Results tagged ‘ Jason Hammel ’

4/14 Hammel starts Interleague play

The Cubs play the Yankees on Tuesday, the first of eight Interleague series this season, and Jason Hammel will get it started. Hammel is well-versed in the Yankees, having faced them 17 times while pitching for the Rays and Orioles. He’s pitched at both old and new Yankee Stadium, too.

“They’ve always been a team that is very patient and a lot of their guys at the top and the bottom of the order just battle and put the ball in play,” Hammel said.

His last outing vs the Yankees was July 7 when he threw 102 pitches over five innings, giving up six hits and one run, while with the Orioles.

“I think I had 25-something foul balls,” he said. “My pitch count was done in like the fourth inning.”

The Yankees may not have reached the postseason last year, but Hammel knows not to overlook them.

“They’re a perennial powerhouse and find a way to win and the organization is committed to their players, that’s how they do it,” Hammel said. “That being said, there’s still a way to beat them. I’ve faced them many times and had some success. You just have to keep the ball down there.”

So, which does he prefer, the old or new version of Yankee Stadium?

“Old Yankee Stadium, I still have that as my top stadium,” he said. “I love Fenway — I live in Massachusetts now, and love going to Fenway — but the feeling you got when you walk on the mound of the old stadium was something else. You felt like you were in the middle of nowhere because of the way their first level seating went way back and wasn’t really staggered and it felt so cool.

“Now it’s different,” he said. “It’s the same size but it almost has lost the intimidation factor because you see the young teams like the Rays and Orioles now contending over there. You go in there and you know you can beat them. Before, you’d go into Yankee Stadium [and be happy] to take one.”

This series will mark the Cubs’ first-ever regular season games at new Yankee Stadium, the 122nd different ballpark in which the team will have played. After Tuesday, the Cubs will have played a regular-season game in every current Major League city and a game in every active ballpark.

The Cubs did play the first two games in the history of new Yankee Stadium, however, when the teams met in exhibition action prior to 2009. The Yankees won both games.

Heading into this season, the Cubs have played in three ballparks for the first time in the last two seasons, including O.co Coliseum in Oakland in 2013 as well as Marlins Stadium and Target Field in 2013.

Hammel hopes some of the young Cubs who have never played at Yankee Stadium aren’t overwhelmed.

“It’s awe inspiring when you walk in there [to new Yankee Stadium] because everything is so big and modern and exciting to play there,” he said. “It’s one of those bucket list-type places. Yankee Stadium, it’s an eye opener and so much fun to be there.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/10 About last night …

Jason Hammel picked up the win on Wednesday night for the Cubs against the Pirates, his second straight against Pittsburgh.

“He’s pitching well, hitting spots, mixing pitches well,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the right-hander. “We couldn’t get a lot done off him. A good effective outing for him. We wanted to counter-punch better than we were able to, and sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the pitcher. Two consecutive outings, he’s made pitches. To right-handers, basically sinker-slider, to left-handers, mixes in the curve and the change up, makes him a four-pitch guy. We haven’t been able to throw too many punches at him.”

Hammel’s next start will be Tuesday in New York against the Yankees.

4/9 Cubs lineup

Jason Hammel makes his first start at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night as the Cubs play the Pirates in the second game of their three-game series. The Cubs will be facing Wandy Rodriguez for the second time this season, and beat him last week at PNC Park. If you’ve paid attention to Rick Renteria’s lineup, you’ll recognize this as the one he uses vs. left-handed starters. Here you go:

Bonfacio CF
Castro SS
Ruggiano RF
Rizzo 1B
Olt 3B
Lake LF
Castillo C
Barney 2B
Hammel P

4/3 Cubs 3, Pirates 2

The Cubs apparently play better on less sleep. Mike Olt hit his first Major League home run to help Jason Hammel win his Cubs debut and post a 3-2 victory Thursday over the Pirates, giving Chicago manager Rick Renteria his first victory.

There was no beer shower or champagne bottle waiting for Renteria but he was soaked because of the rain that started late in the game and drenched his lineup card and game notes.

“I was hoping the water would cleanse me a little bit,” he said.

The win came after the Cubs opened with two extra-innings losses, including Wednesday’s 16-inning marathon that ended shortly after 1 a.m. ET Thursday. It was a quick turnaround for the 12:35 p.m. start in the series finale.

Hammel wanted to finish the game. The right-hander, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal in February, days before pitchers and catchers reported, held the Pirates to two hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five. The Cubs bullpen was short-handed because of the extra innings the night before.

“I was pretty surprised the way I was moving through the game,” Hammel said. “I wanted to complete it and take it as far as I could have.”

