Results tagged ‘ Jeff Baker ’

7/7 Demp, Z, Mateo & Bake

Ryan Dempster threw what he jokingly called an “epic” side session on Thursday and said he expected to start the second game of a three-game series against the Pirates on Saturday. Dempster missed his Monday start because of back soreness and stomach problems. He was hospitalized overnight for observation on July 2. But on Thursday at Nationals Park, he was able to do a normal side session in the bullpen and then went for a run with pitcher Chris Carpenter.

“As long as I feel good [Friday], I don’t see any reason why I can’t pitch on Saturday,” Dempster said.

* Carlos Zambrano, on the disabled list with lower back soreness, will make a rehab start on Friday for Class A Peoria. If all goes well, Zambrano could be back in the Cubs rotation for a July 16 start against the Marlins. Mike Quade’s brother Scott caught Zambrano in a side session on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

“If you’ve caught him before then you know what a Zambrano side is like,” Quade said. “[My brother] told me, ‘He’s the same as the guy I caught last year’ and thought he threw fine. It was a productive day for [Zambrano].”

* The Cubs expect MRI results on Marcos Mateo’s right elbow on Friday. He went to Chicago for the test.

* Jeff Baker was questionable for Thursday’s game. He’s trying to return from back spasms.

– Carrie Muskat

7/6 Extra bases

Ryan Dempster played catch Wednesday and will try to throw a side session on Thursday. If all goes well, he could be inserted into the rotation on Saturday against the Pirates for one more start before the All-Star break. The right-hander missed his scheduled start Monday because of discomfort in his stomach and core.

* Carlos Zambrano threw a side session Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Mike Quade’s younger brother, Scott, was his catcher. Zambrano is on the DL with lower back soreness.

“If he has a healthy side today, then all systems are go for him to throw a simulated game to do something to be ready to come off the break and be ready to go,” Quade said.

* Starlin Castro is keeping tabs on All-Star shortstops Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitzki. Both have been injured, which means the Cubs shortstop may get lots of playing time in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Phoenix.

* Jeff Baker, who had to come out of Tuesday’s game because of back spasms, did not take part in batting practice on Wednesday and remained day to day.

* Andrew Cashner, on the DL since April 6, one day after his first and only start of the season, was to throw Monday in Mesa, Ariz. Cashner was on the trip to continue his rehab from a strained right rotator cuff.

* Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was on the field before the game. One of his staffers is a nephew of Cubs pitcher Rick Reuschel.

– Carrie Muskat

 

6/11 Minor League report

Jeff Baker hit a RBI triple in the seventh inning for Iowa in Friday’s 7-6, 10-inning loss to Round Rock in front of 8,047 in Des Moines. Reed Johnson (back spasms) was 0-for-3, while Baker (groin) was 1-for-4. The two are on rehab assignments and both plan on being activated Monday when the Cubs open a homestand against the Brewers. Ramon Ortiz gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings. Jonathon Mota had three hits and one RBIs.

Thursday’s suspended game will be made up Saturday. That game was stopped in the bottom of the fourth with Round Rock leading, 8-1.

* Angel Guzman threw 21 pitches, 14 for strikes, and struck out two over two innings for Class A Peoria Friday. It was his first game action since Sept. 8, 2009. He has been rehabbing from shoulder surgery, which he had in March 2010.

“It’s been a long time,” Guzman said. “It was good to be back and get some innings and be competing.”

The Chiefs scored five runs in the first. Greg Rohan and Anthony Giansanti each had two RBIs.

* Nick Struck threw five shutout innings in Tennessee’s 2-0, five-inning rain-shortened win over Carolina. Struck struckout six. He also drove in the game-winning RBI with a run-scoring single in the third. In two starts with Tennessee, he’s 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 10 Ks over 11 innings.

* Dae-Eun Rhee gave up five runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings in Daytona’s 12-1 loss to Lakeland, which scored seven runs in the eighth inning. Jake Optiz had three hits, his fifth multi-double game of the year.

