Results tagged ‘ Larry Rothschild ’

8/1 Big Z ready but Cubs wait

Carlos Zambrano may be in the Cubs bullpen now but the right-hander has made it clear he wants to start again. Alan Trammell understands that.

“I know where his heart is and how can you fault him for that?” said Trammell, the Cubs’ acting manager. “Who’s to say what might happen? We’ll see what’s best for the team.”

As of now, Zambrano is a reliever, and he made his first appearance since being activated from the restricted list on Saturday, pitching two-thirds of an inning. The Cubs plan on calling up right-hander Thomas Diamond from Triple-A Iowa for Tuesday’s game to take Ted Lilly’s spot in the rotation.

Zambrano was available to pitch Sunday out of the pen in the Cubs’ series finale against the Rockies. He also volunteered to start Tuesday.

“We’ll have to sit down when we get back [to Chicago] and see where we are,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said of Zambrano’s desire to start.

Trammell said he did not feel Zambrano has thrown enough pitches to start. Zambrano’s longest Minor League outing was two innings.

— Carrie Muskat

7/19 Silva: "I got beat"

Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild will sit down Tuesday to try and figure out what’s wrong with Carlos Silva. On Monday, Silva faced 11 batters in a five-run inning as the Astros collected seven hits. He opened the season 8-0 but now is 1-4 in his last seven starts and hasn’t gotten past the second inning in the last two. Monday was his shortest outing since he lasted two-thirds of an inning May 30, 2008, against Detroit. What happened?

“Silva — I don’t have an explanation,” Piniella said. “We have to get him straightened out.”

In his last two starts, Silva has served up 11 runs on 13 hits and five walks in 2 1/3 innings.

“I don’t know if [the Cubs] have concerns,” Silva said. “I don’t. I’m still human. I felt very good today. I’ll just get ready for the next game.”

It’s the fourth time a Cubs starter has given up five or more runs in the first. Carlos Zambrano did so Opening Day, April 5, and Randy Wells did it twice (May 6 at Pittsburgh and May 28 vs. St. Louis).

“Carlos throws strikes and I think they made a point to come out aggressive,” said Chicago’s Derrek Lee, who had three hits, including two doubles. “He probably threw too many strikes tonight. I’m sure he’ll make the adjustment. I thought his stuff was fine. He was just probably getting too much of the plate and they were aggressive and ready for it.”

Silva had some problems with his right leg but has not loitering in the trainer’s room. He planned on watching video Tuesday to see if he was tipping pitches.

“It’s going to happen,” Silva said. “These things are going to happen. Today I felt really good but I got beat. Everything I was throwing, they were hitting.”

— 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

6/17 All's well with Wells

Randy Wells began his self-proclaimed new season with a no decision on Thursday. Wells said before the game he was starting over. He got advice from four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux plus pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“It was nice to get through the first inning,” Wells said. “It’s unfortunate it took this long to get the problem fixed.”

One of his goals was to avoid trouble pitching out of the stretch. Wells gave up an “uh oh, here we go again” double down the left field line to leadoff hitter Rajai Davis but escaped a potential mess by retiring the next three hitters. In the seventh, Wells served up Mark Ellis’ home run but still finished the inning although not without a visit from Lou Piniella. The A’s had a runner at third and two outs and Conor Jackson coming up.

“I had a good feeling we were going to win the game,” Wells said. “I told [Piniella] I was going to win the game. I said, ‘Just give me a chance,’ and he said, ‘Last batter.'”

Wells got Jackson to pop up.

“Today, I was pleased with the way I calmed my emotions and I didn’t let negative things bother me,” Wells said. “I made a couple mistakes but I was able to keep my cool and continually execute my pitches.”

The change he made in his mechanics is pretty simple. Wells called Maddux, now an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry.

“I went to Larry with what I’d talked to Greg about and before I could get a word out of my mouth, he said, ‘This is what’s happening, your fastballs flat, your ball’s not sinking, you’re spiking changeups and all of that comes from falling towrads the plate,” Wells said. “It was a simple adjustment.”

He did not get the win in the Cubs’ 3-2 come from behind victory over Oakland but did notch his seventh quality start.

