Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’

12/15 Extra bases

* The Cubs will introduce Jon Lester at a 1 p.m. CT news conference Monday. It will be broadcast on Cubs.com and Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Lester was at a Chicago Blackhawks game Sunday night. We’ll find out what jersey number Lester will wear as well. He has worn No. 31 in Boston and Oakland, but that number is retired by the Cubs.

* On Sunday, Javier Baez went 2-for-4, hitting a two-run homer in the third inning plus a double, in Santurce’s 4-2 win over San Juan in Puerto Rico winter league baseball. It was his third game in Puerto Rico.

* Kyuji Fujikawa has reportedly signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Rangers. Fujikawa, 34, was signed by the Cubs prior to the 2013 season, but limited because of elbow problems. He eventually needed Tommy John surgery in June 2013.

* The Cubs reportedly met with Colby Rasmus and are one of several teams to show interest in the free agent center fielder.

12/5 Dascenzo, Baez & more

* The Cubs plan on taking advantage of Doug Dascenzo’s expertise in base running and the outfield, and have him to teach at both the Major and Minor League levels in the organization. Dascenzo was bumped from manager Joe Maddon’s coaching staff to make room for Dave Martinez, who was hired Thursday as the bench coach. Brandon Hyde, who was the bench coach in 2014, will move to first base coach, which was to have been Dascenzo’s job in 2015. Now, Dascenzo will be the Cubs outfield and baserunning coordinator.

“He’s a Cub — he handled it with complete grace,” Theo Epstein said of Dascenzo, who played for the Cubs from 1988-92.

Hyde will continue to run Spring Training, but Martinez moves back into the familiar spot next to Maddon, returning to the team that drafted him in 1983.

“Obviously, he’s Joe’s right-hand man and I think that’s proved to be a winning combination in the past and we’re excited to have both guys,” Epstein said of Martinez, whom the Cubs had interviewed for the manager job prior to the 2014 season.

Epstein said he liked Martinez because he has “an edge to him as a coach,” and is able to communicate well with players. Dascenzo will still spend significant time with the big league team, Epstein said.

* New Cubs hitting coach John Mallee will get to work with Javier Baez, joining the infielder in Puerto Rico. Baez is expected to begin playing for Santurce on Dec. 11, and will start four to five games a week, Epstein said.

“Javy’s had some time away from the game and decompressed a little bit, and I think it’s certainly a testament to his work ethic and his desire to improve that he’s out there getting ready to play winter ball and get ready for the season,” Epstein said.

There’s no set number of at-bats for Baez, who batted .169 in 52 games with the Cubs this past season, striking out 95 times in 213 at-bats.

* The Cubs staff will have a chance to see Kris Bryant at the Winter Meetings as well. The third baseman, named the Minor League Player of the Year by several organizations, including MLB.com, will be honored as the top home run hitter in the Minors. Epstein said Bryant, who belted 43 home runs last season at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, has built a batting cage at his home and was working on his swing there this offseason.

– Carrie Muskat

12/3 Baez to play Winter Ball

If you’re in Puerto Rico later this month, you could see Cubs infielder Javier Baez in a game. Baez will start playing winter league ball on Dec. 11 for Santurce, according to Cubs officials. The infielder, who turned 22 on Monday, finished the season with the Cubs, and batted .169 in 52 games with nine home runs and 95 strikeouts. He began the year at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .260 in 104 games with 23 home runs, 24 doubles, and 80 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

9/30 The Year in Quotes

CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney compiled a “Year in Cubs Quotes,” which summed up some of the highs and lows of the 2014 season. Here are excerpts:

* “It’s as peaceful as I’ve ever been as a person.” — Rick Renteria, the 53rd manager in franchise history, at the opening of spring training, Feb. 13.

* “You guys are going to crown them the next Babe Ruth.” — first baseman Anthony Rizzo, responding to reporters asking about all the prospects, Feb. 18.

* “Just be myself. Be me. My mind’s clean and ready to play hard.” — shortstop Starlin Castro, promising to return to an All-Star level, Feb. 19.

* “It sucks for the person who parked there. They’re parking too close to the field.” — mega-prospect Javier Baez, after shattering a car window with a batting-practice bomb at Cubs Park, Feb. 21.

* “(Baez) doesn’t care. He’s like: ‘Oh, cool.’ Not cool for whoever’s car it was, I guess.” — eyewitness Logan Watkins, Feb. 21.

* “Losing sucks.” — Theo Epstein, after a reporter asked if winning is “overemphasized” in professional sports, April 22.

* “I was pretty hungry for that one.” — Jeff Samardzija, after allowing one unearned run in nine innings and throwing 126 pitches during a 12-inning loss to the White Sox, May 5.

* “I do believe in second chances. I do believe in redemption. I do believe that Manny has turned his life around for the better in the last couple of years.” — Epstein, stunning the baseball world by signing Manny Ramirez to a minor-league deal as a player/coach for Triple-A Iowa, May 25.

* “I got some goose bumps there. That’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that.” — Jake Arrieta, after being four outs away from a no-hitter against the Red Sox and getting a standing ovation at Fenway Park, June 30.

