Results tagged ‘ Ivan DeJesus ’

3/2 A little pep talk

Manager Mike Quade met with Starlin Castro prior to Wednesday’s game to talk about having a little more intense approach in practice. The young shortstop made a throwing error on Tuesday, one of nine by the Cubs this spring. After watching Castro commit 27 errors in his rookie season last year, the Cubs want to make sure his errors aren’t because of mental lapses.

“You think about work intensity, you think about mental stuff, how best to get a lot of the stuff done,” Quade said of the overall defense. “One thing I know for sure is, I watch early work every day and guys are working. You start with that. So, is it game situations? In ‘Cassie’s’ situation, is it inexperience? Is it concentration or focus? You try to deal with that.”

What the Cubs will try is demanding a more intense approach in practice sessions. Infield coach Ivan DeJesus, who went to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for one week on his throwing mechanics, will be in charge of the amped up sessions.

“Somehow, someway put yourself in a game situation and play for keeps,” Quade said of the message to Castro.

He listened. In the first inning Wednesday, Castro hit a two-run homer off the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo.

— Carrie Muskat

7/16 Soriano's great catch

How about that catch Alfonso Soriano made to start Friday’s game? Soriano chased down Jimmy Rollins’ fly ball that floated toward the line in left, caught it, and then fell awkwardly, banging his chin on the ground. As he watched the replay on the clubhouse television Friday, Soriano said: “Ouch.”

“I was very happy to make that play,” Soriano said.

He’s been working with Ivan DeJesus to get better jumps on balls. A year ago, Soriano wouldn’t have come close to catching the ball because of problems with his legs. Soriano says he’s trying to play defense like Cubs All-Star Marlon Byrd.

“He’s trying to be like me on defense,” Byrd said, “and I’m trying to be like him on offense.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Good cause

On Monday, Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall and coach Ivan DeJesus held a clinic for 46 kids with special needs at California Park. The event was co-sponsored by the Rehab Institute of Chicago Wheelchair Cubs. The kids received jerseys and food as well as some tips about playing baseball.

— Carrie Muskat

6/9 First-Year Player Draft wrap

The Cubs completed the 2010 First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday, picking 50 players. There were some interesting names — Ivan De Jesus (no relation to the Cubs’ first base coach) and Benito Santiago Jr., who is the son of the big league catcher.

The Cubs selected three Illinois college athletes on Wednesday:

* Northwestern University catcher Chad Noble in the 37th round

* Effingham-native Danny Winkler (right-handed pitcher) from Parkland College in Champaign in the 43rd round.

* Right-handed pitcher Jerad Eickhoff from Olney Central College in Olney in the 46th round.

The Cubs also picked two high school infielders: Eric Paulson from Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., in the 48th round and Eric Jagielo from Downers Grove High School in Downers Grove, Ill., in the 50th round.

In the three days, the Cubs drafted 31 pitchers (24 right-handers and seven left-handers), 11 infielders, four outfielders and four catchers. They chose 35 college players and 15 high school players.

— Carrie Muskat 


6/8 Deja vu for De Jesus

Here’s an interesting pick: In the sixth round, the Cubs selected Ivan De Jesus. No, not that Ivan De Jesus, who is the first base coach for the team now. This one is a right-handed hitting center fielder from Cupeyville High School in Puerto Rico. He has signed to play baseball at Alabama-Birmingham, so not sure if those plans will change. De Jesus was part of national sub-championship teams at both the 15-under and 16-under levels, batting .474 with 10 home runs as a high school sophomore and .390 with 12 home runs as a junior. His 15-under team qualified for the elite World Series in Kissimmee, Fla., where he hit .450.

In his junior year, he also played in the wood-bat Palomino League (19-under) where he hit .377. He bats and throws right-handed and can play both infield and outfield.

— Carrie Muskat

5/23 Castro feeling comfortable

Starlin Castro has been in the big leagues for 15 games with the Cubs and it’s been an incredibly smooth transition for the 20-year-old shortstop.

“I feel real good, I feel real comfortable,” said Castro, who headed into Sunday’s Interleague series finale against the Texas Rangers batting .357. “I feel like I have less pressure than before because I’m playing every day.”

He’s definitely made an impression on other teams. On Saturday, the Rangers decided they’d rather face Derrek Lee with the bases loaded than Castro, so they intentionally walked the rookie with one out in the 10th inning.

