Results tagged ‘ Justin Berg ’

8/19 What happened in the 7th

This was just too weird. The Cubs had a 2-1 lead going into the Padres seventh on Thursday. Sean Marshall had taken over for Carlos Zambrano and walked Miguel Tejada, then gave up three straight singles, including a RBI single by Ryan Ludwick, which tied the game. Chris Headley singled and one out later, Will Venable hit a two-run single to chase Marshall.

Then it got bizarre. Denorfia bounced a grounder to Aramis Ramirez at third, and he threw to catcher Koyie Hill, who chased Headley back and tagged him. Venable had scampered to third on the rundown. As Hill walked away, he appeared to have called time. But the umpires didn’t think so. No one was covering at home and Venable scored on what was ruled a fielder’s choice.

“You have to put your arms up to stop play,” Lou Piniella said. “[Hill] put his wrist up and the umpire didn’t acknowledge it. You’ve got to get your hands up and make sure the umpires know it’s ‘time out.'”

Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman told Venable he had a window.

“I noticed it,” Venable said, “but it wasn’t until [Hoffman] nonchalantly came over and confirmed it. It ended up being a closer play at the plate than I thought. It was a great heads-up call by Hoffy.”

First baseman Xavier Nady recognized what was happening and tried to cover home.

“I was trying — he’s a lot faster than I am,” Nady said of Venable. “I didn’t know what was going on. I bolted and it wasn’t quite enough.”

Hill said he made the same gesture he usually does.

“I think in that situation I need to be more emphatic about it just to make sure because you’ve got guys scattered all over the field,” Hill said. “Credit [Nady] for getting to home plate because he’s holding a guy on and he has to stay put at first.”

Hill’s plan was to call time, then go to the mound to check on pitcher Justin Berg.

“What’s frustrating is it wasn’t a lack of concentration or just cluelessness,” Hill said. “It just happened. I felt I asked for time with the same gesture I always use.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/12 Growing pains for Berg

Rookie Justin Berg threw what Alan Trammell called the pitcher’s “third best pitch” to Pat Burrell in the eighth inning Wednesday night, and Burrell hit a game-winning homer off the curve. What happened?

“It was a pitch I wanted to throw, I guess,” Berg said. “It was supposed to be down in the dirt and I left it up and hung it. If I execute the pitch and it’s in the dirt, it’s a different outcome. If I go with my No. 1 pitch there and try to make him beat me, I guess that would’ve been the smartest thing to do.”

It’s part of the learning process.

“This is definitely a tough place to learn,” Berg said. “I think with a little more practice and more opportunities to get in good counts and throw pitches, it’ll help in the long run.”

Berg said he started throwing a curve when he was sent down to Triple-A Iowa. It should help once he can develop it.

“I like it, it’s a slower pitch and it fills the third spot,” he said. “I thought it was another pitch I’ll develop.”

In time, he will.

— Carrie Muskat

7/16 Talk to Larry

Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild made two changes in Thursday’s game, not Lou PIniella. Any reason Piniella didn’t go to the mound?

“Two young pitchers,” Piniella said Friday. “I sent [Rothschild] out in case he had a particular message for [the pitcher]. We’ve got four young relievers out there and sometimes a pitching coach can give them a little pointer. We tried it last night.”

Rothschild made the switch when rookie Justin Berg entered the game in the eighth and when Andrew Cashner came in in the ninth.

— Carrie Muskat

6/25 Minor matters

Sam Fuld hit a RBI scoring single in the seventh to lift Iowa to a 5-4 win over Omaha on Thursday. Fuld had four hits, including a double. Justin Berg picked up the win in relief, throwing two scoreless innings. Thomas Diamond started and gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings while striking out six.

Nate Samson and Russ Canzler each homered to lead Tennessee to a 2-1 win over Carolina. Jake Muyco picked up the win in relief and David Cales notched his 10th save. The Smokies won their third straight of the second half.

Brett Jackson hit his sixth home run and extended his hitting streak to seven games in Daytona’s 6-1 win over Dunedin. Jackson is batting .423 with seven RBIs during his streak after collecting three hits in the win. Ryan Flaherty had two hits including his second homer. Brooks Raley gave up one run on two hits and four walks over five innings for the win.

Peoria opens the second half on Friday against Cedar Rapids at O’Brien Field.

Boise scored eight runs in the first two innings to beat Salem-Keizer, 10-7. Brandon May hit his second homer and Corey Martin picked up his third save.

