Results tagged ‘ Iowa Cubs ’

6/25 Iowa Cubs win

Brooks Raley gave up one run on four hits over seven innings to help Iowa beat Round Rock, 2-1, on Monday in Des Moines. It was Raley’s third straight quality start. Josh Vitters drove in both runs. He extended his hit streak to eight games with an RBI single in the first to score Alfredo Amezaga. Vitters added a solo homer as well. He was the only Iowa player with a multi-hit game. Rafael Dolis recorded the save with a scoreless ninth.

– Carrie Muskat 

6/25 Rizzo to join Cubs Tuesday

Anthony Rizzo is coming. The Cubs’ top prospect who was batting .342 at Triple-A Iowa and leading the Pacific Coast League with 23 home runs will join the big league team on Tuesday when they play host to the Mets at Wrigley Field.  The first baseman started for Iowa on Monday against Round Rock in Des Moines but was pulled in the fourth inning. He has 62 RBIs and an OPS of 1.101. This month, he’s hitting .316 with six homers and 16 RBIs. Only Alfonso Soriano has matched those numbers for the Cubs in June, hitting seven homers with 16 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

6/23 Rizzo watch

In late April, I went to Des Moines to watch Triple-A Iowa play. I was talking to one of the Cubs coaches, and the topic was Anthony Rizzo. The first baseman was getting rave reviews on his defensive work, on his pre-game routine, on his hitting. Was Rizzo ready for the big leagues? The coach said: “The only problem will be you.”

He didn’t mean me personally, but the media. The hype surrounding Rizzo’s potential call-up has been off the charts. I’m surprised no one has interviewed his grade school teacher in Ft. Lauderdale, although that story could be coming Sunday. When Rizzo was promoted to the Padres last June, he was batting .365 at Triple-A Tucson. He struggled in the big leagues, batting .143 in 35 games, and was sent back to the Minor Leagues. When he was recalled in September, he batted .133 in 14 games. GM Jed Hoyer blamed himself, saying Rizzo faced high expectations when promoted, and still needed time to develop.

Moving Bryan LaHair to the outfield for the White Sox series was a sign that Rizzo is close. When? Theo Epstein wants to make sure the timing is right.

“You have to look at what happened last year,” Epstein said. “[Rizzo] had great numbers and was rushed a little bit and came up and struggled so its important to put players in position to succeed, and always put your Major League club in position to succeed. … Those things you don’t want to rush into, there’s more to development than numbers.”

Dale Sveum has been checking Rizzo’s stats and video all year. The first baseman has lowered his hands, and gotten better results. On Friday, Rizzo missed hitting for the cycle by home run, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. He’s batting .355 overall, including .384 with runners in scoring position. Against lefties, he’s batting .338 (25-for-74), and against right-handers, he’s batting .362 (63-for-174). He has 23 homers, 18 doubles and 62 RBIs. Wouldn’t those numbers look good in the Cubs lineup?

Rizzo is very polished, very poised for a 22-year-old (he turns 23 Aug. 8). He’s going to be the center of attention, and every at-bat, every strikeout, every hit will be dissected and discussed. Nothing can prepare him for that. He’s not the savior; he’s a very talented first baseman with a ton of potential who could be one of the building blocks for Theo Epstein’s foundation for sustained success.

That’s Kerry Wood in the center of the media scrum at his retirement announcement above. I remember the build up surrounding Wood when he was promoted in ’98. The expectations soared after his 20-strikeout game in his fifth Major League start. The only Cubs player I can recall being more hyped than Rizzo was Mark Prior. Rizzo already has his first Major League hit and home run, collecting those firsts with the Padres last year. If he gets off to a slow start, will fans and the media be patient? Ryne Sandberg did not get a hit in his first six games with the Cubs.

When the Cubs call the first baseman up, they want it to be for good. Here’s hoping the timing is right, and I’m not a problem.

– Carrie Muskat

6/13 Rizzo hot topic

Dale Sveum is checking the boxscores just like everyone else to see what Anthony Rizzo did that day at Triple-A Iowa. Rizzo, who did not play Wednesday after bruising his right knee on Tuesday, was batting .367 and currently leads the Pacific Coast League with 22 home runs. He’s hit four homers in his last three games. Sveum and Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, have talked about the highly touted first baseman often.

“We haven’t come up with any set time yet [to call him up],” Sveum said Wednesday. “Obviously, we’ve talked about it. Still, we haven’t come up with that set date.”

It’s hard to ignore his offensive numbers, especially when the big league team is struggling.

“His name is brought up pretty much every day,” Sveum said. “He’s that guy — you get your email and look at the Minor League report right away to see if he hit another home run, which he’s done quite a bit lately.”

– Carrie Muskat

6/6 Minor League report

Frankie De La Cruz gave up three hits over two innings in Iowa’s 4-3 loss Tuesday to Oklahoma City. Jay Jackson threw five innings of one-run, four-hit relief, while striking out four.

