Results tagged ‘ John Grabow ’

7/7 On the road to Pittsburgh

The Cubs head to Pittsburgh to face the surging Pirates on Friday for a three-game series, the last before the All-Star break. When these two teams last met in late May, the Pirates were 24-27 and 6 1/2 games back; the Cubs were 23-28 and 7 1/2 games back. Now? The Pirates began play Thursday 45-42 and 1 1/2 games back. The Cubs are 12 games out of first and 35-53.

“They’re athletic, they’re pitching the daylights out of it, they have a premier center fielder,” Mike Quade said of the Pirates. “They’re an interesting club and they’re a handful, for sure. Talk to the rest of the division — they’re hanging in there. They’ve come a long way and we have to be on top of our game and play better than we have here to feel good about ourselves.”

John Grabow played in Pittsburgh during the lean times.

“It’s cool that they’re playing well,” Grabow said. “The city deserves that. It’s a big sports city. The fans have been waiting for a while for a winning team. We’re going to go in there and try to spoil some stuff.”

Grabow said the Pirates weren’t very popular when he pitched there.

“The Steelers, the Penguins, even college basketball is huge there,” he said. “When I was there, we were last in line. It was frustrating because you go to a Steelers game and it’s crazy, you go to Penguins game and it’s fun. We’d go through little stretches where we played well and then we didn’t play well. It seemed like the only time we sold out was when there were fireworks or a giveaway. The fans supported the team but they weren’t selling out. It’s a shame because it’s such a beautiful stadium and fun to play at. It’ll be fun to go there and see how many fans they get.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/9 Cubs extra bases

Matt Garza’s game plan in Spring Training was to throw only fastballs in his first three outings so he can work on location. On Wednesday, the Cubs pitcher had to change his approach.

Garza walked the first two batters he faced, then gave up a RBI single to the Royals’ Billy Butler. Because he was having a tough time throwing fastballs for strikes, he switched to his breaking pitches. First baseman Carlos Pena, who was Garza’s teammate on the Rays, came over to the mound twice in the first to talk to the pitcher.

“[Pena] was just trying to slow it down,” Garza said. “He knew that I was fighting some things and he came over and said, ‘Slow it down, slow it down.’ That’s when I had to step back and take a deep breath and analyze what I can do and can’t do. It was a tough situation but a good learning process today. I was able to adjust on the fly. Next time, it’ll be sooner than later.”

And that’s what Spring Training is for.

* John Grabow has not pitched in a Cactus League game since the first one on Feb. 27 because of some tightness in his left shoulder. He has been able to do side work with pitching coach Mark Riggins, and will likely get back into a Cactus League game next week. Grabow is coming back from knee surgery last year that limited him to 28 games. “It’s nothing serious,” Mike Quade said. “We’re just being careful. You worry about his knee and every so often people coming back from that try to compensate and change their mechanics.”

* The Cubs are not set at second base. Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker, Darwin Barney and Augie Ojeda will get playing time there. Quade said, players usually make those decisions for you.
* Todd Wellemeyer is nursing a sore right hip, but downplayed the problem, saying he’s dealt with it for a couple years. “I’m old,” Wellemeyer quipped.

— Carrie Muskat

2/20 Cubs notebook

Most of the Cubs pitchers got their work in on the fields Sunday despite a cold rain. Reed Johnson realized too late he should’ve been wearing his elbow pad during live BP. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol clipped Johnson with a pitch on the left elbow. Johnson’s elbow guard was in his locker after the session.

“It’s a couple hours too late,” Johnson said. “I have to callous that elbow for the season. Marmol was doing me a favor.”

* The first Cactus League game is Feb. 27, and Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins were finalizing the spring rotation. Expect an announcement Monday or Tuesday on who will start against the Athletics in one week.

* Sunday was significant for John Grabow because it was the first time the left-hander faced hitters since June 28. That was his last game of 2010 before being sidelined with a torn MCL in his left knee. He will wear a knee brace for the entire season.

“Now, I’m used to it and I don’t even know it’s there any more,” he said. “Can I pitch without it? I’m not going to take that chance.”

* James Russell will get stretched out this spring as the Cubs try to decide if the left-hander can fill a slot in the rotation. If not, the next decision will be whether he’s better off starting in the Minor Leagues or in the bullpen with the big league team. That decision won’t be made until late March.

* Quade carries a fungo bat with him nearly everywhere he goes. “It’s like my security blanket,” he said. “It used to be a tool. Now, you get kicked upstairs and now it just helps me get around.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/13 Pitchers & catchers

Pitchers and catchers will have their first workout on Monday at Fitch Park. The pitchers slated to throw off the mound include Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano, Jeff Samardzija, John Grabow, Alberto Cabrera, Jeff Stevens, Scott Maine, Angel Guzman, Ryan Dempster, James Russell, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Scott Rice, Kyle Smit and Rafael Dolis. Cubs manager Mike Quade will meet with the players at 9:30 a.m. before they take the field.

— Carrie Muskat

9/25 Extra bases

Tyler Colvin is doing well, but whether he switches to first base for 2011 has not been determined. Hendry talked to Colvin when the rookie outfielder was hospitalized after being struck in the chest by a broken bat in a freak accident last week in Miami.

