Results tagged ‘ John Grabow ’

6/15 Grabow activated; Atkins to Iowa

John Grabow was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and Mitch Atkins optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Grabow had been sidelined since May 31 because of a sprained left knee. Atkins never had a chance to get in a game during his brief call-up and he’s expected to start Wednesday for Iowa.

— Carrie Muskat

6/6 Silva, Lilly & Grabow updates

Carlos Silva, Ted Lilly and John Grabow took off Sunday in three different directions.

* Silva (7-0), who will start Monday’s makeup game against the Pirates, headed to Pittsburgh before the rest of the team played the series finale against the Astros. Monday’s game will be played at 11:35 a.m. CT, and this will give Silva a chance to rest. He’s looking to be the first Cubs starter to open the season 8-0 since Ken Holtzman went 9-0 in 1967.

* Lilly (1-5, 3.61 ERA) headed to Chicago on Sunday. He will open the Cubs’ series in Milwaukee on Tuesday night and is skipping the one-stop in Pittsburgh.

* Grabow, who has a 9.45 ERA in 23 games, is on the disabled list because of a sore left knee. He will join Triple-A Iowa to begin a Minor League rehab assignment. The plan is for Grabow to pitch in three to four games with the Iowa Cubs.

— Carrie Muskat

5/31 Left-hander notes

The Cubs now have four left-handers in the bullpen in Sean Marshall, John Grabow, James Russell and Tom Gorzelanny. According to Cubs historian Ed Hartig: The last time the Cubs used four lefties out of the pen:

Sept. 9, 2007: The Cubs used eight pitchers, including four lefties, in a 10-5 loss in
Pittsburgh. The lefties were Carmen Pignatiello, Sean Marshall, Scott Eyre and Will Ohman.

But that was in September when rosters expand. The last time the Cubs used four lefties out of the pen (and before rosters expanded) was April 26, 2005, in an 11-9 loss to the Reds. The Cubs used seven pitchers, including southpaws Glendon Rusch, Mike Remlinger, Will Ohman and Cliff Bartosh.

* Only once in the last 60 years did the Cubs use five lefties in the same game.  On May 11, 2000, the Cubs lost to the Mets 14-8 at Wrigley going through six pitchers (Scott Downs, Daniel Garibay, Brian Williams, Andrew Lorraine, Mark Guthrie and Felix Heredia). Brian Williams was the right-handed pitcher for the Cubs in the game.

— Carrie Muskat

5/30 Cashner update

Andrew Cashner will join the Cubs this week but not Monday in Pittsburgh. Lou Piniella was correct in saying Cashner will get called up this week but no date has been set. The Cubs’ 2008 No. 1 Draft pick has made two relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa and Piniella wants another right-hander to balance out the ‘pen makeup. With Tom Gorzelanny shifting from the rotation to the ‘pen, the Cubs will have four lefties in Gorzelanny, John Grabow, Sean Marshall and James Russell.

— Carrie Muskat

5/10 Grabow ready to go

An MRI showed no damage to John Grabow’s left knee and the Cubs reliever received a cortisone shot Saturday. Grabow, who last pitched Friday in Cincinnati, giving up three runs on four hits over one inning, had an exam on Saturday. He threw on the side Monday and Lou Piniella said he’d like to give the lefty at least one more day if possible.

“It’s something I’ve been pitching through for a while,” Grabow said. “It’s been bothering me for a few weeks now. I tried to pitch through it and thought it would go away, but it didn’t go away.”

He said he’s never had this kind of discomfort before and wanted to treat it as soon as possible.

“He’s ready to go,” Piniella said of the reliever, who has a 9.26 ERA.

— Carrie Muskat

5/2 Could Big Z be a closer?

Could Carlos Zambrano be a closer?

On Sunday, it looked that way. The Cubs had what appeared to be a comfortable 10-2 lead against the D-backs when lefty John Grabow came in to finish the game. But Grabow gave up three quick runs on Stephen Drew’s two-run triple. That’s when Zambrano got up in the pen, and was greeted by cheers from the crowd of 38,144.

Justin Upton hit a RBI single to make it 10-5 and one out later, moved up on defensive indifference. But Grabow was able to strike out Chris Young and preserve the win for the Cubs.

Closer Carlos Marmol had pitched Friday and Saturday, and the second outing required him to throw 35 pitches. Marmol also turned his right ankle slightly when he stepped in a hole on the mound.

By not using Marmol on Sunday, Lou Piniella was able to give the right-hander two days off. And, if need be, Zambrano may be called on to close.

“[Marmol] threw 30-some pitches [Saturday], 20 some the day before,” Piniella said after Sunday’s game. “We had Carlos — Zambrano, I mean — ready to come in the ballgame if one other hitter had gotten on. That’s a luxury that the move we made gives us.”