Eric Jokisch threw seven shutout innings, giving up five hits, in Tennessee’s 12-3 win over Montgomery. Logan Watkins had two hits and two RBIs, and Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits and three rBIs.

Austin Kirk gave up one run on four hits over six innings in Daytona’s 6-5 win over Brevard County. Nelson Perez had two hits, including his 10th home run. Rubi Silva also had two hits.

Peoria had Tuesday off, and will play Cedar Rapids Wednesday.

– Carrie Muskat

5/6 Minor moves

Infielder Jonathan Mota was promoted to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday, and pitcher Daniel Berlind was released by the Cubs. Mota was hitting .293 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 21 games at Double-A Tennessee. Berlind appeared in one game with Iowa after being promoted from Tennessee on April 30.

The Smokies made a move and added infielder Junior Lake to the roster. Lake, 22, will see his first action of the season.  He spent last year between Class A Daytona and Tennessee. Lake had been bothered by back problems and was rehabbing at the Cubs extended Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz.

– Carrie Muskat

4/28 Live from Des Moines

It’s 52 degrees in Des Moines for the start of the Iowa Cubs game Saturday night against the Nashville Sounds at Principal Park, and a chance to see Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo. Jackson entered the game batting .241 in 20 games with 25 strikeouts. He notched No. 26 in the first inning. Talking to scouts before the game, they all agree both Jackson and Rizzo need more time.

“Brett Jackson is like everybody else here,” Iowa manager Dave Bialas said. “They’re working to try to get to the next level and get to the big leagues. There’s a reason they’re all here. Brett, he works hard, plays all the time. Never have to say anything to him. He’s hit a lot of balls hard. You see the numbers but he’s hit a lot of balls hard at people. His average is deceiving. He’s swung the bat well. His defensive play has been good.”

What about the high strikeouts?

“He knows he needs to cut his strikeouts down,” Bialas said. “The two-strike approach needs to improve. That’s normal. It’s that way with a lot of Minor League players.”

Rizzo was batting .380 with seven homers and 21 RBIs. Nashville used a defensive shift against Rizzo in the second, and he surprised them with a bunt single. He’s also impressed scouts and the Iowa staff with how hard he works on defense. Rizzo has a routine he sticks to, and many feel he could be a Gold Glove winner someday. But right now, Bryan LaHair is doing well at first, so Rizzo knows there isn’t a spot for him. He and LaHair talked about being in the same lineup.

“I’d catch if I had to,” Rizzo said about getting to the show. “I’d pitch, too.”

How much do the Minor Leaguers think about the big leagues? The players got an update on the Cubs catching situation — Welington Castillo was called up, Steve Clevenger on the DL, and Geovany Soto scratched — and Blake Lalli, Iowa’s catcher, said don’t be surprised if he has to leave Saturday’s game if needed in Philadelphia.

– Carrie Muskat

8/7 Jackson hits 2 HRs for Iowa

Brett Jackson hit two solo home runs and Scott Moore drove in two runs to help the Iowa Cubs beat Sacramento, 6-1, on Sunday. The River Cats took the lead in the first when Andy LaRoche launched a pitch from Iowa starter Dave Bush and deposited it on the roof of the left field skybox suites. But Jackson connected leading off the Iowa first, and Brad Snyder tripled and scored on Moore’s sacrifice fly to go ahead. Bush (1-2, 6.14) went five innings and picked up his first win in five starts. He gave up one run on three hits, walked two and struck out two.

– Carrie Muskat

 

5/29 Sunday minor matters

Triple-A Iowa lost, 9-8, to Round Rock on Sunday as Brad Nelson hit a walkoff sacrifice fly in the ninth. The I-Cubs opened a 5-0 lead as Steve Clevenger hit a two-run homer in the first and Fernando Perez and Tyler Colvin each hit RBI doubles and Bryan LaHair added a RBI single, all in the second. Colvin also tripled and scored on a passed ball in the fourth and Jonathan Mota hit a solo homer in the fifth. Alberto Cabrera, making his Iowa debut, threw three scoreless innings before Round Rock scored three runs in the fourth.

* Anthony Giansanti hit two homers and drove in six runs to lead Peoria to an 8-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Giansanti hit a grand slam in the second and a two-run homer in the seventh. Matt Szczur also hit his first career homer. Graham Hicks picked up the win, giving up one run on one hit over five innings and striking out five.

* Pitcher Robert Whitenack has a strained elbow. He left his start Friday after 2 2/3 innings. His status was day to day.

– Carrie Muskat

11/10 Snyder now a free agent

Outfielder Brad Snyder cleared waivers and was outrighted off the Cubs’ 40-man roster. He is now a free agent. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is now at 36 players. Snyder, 28, appeared in 12 games with the Cubs, and batted .185 with five RBIs. In 132 games at Triple-A Iowa, he hit .308 with 25 homers, 37 doubles and drove in 106 runs. A left-handed hitter, he has a career .279 average in eight Minor League seasons.

– Carrie Muskat

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