said. “[Steve] Clevenger’s obviously a guy who could be interesting, [and we’re watching] all the waiver wires.”

Clevenger made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher but on Saturday played first and third. He could be an emergency third baseman, plus give Sveum more options with double switches.

Others in the mix for the bench spots include non-roster invitees Darnell McDonald, Brian Bogusevic, and Dave Sappelt, all outfielders.

“It all depends when we sit down and really hard core look at it, what is our need, how does the pitching set up with the other team, who’s their closer, set-up guys, left-handed guys,” Sveum said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/16 Injury updates

* Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson had an MRI on his right shoulder, which revealed some inflammation. He’ll be sidelined about one week.

“I’m going to keep working everyday,” Jackson said Saturday in Mesa. “No. 1 is to get 100 percent healthy again. I’m confident that we’re going to take care of that quickly, and obviously when I’m back we’ll focus on what’s next.”

He said he felt the soreness throwing.

“I’m confident we’re going to knock it out quickly and be healthy for the season,” he said.

* Ian Stewart, trying to come back from a sore left quad, chose not to play in a Minor League game on Saturday and instead continue to rehab his leg. Stewart did play Thursday, his first game action since Feb. 21.

* Matt Garza is making progress with his throwing program. So far, no time table for him to get on a mound.

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Stewart: “My confidence is sky high”

It was only a Minor League game, and Ian Stewart didn’t play in the field, but he couldn’t believe how good he felt at the plate. That could be great news for the Cubs.
Stewart got his first in-game at-bats since Feb. 21 when he led off every inning Thursday for both teams in a Minor League game at Fitch Park.

“By my count I was 2-for-5, maybe 1-for-5,” he said. “I maybe gave myself one [hit].”

That didn’t matter. What did was that his wrist passed all tests. Stewart was limited to 55 games last season before undergoing surgery on his left wrist. He spent the offseason rehabbing and hitting with Hall of Famer Rod Carew, and this spring, doubled in his first at-bat in an intrasquad game on Feb. 21. But Stewart felt tightness in his left quad as he ran to first, and had not played since.

If he’s healthy and can provide the Cubs with the offense he put together in 2009 with the Rockies, they could have a 20-plus home run hitter who can drive in 70 RBIs.

“I still think I will be [that guy], and I think I will be this year,” Stewart said. “It’s just been such a relief for me knowing that the surgery that I got worked and I have no lingering issues in my wrist and my bat speed feels back.

“The toughest part for me last year was I could hit [batting practice] all day because they were throwing it down the middle and you could control everything,” he said. “Once the game came, and pitches were moving and breaking, and I just couldn’t adjust because the wrist was holding me back. Now there’s none of that.

“My confidence is really sky high right now as far as my hitting and everything goes. I was really surprised at how I was able to feel in the box [Thursday] and tracking pitches and some swings I put on the baseball.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/14 Extra bases – UPDATED

* Anthony Rizzo was in the Cubs’ lineup for Friday’s game against Team Japan, but now he was not expected back in Arizona in time. He’ll play Saturday when the Cubs face the Royals at HoHoKam Park. Rizzo was playing for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic in Miami, and they were eliminated with a 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Cubs manager Dale Sveum told Rizzo to enjoy Thursday with his family in Miami and then get back to Arizona.

* The Cubs made one roster move, and assigned pitcher Barret Loux to Minor League camp.

* Ian Stewart played in a Minor League game Thursday at the Cubs complex at Fitch Park. Josh Vitters subbed at third on Thursday and was slated to start Friday against Team Japan at HoHoKam Stadium. Neither had played since an intrasquad game Feb. 21, and both have been sidelined with sore left quads.

* You won’t see shortstop Starlin Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney very far from each other. The two hit in the same group in batting practice, they do their fielding drills at the same time, and they even have the same model glove, which Barney designed.

“They always have to be in the same group,” Sveum said of his middle infielders. “They have a routine that they got into last year that was good and obviously, the way they played, you don’t want to take them out of it.”

* The Cubs players are already talking about the prospect of having a fishing hole at their new Spring Training complex in east Mesa.

