Results tagged ‘ Josh Vitters ’

8/8 Cubs lineup

Josh Vitters gets the start Wednesday and Brett Jackson will get a break in the Cubs’ series finale against the Padres and lefty Clayton Richard. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF

Barney 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Vitters 3B

Mather RF

Samardzija P

– Carrie Muskat

8/7 Extra bases

* Josh Vitters got some extra infield work on Tuesday at third base with infield coach Pat Listach. Vitters made an impressive stop in the sixth inning Monday, snaring Cameron Maybin’s liner and getting to his feet in time to throw the speedster out.

“Watching him defensively taking ground balls, he’s gotten better than he was in Spring Training,” Dale Sveum said of Vitters. “Hopefully that continues. The one thing about third base that you have to get these guys to understand is that you have to use your athleticism at third base. It’s not that everything is cut and dried. You don’t do it mechanically like you do at shortstop and second base. You can go a whole week at third base and not get a routine ground ball.”

* Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm, worked out with the Cubs on Monday and Tuesday at PETCO Park. The right-hander is coming back from Tommy John surgery in March, and will continue his rehab in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex.

“I’m going to be ready next year in Spring Training,” Vizcaino said.

* The Cubs and Cubs wives will host the 10th annual Food Drive at Wrigley Field on Saturday prior to the game against the Reds. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lakeview Pantry in Chicago. Since its inception in 2003, the event has gathered more than 121,000 pounds of food.  Fans making a donation of $20 will receive a 5-by-7 autographed photo of a Cubs player, limited to two photos per person while they last. Donations will be accepted outside Gate D at the corner of Sheffield Avenue and Addison Street. A $20 donation allows Lakeview Pantry to purchase 200 pounds of food.

* Who’s got the best name in Minor League baseball? It’s Class A Boise first baseman Rock Shoulders, who won the 2012 Moniker Madness contest. Shoulders, 20, easily triumped over Rougned Odor in the final, getting 60 percent of the vote.

– Carrie Muskat

8/6 Defensive play of the game

The knock on third baseman Josh Vitters has been his defense but he impressed Dale Sveum on Monday night in his first test. The Padres’ Cameron Maybin smacked the ball sharply down the line with one out and one on in the sixth, and Vitters dove on the line to stop the ball, and recovered in time to throw the speedy outfielder out at first.

“It was a big play at the time, too,” Sveum said. “It was nice for his only ground ball to make the play.”

Said Travis Wood: “It was outstanding to make that play and then to come up and make a good throw. Vitters has got a great arm. He made that play and that was awesome.”

Wood would know. He played with Vitters this season at Triple-A Iowa.

– Carrie Muskat

8/6 Cubs lineup

Both Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters are in the Cubs’ lineup Monday when they open a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego. Travis Wood gets the start. He has lost four in a row. Wood has no record in four career games against the Padres. He faced them in May and did not get a decision, giving up six runs on seven hits over five innings.

With Jackson and Vitters making their Major League debuts Sunday, the Cubs have now utilized 13 rookies this season, including seven position players: Adrian Cardenas, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Jackson, Blake Lalli, Anthony Rizzo and Vitters. The six rookie pitchers used: Jairo Asencio, Jeff Beliveau, Lendy Castillo, Rafael Dolis, Scott Maine and Blake Parker.

Here’s Monday’s lineup:

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Vitters 3B

Mather RF

T. Wood P

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 The kids can play

Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were both operating on little sleep and lots of adrenaline Sunday in their first Major League game, and at times, it was hard to breathe.

“I’ve just been soaking it in,” said Jackson, the Cubs’ newest center fielder. “I was thrown into the game and was in game mode all day. I’m sure it will sink in more tonight. I caught myself laughing a couple times — ‘You’ve got to be kidding me right now.’ It’s a pretty indescribable feeling, inspiring. I look forward to the days and hopefully years to come.”

Unfortunately, the two couldn’t celebrate their first day in the big leagues with a win. Hanley Ramirez hit a walk-off RBI single with one out in the ninth inning to power the Dodgers to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Cubs and complete a sweep to keep pace with the Giants in the National League West.

Rookie Anthony Rizzo forced the late-inning drama by hitting a game-tying home run leading off the ninth. It was the rookie’s ninth home run and his third RBI of the game. But the highlight was the arrival of Jackson and Vitters, both No. 1 Draft picks, both top prospects, and both eager to show what they can do.

“The kids did pretty good,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

Jackson batted second and grounded out in his first at-bat in the first, then walked in the third, and singled in the fifth for his first Major League hit. He also singled in the seventh off a lefty, and scored on Alfonso Soriano’s two-run double in the seventh, doing a barrel-roll into catcher A.J. Ellis at home. His day ended when he struck out in the eighth to strand two.

Vitters made his debut in the seventh as a pinch-hitter and flied out to left. The Cubs are in full rebuild mode. They now have 11 players on the 25-man roster who were not with the team on Opening Day.

