Results tagged ‘ Ian Stewart ’
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
Shortstop Starlin Castro was able to hit in the batting cage on Saturday and will do so again Sunday as he progresses from mild inflammation in his left hamstring. Castro said Sunday if this were the regular season, he would be able to play but he’s taking a cautious approach.
“I don’t want to be, ‘OK, I’m good,’ and then get hurt again,” Castro said. “I want to be good for 162 [games].”
Ian Stewart, sidelined since Feb. 22 with a sore left quad, was able to swing a bat and play catch on Saturday. He’ll continue to add some baseball activities to his schedule. Josh Vitters also is making progress from a sore left quad.
“We’ve come this far and I don’t want to take a chance at a setback now,” Stewart said. “We’re taking it each day and seeing what kind of progression we make from the day before and going from there.”
The Cubs had said Stewart would be sidelined 10 to 14 days, and it’s now been 10 days since he was injured.
“Honestly, I am pretty pleased with the progress we’ve made because in the beginning, it was hurting pretty bad,” Stewart said. “I thought it would be longer than that. I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at now.”
In a perfect world, Stewart would get 70 at-bats in Spring Training.
“By that point, it’d be playing every single game, every day, every inning,” Stewart said. “If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. If it takes a little longer, we’ll go from there.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum had talked to Stewart about going to Minor League camp to get more at-bats before he was injured. That may be an option now, too.
“It is very frustrating,” Stewart said about being sidelined. “I worked hard this offseason, spent a lot of time away from my family this offseason, going back and forth from California to North Carolina. It is tough and I guess the only positive is that the season is six and hopefully seven months long. If you’re going to be hurt this time of year, and not something to take you away from meaningful games in the middle or latter part of the season. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer.”
– Carrie Muskat
An MRI shows Ian Stewart has a mild to moderate quad strain, and he could be sidelined 10 to 14 days.
“I got the MRI [Friday] and that’s just kind of a vague timetable right now just to see how things progress,” Stewart said Saturday. “I feel like it’s progressing pretty good today. I woke up today and didn’t feel as much stiffness as I had.”
He injured his left quad while turning around first base after hitting a double in his first at-bat Thursday in an intrasquad game.
“Hopefully, it’s not that long [that he's sidelined] and it’s a precautionary length,” he said.
Cubs manager Dale Svem has said Luis Valbuena could be the option at third if Stewart isn’t healthy. Does this hurt Stewart’s chances?
“I would hope not,” Stewart said. “I feel like I was brought back to be a part of the team and to help this team and I feel like I can do that. This is unfortunate but I think if this was toward the end of camp or the middle, it may be a different story. It is disappointing because I put all that work in in the offseason and my wrist is good and had that first good at-bat of camp, even though it was the first intrasquad. My confidence is so high on my ability that this is a little road block that hopefully doesn’t last the amount of time they said and I can get out there sooner.”
Stewart signed a $2 million non-guaranteed contract, but he says he’s not thinking about the terms.
“If I didn’t think I could come back here and be a part of the team, there’s no sense in me coming back,” he said. “I have all the confidence in the world. I came back to be a part of the Major League team. I’m not even thinking about that right now.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ Cactus League opener Saturday against the Angels. Here’s the lineup for the game, to be played in Tempe and broadcast on WGN Radio. Len Kasper will be subbing for Pat Hughes, who will be in Arizona later this spring:
* Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer and Edwin Maysonet added a three-run shot for the White team which beat the Blue team, 6-3, on Friday in a Cubs intrasquad game at HoHoKam Stadium. Brett Jackson was 3-for-3 for the Blue team.
Sveum has raved about Valbuena’s defensive skills and said this spring that third base is Ian Stewart’s job to win. But Stewart is sidelined with a strained left quad. Could Valbuena be the Cubs starting third baseman?
“Like I said, it was [Stewart's] job to win, not to lose,” Sveum said. “Things might change because who knows when Stewart will be back to play. I know Valbuena can play third. He doesn’t need to play third to get his at-bats.
