Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’
Junior Lake hit a key two-run homer on Saturday in the Cubs’ 3-0 win over the Cardinals. It was one of three hits for the outfielder, who was batting 6-for-13 against St. Louis. But Lake didn’t get the start Sunday against Lance Lynn. The outfielder is 1-for-3 against Lynn, which isn’t much of a sample size. It’s part of manager Rick Renteria’s plan to use Lake in situations where he’ll hopefully have success.
“We continue to chip away and make sure we give them the best opportunity to feel more and more confident,” Renteria said. “I think as the confidence grows with the successes they have, it starts to eliminate over time sitting them against certain guys.”
It may surprise some Cubs fans that Lake was sitting but Renteria makes sure to communicate with the players.
“We talk to all our guys,” he said. “He’s really confident right now, really positive and knows how we’re working so it’s not a surprise. It helps talking about it and making sure they are aware of how we’re moving forward.”
– Carrie Muskat
Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo helped Jake Arrieta celebrate his Opening Day on Saturday. Lake hit a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth and Rizzo added a solo shot in the eighth to lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals and their first series win of the season. Chicago now has won three games in a row for the first time since last July 26-28.
“That’s three in a row and two in this series against two good starters,” Arrieta said of beating the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright on Friday and Michael Wacha on Saturday. “But we have good guys, too. We have some guys who can compete at that level and put up some good performances.”
It’s the Cubs’ first series win since they took two of three against the Reds last Sept. 9-11.
“It feels good — it just feels good to win a ballgame,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
Reliever Brian Schlitter picked up his first Major League win, and received the traditional beer shower as a reward. He took over for Arrieta, who was making his first start of the year after being slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder. On Saturday, the right-hander struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings, and was pulled after throwing 82 pitches.
* Rizzo now has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.
* Lake is 6-for-13 against the Cardinals this season.
* Starlin Castro is batting .429 in seven games since moving to the No. 4 spot.
– Carrie Muskat
Rick Renteria abandoned his left-right platoon and started right-handed hitters Mike Olt and Junior Lake against Pirates righty Gerrit Cole on Thursday. Part of the reason is the splits against Cole are almost identical. Left-handed hitters have hit .252 against Cole, while right-handers have hit .250.
“These are two young players who we’re going to try to get them as much playing time as we can,” Renteria said of Olt and Lake. “We’re trying to find spots that can give them an opportunity to gain some confidence.
“Everybody on the squad, everybody, from [Darwin] Barney to [Ryan Sweeney] to [Nate] Schierholtz, every one of those guys has been working real hard and they all want to be in the lineup,” Renteria said. “We’re just trying to balance it all out and give us the best chance on a daily basis.”
Sweeney and Schierholtz have started against right-handed pitchers this year, but they are batting .174 and .118 respectively. Lake was hitting .273 while Olt has two home runs and was batting .158.
The Cubs have scored 21 runs in their last three games after scoring eight runs in the first five games. What gives?
“Their approaches are solid and they’re getting good pitches to hit,” Renteria said. “They’re feeling a little confident now, which is good.”
– Carrie Muskat
Apparently, Junior Lake simply grabbed the wrong gray jersey from his locker and didn’t notice he was the only one wearing it. Reliever Justin Grimm noticed and yelled at Lake from the bullpen. Lake then went and changed.
“[Grimm] said, ‘Hey, you got the wrong jersey,’ and I looked,” Lake said. “I thought he was joking. When I looked, I saw everybody [wearing the other jersey], I said, ‘[Darn].’ I said, ‘What the [heck] is going on?”
The clubhouse staff normally hang that day’s game jersey in an obvious spot in the locker.
“I see two gray, and I took one,” Lake said. “Everybody was in gray, and I took the wrong gray.”
– Carrie Muskat
Junior Lake, who hit three home runs Sunday, launched his fourth in his last six at-bats this spring with two outs in the fifth but it wasn’t enough as the Cubs lost, 8-4, to the Angels on Tuesday at Cubs Park. The game was played in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 15,276.