“Obviously, he escaped a potential disastrous situation,” Hendry said Saturday. “If you were playing three weeks from now, he could possibly play.”

Colvin was expected to resume the strength program he was on after the 2009 season which helped him gain 25 pounds. He lost about 13 pounds during the season. What about switching to first base?

“We might look into it, depending on how the offseason goes and how we line up at first base and the outfield,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said. “There are a lot of bridges to cross between now and the middle of February.”

On other topics:

* Hendry has been encouraged by how well the Cubs have played since Mike Quade took over. “Guys are playing hard, the veterans are hanging in there and still going about their business well and I’m real happy with some of the young pitchers who have gotten over the hump,” he said. “I think they’ll all benefit from that.”

* He complimented Sean Marshall for another stellar season as set-up man and expected lefty John Grabow to return strong. Grabow will not need surgery on his knee.

“We’re confident he can come back,” Hendry said. “In fairness to John, after having four, five good years, he had a rough first couple months and probably should’ve been a little more vocal on how much discomfort he was in. He’s not the type who wants to make excuses on his lack of success here.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/17 Injury roundup

Catcher Geovany Soto, on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, took batting practice on Tuesday and should be activated on Sunday. Soto, batting .288 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs, has not played since Aug. 6.

* Carlos Silva, who underwent a procedure Aug. 9 to correct an abnormal heart rate, was to throw Wednesday on the side at Wrigley Field. The right-hander, who is 10-5 with a 3.92 ERA, could be scheduled for a rehab outing if all goes well.

* First baseman Derrek Lee was expected back in the lineup Thursday after having an epidural injection in his lower back. Lee, who was batting .251 with 16 homers and 56 RBIs, came out of Sunday’s game because of his back.

* Reliever John Grabow was examined by team orthopedic specialist Stephen Gryzlo on Monday and they were deciding whether to have surgery on his left knee. He has been limited to 28 games  because of a sprain.

— Carrie Muskat

8/11 Grabow done for the season

John Grabow is done for the season. Grabow felt something pop in his left knee during a rehab outing Monday in Mesa, Ariz., and an MRI on Tuesday revealed a Grade 3 sprain. He will be examined by the Cubs orthopedic specialist sometime this week to determine the next step. Grabow has been on the DL since June 29. He appeared in 28 games and had a 7.36 ERA.

— Carrie Muskat

8/6 Grabow update

John Grabow, on the disabled list since June 29, will go to Arizona to begin throwing in game situations in hopes of returning to the team later this month. Grabow, 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 28 games, has been sidelined with a sprained left knee. He was to throw a simulated game Monday in Mesa at the Cubs’ facility. The left-hander will make at least one, possibly two appearances with the Rookie League team in Arizona and then make a couple rehab outings with either Double-A Tennessee or Triple-A Iowa. Lou Piniella said by the time the Cubs return from their next road trip, which would be Aug. 16, Grabow could be ready to join the team.

— Carrie Muskat

6/29 Lineup & roster moves

James Russell and Jeff Stevens rejoined the Cubs on Tuesday while John Grabow was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a moderate sprain of his left knee and Carlos Zambrano was placed on the restricted list. Both Russell and Stevens arrived in time for Tuesday’s game vs. the Pirates. Marlon Byrd is getting a breather. Here’s the lineup:

RF Fukudome

2B Theriot

1B Lee

3B Ramirez

CF Colvin

LF Soriano

C Hill

SS Castro

P Lilly

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 John Grabow update

John Grabow will go on the disabled list Tuesday after re-injuring his left knee and may be out for an extended period. The lefty entered Monday’s game against the Pirates in the seventh and retired the first batter, then gave up an infield single to Ronny Cedeno. Paul Maholm squared to bunt on a 1-1 pitch, and Grabow finished the pitch awkwardly. Athletic trainer Mark O’Neal went to the mound and Grabow immediately headed to the clubhouse.

“It’s pretty bad,” Grabow said. “It’s something I thought I could pitch through and it got worse. I’ll go get it checked out [Tuesday].”

Grabow has received a cortisone shot already this season in the knee and was on the disabled list from May 31-June 15 because of it. In his last outing June 24, he gave up one hit over two innings against the Mariners.

The Cubs’ bullpen has been busy after Carlos Zambrano’s abbreviated outing on Friday. Right-hander Jeff Stevens will be added on Tuesday as Zambrano is moved to the restrictted list. They will add another pitcher to fill Grabow’s spot on the 25-man roster as well.

If the Cubs opt for a left-hander, it could be James Russell, who began the season with the big league team. Russell has given up seven runs on 11 hits and four walks over 11 innings in five games with the Iowa Cubs, striking out 10. Left-hander John Gaub has a 4.33 ERA in 27 games with the Iowa Cubs, serving up 13 earned runs on 24 hits and 16 walks over 27 innings while striking out 37.

If the Cubs opt for another right-hander, Jeff Samardzija is an option. He has a 1.88 ERA in 20 games, including three starts at Iowa. He’s given up eight earned runs on 24 hits and 22 walks while striking out 33 in 38 1/3 innings. He has started in three of his last four outings but that change in assignment was because of injuries or roster moves. Right-handers were batting .173 against Samardzija while lefties were hitting .189.

— Carrie Muskat