Luis Liria struck out seven over four scoreless innings to help Mesa beat the Angels, 5-0.

— Carrie Muskat


5/21 More on Howry

To make room on the 25-man roster for Bob Howry, rookie Justin Berg was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. To open a spot on the 40-man, right-handed reliever David Patton was designated for assignment.

— Carrie Muskat

5/13 Idol's DeWyze coming to Wrigley

Lee DeWyze, one of three finalists on the popular show “American Idol,” is a Cubs fan and he will throw out the first pitch at Friday’s game, part of his homecoming celebration.

DeWyze, 24, survived the cut on Wednesday along with Crystal Bowersox and Casey James. The three contestants who remain in the singing competition will be filmed at home, and DeWyze has included a stop at Wrigley Field before he heads to suburban Mount Prospect, Ill., where he will perform later Friday.

The entire day, including the visit for the Cubs’ game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, will be featured on next week’s American Idol show. Tickets are still available for Friday’s game.

Fans in Mount Prospect can be spotted wearing “Vote for Lee” T-shirts — not to be confused with the Cubs’ own Derrek Lee.

Maybe DeWyze can give pointers to Cubs pitcher Justin Berg and James Russell or outfielder Tyler Colvin and shortstop Starlin Castro. They were among the 28 contestants in the “Cubs Idol” competition, held this spring. Berg and Triple-A Iowa Cubs shortstop Darwin Barney shared top honors. Berg played guitar and performed a song he wrote. DeWyze, also a songwriter and guitarist, can relate to that.

— Carrie Muskat

5/1 Caridad update & the 'pen

Rookie Esmailin Caridad was to throw one inning in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, and if all goes well, the right-hander could join Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday for a couple rehab appearances. Caridad is on the disabled list with a strained right forearm and has been rehabbing in Mesa at the Cubs’ Spring Training complex.

“I would think if everything is right, he could be joining us by next weekend in Cincinnati,” Lou Piniella said Saturday. “That’s the plan if everything goes right.”

Caridad was projected as the Cubs’ primary set-up pitcher but with his injury, the team moved Carlos Zambrano into that role. That will remain unchanged when Caridad returns.

“I think it’ll make us a little deeper from the right side,” Piniella said of the bullpen makeup when Caridad comes back. “We haven’t discussed what we’re going to do, assuming he’s there next weekend. It’s still too far away. But it’ll be one of the young pitchers he’ll be replacing.”

Which would mean one of the young right-handers — Justin Berg or Jeff Gray — could be re-assigned.

— Carrie Muskat

4/24 Roster move preview

The Cubs have to make a roster move prior to Saturday’s game to make room for Ted Lilly, who will be activated from the disabled list. With Carlos Zambrano going to the bullpen, the obvious move is sending a right-hander to Triple-A. Jeff Samardzija has an 18.90 ERA in four games, having given up seven earned runs on five hits and six walks over 3 1/3 innings. He is the most likely candidate. Whether Samardzija would start or be used only in relief at Iowa is not known. Among the other right-handers, Jeff Gray has given up three earned runs on six hits and two walks over five innings (5.40 ERA) and Justin Berg has given up four earned runs on six hits and three walks over seven innings (5.14 ERA).

— 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

3/20 Down to the wire

Justin Berg not only won the Cubs Idol competition on Saturday but also appears to have locked up a spot in the bullpen. Lou Piniella said there are four pitchers competing for one spot and that group includes John Gaub, James Russell, Marcus Mateo and Mike Parisi. When asked about Berg, Piniella said: “Berg is in. Berg has done a nice job.”

That means the ‘pen now consists of closer Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Berg, and two of the four pitchers who don’t make the rotation. That list includes Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

“I like the arms we have and I like the mix we have,” Piniella said.

Piniella said they have an idea as to which way they’re leaning but won’t announce anything yet. The staff will sit down after Monday’s game to discuss the roster.

As for the bench, that’s still to be decided. Andres Blanco has been out with an injury, which hasn’t helped his chances. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen there,” Piniella said.

They’d like to keep an outfielder who can play all three spots, especially because Xavier Nady is limited. And they like both Chad Tracy and Kevin Millar.

“There’s a lot to say about a veteran’s contribution and leadership from your bench players,” Piniella said. “There’s some nice subtle important decisions to make here over the next four, five days.”

— Carrie Muskat