Tsuyoshi Wada, a non-roster invitee who was released on Sunday, then re-signed to a Minor League contract the next day, started for the Cubs. The lefty walked Kole Calhoun to start the game and he reached third on Mike Trout’s single before scoring on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly. Wada had his longest outing of the spring, giving up two runs on four hits over four innings.
Mike Olt, who is trying to make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, made a nice bare-handed grab of Mike Trout’s grounder and threw him out to open the third, and executed a backhanded grab in the fifth. Olt was slowed this spring by soreness in his right shoulder.
One of the Cubs’ top prospects, Albert Almora, had a scare in the fourth when he caught Collin Cowgill’s fly ball, then slid hard into the wall. Almora lay on the track for a few minutes, but was able to get up and jog off the field.
* Up next: Jeff Samardzija makes his final Cactus League start Wednesday when the Cubs face the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale. The D-Backs may be a little jetlagged. They returned home early Monday from their two-game series against the Dodgers in Australia. Samardzija won’t go too deep in the game as he prepares for Monday’s season opener against the Pirates, and Chris Rusin, a candidate for the fifth spot, is slated to follow. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
Junior Lake and Luis Valbuena hit back to back home runs in the sixth and ninth innings, while Lake added a two-run blast in the seventh Sunday to power the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Athletics’ split-squad team.
The Cubs trailed 2-0 in the sixth against Jesse Chavez when Darwin Barney singled and scored on Chris Coghlan’s double. Emilio Bonifacio blooped a single to left and Lake followed with his first home run. Valbuena then hit his fifth this spring to go ahead, 5-2.
Barney reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie to open the seventh, and two outs later, Lake smacked his second home run.
The Athletics took advantage of two errors by third baseman Mike Olt in the seventh to add three more runs. Olt led off the eighth with his fifth home run.
After Lake smashed his third of the game with two outs in the ninth, Valbuena followed with his second. Chicago now has hit 32 home runs, which leads the Major Leagues this spring.
* Jason Hammel, making his third Cactus League start, was roughed up in the first. Jed Lowrie tripled with two outs in the Oakland first and scored one batter later on Josh Reddick’s single to center. Alberto Callaspo followed with a RBI single to make it 2-0.
“I’m not too happy with it,” Hammel said of the first inning. “Sometimes you’re not going to have your best stuff and you have to find a way. We did that today. It definitely wasn’t pretty.”
Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio told Hammel he was trying to do too much, a little tentative and needed to keep the ball down.
“Strike one has to be the most important thing for me and I’m learning that as guys know I’m a sinkerballer, they’re seeing it down and leaving it down,” he said. “I’m making adjustments.”
* Carlos Villanueva, who could fill the fifth starter spot at the beginning of the season, will make his second Cactus League start Monday night when the Cubs play host to the Padres at Cubs Park. It will be the first night game at the Cubs’ new facility, which is averaging 14,020 fans. The game will be broadcast on WGN Radio.
– Carrie Muskat
Justin Ruggiano drove in three runs, including two on his second spring homer, Junior Lake smacked a tie-breaking RBI and a sacrifice fly, Brett Jackson had a two-run pinch-hit single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI triple for the Cubs who rallied to beat the Brewers, 10-8, on Sunday. The game drew a Cactus League-record crowd of 14,770. The attendance topped the previous league mark of 14,680 set March 1 at new Cubs Park.
* Right fielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave the game after chasing Jeff Bianchi’s double because of soreness in his right knee. Sweeney was listed as day to day.
* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings in his second Cactus League start.
“I’m much happier with this [start],” Hendricks said. “I’m just disappointed that we go out and score two runs and then I go out and give them both back up. That will all work itself out as I get out there more and am more consistent with my mechanics.”
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was greeted by a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd during his two at-bats. Hendricks struck Braun out to end the first, but the Brewers outfielder doubled in the third.
