Results tagged ‘ Kerry Wood ’
Kerry Wood has not pitched since last Sunday. Dale Sveum said Saturday there are no issues and the right-hander will get a couple more outings before the team breaks camp. Wood, the Cubs primary set-up pitcher, did have some issues with his back this spring.
“The back always flares up once in a while,” Sveum said of Wood. “That’s not a concern now. He’s fine.”
– Carrie Muskat
Paul Maholm makes his first Cactus League start on Monday when the Cubs face the Reds at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs are using a DH since it is Maholm’s first start. Maholm was slowed this spring by the flu but Dale Sveum says the lefty isn’t that far behind the other starters.
“He hasn’t missed any time, he just hasn’t been out there for the first eight games to face another team,” Sveum said Monday.
The plan is for Maholm to go two innings or 30-35 pitches.
“Hopefully, two innings before the 35 pitches,” Sveum said.
Last season, Maholm was 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts with the Pirates. He made his final start Aug. 17 and then was shut down for the rest of the season because of a strained left shoulder. Sveum said they’ll watch Maholm’s innings.
“I think he’s a guy you have to stay on top of and keep those innings at a certain pace,” Sveum said. “He knows and understands how to get quick outs with the sinker so he can go deeper in the game.”
Other pitchers slated to go Monday include Lendy Castillo, Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.
– Carrie Muskat
Dale Sveum edged Kerry Wood to advance in the first round of the Cubs bunting tournament on Monday although the manager got a little help from the turf as he advanced when Wood’s last bunt swerved into the 30-point box rather than the 40 points that he needed.
“That was about as equal as you can get,” Sveum said. “I was lucky the grass was growing the other way.”
Sveum vs. Wood was the last match of the day Monday, and the manager called on pitching coach and former teammate Chris Bosio to be the “pitcher” rather than coach Pat Listach, who had thrown to the players in the six previous matches. Wood needed to get three bunts into the 40-point box to beat the skipper and just came up short.
“I got lucky by the way the grass was growing to the east,” Sveum said. “The ball kind of fell off the white line. I thought I was done and I was going to shake his hand, and the ball just trickled off the white line at the end.”
Others to advance on Monday include pitchers Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster. Position players to advance include Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto, David DeJesus and Jeff Baker.
“It’s a fun thing but also a lot of people want to get better and care about it,” Sveum said. “This tournament shows you guys who like to compete as well. Coming into a camp, you get a feeling of guys who are bearing down and competing and some guys who aren’t competing as well. You get to know somebody a little bit through this tournament.”
– Carrie Muskat
Starlin Castro had a little welt on his right forearm after he was hit by a Kerry Wood fastball during live BP on Monday. Castro said he was OK, and the ball didn’t hit him too hard. After he was hit, Castro came out of the cage to be examined but he did go back in against Wood later in the round. When Wood was finished, he went over to Castro to check on the shortstop.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry,’” Castro said. “It was a fastball in, and it hit me.”
The pain must not have lasted long as Castro lined a ball off the right field fence off Carlos Marmol in his next live BP session. Castro also participated in two batting practice sessions off coaches.
“I’m OK,” Castro said. “He didn’t hit me too hard.”
The shortstop admitted it did hurt a little but that he’s not afraid in the cage.
“I’m never scared about that,” Castro said. “I’m never scared. I’m scared if it hits me in the head — that’s not good. … It happens all the time, practice, games, everywhere.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t expect Castro to miss any activities on Tuesday.
“He’s fine,” Sveum said. “I wasn’t there to witness it but it sounded a little more scary but he’s fine. He stepped right in and did all his drills after that. It was almost like he didn’t get hit.”
– Carrie Muskat
The first round is expected to wrap up Monday at Fitch Park in the Cubs’ first bunt tournament. On Sunday, position players Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart and Joe Mather advanced, while pitchers Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells and Andy Sonnanstine also won their matches. There are 64 entries, and the bracket is similar to the NCAA basketball tournament set-up. Players get points for each bunt in three rounds of eight bunts each.
Dale Sveum pitched to the competitors on Sunday. Who will throw to him on Monday when he faces Kerry Wood?
“Probably [Chris] Bosio,” he said of the Cubs pitching coach. “He throws a nice soft ball. I’m going to get the best BP pitcher. I wish I could throw to myself.”
Among Monday’s matchups are:
Blake DeWitt vs. Geovany Soto
Jeff Baker vs. Alfredo Amezaga
Marlon Byrd vs. Reed Johnson
David DeJesus vs. Alfonso Soriano
Matt Garza vs. Carlos Marmol
Paul Maholm vs. Rodrigo Lopez
Ryan Dempster vs. Trever Miller
Kerry Wood vs. Dale Sveum
– Carrie Muskat
The bracket is up and there’s been plenty of trash talking. It’s time for the Cubs’ first annual match play bunting tournament to begin.