– Carrie Muskat

6/10 Johnson, Baker on Big Z

Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker began their rehab assignments at Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, and both went 0-for-2 before rain suspended play. If all goes well, they could be activated Monday when the Cubs begin a homestand against the Brewers. Alfonso Soriano, sidelined with a strained left quad, was to begin his rehab assignment at Iowa on Sunday.

Johnson and Baker were asked about Carlos Zambrano’s recent comments regarding the Cubs’ play, saying the team was “embarrassing.”

“We do need to play better,” Johnson told the Des Moines Register. ““We have to play better fundamental baseball, whether that’s taking extra quality ground balls, or early batting practice to work on situational things. Teams smell blood, especially teams in our division when they’re playing us. They’re drooling. They know we’re not playing very well, and they want to jump on top of us and make sure we don’t get up.”
 
As for Baker, he said Zambrano was entitled to his opinion.

“He’s frustrated, and the bottom line is that he wants us to play well,” Baker said. “The whole team wants to play well.”
 
– Carrie Muskat

5/30 LeMahieu, Baker, Garza & more

Infielder DJ LeMahieu joined the Cubs from Double-A Tennessee on Monday, taking Jeff Baker’s spot on the roster. Baker was placed on the 15-day DL, retro to Saturday, because of a strained groin.

“The first thing we have to do is figure out how to spell his name,” Mike Quade said.

Quade said they couldn’t play short-handed without Baker and Reed Johnson, who was placed on the DL Sunday.

“I wanted to see ‘Bake’ hit the other day and I didn’t think he looked as comfortable as he needed to be,” Quade said. “He’d still suck it up for us and still pinch-hit but that leaves us in a pretty tough situation defensively.”

LeMahieu may be asked to fill in at first base if the Cubs need to give Carlos Pena a day off. That was Baker’s job. The other option is Blake DeWitt.

LeMahieu had been told Sunday he was going to be promoted to Triple-A Iowa, and then went fishing with friends. He got a phone call from player development director Oneri Fleita that there had been a change in plans and he was going to Chicago.

“I was like, ‘Did I get traded?'” LeMahieu said. “[Fleita] said, ‘Have you ever heard of Wrigley Field?'”

His father was in Milwaukee and drove down and his mother flew across the country from California to be at Wrigley on Monday.

“I dreamed about this as a kid, like everyone says,” LeMahieu said. “When you’re playing in Double-A, youknow a call might be coming but I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for the actual call.”

* Matt Garza, on the DL with a right elbow contusion, threw on flat ground Monday and was expected to throw a side on Wednesday. Could he still be ready in St. Louis? “Not out of the question,” Quade said. “I’d like him back as quick as I can get him back.”

* Geovany Soto said he was able to test his leg in his two Minor League games. He was activated from the DL Sunday after being sidelined with a strained left groin.

“I ran for a little bit and whenever I hit the ball,” Soto said Monday. “It felt good. In my head, I was a little concerned. I didn’t want to [re-injur] it or feel it at all and I never did.”

* Players were wearing special Memorial Day caps.

* It was suddenly summer at Wrigley Field on Monday.

“I just like it hot and comfortable,” Quade said. “The hotter the better for me. I believe when the weather warms up, our offense will be better. It’s just a more comfortable situation. It’s good to see the sun.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/30 LeMahieu to join Cubs

Add another Cubs player to the DL list. Jeff Baker was to be placed on the disabled list Monday because of a strained groin and infielder DJ LeMahieu to be called up from Double-A Tennessee. LeMahieu was the Cubs’ second-round pick in 2009. He was batting .358 with 15 doubles, two triples, two homers and 27 RBIs with the Smokies. Baker pinch-hit on Saturday but it was obvious he still had trouble running. He was batting .368 overall, .512 against left-handers.

Baker joins Reed Johnson (back), Marlon Byrd (face), Andrew Cashner (shoulder), and Matt Garza (elbow) on the DL. The Cubs did get Randy Wells back on Saturday and Geovany Soto on Sunday.

More info on DJ: He played second and third with the Smokies, and was hitting .459 against left-handers, .310 vs. right-handers. He’s been red-hot this month, batting .419 in 27 games. He hit second and third in the lineup. What should help the Cubs is he was batting .357 with runners in scoring position.