“He got me on the second at-bat, but that wasn’t a bad pitch,” Hendricks said. “His barrel stays through the zone very well. I could’ve thrown a different pitch to him — but it was a good pitch, and he’s a really good hitter. He’s going to get his hits.”
Did Hendricks hear the crowd?
“You could hear those boos,” Hendricks said. “All the Brewers fans were trying to cheer over them.”
* Jeff Samardzija will make his third spring start on Monday when the Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face the Giants. Samardzija will likely pitch at least four innings. In his last outing against the Rockies, he gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. So far, he has not walked a batter, which is good. The right-hander is working on being more efficient with his pitches. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ Nate Schierholtz was sent home as a precautionary measure after a collision in the outfield with Junior Lake during a drill on Friday. Manager Rick Renteria said Schierholtz checked out fine and should be back on Saturday.
The Cubs were doing pop fly drills when the accident happened in shallow right field.
“They were both calling for [the ball], and it sounds like Junior might have gotten him with the back side,” Renteria said. “You’re talking about two strong men.”
Lake converted to outfield late last season, having spent most of his career at third base.
– Carrie Muskat
* Besides looking for bullpen help and another starting pitcher, the Cubs are searching for players who will be good role models for the current youngsters on the roster.
“I think people forget how young guys like [Anthony] Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro are,” GM Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Winter Meetings. “They need some positive examples.”
The Cubs are hoping new first base coach Eric Hinske can fill that role as well.
“He did a great job as a bench player and being a team leader,” Hoyer said of Hinske, who played last season for the Diamondbacks. “It was always about having different influences on the coaching staff for our players. You want to have different avenues. [Players] might gravitate toward the guy who has been teaching for a long time, or they might gravitate toward the guy who just came off the field.”
* Luis Valbuena, who led the Cubs with 94 starts at third base last season, has been playing strictly second base in the Venezuelan Winter League. That’s by design.
“We want him to be versatile and he is versatile,” Hoyer said. “[Darwin] Barney can play shortstop, Valbuena can play some shortstop, Donnie Murphy can play some shortstop. We have a really versatile infield and that’s a great thing. We may not have to carry a standard utility guy and can mix and match in different ways.”
Speaking of Barney, Hoyer said he expects the second baseman to have a much better season than he did in 2013.
“It’s a big year for him, no matter what,” Hoyer said of Barney, who batted .208 this season. “He had a down year offensively and he’d be the first person to say that. I don’t think it has anything to do with competition among young players. He wants to bounce back and get back to where he was.
“With him, mechanically and approach-wise, he got caught with some things last year,” Hoyer said. “A lot of things with him isn’t the hard work or the swing, it’s the approach.”
The team does have a promising second baseman in Arismendy Alcantara, ranked No. 8 among MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs prospects, but he will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, Hoyer said.
* Andy MacPhail, who was the Cubs’ president and CEO from 1994-2006, including a two-year stint as the general manager (2000-01), is keeping an eye on how the current Chicago front office is trying to rebuild the organization.
“They have to do it the way they’re comfortable with and the way they think most guarantees their success, and I know that’s what that group is doing,” MacPhail said Monday at the Winter Meetings.
“I have a lot of confidence in that group that they’re going to do it the way they think will most assuredly get them the end goal because that’s the prize, winning the whole thing,” MacPhail said. “We got close [in 2003]. You ultimately aren’t successful until you at least get to the World Series.”
* Outfielder Ryan Sweeney hoped to begin work this week with Hall of Famer Rod Carew. The two worked together last season, and Sweeney said he benefitted from the sessions. Sweeney batted .266 in 70 games with the Cubs, and signed a two-year contract extension on Oct. 8.
* New manager Rick Renteria will get together with his coaches in Mesa, Ariz., this weekend to get a tour of the new facility and start preparations for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13.
* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, recently completed his studies at Dartmouth and graduated with a major in economics. Hendricks was a combined 13-4 with 2.00 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
* Junior Lake is done playing in the Dominican Republic winter league, and those who saw him raved about his outfield play.
– Carrie Muskat