“It surprised me,” Castro said. “Derrek Lee has been a good hitter all his career. It was a surprise they walked him.”

Castro also hasn’t hid his frustration when he doesn’t come through. On Saturday, he was visibly upset after striking out in the eighth with a runner on.

“I want to do the job, I want to get that RBI,” Castro said. “I didn’t do it. I feel bad.”

Told that Lou Piniella liked seeing that kind of emotion, Castro smiled. What’s more impressive is that in his 15 games so far, Castro has reached base via a hit, walk or error, and has hit safely in 13 of those. On this road trip, he was 6-for-16, including his second home run on Saturday in the third. He’s fit well into the second spot in the Cubs’ lineup, and the team was 5-0 when Castro starts there.

“That’s where I feel most comfortable,” Castro said.

Ever since his three-error game in his Wrigley Field debut May 10, Castro has shown improvement on the field and been smooth at shortstop. Give credit to coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus. They give Castro scouting reports and also plenty of advice.

“It’s a combination of everything,” said DeJesus, who also is Castro’s interpreter.

However, the shortstop may not need DeJesus much longer. His English has improved considerably since the season began. Castro is trying.

“He’s coachable and that’s a good sign,” DeJesus said.

— Carrie Muskat

5/11 The morning after …

Lou Piniella wasn’t too worried about young shortstop Starlin Castro the day after he made three errors in a game. Castro has already experienced the highs and lows of baseball. He set a ML record with six RBIs in his debut game last Friday in Cincinnati, and on Monday, was charged with three errors in the Cubs’ loss to the Marlins.

“We’re going to grow with him,” Piniella said.

The Cubs coaches talked to Castro about one of the plays in which he didn’t hustle after a ball. But he’s getting a crash course on big league baseball in the few days he’s been with the team.

“We’ve talked to him more than anything else about the tags at second base and how to properly get that glove down,” Piniella said.

“He’ll be fine. Let’s not get too occupied with this. He’s got a learning curve ahead of him and he’s got the perfect guy in [Alan] Trammell and [Ivan] DeJesus to help him and a wonderful hitting coach [in Rudy Jaramillo]. He’ll be taken care of the right way.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/10 High expectations for Castro

Starlin Castro has made two errors through 5 1/2 innings Monday night in his Wrigley Field debut. It’s an inauspicious start. He did work out with Ryan Theriot, who has shifted from shortstop to second, before the game. That’s a routine the two will do as much as possible.

“I think the more he plays, the better he’ll field,” Cubs coach Ivan DeJesus said.

“He’s a talented young man,” Lou Piniella said of Castro. “He’s going to gain experience at the Major League level. I think it’ll be fun for fans to watch him play. The young man can play baseball.”

He’s going to be tested by Chicago fans. They have high expectations.

“They shouldn’t expect that much out of him, they should just let the young man play,” Piniella said. “Let him play, let him relax and let him settle in as a good Major League shortstop.”

Just remember: He’s only 20.

“He’s going to be great,” DeJesus said. “Playing here in Chicago, he’ll get a good opportunity and show his talent.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/7 Castro not wasting time

It’s not even 3 p.m. CT, but the Starlin Castro era has begun. The 20-year-old shortstop is on the field at Great American Ball Park now, working at short with Ryan Theriot at second. Bench coach Alan Trammell and coach Ivan DeJesus are both working with the pair.

— Carrie Muskat

4/19 Best/worst Cubs trades

A new book rates the best and worst Cubs trades of the 20th century. According to “Traded: Inside the Most Lopsided Trades in Baseball History,” the Cubs ranked 12th of all teams. Author Doug Decatur uses “Win Shares,” a statistic developed by baseball guru Bill James to determine how many wins a player contributes to his team, to rank the 306 most lopsided trades.

Here are the top five positive lopsided trades for the Cubs:

1982 Ryne Sandberg for Ivan DeJesus
1966 Ferguson Jenkins for Larry Jackson
1992 Sammy Sosa for George Bell
1995 Luis Gonzalez for Rick Wilkins
1918 Pete Alexander for Mike Prendergast

Here are the Cubs’ five worst lopsided trades:

1989 Mitch Williams for Rafael Palmeiro
1964 Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock
1934 Don Hurst for Dolph Camilli
1983 Steve Trout for Scott Fletcher
1939 Cash for Harry Brecheen

— Carrie Muskat