* “We shared a beer and a cigarette and sent him on his way. It’s just tough to see your boys leave.” — James Russell’s farewell to Samardzija, July 5.

* “We certainly hope that this is the last year that we’ll be obvious sellers at the trade deadline.” — Epstein, July 5.

* “I got beer. I got chocolate milk. I got hair gel. I got shampoo. I got body wash. And then I got some more beer. It was great. Best shower I’ve ever taken.” — catcher John Baker, after pitching the 16th inning and scoring the game-winning run to beat the Rockies in the longest game in franchise history, July 29-30.

* “I was like: ‘Are you serious?’ And then I realized I was really going to the big leagues. I got really excited. I called my mom, told my brother and everybody started jumping around and crying.” — Javier Baez, before debuting at Coors Field and hitting the game-winning homer against the Rockies, Aug. 5.

* “The best thing to happen to the whole city of Chicago this summer — certainly from a baseball standpoint — was put together by 13-, 12-year-old kids from the South Side. At industry meetings, in lots of front offices around the game, people talk about (it). People ask the question: How can we get young kids playing baseball again, especially in cities, especially in the inner-city? There’s nothing that a bunch of suits in a boardroom can do that would be as powerful as what those 12-year-old kids did to demonstrate how compelling the game of baseball can be, make baseball cool again for young kids.” — Epstein, on the Jackie Robinson West team that won a national title at the Little League World Series, Aug. 27.

* “We’re just waiting for Bryant now.” — Baez, after Jorge Soler hit two homers to beat the Cardinals in St. Louis, Aug. 29.

* “To be the NL Central champs … that’s the message we’re going to send.” — Rizzo’s expectations for next year’s team, Sept. 28.

9/26 Extra bases

* Javier Baez went 4-for-41 with 20 strikeouts on the Cubs’ final homestand, and leads the Major Leagues in strikeouts this month. And Theo Epstein isn’t that surprised.

“It’s gone very much as expected,” Epstein said Friday of Baez’s first two months in the big leagues.

“His confidence is high,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Baez. “Just like everyone, he understands he needs to make adjustments and knows he needs to do better.”

Renteria is quick to remind everyone that Baez is just 21 years old. Epstein said Baez is aware of what he needs to do, adding that sometimes it just takes an offseason to make those adjustments. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro both did that after struggling in 2013; both had All-Star seasons this year. What’s encouraging, Epstein said, is that Baez is open to making adjustments.

“It’s like getting comfortable in the big leagues — you can’t just tell someone, ‘Get comfortable,'” Epstein said. “He readily admits he’ll be more comfortable in the big leagues than he is now. Sometimes you have to just experience it for yourself and the light goes on with one swing or one video session or one offseason when you can take a deep breath and come back differently.”

* Asked if Renteria will return to manage in 2015, Epstein said “absolutely.” However, there could be changes with the coaching staff. Epstein and Renteria said they expected to announce something Tuesday.

* Jacob Turner will start Sunday in place of rookie right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who is being shut down after reaching 183 innings. Hendricks totaled 102 2/3 innings in 17 starts at Triple-A Iowa, and 80 1/3 innings in 13 starts with the Cubs.

* Edwin Jackson has accepted the late season switch to the bullpen but Epstein said Friday the right-hander needs to come into next year and show he can be counted on. This year is the second year of Jackson’s four-year, $52 million deal, and it hasn’t gone that well. He led the National League in losses last season with 18, and is third this year.

“I think Edwin’s aware that he needs to turn his Cubs career around and work hard and show better form that he’s someone who can be counted on,” Epstein said Friday. “I think the default position is that given the competition we’re going to have, guys will have to need to pitch well to have a spot.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/7 Cubs lineup

Jorge Soler gets Sunday off in the Cubs series finale against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Travis Wood makes the start. Here’s the lineup:

Alcantara CF
Baez SS
Coghlan LF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Olt 1B
Kalish RF
Watkins 2B
Wood P

* Manager Rick Renteria doesn’t think Javier Baez should get a breather. Baez struck out three times on Saturday, marking the ninth time in 32 games that the rookie infielder has whiffed three times or more. Baez is batting .174.

“I don’t see him pressing,” Renteria said of the highly regarded prospect. “I think he’s getting away from his middle-away approach. That’s one of the things he was working on down in the Minor Leagues. When he finally settled in and was swinging the bat well, one of the things he was doing was hitting the ball more to the middle to right center field, which allowed him to see the ball and track the ball a little better.

“I just think he’s away from the approach that gives him a chance to have some success,” Renteria said.

Baez has played every game since his call-up on Aug. 5, and now is pressed into every day duty with Starlin Castro sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Could Baez use a day off?

“I think it’s the opposite,” Renteria said. “You need to keep him in there and see if we can get him to trust what he was doing before he got here. The reality is, his approach to the other side of the field is one of the things that will help him.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/6 Pirates 5, Cubs 3 (11 innings)

* Chris Valaika had three hits, and tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth. He has recorded extra-base hits in back-to-back games for the first time since May 1-4 of last year while with the Marlins. The three hits by Valaika tied a career-high (previously done, Aug. 30, 2010.

