Results tagged ‘ Junior Lake ’

7/25 What’s next?

How do the Cubs fill the opening in the lineup with the pending departure of Alfonso Soriano?

“You say you’re prepared for it, but I don’t think you’re really prepared to lose somebody of that nature,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “All the things he brings to a team, the fourth hole, the character, the clubhouse, the leadership and everything. You just don’t replace that.”

Soriano was pulled from Thursday’s Cubs lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the request of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, and appears to be headed to the Yankees.

Physically, Sveum said he’ll mix and match in the outfield, using rookie Junior Lake as well as Cole Gillespie in left field. Brian Bogusevic, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, could return in early August.

The Cubs may decide to add a pitcher when they make a roster move rather than an outfielder because the bullpen has been overworked, and they have a doubleheader coming up on Tuesday.

Soriano, 37, was one of the few veterans in the clubhouse.

“You have [Kevin] Gregg, DeJesus, and other than that, it’s a lot of young guys,” Sveum said. “With the addition of Lake, now we’re getting pretty young.”

The Cubs were busy at the Trade Deadline last year, and this season, have made six deals before July 31. The only players who were on the Chicago roster when Jim Hendry was the general manager are Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo and Jeff Samardzija.

The Cubs may find another left fielder, but can’t replace Soriano’s professionalism.

“You don’t replace that,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, down the road you do. You don’t have a Band-aid right now to replace that kind of guy in your clubhouse.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/24 Cubs 7, D-Backs 6 (12 innings)

Nate Schierholtz has been the Cubs most consistent hitter with runners on base for most of the season, and he came through at the right time Wednesday night. Schierholtz drove in a career-high five runs, hitting a three-run homer in the fifth and a game-winning RBI double in the 12th, to lift the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the National League West.

Schierholtz was shut down for the Cubs’ final two games before the All-Star break because of nagging injuries, and admitted Wednesday that the rest helped.

“I’m feeling a lot better now,” Schierholtz said. “The All-Star break definitely helped, and so did the cortisone shot. I feel like I’m doing well now, and I’m trying to help the team.”

With two outs and the game tied at 6 against David Hernandez in the 12th, Anthony Rizzo walked to set up Schierholtz’s double into the left-field corner. Schierholtz’s previous high was three RBIs, done four times, most recently April 23, 2012, against the Mets.

Rizzo and rookie Junior Lake each hit RBI doubles for the Cubs, now 7-3 in extra-inning games this season. Chicago had only reliever Michael Bowden in the bullpen by the 12th.

“We were going to have to have the re-entry rule,” Dale Sveum jokingly said.

Jeff Samardzija scattered six hits over 5 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 118 pitches. Arizona had two on and two outs in the sixth when he was pulled, and Paul Goldschmidt greeted Blake Parker with a three-run homer, his 22nd, to cut the Cubs’ lead to 6-5.

– Carrie Muskat

7/24 DeJesus returns

David DeJesus, sidelined since June 24 with a sprained right shoulder, was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, and Dave Sappelt optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The next question, though, is how long will DeJesus stay with the Cubs?

DeJesus was injured when he crashed into the outfield wall at Citi Field. He played four rehab games for the Cubs’ Rookie League team.

“When I’m at the plate, I’m not really worrying about it,” DeJesus said of his shoulder.

DeJesus started in center field and led off on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. Rookie Junior Lake, who had been playing center and had 12 hits in his first five games, was shifted to left field on Wednesday.

“I thought about [the order] for 10, 15 minutes, and decided just get Lake at the top of the lineup, and it doesn’t matter first or second,” Dale Sveum said. “DeJesus’ game is built for that spot. I’ve got ‘Laker’ in the second spot.”

DeJesus’ name has been mentioned in trade rumors, and Theo Epstein did take time to talk to the outfielder, but not about a possible move. Instead, Epstein wanted to thank DeJesus, and tell him how much they appreciate his mentorship of the younger players. DeJesus showed that during his rehab stint with the Rookie League players, many of whom are teenagers.

“He’s a really good baseball player, lived up to his contract, he’s a left-handed bat who has the exact approach we’re trying to teach in this organization,” Epstein said. “There’s a lot of value to having him here. That said, will we make him untouchable? No — no one’s untouchable. We’ll sit and weigh out the options and what’s best for the Cubs.”

DeJesus was prepared.

“My name’s been in the rumors before,” he said. “It’s nothing new. You’ve just got to be professional and play the game and see what happens from there.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/23 DBacks 10, Cubs 4

For just the third time in 20 starts this season, Travis Wood failed to record a quality start. Martin Prado hit a game-tying home run and A.J. Pollock drove in four runs to help Patrick Corbin win his 12th game and power the Diamondbacks to a 10-4 victory Tuesday night over Wood and the Cubs.

Wood was vying for his 18th quality start, and had a tough opponent in the Diamondbacks and Corbin, who was the Cubs’ lefty’s teammate on the National League All-Star team. This was the second time this season that two All-Stars squared off in their first starts after the break. Corbin served up one run on four hits over six innings, while Wood was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

Wood, who began the day tied with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright for the National League lead in quality starts, failed to notch No. 18 in his last start before the All-Star break on July 14 against the Cardinals. His only other non-quality start was May 25 against the Reds.

Nate Schierholtz smacked a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth for the Cubs, but the D-Backs collected 16 hits in the game. Junior Lake posted another multi-hit game, finishing with three hits, including a solo homer in the ninth. Lake is now 12-for-22 in five games.

Arizona, which won for the second time in its last six games, is trying to keep pace with the Dodgers in the NL West.

