Results tagged ‘ James Rowson ’
Dale Sveum and Rob Deer, teammates on the Brewers from 1986-90, are together again. The Cubs have hired Deer as an assistant hitting coach, and he’ll join Sveum’s coaching staff, working with hitting coach James Rowson. Deer, 52, batted .220 in 11 big league seasons with the Giants, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox from 1984-93, and then played part of ’96 with the Padres. He hit 230 home runs, including 33 in ’86 with Milwaukee, and also led the league in strikeouts four times (1987, ’88, ’91 and ’93). Sveum, who is entering his second season as the Cubs manager, came up in the Brewers organization and played for the big league team from 1986-91.
How can Deer be a hitting instructor when he has such a low batting average and struck out so many times?
“I answer that a lot,” Deer told Milwaukee sportswriter Drew Olson in a 2006 interview. “I don’t teach the way I hit. I understand how to hit .300. I know what it takes. We tell the guys to be selectively aggressive. We want that to be their approach. We tell them, ‘Be patiently aggressive.’ That’s our motto. What does it mean? If you get a good pitch to hit and you take it, that’s your fault. We don’t ever want to take aggressiveness away. But, we don’t want to swing at bad pitches either. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t want them to hit like I did.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs named David Bell as the third base coach and removed the interim tag from hitting coach James Rowson. This completes Dale Sveum’s coaching staff for 2013. Bell replaces Pat Listach, whose contract was not renewed. Bell, 40, joins the Cubs after managing and coaching third base in the Reds’ Minor League system the last four seasons, most recently guiding the Triple-A Louisville club in 2012. Prior to Louisville, Bell was the manager for Double-A Carolina from 2009-11. The ’09 season was his first as a manager or coach at the professional level after a 12-year Major League career, which ended in 2006.
A former infielder, Bell batted .257 in 1,403 Major League games for six different teams – the Indians (1995, 1998), Cardinals (1995-98), Mariners (1998-2001), Giants (2002), Phillies (2003-06) and Brewers (2006). He’s a member of one of Major League Baseball’s three-generation families, as he is the son of Buddy Bell and the grandson of Gus Bell. When David hit for the cycle on June 28, 2004, with the Phillies, he joined Gus as the first grandfather-grandson tandem in Major League history to hit for the cycle. Bell is a native of Cincinnati, OH.
Rowson was named the Cubs’ interim hitting coach June 13, replacing Rudy Jaramillo, who was dismissed.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs dismissed third base coach Pat Listach after Wednesday’s game, and were still evaluating interim hitting coach James Rowson’s status. The rest of manager Dale Sveum’s coaching staff will return in 2013. Listach, 45, was in his second season in his second stint with the Cubs. He was a coach or manager in the team’s Minor League system from 2000-08 before serving as the Nationals third base coach from 2009-10. Listach was the Cubs’ infield coach, and worked with second baseman Darwin Barney, who compiled a 141-game errorless streak.
“This is hard for me,” Barney said after getting the news. “He was one of the first people who really saw what I had and believed in it and voiced his opinion for me a couple years back. It’s tough. He’s going to be fine, he’s got a place in baseball and he’ll find work somewhere for sure. It’s hard to see him go. We spent a lot of time together preparing for these games and putting together the season I had defensively.
“Whenever I try to give him credit, he tells me, ‘It wasn’t me, it was all you. Don’t think I did anything,’” Barney said. “The reality is, he did [help]. He turned me onto a lot of different ideas and different things. It’s just sad, it’s sad to see him go.”
Rowson was promoted from Minor League hitting coordinator to replace veteran hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo in May. The Cubs batted .240 this season, ahead of only the Astros in the National League.
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo did not start Wednesday to give him a chance to work with hitting coach James Rowson and get back on track. Rizzo was batting .211 (8-for-38) in his last 11 games with one double as his only extra-base hit and three RBIs.
“He’s not feeling right at the plate and it’s snowballing a little bit now so you want to stop that from snowballing any further and let him kick back and work with [Rowson] today and get things ironed out,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Part of the problem, Sveum said, is Rizzo may be “thinking too much and trying to do too much all the time instead of just letting it happen.”
Rizzo was the National League Rookie of the Month in July, batting .330 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in 25 games. He’s hit one home run in August.
“Who knows the reason why,” Sveum said of the dropoff in power numbers. “To me, it’s more a young man who got here and was obviously on top of the world and doing everything, and unfortunately, sometimes in this game, if you try to tell some young guys that for some reason, when you’re going good, you’re putting yourself in line for a slump sometimes. Why that happens is a million dollar question in hitting — why all of a sudden you’re on top of the world and the next day you feel like you’re on ice skates in the batter’s box. That’s why you give guys day off and give them a chance to regroup.”
– Carrie Muskat
Cubs fans may see lots of strikeouts now by Brett Jackson. The rookie outfielder sees progress. Jackson, promoted from Triple-A Iowa to the big leagues on Aug. 5, entered Wednesday’s game with 16 strikeouts in 28 at-bats. He totaled 158 Ks in 100 plus games this season in the Minor Leagues.
In the second inning against the Astros, he picked up his first pro extra-base hit and RBI when he hit a RBI triple. Jackson also doubled in the sixth.
“Every day, [hitting coach James Rowson] is challenging me,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t change overnight. You’ve got some things built into your muscle memory that are hard to break. It may take a while, but I’m working every day to knock that out. I have the talent, I have the ability to be a really good hitter in this league.”
Jackson, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is trying to simplify his swing, shorten his bat path and slow down some of the moving parts.
“I’ve always gotten away with movement because I have really fast hands, so I could move and still catch up to balls but it also leads to a lot of swings and misses and foul balls and a lot of strikeouts,” Jackson said. “We know that’s my favorite area of the game to talk about.”
He was laughing about strikeouts being a favorite topic. They’re not. We’ll move on.
The coaching staff has been working overtime with Jackson. He appreciates it.
“They’re really willing to be hands on and let you know the game’s hard and we’ve all been there and we’ve all struggled in baseball,” Jackson said. “Not that they’re going to be wiling to let you struggle but with hard work, we’re behind you. There’s comfort that I feel they’re behind me. I’m doing everything I can every day to improve as a player to help this team win right now and hopefully for years to come.”
– Carrie Muskat
Sunday was a great day for the young Cubs. Monday was more humbling for Brett Jackson, who struck out four times in a 2-0 loss to the Padres. He fell behind 0-2 in the last three at-bats.
“Basically it came down to swinging at strikes,” Dale Sveum said. “I don’t care who you are, if you don’t swing at strikes you’ll have a tough time. When he got two strikes on him, he couldn’t lay off pitches that were quite a bit out of the zone.”
The Cubs may have to live with the outfielder’s free swinging style.
“He’s going to be in [the lineup],” Sveum said. “That was part of the deal, that he’s going to be here to develop and what we see and make adjustments and go from there. Bottom line doesn’t matter unless you’re swinging at strikes.”
Jackson knows it, too.
“It’s something I’m working on cutting down and like I said [Sunday], I’ll keep working with [hitting coach James Rowson] and Dale and keep improving my swing,” Jackson said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll get the ability out of me.”
It’s only been two games, but does he notice any difference in big league pitching?
“No,” Jackson said. “Obviously, the guys tonight had good stuff and made some good pitches, and I chased some pitches that I shouldn’t have chased. I think when it comes to striking out, a lot of that has to do with me chasing pitches that I don’t need to swing at, and missing pitches I do swing at. That’s something I’ll figure out. It’s baseball, and I’m going to keep improving as a player until I can’t improve any more.”
– Carrie Muskat