Emilio Bonifacio can apparently fall out of bed and hit. He led off the game with a single, his 10th hit in his 13th at-bat, then stole second, and two outs later, scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single.

“He’s on fire and hopefully he continues,” Renteria said of Bonifacio, now 11-for-16 for the season. “We’re seeing a lot of guys have good at-bats. We had some balls hit well. We’re on the right track.”

Bonifacio remembers a hot streak like this when he played for the Marlins in 2009.

“I’m just swinging at strikes,” he said. “That’s the main difference.”

Bonifacio doubled to open the third, and scored one batter later when Justin Ruggiano grounded into a double play. When Bonifacio grounded out in the fifth, the crowd of 11,418 at PNC Park cheered. Finally.

“I was laughing — it was funny,” Bonifacio said. “That’s part of the game.”

Olt, who hoped to continue his spring comeback story this season, made it 2-0 with a leadoff home run in the second off Wandy Rodriguez, hitting an opposite-field shot to right for his first big league homer. He showed exactly what the Cubs — and most likely the Rangers — were hoping for. Chicago acquired the third baseman last July; he’d struggled with vision problems which apparently have cleared up.

“That ball, down and away, to hit it the other way with some power, it shows you the kind of thump he has in his stick,” Renteria said of Olt.

“It’s not that I go out there trying for [home runs],” Olt said, “but it was nice to get the first hit out of the way and that it happened to be a home run makes it a little sweeter.”

Now, the Cubs head home 1-2.

“We didn’t want to go home 0-3,” Bonifacio said. “We just played two really good games. This win was really important for us.”

Friday will be the Cubs’ home opener. Renteria has yet to see his office at Wrigley Field.

“I didn’t think it was going to be such a relief [to get the win] but it’s quite a relief, quite honestly,” Renteria said.

– Carrie Muskat

3/23 Cubs 10, A’s 6

Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena hit back to back home runs in the sixth and ninth innings, while Lake added a two-run blast in the seventh Sunday to power the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Athletics’ split-squad team.

The Cubs trailed 2-0 in the sixth against Jesse Chavez when Darwin Barney singled and scored on Chris Coghlan’s double. Emilio Bonifacio blooped a single to left and Lake followed with his first home run. Valbuena then hit his fifth this spring to go ahead, 5-2.

Barney reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie to open the seventh, and two outs later, Lake smacked his second home run.

The Athletics took advantage of two errors by third baseman Mike Olt in the seventh to add three more runs. Olt led off the eighth with his fifth home run.

After Lake smashed his third of the game with two outs in the ninth, Valbuena followed with his second. Chicago now has hit 32 home runs, which leads the Major Leagues this spring.

* Jason Hammel, making his third Cactus League start, was roughed up in the first. Jed Lowrie tripled with two outs in the Oakland first and scored one batter later on Josh Reddick’s single to center. Alberto Callaspo followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0.

“I’m not too happy with it,” Hammel said of the first inning. “Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff and you have to find a way. We did that today. It definitely wasn’t pretty.”

Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio told Hammel he was trying to do too much, a little tentative and needed to keep the ball down.

“Strike one has to be the most important thing for me and I’m learning that as guys know I’m a sinkerballer, they’re seeing it down and leaving it down,” he said. “I’m making adjustments.”

* Carlos Villanueva, who could fill the fifth starter spot at the beginning of the season, will make his second Cactus League start Monday night when the Cubs play host to the Padres at Cubs Park. It will be the first night game at the Cubs’ new facility, which is averaging 14,020 fans. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.

– Carrie Muskat

3/23 Cubs lineup

Mike Olt is scheduled to play his second straight game at third base on Sunday when the Cubs travel to Phoenix to play the Athletics. The Cubs could keep Olt on the 25-man roster if they feel he’s healthy. He’s been bothered by soreness in his right shoulder. Jason Hammel will get the start. Also on tap Sunday, Starlin Csatro will get more at-bats in the Minor League camp.

Here’s the lineup:

Bonifacio CF
Lake LF
Valbuena 2B
Olt 3B
Kalish RF
Roberts 1B
Kottaras C
Barney SS
Coghlan DH

Hammel P

3/18 Cubs lineup

The Cubs play a night game Tuesday against the Rangers. The game will be available on MLB Network in the Chicago area. Here’s the lineup:

Coghlan 1B
Murphy SS
Kalish CF
Olt DH
Baez 2B
Lopez C
McDonald LF
Jackson RF
Candelario 3B

Hammel P

3/14 Extra bases

The Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher Dallas Beeler to Triple-A Iowa on Friday and assigned right-hander Marcus Hatley to the Minor League camp. The moves reduced the spring roster to 54 players. On Wednesday, the Cubs optioned infielders Arismendy Alcantara and Logan Watkins and outfielder Matt Szczur to Iowa, and optioned outfielder Jorge Soler to Double-A Tennessee. Five other non-roster invitees have been assigned to Minor League camp besides Hatley. They include right-handed pitcher Carlos Pimentel, left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch, infielders Kris Bryant and Jeudy Valdez, and outfielder Albert Almora.

