Results tagged ‘ Jeff Gray ’

3/26 Roster moves

The Cubs sent seven players to the Minor League camp on Friday to reduce the spring roster to 33 players. Right-handed pitchers Jeff Gray and Marcos Mateo, lefty John Gaub and outfielder Jim Adduci were optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Infielders Darwin Barney and Bobby Scales and catcher Robinson Chirinos were assigned to the Minor League camp.

The roster is now at 33, including 15 pitchers, three catchers, nine infielders, and six outfielders. Both Ted Lilly and Angel Guzman will open the season on the disabled list.

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Penmanship

Jeff Gray, slowed by a strained groin, threw three “batting practice” innings on Thursday and his next step will be a simulated game. However, the right-hander is running out of time to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.

The Cubs will be leaning on lefty John Grabow to be the primary set-up pitcher. Lou Piniella would like at least one other person to handle those duties.

“If we can find a couple pitchers here to complement him, it would behoove us,” Piniella said. “The two kids we have right now would either be [Esmailin] Caridad or [Justin] Berg. Then we have to see what we do rotation-wise, and maybe somebody from the rotation falls into that category, too.”

Will Piniella use Grabow the way he used Marmol last year?

“Yes,” Piniella said, then paused. It would depend on the situation

“We want another pitcher or two who we can lean on in that role,” Piniella said. “We just don’t want one person specifically. Remember, with Marmol last year, he has that devastating slider and we’d use him sometimes in the seventh to get out of an inning and sometimes start the eighth.”

— Carrie Muskat


3/5 Guzman, Gray doubtful for Opening Day

The Cubs may have more openings in their bullpen than they originally thought. Angel Guzman was to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder Friday. He’s not expected to be ready Opening Day. Guzman has been slowed because of discomfort in his shoulder. Jeff Gray also has been held back because of a lingering groin strain.

“Gray, he still feels it when he throws,” Lou Piniella said Friday. “We’re being precautious with him. I thought that by now we could have him throwing off the mound. He’s a little bit away yet.”

Guzman was projected as a possible right-handed set-up option for the Cubs. He hasn’t been close to throwing off a mound. Could he be ready by Opening Day?

“Not at all,” Piniella said. “Gray is starting to get on the ‘doubtful’ list — not doubtful, let’s call it the ‘borderline’ list.”

The leading candidate for the set-up job is Esmailin Caridad but GM Jim Hendry is looking.

“We’re doing no different than we always do,” Hendry said. “If there’s [a trade] to be made, we will.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/1 Injury updates

Angel Guzman threw 30 pitches from about 60 feet on Monday, but won’t be throwing off a mound until next week. He’s been slowed by discomfort in his right shoulder. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed with him,” Lou Piniella said of the right-hander.

* Geovany Soto missed Monday’s workout. He’s sick with the flu.

* The Cubs move to HoHoKam after Tuesday’s practice. Expect Jeff Gray, sidelined with a groin injury, to throw off the mound when the team switches camps.

— Carrie Muskat

2/25 Pitching notes: Big Z likely Opening Day starter

Carlos Zambrano will likely be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter for the sixth straight year.

“We haven’t even gone there yet,” Lou Piniella said when asked if he’d named his starter for the April 5 season opener in Atlanta. “I’ve been here three years and Zambrano has been the Opening Day starter every year. I don’t anticipate any difference there.”

Some other pitching updates:

* Angel Guzman was shutdown because of some discomfort in his right shoulder. Guzman underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in January and already was a couple weeks behind the others. He still could be ready by Opening Day.

“We just felt that coming off the ‘scope and because he’s had difficulties on and off in the past, that we’ll take the precautionary route and push him back a couple days,” GM Jim Hendry said.

* Ted Lilly remained at home for the fourth straight day because of a high fever. Athletic trainer Mark O’Neal planned on visiting Lilly at his home to get an update. They hope the lefty can come to Fitch Park on Friday to play catch.

* One pitcher who appears to have secured a spot in the bullpen is Esmailin Caridad.

“He’s on the team,” Piniella said. “He’s almost got to pitch himself off it. I don’t think he will. I like this young man. He competes, he’s got a good arm, he can pitch a lot. He handled himself here quite well the last two months of the season.”

Caridad appeared in 14 games with the Cubs late last season and gave up three earned runs over 19 1/3 innings for a 1.40 ERA. He’s not experienced — last year was his first at Triple-A. Could he be the right-handed set-up pitcher the Cubs need?

“He’s got the stuff for it,” Piniella said. “Does he have the experience, savvy? We’ll have to wait and see. He does have the stuff. One good thing about this young man is he’s not scared.”