— Carrie Muskat

6/16 Wells' season starts Thursday

As far as Randy Wells is concerned, his season begins on Thursday. The right-hander will start in the Cubs series finale against the Athletics, riding a five-game losing streak. He’s wiped that out. That’s all in the past, Wells said.

“I’ve declared tomorrow as the start of a new season for me,” Wells said Wednesday. “Right now, I’m 0-0 in my mind. I’m excited.”

He has struggled in the first inning of three of his starts and pitching coach Larry Rothschild has made some changes in Wells’ mechanics. When he takes the mound Thursday, Wells said he’ll be more compact and more closed in his delivery.

This season has been a wake-up call for the right-hander, who was 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in his first full season in the big leagues last year. He’s now 3-5 with a 5.15 ERA but says it’s not a sophomore jinx.

“I don’t believe in that,” he said. “I’m sitting at 3-5 with a bad ERA, but a good month here and I’m there. Roy Halladay’s 8-5 right now. Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd — people are struggling. I feel I can get back on track and just a little encouragement here and something as easy as that book to reassure your thoughts I think will be beneficial.”

The book is “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching,” by H.A. Dorfman. Rothschild is an advocate of Dorfman’s principles.

“A lot of the stuff, you read and it’s what Larry says,” Wells said. “When you hear it from Larry, you think he’s trying to calm you down or get you going. When you read the meaning behind it and what other guys have done, it’s really inspiring.”

Wells also called Greg Maddux, now an assistant to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Maddux offered words of encouragement on how to handle adversity.

“He’s a great resource,” Wells said.

— Carrie Muskat

4/23 Lilly a go to pitch, not run

One of the first things pitching coach Larry Rothschild probably told Ted Lilly was that the Cubs pitcher doesn’t have the green light on the base paths. The lefty tried to steal during his Minor League rehab start in Peoria and was thrown out at second. Lilly made a head-first slide. What was he doing?

“I was trying to steal second,” Lilly said Friday.


“They teach you when you’re going into the base, if there’s a play at the base, you should slide,” Lilly said.

But why, as a pitcher who is rehabbing from a shoulder injury, would you do that?

“I was trying to steal a base,” Lilly said. “I was trying to get a run for the team so our team could score more runs than the other team because if we do that, we’ll win.”

Isn’t that risky?

“Every day’s dangerous,” he said.

Lilly will be on the mound for the first time this season on Saturday in Game 2 against the Brewers. In his Minor League outing in Peoria, he threw 88 pitches over seven innings.

“The real test, I think, is going to come tomorrow,” Lilly said. “Obviously, we’ll get some questions answered. I feel good. I don’t have any reservations as to whether I should be going out there. I’m confident to go out there and I’m healthy and ready to contribute.”

Back to the stolen base. Was it a close play at second?

“It was pretty close,” Lilly said.

— Carrie Muskat

4/22 Silva gets a little help from friends

The difference for Carlos Silva may have come in January when he showed up at the Cubs Convention. His agent told him that pitching coach Larry Rothschild wanted Silva to throw a bullpen session. Silva, acquired the month before from Seattle for Milton Bradley, agreed. He figured Rothschild wanted to see how strong the right-hander’s shoulder was.

“[Rothschild] said, ‘I want you to do this, this and this,'” Silva said Thursday of the immediate instruction Rothschild gave him. “I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It gave me a lot of confidence in him. I said, ‘Wow, this guy is ready to work with me.’ That means a lot to me.”

Silva and Rothschild have combined to create one of the nice surprises on the Cubs so far. The veteran pitcher, coming off two dreadful seasons in Seattle when he was a combined 5-18 and battled shoulder problems, heads into his next start Monday at 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA.

“For the last two years, I’ve been working so hard to get something good out of all this work,” Silva said. “This is a good start, but we have to keep working hard. There’s a long way to go. I can continue helping this team.”

Silva also decided he needed help with the mental part of the game and met with a counselor last year. He’s still in contact with him.

“The last two years, sometimes I put baseball before my family,” he said. “That’s how much baseball means to me — it’s my profession and what I love to do.”