The “move” was the decision to switch Zambrano from the rotation to the ‘pen. In four starts, Zambrano was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA, including a loss on Opening Day. In three relief appearances, he has given up one run on five hits over four innings for a 2.25 ERA, and he has not allowed a run in his last two outings.

— Carrie Muskat

4/15 Still looking for 8th inning solution

Carlos Marmol threw the best Lou Piniella has seen the right-hander throw on Wednesday when he struck out the side in the Brewers ninth. Why?

“Because he’s nice and rested,” Piniella said of his closer, who was used as a set-up pitcher the previous three seasons. “He doesn’t have to overthrow.”

But could Marmol go two innings? The Cubs are having some trouble finding a pitcher to shut opponents down in the eighth.

“I think very few guys in baseball — very, very few — can do that eighth and ninth inning and pitch with any regularity at all,” Piniella said. “We have to solve our eighth inning solution. Marmol, with two outs in the eighth to get a dangerous hitter out, yeah, why not?”

Piniella isn’t necessarily expecting one of the other right-handers in the pen to step up, and said John Grabow and Sean Marshall will be called upon for that role.

Don’t be surprised to see Marmol going three games in a row.

“We can use him three days in a row — why not?” Piniella said. “Billy Martin used to use pitchers 15 days in a row. What you have to worry about is pitch counts. If pitch counts are heavy. If you have three easy innings of 10, 12, 15 pitches and you need him to save a game on the fourth day, why not?”

— Carrie Muskat

4/14 Caridad on DL, Gray joins team

Esmailin Caridad was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 12, because of inflammation in his right forearm. The right-hander said he felt it Monday. Jeff Gray, acquired from the Athletics for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles, was called up from Triple-A Iowa and added to the 25-man roster.

“I’ll use him the way I use the rest of these guys,” Lou Piniella said of Gray, who was slowed this spring because of a groin strain. “Get him in there and let him pitch. We have a little sorting out to do with our bullpen and we’re in the process of doing that.”

The Cubs came into the season thinking Caridad would be the leading set-up pitcher. Now, Piniella will call on pitchers based on the best matchup but he did say he will rely on John Grabow and Sean Marshall.

“The right-handers, will give them all opportunities,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat


3/21 Berg waits for official go-ahead

Justin Berg hasn’t been officially told he’s made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster but he did hear that Lou Piniella said the right-hander was in. Berg says he probably won’t know until he’s on the plane to Atlanta for the season opener.

“I’m just going to keep competing, keep going out there and pitching,” Berg said. “I’m going to find a way to help the team win.”

Berg was in the big league camp last spring but this year has been different.

“I’m a little more comfortable coming in this year, having a little bit of experience,” he said. “Last year, coming up at the end of the season in September, facing the competition and knowing a lot of the guys now makes it more relaxed so I can just focus on pitching.”

Is the difference mental? Physical?

“It’s a little of everything,” Berg said.

He was called up last September and apperaed in 11 games. He gave up 10 hits and one run over 12 innings. That was it.

“It definitely helps having that experience,” the 25-year-old pitcher said. “If I stay here [with the big league team], I’m going to try to keep moving forward and keep pitching the way I have been.”

Berg was named co-winner of the first Cubs Idol competition on Saturday. His locker just happens to be next to Darwin Barney, who shared the top honors. The two talked music as the competition progressed. Berg can play guitar and drums, Barney the piano. They were competitive in the Idol showdown.

“We didn’t give each other too much information,” Berg said.

With the addition of Berg, the Cubs now have Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad committed to the ‘pen. Berg was a starter in the Minor Leagues until last season when he pitched exclusively as a reliever at Triple-A Iowa. He’s gotten used to being in the bullpen.

“Whether I go one, two, a few innings, whatever, I’ll do it,” Berg said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/19 Sorting out the bullpen

Realistically, there’s one opening remaining in the Cubs’ bullpen. The pitchers set include closer Carlos Marmol, lefty John Grabow and right-hander Esmailin Caridad. Two other spots will be taken by the pitchers who don’t make the rotation. That group includes Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

Lefty John Gaub is candidate for the ‘pen but didn’t help himself Thursday when he gave up three runs on four hits in one inning against the Dodgers.

“We’ve got, realistically, one spot in that bullpen and I think every appearance now is important for these kids,” Lou Piniella said Friday. “We have some definite ideas on what young kids have done enough to pitch here already.”

One name being given strong consideration is right-hander Justin Berg, who has given up one hit and one run, a solo homer, in five innings over five games. The others still in camp include James Russell and Rule 5 pick Michael Parisi.

— Carrie Muskat