“These guys have bat speed, they’ve got hand speed,” Sveum said of Jackson, Vitters and Rizzo, who made his Cubs debut June 26. “These are the things you want to see at the big league level and how they develop.”

Were they nervous?

“It made it a little bit easier because we were so tired and out of it because we didn’t get any sleep,” Vitters said. “We were like zombies on the plane, we couldn’t really think. It was hard to be nervous. We tried to sleep so we could perform well when we got here.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/5 Minor League report

Josh Vitters hit a three-run homer to lift Iowa to a 5-1 win over Colorado Springs Saturday night and snap a seven-game losing streak. It was Vitters’ 17th home run. Chris Rusin did not get a decision but did post a quality start, giving up one run on four hits over seven innings and striking out eight. Brett Jackson reached base twice, and stole a base. He’s batting .256. Could we see Jackson and Vitters on Sunday in L.A.? Stay tuned.

Nick Struck gave up three runs on six hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 6-5 win over Jackson in the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Bour hit his 13th home run. Junior Lake had two hits and a stolen base. In the second game, Bour homered again, but it wasn’t enough as the Smokies lost, 8-7. Bour was batting .301. Michael Brenly had two hits and two RBIs.

Rebel Ridling hit his third home run in Daytona’s 12-5 loss to Dunedin. Matt Loosen took the loss, giving up four earned runs on four hits over two innings.

Joseph Zeller gave up five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings in Peoria’s 8-1 loss to Cinton. Chadd Krist hit his second home run, a solo shot.

Tayler Scott gave up one earned run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in Boise’s 6-2 win over Spokane. Daniel Vogelbach had two hits and three RBIs and Jeimer Candelario reached base twice, hitting a RBI double.

– Carrie Muskat

8/4 Minor League report

Josh Vitters and Jeff Frazier each had three hits in Iowa’s 4-1 loss to Colorado Springs on Friday. Ryan Rowland-Smith gave up one run on two hits over six innings, striking out six. Note: Rodrigo Lopez was placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to Aug. 1. Lopez was 2-5 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 appearances (15 starts).

Tennessee’s game against Jackson Friday was postponed because of rain.

Kyler Burke gave up three runs on four hits over five innings in Daytona’s 6-2 loss to Dunedin. Vladimir Frias had three hits in his second game with Daytona. He was playing with the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League. Kyle Hendricks, acquired from the Rangers in the Ryan Dempster deal, made his first appearance, and gave up two hits in one inning of relief.

Javier Baez hit his 12th home run in Peoria’s 4-2 loss to Quad Cities, and then got the news that he was being promoted to Daytona. Baez had two hits and was batting .333. Zeke DeVoss had two hits.

Rock Shoulders and Dong-Yub Kim each homered in Boise’s 6-5 loss to Spokane. It was Shoulder’s sixth home run.

Dillon Maples, coming back from an elbow injury, gave up one hit over 1 2/3 innings in Mesa’s 7-5 win over the Diamondbacks. Jacob Rogers had three hits, Albert Almora had two hits.

– Carrie Muskat

7/24 Minor League report

Brooks Raley gave up two earned runs over five innings and struck out eight in Iowa’s 3-1 loss to Albuquerque on MOnday. Brian Esposito had two hits, and drove in the only run.

Tennessee had Monday off, and opens a nine-game road trip Tuesday at Jacksonville.

Daytona’s game against Brevard County Monday was postponed because of weather. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Peoria totaled two hits in a 2-0 loss to South Bend. Chadd Krist had one, a double, and he has hit safely in eight of his nine games with the Chiefs.

Tayler Scott threw six shutout innings in Boise’s 3-0 win over Eugene. The South African pitcher now is 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Gioskar Amaya had three hits and Stephen Bruno drove in two runs.

Albert Almora hit his first home run, a two-run shot in the fifth, in his pro debut in Mesa’s 7-3 win over the Brewers. Trevor Gretzky was 2-for-2 with a stolen base. Shawon Dunston Jr. had two hits and scored two runs.

– Carrie Muskat

7/16 Minor League report – Sunday’s games

Chris Rusin gave up one run on two hits over five innings in Iowa’s 9-1 win over Omaha on Sunday. Josh Vitters extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double. Adrian Cardenas had four hits and three RBIs, and Blake Lalli had three hits.

Michael Brenly and Logan Watkins each had two hits in Tennessee’s 6-1 loss to Jackson. Dallas Beeler posted his fifth quality start, but did not get a decision. He gave up one run on six hits over six innings.

Robert Whitenack gave up two runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings in Daytona’s 4-3 win over Charlotte. Rubi Silva hit a walkoff sac fly in the ninth.

Zach Cates gave up two runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings in Peoria’s 4-2 loss to Bowling Green. Javier Baez had three hits, and was batting .392 in July.

Stephen Bruno had two hits and scored a run in Boise’s 5-4 loss to Vancouver.