First round action with the pitchers will get underway Thursday at Fitch Park on a half field, marked with a grid that gives points from 10 to 40, depending on the bunt’s location. There are 64 entries, including Cubs manager Dale Sveum and strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss.
“We had to get it to 64 — we had 63 guys in camp, so I said, ‘Just throw myself in,’” Sveum said Wednesday. “Losing [Chris] Carpenter yesterday to the Red Sox, we put ‘Bussy’ in his spot.”
Carpenter was dealt to the Red Sox as part of the compensation package for Cubs president Theo Epstein, so the right-hander loses his chance at the prize. Sveum will face pitcher Kerry Wood, who says he took four or five swings last year.
“It’s a layup,” Wood said. “I should get right through that one, no problem.”
What Wood may not know is Sveum and Buss have been practicing on the half field.
Sveum started the tourney when he managed in the Minor Leagues with the Pirates.
“I always remembered it and always wanted to do something like that if I took over as manager,” Sveum said. “I thought it would be fun for the team and break things up a little bit and have a little fun with it. It’ll be fun as we go along, especially when we get to the sweet 16.”
Sveum had nothing to do with the seedings.
“I’m a 16 [seed],” he said of the bracket, “and I’m not a 16 seed.”
Wood picked Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells as early favorites since they’ve had more at-bats as starters. There will be a bracket for pitchers and another for position players. The top pitcher and position player will then square off in the final.
“It’s a good way to keep it lively,” Wood said. “Bunting gets very monotonous and covering first and all that stuff, so it’s nice to throw us a little bone and make it a competition and get the work done at the same time.”
Speedy outfielder Tony Campana has been boasting about his bunting skills, and will face catcher Steve Clevenger in the first round. Both infielder Jeff Baker and outfielder Reed Johnson have tired of the talk. They predict Campana will be eliminated in the first round because it’s not a bunt-and-run event, just straight bunting.
“You can’t run,” Johnson said.
“I know,” Campana said. “I think I’ll be OK. Clevenger, I’m not worried about him that much. I’m not worried until the third round. I think that’s when the challenges start coming. If somebody wants to beat me, that’s good. That means I have to worry and they’re going to try really hard. <p> “I’m kind of putting a bullseye on my back by talking so much trash,” Campana said. “If everybody’s talking about me, they know I’m dangerous.”
Pitcher Chris Rusin was a little nervous. His first-round opponent is Buss. He can’t lose to the strength coach.
“The pressure’s on me,” Rusin said.
– Carrie Muskat
In a perfect world, Dale Sveum said he’ll have two left-handers in his bullpen but he doesn’t consider either to be the prime set-up pitcher. That’s Kerry Wood’s job.
With Sean Marshall gone via trade to the Reds, the Cubs don’t have a designated lefty set-up pitcher. Sveum didn’t sound as if he minded as long as he can call on Wood.
“There’s got to be a lot of confidence from me coming from that spot to take Kerry Wood out of the game because there’s a lefty coming up,” Sveum said Tuesday. “Those last three outs are the biggest of the game and the three outs leading up to that are even bigger. Some guys are just built differently than other people as far as those outs.”
Among the lefties in the mix are James Russell, Jeff Beliveau, Scott Maine, Trever Miller, and John Gaub. Although Russell would like to take over Marshall’s role, Sveum described him as a “matchup guy” for now.
“He’s got the ability and endurance to go two innings,” Sveum said of Russell. “It all depends on what’s going on, the score of the game, what [the opposing team has] on the bench. He’s a guy who can go two innings, no doubt about it.”
Miller is a non-roster invitee who has pitched for the Tigers, Astros, Phillies, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Rays, Cardinals and Red Sox.
“He knows how to get left-handers out and that’s a big asset to have, depending on how your bullpen unfolds,” Sveum said.
* Josh Vitters was sad to see Chris Carpenter go to the Red Sox as part of the compensation for Theo Epstein. Vitters was one of the players whom Boston was considering.
“I’m definitely glad it turned out not being me,” he said.
Said Sveum: “Unfortunately, we lost a great arm in Chris. Fortunately for him, it came from a team that wanted him really, really, really bad and I think he’ll fall into some competition over there, too, to make the team as well as he had here. As well, he gets to go to a great organization and a great city. He leaves one great place and gets to go to another one. That’s not a bad way to be traded for the first time.”
* The Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo in the Rule 5 Draft and must decide by Opening Day whether to keep him on the 25-man roster. Castillo threw on the side Tuesday for the second time this spring but Sveum wants to see him in games.
