Results tagged ‘ Kris Bryant ’

11/4 Extra bases – UPDATED

* To no one’s surprise, the Cubs did not make qualifying offers to their four free agents Monday. Now, the team has to decide whether to try to re-sign Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier and Dioner Navarro.

Baker, 32, spent all of the 2013 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but when he signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Cubs last November, the team held a news conference at Wrigley Field and made it clear the right-hander was the type of pitcher they’d like to have in the rotation.

Guerrier, 35, was acquired from the Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol deal, and the right-hander’s season ended Aug. 8 after 15 games with Chicago because of right elbow soreness. He could sign a Minor League deal, and compete for a spot in the bullpen.

Gregg, 35, saved the Cubs, who were scrambling to find a closer when Marmol struggled and Kyuji Fujikawa was injured. Gregg posted his third season of at least 30 saves, yet the year ended on an ugly note after some miscommunication about the right-hander’s role and the Cubs’ desire to look at Pedro Strop in the closer role.

Navarro, 29, was probably the only backup catcher to hit fourth in the Major Leagues. He batted .300 with a career-high 13 home runs, and filled the No. 4 spot in the batting order after Alfonso Soriano was traded. Navarro accepted his role but may try to lobby for more playing time. The Cubs are commited to Welington Castillo as their regular catcher.

* Junior Lake hit a game-winning RBI single in the 10th Sunday night to lift Estrellas to victory in Winter League play in the Dominican Republic.

* If you missed Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, you can watch them on Tuesday night when the Mesa Solar Sox’s game will be broadcast on MLB Network at 7 p.m. MT/Arizona time. On Monday, the Solar Sox play host to Salt River at HoHoKam Stadium.

* Several Minor League players will be the first to work out at the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility in Mesa this week. The players were invited to take part in the sessions, conducted by strength and conditioning coach Doug Jarrow.

* Congrats to David DeJesus, who signed a two-year contract with the Rays with an option for a third year on Monday.

– Carrie Muskat

11/3 AFL update

Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler each got a hit, but Bryant also made two errors in the East’s 9-2 loss to the West in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, played Saturday in Surprise. Bryant and Soler were starters for the East, and Bryant played the entire game at third. Albert Almora entered as a sub in right.

Bryant’s first error in the third inning led to a run. In an interview in October, he said he doesn’t do well in debuts. An example is his first game with Boise when he struck out five times.

“You really try to avoid the really bad games like that,” he said about the five K game. “It happens. It all comes back to confidence and me having confidence in myself. When you have a game like that, you put it behind you and realize that day, the pitcher was better than you. I’ll get him sometimes, and he’ll get me sometimes.”

Hopefully, that means Bryant’s next All-Star Game will be much better.

After an off day Sunday, Bryant, Soler, Almora and the other Cubs prospects get back to work on Monday when the Mesa Solar Sox play host to Salt River at HoHoKam Stadium. On Tuesday, Mesa travels to Salt River, and that game will be aired on MLB Network at 7 p.m. Arizona time.

– Carrie Muskat

11/1 AFL update

Albert Almora was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple but it wasn’t enough as Mesa lost 5-4 to Peoria on Friday in AZ Fall League play. Lendy Castillo threw one inning in relief. On Saturday, Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant will play in the Fall Stars Game in Surprise, starting at 5 p.m. Arizona time/7 p.m. Chicago time. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network.

11/1 AFL update

Jorge Soler hit a RBI single in a three-run sixth, driving in Kris Bryant, to help Mesa beat Scottsdale, 7-3, in Arizona Fall League play on Thursday. Bryant started at third and scored two runs and Albert Almora was 0-for-4. Cubs prospect Armando Rivero struck out two of the three batters he faced in one inning in relief. On Friday, Mesa plays host to Peoria at HoHoKam Stadium. On Saturday, Soler, Bryant and Almora will take part in the AFL Fall Stars game in Surprise. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network, starting at 5 p.m. Arizona time.

10/30 AFL update

Kris Bryant hit his league-leading sixth home run but it wasn’t enough as the Mesa Solar Sox lost, 7-3, to Salt River on Tuesday night in Arizona Fall League play. Bryant hit a solo shot in the eighth. Albert Almora went 1-for-4 and Jorge Soler was 0-for-4 in the game. Bryant now is batting .400. Cubs pitching prospects Matt Loosen and Lendy Castillo also appeared in the game. Loosen gave up one hit and struck out three in two innings and Castillo walked three and gave up one run over one-third of an inning. On Wednesday, the Solar Sox travel to Scottsdale for a 12:35 p.m. MT game. Bryant, Almora and Soler will play Saturday in the Fall Stars Game in Surprise.