“The guy had good winter ball, and obviously put a good swing on a ball today,” Sveum said after Friday’s intrasquad game, in which Valbuena hit a two-run home run. “I’m not too concerned about Valbuena. I need to see him everywhere. If things work out that way, then yeah, he’ll be playing third base quite a bit. First half of spring you’ll see him a lot more at other positions.”
* Third baseman Josh Vitters was day to day with a strained left quad, which he injured running the bases during drills. He was not expected to undergo an MRI on his leg.
“I’m just going to take it easy,” Vitters said.
* Scott Baker, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will throw a side session on Saturday, and then be re-evaluated. As of now, Baker has not been scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game, manager Dale Sveum said. Baker, who had the surgery last April, was not expected to be ready by Opening Day.
– Carrie Muskat
Ian Stewart had an MRI Friday on his left leg to determine the extent of the injury. Stewart came up sore after hitting a double in Thursday’s intrasquad game.
“I hadn’t run the bases in a long time,” Stewart said Friday. “It’s sore today and I’m going to get an MRI real quick just for precautionary reasons, just to do everything we can to make sure it’s OK. It feels sore today and I’m going to take it easy for a couple days and get some treatment and go from there.”
Stewart missed most of last season after undergoing surgery on his left wrist. The double felt good — but getting hurt quickly changed his mood.
“It felt so good and so bad at the same time,” Stewart said of his hit. “I’m just glad it has nothing to do with my wrist and all the work I put in there, and that that’s OK.”
Stewart was injured when he ran from the dirt to the grass rounding first. And his wrist?
“It felt great,” he said. “It was not nearly as good as your first hit in the big leagues, but you realize how much you can lose by being out that long for an injury and stuff and it felt like it was my first year back in camp and playing in a big league game again even though it was just Spring Training and intrasquad. It was very important for me to come out and do that.”
The Cubs expected results from the MRI on Saturday.
– Carrie Muskat
Dioner Navarro hit a two-run single and Ian Stewart added an RBI double in the first inning Thursday to help the Cubs’ White team beat the Blue team, 7-3, at HoHoKam Park.
Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler showed off his much touted bat speed when he launched a solo homer in the second inning. Brian Bogusevic added another in the fifth for the Blue team.
Soler, who turns 21 on Feb. 25, hasn’t played much organized baseball in the last two years. Spring is important to him.
“You play every day, you learn more about baseball,” Soler said through coach/interpreter Franklin Font.
He’s also aware of the interest in him from Cubs fans.
“I want to do everything on the field to do better, to get better for the Chicago Cubs,” Soler said.
Soler was in the same lineup and batting ahead of Javier Baez, another potential impact player, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2011. Baez struck out, hit a run-scoring fielder’s choice, and got doubled off first. He also may be getting some extra infield work.
“A little shaky today,” Dale Sveum said of the shortstop’s defensive play. “It’s kind of young stuff that’s still there that has to be cleaned up, obviously. A lot of stuff, even stuff behind the scenes that everyone else doesn’t see that we have to see, some instinctive stuff.”
Soler will start in left field again on Friday in another five-inning intrasquad game at HoHoKam, which will be the final tuneup before the Cactus League season begins Saturday in Tempe against the Angels.
“It’s just nice seeing these guys play because we’ve all come across tool guys and bat speed and all that and it never seems to pan out,” Sveum said. “It’s nice to watch them, see how they react to things. [Soler] doesn’t seem like a real panic type guy.”
* Stewart was pulled from the game because of a “mild, slight, very little quad [strain],” Sveum said. Josh Vitters also was unavailable because of a left quad strain as well. Stewart appeared to injure his leg coming out of the batter’s box after hitting a double in the first inning.
“It doesn’t seem to be no big deal and it felt like a cramp,” Sveum said.
Both Stewart and Vitters were listed on Friday’s intrasquad lineup but that may change.
* Thursday highlights: Starlin Castro was 3-for-3, and Nate Schierholtz hit a solo homer and sac fly.