“The bottom line is what’s going on in those games when he gets innings to pitch,” Sveum said. “I’ve been around plenty of people — not that he’s doing anything wrong — but some people are different pitchers when they’re on the mound than when they’re throwing in the bullpen.”
* There are six catchers in Chicago’s spring camp, including starter Geovany Soto, and the fight for the backup job appears to be a battle between Welington Castillo, Jason Jaramillo and Steve Clevenger.
“I think it’s open competition especially since the only one I’ve seen play in person is Jaramillo when he was with the Pirates,” Sveum said. “It’s great competition and they all have a lot of great attributes to bring to a team. It’ll be an interesting fight.”
Jaramillo signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs on Jan. 18 after spending the last three seasons with the Pirates.
“I talked to a few teams and had the option to pick where I was going,” Jaramillo said Tuesday. “Getting the chance to talk to Theo [Epstein] and Dale, I liked the opportunity here. I understand there’s no guarantees. It’s not something I’m not accustomed to. I battled my way for three years in Pittsburgh. The competition is nothing new to me. I’m happy to be here, they said it’s a good opporutnity. Everything I’ve seen so far — the staff, the players — it’s really exciting. I’m really excited to be here.”
* Brett Jackson, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in the 2009 Draft, is one of the early bird position players in camp. Sveum sounded just like a fan when he said he was looking forward to seeing the outfielder in games.
“I’ll give him a lot of opportunites to play in camp and see what this young man is capable of doing against quality big league pitching,” Jackson said. “I’ll try to put him in against quality big league pitchers to see how he reacts. To watch him the other day in person for the first time, to see how the ball comes off his bat and just the athleticism, that guy bounces around with athleticism. He’s one of those guys you look forward to seeing.”
* There are motivational messages on the players’ daily schedule, such as “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” That’s the work of bench coach Jamie Quirk, who relies on a book for the daily selection.
– Carrie Muskat
Matt Garza arrived in Arizona at least two weeks before pitchers and catchers have to report for Spring Training and the Cubs pitcher said he felt he was late.
“Look at everybody here,” said Garza, one of the early birds at Fitch Park on Friday as players prep for the official opening of camp.
Pitchers and catchers will have their first workout Sunday afternoon, with position players holding their first session on Feb. 24. On Friday, Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez each threw off the mound, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo conducted early sessions in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were among those practicing on the half field.
The right-hander said he’s in his best shape and eager to build on his second half. Before the All-Star break, Garza was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 16 starts. In the second half, he was 6-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 15 games.
“I learned a lot from the second half and I remember what that feeling is like and I want to get out here and duplicate it,” Garza said. “Right now, my body is better than when I’ve come in before. I’m in better shape, things are stronger. It’s just been a great offseason.”
One other matter he took care of was his contract, avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a $9.5 million one-year deal with the Cubs. Could a long-term deal be in the works?
“I don’t talk about that,” Garza said. “That’s between my agent and myself, and my agent and the front office. If they want to contact us, whatever way it works, is great. My main focus is getting ready for April 5 and having fun again.”
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood raised more than $85,000 at the Wood Family Foundation’s first “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up” on Friday, which included Theo Epstein playing guitar. The event was held at Harry Caray’s tavern on Navy Pier and was perfectly timed as Wood re-signed with the team earlier in the day at the Cubs Convention. Wood recruited guest bartenders throughout the evening, and they suited up in a t-shirt and bar apron and competed for tips while serving drinks and food to guests.
Participants included Ryan Dempster, Tony Campana, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Ian Stewart, Matt Garza, Randy Wells, Marlon Byrd, Rick Sutcliffe, Jon Lieber, Gary Matthews and new manager Dale Sveum. Even Bears players Otis Wilson, Richard Dent and Israel Idonije did some mixing behind the bar. Others in attendance included Cubs owners, Todd and Tom Ricketts, Epstein, and Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, James Russell, Josh Vitters, and David DeJesus.
Guests were not only entertained by the special acoustic performance by the event’s headline band, Plain White T’s, but unexpectedly by Cubs pitcher Randy Wells, who took to the stage to perform “Free Fallin” alongside the Plain White T’s. Epstein was next up and played “Rockin’ In A Free World” on guitar with the band.
The bidding became interesting when Dempster asked Wood to include a 30-minute pitching session with himself. When Wood agreed, the auction shot up and sold at $7,000. Another bidder shouted their interest in buying the exact same package for $7,000 if offered, and it was.
Wood and his wife, Sarah, thanked everyone for coming and spoke about the Wood Family Foundation and its mission. Wood said he was excited about the upcoming season, saying “there is no place like Chicago – it’s home.”
– Carrie Muskat