– Carrie Muskat

7/16 Cubs Inbox

Send your questions to

Q: With the Cubs showing they can win games and doing it well, what kind of record would the team have to put together over the second half to get a Wild Card? Not that I think by any means this will happen but I am curious. — Jeremy B., Denver, CO

A: You can dream. The Cubs are 36-52 as of today, and would have to go 45-29 just to get to .500 (81-81). They are on a good pace, with a 12-4 record since June 25. If the season ended today, the Braves and Pirates would be Wild Card winners. The Cubs are currently 13 games back.

Q: What are the team batting/OBP numbers/slugging percentage before and after Rudy Jaramillo was dismissed? — James B., Fredonia, NY

A: From April 5-June 10, the numbers were .247 batting average/.304 on-base percentage/.385 slugging percentage. From June 12-July 15, the numbers are almost the same, .249/.293/.388. What’s different are the pitching numbers. In the first 60 games, the Cubs were 20-40, the pitchers had a 4.39 ERA and converted seven of 18 save opportunities. In the last 28 games, the pitchers have a 3.93 ERA and have converted 10 of 11 save opportunities.

Q: Is Tony Campana in the Cubs’ plans after the All-Star break or is he on the trading block? In the 15 days prior to the break, he only got into 10 games, during which he came to the plate in five of them. — Pete V., Xenia, OH

A: In 21 games in June, Campana hit .237 (14-for-59) and had an on-base percentage of .250. That’s why he’s not getting more starts. He can’t steal bases if he can’t get on base. He’s the perfect 25th man, used as a pinch-runner, defensive sub.

Q: Can Bryan LaHair win Rookie of the Year? — Jeffrey B., Zion, IL

A: No. A player is considered a rookie unless during the previous season he has, No. 1, exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the big leagues, or, No. 2, accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League team during the 25-man limit in effect from Opening Day until Aug. 31. LaHair started this year with 195 Major League at-bats and 100 days service time.

Q: With Ian Stewart looking like he could miss the rest of the season, is there any chance that Theo and Co. will call up surging slugging, Josh Vitters? He hasn’t played 162 games in Triple-A but he has a lot of Minor League experience and with Javier Baez hot on his trail, this may be his only opportunity. — Dean S., Northbrook, IL

A: Baez is a shortstop, so he’s not a threat to Vitters. The Cubs are watching Vitters and Brett Jackson just as closely as they monitored Anthony Rizzo. On Saturday, GM Jed Hoyer said Vitters and Jackson need to show they deserve a promotion.

“Those guys need to force the issue, I would say,” Hoyer said. “Like we talked about with Rizzo, when they sort of prove to us that they’re ready and make it clear, then I think that’s something we’ll see.”

Through Sunday, Vitters was batting .301 with 13 home runs, 28 doubles and 51 RBIs, and had a great June, when he hit .324. His defense is a little suspect. Jackson was batting .256 through Sunday, and coming off a .282 June, but he struck out 50 times in 29 games that month. As for Stewart, he is done for the season.

Q: The extraordinary number of strikeouts by Brett Jackson makes me wonder the obvious. Have they tested his vision? — Eric H., Brandon, FL

A. Yes.

Q: When is Jorge Soler expected to join the Major League team? — Christopher T., Chicago

A: Soler is 20 years old, and has yet to play in a game in the Mesa Rookie League. Sorry, my crystal ball is a little fuzzy and won’t give me an exact date.

Q: Sitting here watching the final three innings of Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game. This game is seldom mentioned as one of the all-time greatest games ever pitched. A 20-year-old ties a MLB record and the only hit was an infield single. A 1-0 game to boot. Any thoughts? — Jim R., Indio, CA

A: Wood’s 20 K game is my favorite of all time.

Q: Other than Wayne Terwilliger and Eddie Miksis, who else wore No. 21? — Sheldon D., Key West, FL

A: Jason Marquis, Tyler Colvin, Sammy Sosa, and now, Joe Mather.

Q: Please evaluate the Colvin and Marshall trades. The new front office shows they are not what they’re cracked up to be. They both stink. I’m holding my breath as we get down to the trading deadline. — Dwight A., Findlay, OH

A: The Cubs knew Stewart had a questionable wrist when they acquired him for Tyler Colvin (yes, Stewart did take a physical), but the team was ready to move on regarding Colvin. You have to admit his .150 average last season wasn’t very impressive. The Rockies did well in that deal as Stewart is done for the year. But I’d say the Reds and Cubs both got what they wanted in their deal which sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Roni Torreyes. James Russell has taken over the left-handed set-up role for the Cubs, Wood has won his last four starts, and Torreyes got off to a rough start but batted .330 in June and was hitting .304 in 12 games this month.

A perfect trade benefits both teams. How would you grade the deal for Rizzo? How about the pickup of Luis Valbuena? What about moving Marlon Byrd?

– Carrie Muskat 


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