“We might have to have a fishing tournament,” Sveum said.

The facility will feature a 9,000 square foot weight room, which Sveum said some players may want to take advantage of year round. He couldn’t remember the Brewers having a weight room at all when he played for them.

“I never lifted weights,” Sveum said, “so I wouldn’t have known where the weight room was.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/11 Injury updates

* Matt Garza played catch on Monday, making 25 tosses from about 45 feet, for the first time since he felt some soreness in his left lat. Garza had not been on a mound since Feb. 17 when he felt discomfort in his lat, and had to cut short a live BP session. Garza, not expected back for the first month, will rest Tuesday then resume throwing on Wednesday.

* Starlin Castro, Brent Lillibridge, Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters all ran the bases on Monday, and all should be in games by the end of the week. Castro, who has been out since Feb. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring, was expected to start Wednesday, while Lillibridge, who suffered a groin strain the same day, will get some at-bats on Wednesday.

The news is better for Stewart, who could get in a game on Thursday. He’s been out since Feb. 21 because of a sore left quad.

“I think there’s plenty of time now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Stewart. “We were a little bit worried that it would be next week but everything’s gotten a little bit quicker.”

Stewart said Sunday he feels he’s the Cubs starting third baseman.

“He came in knowing it was a job he was going to have to just play well and produce,” Sveum said. “It’s still 16, 17 possible games left starting Thursday. You’re looking at hopefully cramming 30 at-bats into that and some Minor League at-bats, too.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/10 Cubs injury updates

Neither Ian Stewart or Josh Vitters was expected to be ready until the weekend as both try to come back from sore left quads. The two Cubs third basemen have not played since an intrasquad game Feb. 21. Stewart hit a double in his only at-bat, then had to leave the game with soreness in his quad. He was projected to come back by mid week but now that’s been pushed back.

“Now it’s looking to the weekend,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “They’re still feeling it — both he and Vitters are the same thing. They’re still feeling stiffness when they’re jogging at 80 percent or running at 80 percent. Hopefully, maybe this weekend. Now it seems to be getting pushed back every day.”

Sveum had mentioned that Stewart would have to undergo a cram session to get ready in time for the regular season.

“It’s getting more crammy,” Sveum said.

There’s better news about Starlin Castro and Brent Lillibridge. Both of them should be back on Wednesday. Castro has been sidelined since Feb. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring, while Lillibridge was injured that day, suffering a strained groin.

On Sunday, the Cubs medical staff was to re-evaluate Matt Garza and see if he could begin a throwing program. He’s been out since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat.

Add another name to the injury list: Junior Lake was scratched from Sunday’s game. He has shoulder soreness, which Sveum called a “stiff trapeze.” He meant trapezius.

— Carrie Muskat

3/6 Extra bases

* 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

3/5 Can Stewart get ready in time?

Ian Stewart was able to hit, take ground balls and jog on Tuesday, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted there isn’t much time for the third baseman to get ready for the start of the season.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a big question,” Sveum said when asked if Stewart had enough time to make the roster for the April 1 opener. “There just aren’t that many at-bats. You have to be productive in those at-bats. [Luis] Valbuena is playing and doing a real good job.”

Valbuena took over the third base job last year after Stewart needed to undergo surgery on his left wrist. This spring, Stewart doubled in his first at-bat in an intrasquad game Feb. 21, and pulled up because of a sore left quad. He has not played since and the hope is that he will get into a Cactus League game in one week.

Last season, Stewart batted .201 in 55 games before he was shut down. The Cubs do need more production at third base, and would like Stewart to have a repeat of 2009 when he hit 25 home runs and drove in 70 runs.

“Hopefully it all comes together because by the time he gets on the field, you’re looking at 20 to 30 maybe regular at-bats [this spring],” Sveum said. “We’ll probably send him down to hit in a Minor League game and have him leadoff every game.”

If he’s not ready, Valbuena would start at third. He batted .219 last year with the Cubs, but hit .306 this winter in Venezuela.

— Carrie Muskat