So far, the Cubs have added Tony Campana, Brad Snyder, Lou Montanez, Welington Castillo, Casey Coleman, Scott Maine, Jeff Stevens, Marcos Mateo and Justin Berg from their Minor League system this year plus acquired pitchers Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez. And it’s not yet June.

– Carrie Muskat

5/17 Runners in scoring position

As team, the Cubs are batting .278 overall, but they’re hitting .232 with runners in scoring position. It’s the veterans who are struggling the most. Here are the numbers:

* Marlon Byrd: .227 (10-for-44) with RISP, 7 RBIs

Note: Byrd has eight RBIs for the year, all coming when he hits third. Three of those came on May 4, and are his only RBIs for the month of May.

* Aramis Ramirez: .231 (9-for-39) with RISP, 11 RBIs.

Note: He’s 0-for-15 with RISP and two outs.

* Alfonso Soriano: .179 (7-for-39) with RISP, 11 RBIs.

Here are some positive numbers:

* Jeff Baker:  .438 (7-for-16) with RISP, 11 RBIs

* Starlin Castro: .300 (12-for-40) with RISP, 16 RBIs

* Darwin Barney: .333 (14-for-34) with RISP, 15 RBIs

 — Carrie Muskat

5/12 Round 1 to the Cards

The Cubs now are 6-9 vs. NL Central foes after losing the series to the Cardinals on Thursday. They did total 39 hits, but the euphoria from Wednesday’s 11-4 win was quickly dashed with Thursday’s 9-1 loss.

“We have to be more consistent,” Marlon Byrd said. “We’re not finding that yet. One out of three, especially against the Central is not going to cut it. Our consistency has to be there — hitting, pitching, defense, all around. … Once we put it all together, we’ll get a winning streak going.”

Jeff Baker, who had three hits, and now is batting .516 against lefties, agrees that the Cubs simply need to play better no matter who they’re facing.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the quote, defending champs, the Giants, who we’ve got coming in now or you’re playing a team that might have set the record for most losses in baseball,” Baker said. “The bottom line is if you don’t come ready to play, you’ll get your butt whupped. A win’s a win, it doesn’t matter if it’s against a, quote, good team or a bad team. We just have to try to get more wins.”

Manager Mike Quade agrees. He’s not losing sleep over the team’s 8-12 record at Wrigley, or Casey Coleman’s inexperience.

“The frustration for me is that we’re inconsistent,” Quade said.

The Cardinals leave in first place in the Central.

“I’m real glad we’re four, five back 35, 40 games in and not 10 back,” Quade said. “Yeah, we have some things to work out but I’d like to think in the next week or two, we’ll get some of those things worked out and get people healthy and be a better ballclub.”

– Carrie Muskat

4/26 Cubs lineup

Jeff Baker is starting at first and Reed Johnson in right field Tuesday night for the Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series against the Rockies, who are starting lefty Jorge De La Rosa. Baker is batting .400 overall and .455 against lefties. And Starlin Castro is back in the leadoff spot. He’s 2-for-17 in the No. 3 hole, and 23-for-46 (.500) in the leadoff spot. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

CF Byrd

3B Ramirez

1B Baker

C Soto

LF Soriano

RF Johnson

P Russell

– Carrie Muskat

3/2 Errors, miscues & mistakes

The Cubs have made nine errors in their first three spring games. That’s not a good pace.

“There’s an adjustment when you go from doing early work to playing defense the whole nine yards,” infielder Jeff Baker said. “You can do your drills but once the game gets amped up, there’s still an adjustment period to how fast the speed of the game is and you’re still getting used to that. I don’t think it’s a concern at all.

“The biggest thing for me is the last two weeks of Spring Training from an offensive standpoint and from a defensive standpoint and from our pitchers,” Baker said. “That’s when you start dialing it up. Not that these first two weeks aren’t important, but there will be an adjustment period doing your stuff. Whether you’ve been inside in a high school gym or outside taking ground balls, there’s a difference.

“I think guys are aware we need to play better defense and guys are focused on playing better defense. It’s a process, like anything else. Hopefully we’ll come out and win when it counts April 1.”

– Carrie Muskat

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