– Carrie Muskat

7/23 Cubs lineup

Junior Lake is back at the top of the Cubs’ lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks. This will be Travis Wood’s first start after the All-Star break. Here’s the lineup:

Lake CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Ransom 3B
Navarro C
Gillespie RF
Barney 2B
T. Wood P

7/22 Cubs 4, D-Backs 2

Junior Lake had his first four-hit night, and hit his first Major League home run, to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Lake belted a two-run shot in the fifth, and added a RBI single in the ninth to back Chris Rusin, who made a strong bid for the vacancy in the Cubs rotation. Rusin was subbing for Matt Garza, traded to the Rangers earlier in the day. The lefty would like to stay. He gave up two hits, including a bloop double that landed between Lake and shortstop Starlin Castro, and walked two over five-plus innings. Dioner Navarro, who had been matched up with Garza over his last six outings, still got the start Monday, and the catcher delivered a solo home run with one out in the second.

Lake now has nine hits in his first four career games, the most by a Cubs player since Andy Pafko did so in 1943. Lake also is the first Cubs player with a four-hit effort within his first four Major League games since Steve Lake (no relation) did so April 26, 1983, against the Padres.

“He might have found his niche right now,” Dale Sveum said of Lake, who has been playing center.

When promoted, it was thought that Lake would stay until David DeJesus returned from a shoulder injury. DeJesus is close to returning. Will the rookie stay?

“Right now, I’d be pretty stupid to say, ‘No,’” Sveum said. “Hopefully, we don’t have to send him down.”

Said Lake: “I’m going to keep working hard to make it hard on the front office. If you keep working hard, something happens.”

Rusin will stay in the rotation, filling the spot vacated by Matt Garza’s departure.

– Carrie Muskat

7/20 Cubs lineup

Junior Lake gets his second start in center field Saturday night when the Cubs face the Rockies. Here’s the lineup:

Valbuena 3B
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Schierholtz RF
Lake CF
Barney 2B
Castillo C
Villanueva P

7/20 Extra bases

* Jeff Samardzija made two trips to Wrigley Field over the All-Star break to work with pitching coach Chris Bosio, and the sessions paid off on Friday. He gave up one run over 7 1/3 innings in leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Rockies.

“If you were to ask me all year how I felt about my mechanics, I’d say they were off all year, to tell you the truth, until today,” Samardzija told reporters in Denver, including MLB.com’s Ian McCue. “So I’m really excited to stop making adjustments and really just work on pitch selection and pitch location.

“I just attacked them and went at it and once I felt like I got them sped up, my splitter was good enough to get me through the rest of the inning,” Samardzija said.

The series-opening victory was the Cubs’ seventh in the last 10. The club is also improved 14 games over .500 when their starter earns a quality start.

Defense saved Chicago from throwing away the lead in the fourth. Michael Cuddyer punched a single to right after Troy Tulowitzki singled to a similar spot, and the Rockies shortstop was at third when a splitter skipped through the legs of catcher Wellington Castillo. But Castillo rifled a throw to Samardzija at home plate with enough velocity to tag out Tulowitzki and end the inning, the Cubs starter tumbling to the ground before walking to the dugout.

”That’s one of those things you don’t write up,” Samardzija said. “It’s just a freak play and it worked out in our favor.”

* Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with 17 home runs and 10 stolen bases, and he’s batting .319 (22-for-69) with five doubles, 10 homers, 20 RBI and a 1.169 OPS in his last 17 games since June 28. He has homered in five of his last 10 games, including multi-homer efforts July 6 vs. Pittsburgh and July 9 vs. the Angels.

Soriano is the fifth Cub to have entered the All-Star break with the team lead (or tied for the team lead) in both home runs and stolen bases, joining Augie Galan in 1937, George Altman in 1961, Ryne Sandberg in 1990, and Sammy Sosa in 1993, 1994 and 1998.

In addition to Soriano’s home run totals, he is 13 hits shy of becoming the 273rd player in Major League history to reach 2,000 hits. Only 15 active players have reached the milestone to date (Cleveland’s Jason Giambi has 1,991 hits).

* Junior Lake made his Major League debut Friday as the Cubs’ starting center fielder, going 3-for-4 with a double in his first plate appearance. Lake is the 44th player to appear for the Cubs this season, already just nine players shy of the franchise-record 53 players who appeared last year.

”Since I’ve been here that’s the first kid that’s come up and really looked like a Major Leaguer,” Dale Sveum said. “Was aggressive on the bases, did a great job. Swung the bat really nice.”

Before Friday’s game, Sveum thought about placing the speedy Lake in the leadoff spot. But that plan changed quickly when Lake told his skipper he planned to swing at the first pitch — and true to his words, he did — roping a double down the third-base line.

”I was just positive the whole time,” Lake said through a translator. “I think once you have that mindset going in the game, you’re ready for it and you have that kind of attitude, I think a lot of the things go your way.”

7/19 Cubs lineup

Junior Lake is in the Cubs starting lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Rockies. Here’s the lineup:

Barney 2B
Ransom 3B
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Castro SS
Lake CF
Sappelt RF
Castillo C
Samardzija P

7/19 Lake joins Cubs

Junior Lake was promoted from Triple-A Iowa to the Cubs on Friday, and starting in center field for their game against the Rockies. Outfielder Brian Bogusevic was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 15, with a left hamstring strain. Lake will wear No. 21.

Lake, 23, is batting .295 (46-for-156) with 10 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 40 games with Iowa this season, his first appearances in Triple-A. He compiled a .341 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage, and was batting .295 against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Lake’s season debut was delayed until June due to a rib fracture suffered during spring training.

Bogusevic, 29, was hitting .261 (12-for-46) with three doubles and three RBI in 13 games with the Cubs this season.

The Cubs also announced Henry Rodriguez cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Iowa.

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