* Here’s the early lineup for Friday’s game:
Brett Jackson CF
Darnell McDonald LF
Rafael Lopez C
Junior Lake DH
Brian Bogusevic RF
Christian Villanueva 3B
Alberto Gonzalez 2B
Brad Nelson 1B
Javier Baez SS
Logan Watkins 2B
Matt Szczur CF
Steve Clevenger C
Johermyn Chavez RF
Josh Vitters 3B
Edwin Maysonett SS
Brent Lillibridge 1B
Jorge Soler LF
Ian Stewart DH
– Carrie Muskat
* For those of you who keep track of such things, Cubs players who are out of options include:
That may contribute to what the Cubs do with Wood. Right now, he appears to have an edge on the fifth starter spot because Scott Baker is not expected to be ready for the start of the season and Carlos Villanueva is slotted for the bullpen.
* The bunting tourney gets underway Saturday with 16 front office staff competing for the 64th spot in the bracket. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer go head to head in the first round. We’ll keep you updated.
* Ian Stewart said he’s happy with the way his wrist feels after his long offseason of rehab. So far, there’s no soreness. He’s not expected to require a brace, although that may change in games. It’s as if he has a new wrist.
“I feel like it’s fixed and I’m not sure how much more I could do to it,” Stewart said. “It was a pleasant surprise, at least mentally, that there was nothing in there at all [that bothered me] when I started swinging.”
* Pitchers slated to throw bullpen session on Saturday include Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Kyuji Fujikawa, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva.
* If you’re coming to Fitch Park on Sunday to watch the first full squad workout, you can sleep in a little. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts will address the team and the workout was not expected to start until 11 a.m. Arizona time.
* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ Cactus League opener on Feb. 23 against the Angels, followed by Jeff Samardzija.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs position players report Saturday with the first full squad workout scheduled for Sunday at Fitch Park. Third baseman Ian Stewart arrived on Friday, and manager Dale Sveum was happy to have him on the team. Stewart was limited to 55 games before undergoing surgery on his left wrist.
“For the price we were going to be able to get him at, I think we had to bring him back,” Sveum said. “For $2 million, to get a guy who is capable of hitting 15 to 25 [home runs] and driving in 70 to 100 [runs] and having that kind of power and ability from the left side of the plate — the easiest thing was, even if he doesn’t reach those expectations, he can really catch the ball at third base. We need him to do well.”
The Cubs other third base option is Luis Valbuena, who batted .219 in 90 games with the Cubs, then hit .306 with six home runs and 15 doubles in 51 games with Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League.
“People know I like the guy and what he did for us last year,” Sveum said of Valbuena. “He had a heck of a lot better offensive year than the .215 or whatever it was [he hit].”
* Sveum met Friday with pitching coach Chris Bosio to map out the starting pitchers for the first Cactus League games, which get underway Feb. 23. On Friday, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson tuned up with their second bullpen sessions.
“Garza was really good today,” Sveum said of the right-hander, who is coming back from an elbow injury. “The ball came out of his hand even better than the other day. His changeup was really good. The ball and the arm strength was really, really good today.”
* Casey Coleman, who won the pitchers side of the bunt tournament last year, has yet to swing a bat this spring. The tournament gets underway Saturday with 16 front office members competing for the final spot in the field of 64.
“I don’t know about bunting — maybe it’s like riding a bike,” said Coleman, who lost to outfielder David DeJesus in the final last year.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart said his left wrist is 100 percent healthy after surgery last July, and he’s been hitting this offseason with Hall of Famer Rod Carew in California. Stewart spends two weeks at a time in California with Carew, then goes home for two weeks to be with his family. He’ll make his third trip to California on Monday.
Stewart had a bone removed from his wrist and admitted it took a few sessions before he could turn it loose.
“The last time I was truly healthy was 2010, and even then I missed the last month with an oblique injury,” he said. “I did well that year, and the last few years has been a lingering wrist issue and I really believe I got it taken care of.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs signed infielder Luis Valbuena to a one-year, $930,000 contract on Thursday, thus avoiding arbitration. Valbuena, 27, batted .219 in 90 games with the Cubs, who claimed the infielder off waivers from the Blue Jays on April 4. He played 82 games at third base, taking over for Ian Stewart, who was sidelined with a wrist injury that needed surgery. The Cubs have three players remaining who are arbitration eligible: Matt Garza, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.
– Carrie Muskat