10/28 Bryant, Almora & Soler named Fall Stars

Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler were chosen to the East Division team for the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars game, to be played Saturday at Surprise Stadium.

Bryant hit his fifth home run of the AFL season on Monday, a two-run shot with two outs in the eighth, in the Mesa Solar Sox’s 3-2 loss to Salt River. He was batting .422 and led the league in doubles (six) and RBIs (16). The third baseman was the Cubs’ first pick in the June First-Year Player Draft and second player taken overall. Almora, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2012, was batting .297 while Soler, who left Cuba and signed with the Cubs, was hitting .300.

Bryant, ranked No. 35 on MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list, is one of four players selected in last June’s Draft who iss playing in the AFL this year. Almora is ranked No. 21 and Soler is No. 25. Almora was limited to 61 games at Class A Kane County because of a groin injury; Soler missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his left leg.

This is the eighth annual Fall Stars Game, and will begin at 7 p.m. CT and broadcast on MLB Network.

– Carrie Muskat

10/26 AFL – Friday’s results

Jorge Soler hit his first home run and Kris Bryant had three hits, including two doubles, and a RBI to lead the Mesa Solar Sox to a 7-5 victory over Peoria on Friday in Arizona Fall League action. Soler, sidelined most of this season because of a stress fracture in his left leg, hit a two-run shot with one out in the eighth. Bryant is batting .429, and his two doubles give him six, which leads the AFL. He also is first in RBIs with 14. Cubs pitching prospect Armando Rivero gave up one run on one hit and struck out one in one inning in relief. The Solar Sox — or Soler Sox, if you prefer — play host to Surprise at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa on Saturday.

10/23 AFL update – Wednesday’s game

The Mesa Solar Sox lost, 2-1, in 10 innings Wednesday to Scottsdale Scorpions in Arizona Fall League play. Kris Bryant was the only Cubs prospect who started for Mesa, and was 1-for-5 with a double. Albert Almora entered the game defensively in right. On Thursday, the Solar Sox play host to the Scorpions at HoHoKam Stadium.

10/23 Bryant & AFL update

Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 and Albert Almora drove in a run for the Mesa Solar Sox in a 4-2 loss to Surprise Saguaros on Tuesday in Arizona Fall League play. Bryant is leading the AFL with a .438 average. On Wednesday, Mesa travels to Scottsdale Stadium for a game against the Scorpions.

Bryant also leads the AFL in home runs (four), runs (10), RBIs (13), and slugging (.906). Going from short-season Boise to the AFL is a big jump — most of the players in the Fall League are the team’s top prospects — but Bryant, 21, feels he’s ready. He’s paced himself well. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 18th round in 2010 but he opted to go to the University of San Diego instead of turning pro. This past college season, he led the nation with 31 home runs. The Cubs selected him in the first round of the Draft.

You can’t miss Bryant at the plate. He has a wide stance that seems to stretch beyond the batter’s box. He used to stand more upright but 10 games into his sophomore season in college, a hitting coach suggested he make a change.

“If I widened out and squatted down, the low pitch was easier to hit and my head stays still,” Bryant said. “It’s really been working for me. I know there are some people who think I could do things differently and I’m open to whatever anybody has to say to me. I’ve been doing it this way for a while and I feel comfortable.”

One of Bryant’s best characteristics is his willingness to learn. Many of the Cubs’ Minor League coaching staff described him as a “sponge,” eager to listen and learn.

“Getting to know Kris in the short period of time [he's been with the Cubs], he’s going to make adjustments when he feels things aren’t right or he feels he needs to make some type of physical adjustment,” said Anthony Iapoce, the Cubs’ Minor League hitting coordinator. “He’ll start making those on his own, or he’ll come and question, and say, ‘Hey, I want to do this.’ He won’t sit there and keep making outs. He’s going to find a way to adjust, or he wouldn’t be the second pick in the Draft.”

The question most Cubs fans now have is when Bryant will be in the big leagues. Will he be in the 2014 Opening Day lineup?

“I can’t say that,” Bryant said. “I would love to, but it depends on how I play, and that’s what it goes back to. I’m just going to play as hard as I can. If I’m doing well, things will take care of themselves.”

(For more on Bryant, check out my story on Cubs.com, which will be posted later today)

– Carrie Muskat

10/22 AFL update

Cubs prospect Kris Bryant hit a double, walked twice and scored two runs in Mesa’s 9-6 win over Surprise on Monday in Arizona Fall League play. Bryant now is batting .429, tied for the AFL lead with Braves prospect Tommy La Stella. Cuban pitcher Armando Rivero, another Cubs prospect, gave up two runs on four hits over one inning in relief. On Tuesday, the Mesa Solar Sox face the Surprise Saguaros again, this time on the road in Surprise.

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