* With a sac fly RBI in the third, Jorge Soler has recorded at least one RBI in seven of his first eight big league games (11 total RBI). Soler is the first player since Buddy Blair (Philadelphia Athletics) in 1942 to record at least one RBI and/or one extra-base hit in each of his first eight career major league games.

* Tsuyoshi Wada did not get a decision. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits while issuing one walk and striking out two in 3 1/3 innings. He left the game with cramping in his left calf, but was not expected to miss his next start.

* With an infield single in the third, Arismendy Alcantara has hit safely in seven of his last eight games at Wrigley Field (.294/10-for-34).

* Luis Valbuena is batting .325 (13-for-40) with four home runs and six RBI in his last 11 games, while hitting safely in 10 of those contests.

* This was a continuation of Friday’s game which was suspended in the top of the seventh inning because of rain. It marks the Cubs second suspended game of the season.

* Javier Baez now has drawn a walk in three of his last four games.

* The Cubs fell to 7-10 in extra-inning games this season.

8/31 Extra bases

* According to Elias, Jorge Soler is the first player in Major League history, since the RBI was invented in 1920, to record an extra base hit and an RBI in each of his first four Major League games.

* Travis Wood is the third left-handed pitcher to start for the Cubs, closing the series Sunday against the Cardinals. It’s the first time they’ve had three consecutive left-handed starting pitchers since Rich Hill, Sean Marshall and Ted Lilly started Aug. 17-18 and August 20, 2007. The Cubs have not started four straight lefties since 1966 (Ken Holtzman, Dave Dowling, Curt Simmons and Dick Ellsworth).

* The Cubs are 16-13 heading into the last day of August, guaranteeing the first .500 or better record this calendar month since going 16-13 in August 2011. The Cubs have reached 17 wins in August just once in the last 20 years (20-8 in 2008).

* Kyle Hendricks leads all NL rookies with four wins and a 1.69 ERA this month. He is one of only three unbeaten NL starters at 4-0 this month (Jeff Locke and Jordan Zimmermann).

* Javier Baez has seven home runs in August, trailing only Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (eight) for most in the NL this month.

* Hector Rondon has eight saves this month, tied for most in the NL.

* Starlin Castro’s .379 batting average is fourth-best in the NL.

* The Cubs pitching staff have given up four hits or less in seven games in August for the first time in a calendar month since May 2002. The Cubs have only twice in the last 100 years recorded eight games with allowing four hits or less within a calendar month: July 1976 and May 1952.

8/30 Soler and Baez

Jorge Soler has matched Javier Baez game for game, as both homered in their first game, and recorded multi-homer games in their third. They are the only Cubs in franchise history with three home runs in their first three games and join St. Louis’ Joe Cunningham (1954) as the only three big league players to do so since 1900. They are the only Cubs players in franchise history with a multi-homer game within their first three Major League games.

8/29 Cubs 7, Cardinals 2

Jorge Soler belted two home runs and Javier Baez smacked a tie-breaking two-run double to power the Cubs to a 7-2 victory Friday night and wake up the Cardinals.

“They have some studs,” St. Louis starter Shelby Miller said of the revamped. “They’ve done a good job of rebuilding that offense. They’re tough, man. They have a lot of power in that lineup, and even have guys who are a little scrappy and can run. They’re definitely a tough lineup to face.”

Playing just his third big league game, Soler led off the seventh inning with his second career home run to tie the game, and he added a two-run, 442-shot in the eighth that landed on the concourse behind the left-field bleachers at Busch Stadium.

Soler is the second Cubs player in history with a multi-homer game in his first three career games; the first was Baez, who did so on Aug. 7 against the Rockies. It’s now the 24th time it’s happened in MLB history (Baez was No. 23). The last player to do so who wasn’t a Cubs rookie was the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, who hit two homers in his second game.

Baez delivered his double with two on and nobody out in the eighth, lining a 2-2 pitch from Neshek into the gap in left-center. Neshek served up four runs in two-thirds of an inning. He had given up five runs over 55 1/3 innings this season.

“I think that’s my greatest at-bat since I came up,” Baez said. “Hopefully I keep doing it to get better.”

Kyle Hendricks was vying to become the first Cubs rookie pitcher to win five games in August, but instead did not get a decision. He did post his fifth quality start in six outings this month, and closed the month 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA. Hendricks had to work against the Cardinals, who took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta. Hendricks needed 26 pitches that inning, and then settled into a groove where he retired 16 of the next 17 batters he faced.

“There are some innings, you go out there and make pitches and give up runs, and you can live with that,” Hendricks said. “The first inning, I wasn’t throwing any pitches with conviction.”

He talked to Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio after the first, and, with a better mindset, went to work.

“It’s not just picking the right pitch in the right situation, it’s picking a pitch and throwing it to the glove,” he said. “The first inning I really wasn’t doing that and was just lobbing it over.”

Luis Valbuena hit a solo home run in the second and rookie Arismendy Alcantara added a solo shot in the ninth. The Cubs now have 34 home runs this month, most in the National League.

– Carrie Muskat

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