The Cubs’ spring roster consists of 27 pitchers (seven non-roster invitees), five catchers (three non-roster invitees), 11 infielders (four non-roster invitees) and 11 outfielders (five non-roster invitees).

* Jason Hammel has been spending too much time in the Minor League camp.

“[Anthony] Rizzo just came up and said, ‘Are you afraid to pitch in big league games?’” Hammel said, laughing.

That’s because Hammel has made just one Cactus League start, but has pitched in a “B” game and went six innings Thursday against Cubs Minor Leaguers to stay on schedule. The right-hander is used to prepping on the back fields.

“My first year with the [Orioles], because Florida Spring Training is all [American League] East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel said. “As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

On Thursday, he gave up eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four over six innings, throwing 75 pitches.

“I’m way ahead of schedule, going from three to six [innings],” Hammel said. “Everything felt good, I felt strong. I didn’t feel fatigued at all and I got my work in.”

The Minor League players were aggressive.

“For three innings, they were swinging at everything,” Hammel said. “I made the adjustment so it gave me the opportunity to start throwing breaking balls early in counts and I was able to throw a lot of stuff.”

Hammel’s next outing, by the way, will be Tuesday, and the only downside about that is he’ll have to make the long drive to Surprise to face the Rangers in a night game.

* The Cubs’ Mike Olt will play first base again on Saturday, but soon he’ll switch to the other side of the infield. Olt has been limited to first base and designated hitter duties to avoid aggravating his right shoulder, which has been tender. It’s not bothering his hitting. On Wednesday, he belted two home runs and hit a RBI single against the Mariners.

“He got brushed back pretty good, up and in, and then they threw him down and in, mid belt, and then he ended up stroking another knock,” Renteria said of Olt, who apparently is seeing the ball just fine and over the vision problems he had in the past.

“All things being equal, I think he’s coming along and showing everybody he’s back on track and who he was in the past,” Renteria said of Olt, who was a highly touted prospect with the Rangers, and whom the Cubs acquired last July in the Matt Garza deal.

* Jake Arrieta threw a side session on Wednesday, his third of the spring, and hoped to face hitters in a live batting practice outing his next time. Arrieta has been slowed because of tightness in his right shoulder. He’s been frustrated at being sidelined.

“The competitor in me wants to go [full tilt] but the more thought out side of me knows this is the right thing to do to be a little slower and make sure everything is where it needs to be,” Arrieta said. “You want to be functioning for a long season.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/13 Jason Hammel update

On Thursday, Jason Hammel faced Cubs Minor Leaguers in Mesa to get his work in and stay on schedule for the regular season. The right-hander gave up eight hits over six innings, did not walk a batter and struck out four. He threw 75 pitches.

– Carrie Muskat

3/12 Extra bases

* Top prospect Javier Baez is projected as the starting shortstop at Triple-A Iowa but will get some playing time at second base in Cactus League games, beginning next week, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wednesday.

“We want to still be able to see him work and play at different positions,” Renteria said. “We still haven’t gotten him over at second base. We plan on doing it Monday or Tuesday. We’ll go from there, maybe working him at third.”

Baez has been working with infield coach Gary Jones at second and third.

* Jason Hammel and Eric Jokisch will face Minor Leaguers on Thursday, which is an off day for the Cubs, so they can stay on schedule. Hammel has made one Cactus League start last Saturday against the Reds, and gave up two hits over three innings. The right-hander admitted he had a few butterflies before the game, his first with the Cubs.

* Sunday’s Cubs game against the Indians in Mesa will be telecast on Comcast SportsNet and will be entirely commercial free. According to a Comcast spokesman, the broadcast will feature interviews and features on players and coaches. The broadcast will begin at 3 p.m. CT.

* The ninth Annual “Race to Wrigley” 5k will be held April 12 at Wrigley Field. Voted “Best 5k in the Midwest” in 2013 by Competitor magazine, last year’s event drew approximately 6,000 runners and raised more than $300,000 for Cubs Charities and the Ann & and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

The top fundraising team and individual fundraiser will receive tickets to the April 22 Cubs game against the Diamondbacks and be recognized in a pre-game ceremony. Anyone who raises more than $1,000 will have the opportunity to run a post-race victory lap around the ballpark’s warning track. For more information and to register, go to http://www.racetowrigley.com.

– Carrie Muskat

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