* Another pitcher who has impressed the coaching staff this spring is Jeff Samardzija. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Piniella that the first couple years, Samardzija looked like a football player who was pitching. Rothschild said this year, the right-hander looks like a baseball player who played football.

“That’s a big transformation and that’s a really profound statement as far as I’m concerned,” Piniella said. “It says he’s making the adjustments and really stepping forward and looking like a Major League pitcher.”

Samardzija’s mechanics are better.

“He’s throwing the ball smoother, with less effort and his mechanics have approved,” Piniella said. “He looks like a Major League pitcher on the mound. He’s got natural talent. It’s just a question of refining it. We’re going to let this guy pitch and around the 20th of March, we’ll see exactly where he’s at.”

* Jeff Gray, sidelined with a sore groin, did throw on flat ground Thursday. He was not expected to throw off a mound until next week when the team moves to HoHoKam Park fo the start of games.

— Carrie Muskat

2/25 Samardzija, Cashner get head start

Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner threw live BP on Thursday before the full squad stretch, getting their work in early at Fitch Park. They weren’t the only ones on the field for extra work. Infielders Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Micah Hoffpauir and others did drills with coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus.

Jeff Gray, who has been sidelined with a sore groin, did long toss in the outfield. Angel Guzman, slowed after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in January, is close to throwing off a mound.

— Carrie Muskat

2/18 Numbers game

There were some familiar Cubs’ numbers on the field Thursday — Nos. 31 and 34.

Greg Maddux, now a special assistant to the GM, was in uniform wearing No. 31. That number was retired last year in honor of both Maddux and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. Maddux spent most of the first workout at Fitch Park watching the pitchers throw light bullpen sessions.

New addition Jeff Gray was wearing No. 34, which hasn’t been worn by a Cubs player since Kerry Wood. Gray, acquired from the Athletics, said he asked for the number.

“After realizing it, it was like really incredible to follow in his footsteps,” Gray said Thursday. “Hopefully, I can live up to it. It’s big shoes to fill. It’s going to be some fun. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Mike Fontenot got some grief from fans by wearing No. 17, which was Mark Grace’s number. Gray was prepared for some razzing.

“I’m wondering what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m excited.”

— Carrie Muskat


2/17 Injury bug: Guzman, Gray sidelined

Cubs pitchers and catchers have their first workout on Thursday at Fitch Park but already have two players who will miss practice. Angel Guzman injured a knee during a workout in Venezuela and had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus two weeks ago. The procedure was done in Arizona. He was expected to be ready by Opening Day. Jeff Gray, whom the Cubs acquired from Oakland, has a moderate groin strain, injured during drills in Mesa. The right-hander will take it easy over the first few weeks of camp.

The only other pitcher who won’t be able to throw on Thursday is starter Ted Lilly, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in early November. Lilly could be ready by mid April, but in the meantime, the Cubs will be auditioning starter candidates to sub for the lefty as well as fill the fifth spot. The contenders include Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny.

“We’ve got enough people to look at,” Lou Piniella said Wednesday.

The Cubs are still in the market for a veteran right-handed reliever to help set-up closer Carlos Marmol, and could add someone via trade.

Another pitcher who reported to work on Wednesday was Greg Maddux, who has been added as a special assistant to GM Jim Hendry.

“We’ll have Greg do a lot of everything,” Hendry said of the four-time Cy Young winner, who won his first with the Cubs in 1992.

Maddux will work with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins as well as go to games with Hendry and assistant general manager Randy Bush to learn how to evaluate players.

“We’ll try to give him a little bit of everything in the first year,” Hendry said. “We’d be foolish to think he couldn’t help the players on the field.”

“All the young pitching talent we have, he’ll be invaluable,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/15 Early birds

Carlos Zambrano was among the early birds at Fitch Park on Monday. Pitchers and catchers do not have their first workout until Thursday, but Zambrano was throwing off the mound in Mesa along with Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Jeff Stevens, Tom Gorzelanny, Michael Parisi, David Patton, Jeff Gray, John Gaub and Vince Perkins. Gorzelanny is one of many who said he decided to report early just to get out of the snow up north. Catcher Koyie Hill also reported early to camp.

— Carrie Muskat

12/3 Cubs send Miles, Fox to A's

The Cubs Thursday traded Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Athletics for right-handed pitcher Jeff Gray and two prospects. It’s a good move for Fox, who could thrive in the AL as a designated hitter. Besides Gray, the Cubs pickup pitcher Ronny Morla and infielder Matt Spencer.

— Carrie Muskat