Part of the counseling involves developing patience. Silva’s wife advises him that good things will happen but he admits he’s anxious. The pitcher also talked this spring to the Cubs’ new sports psychologist, Mark Strickland. Silva will call if he needs a little boost of confidence.

“Whatever is bothering me, I call the guy,” Silva said.

So far, he’s getting good advice.

— Carrie Muskat

4/20 Lilly to start this weekend

Lou Piniella says Ted Lilly has passed all the tests and will start for the Cubs this weekend in Milwaukee. The left-hander could start Saturday or Sunday, and Piniella said they are leaning toward Saturday, which would be the second game of the three-game series.

Lilly tuned up by throwing 88 pitches over seven innings on Monday night for Class A Peoria. He also singled and tried to steal a base but was thrown out. Was Piniella OK with Lilly running like that?

“No, not really, but what can I do about it?” Piniella said. “He asked if he could hit, and we said sure. He got some at-bats and obviously got on base.”

Lilly is coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder last November. On Monday, he struck out nine and gave up one run on three hits and one walk. Of his total 88 pitches, 63 were strikes.

When he is activated from the disabled list, one of the Cubs starters will be bumped and someone from the ‘pen also will be headed to the Minor Leagues. Piniella said he will sit down with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, GM Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush Friday to discuss their options.

— Carrie Muskat

4/8 Silva excited to start

Carlos Silva can’t wait for Friday. The right-hander will make his Cubs debut against the Reds, back in the National League.

“I’m very excited,” Silva said Thursday. “I’m looking forward to starting my first game and hopefully pitch the way I pitched in spring.”

His goal this spring was to be consistent and he did that.

“It wasn’t one good game, one bad game,” Silva said. “That’s what I’m looking for in the season is try to be consistent on the mound.”

Well, he did that after a rough first start. On March 6 against the White Sox, which was Silva’s first spring start, he gave up six runs on seven hits, including two home runs by White Sox slugger Carlos Quentin, over two innings.

“After you have two bad seasons and then the first game, you have that kind of game, you think, ‘Oh my God, here I go again,'” Silva said. “I’ve been working very hard to stay very strong in my mind. I tried to put that game away and keep working and keep learning and try to improve.”

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild has made some changes with Silva’s mechanics that have helped. But Silva seems to feel better mentally, too.

“It’s not only Larry but the whole coaching staff, the way they’ve been talking to me,” Silva said. “They have a lot of trust in me and that gives me a lot of confidence. Larry will tell me before a game, ‘Trust yourself, let it go and throw the same way you do in the bullpen.’ That’s what I try to do.”

Best of all, his wife and mother will be in Cincinnati for the game. His mother got a 10-year visa and joined the Silvas in Arizona this spring. Home cooking helps, too.

— Carrie Muskat

4/1 Silva gets "A-plus" this spring

Carlos Silva has been a good student this spring.

“I think I learned a lot of stuff,” the 30-year-old right-hander said. “I feel I learned a lot of stuff, not only mechanical but also mentally.”

There’s a long list of teachers, too.

“You can learn from a lot of people,” Silva said. “You have [Ryan] Dempster, you can learn from Ted Lilly. You have Marlon [Byrd]. I’ve known him for a long time. We were talking about the way I used to pitch before. [Byrd] said, ‘I want to see you do stuff like what I used to see.'”

The Cubs weren’t sure what to expect when they traded Milton Bradley for Silva last December. Will he be the pitcher who won 14 games with the Twins or the one who struggled the last two seasons?

“I don’t want to say I’m surprised,” Silva said. “This is what I’ve been working for. I’ve been taking this spring very seriously. I even asked [Esmailin] Caridad how he threw his slider. That’s what I’m looking for — I want to learn from everybody. I play catch with Carlos [Zambrano] every day and I ask him a million questions. I’m not surprised. I’ve been working very hard.”

He wrapped up his spring on Thursday, throwing five scoreless innings against the Rockies. In his six starts, Silva gave up nine earned runs on 27 hits and two walks over 21 1/3 innings. And six of those runs came in his first start March 6 against the White Sox.

“We recognize early in camp, even when we were at Fitch Park [before games started], that he was throwing the ball nice and free and easy,” Lou Piniella said. “Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] and I talked about making a couple adjustments and you can’t pitch any better than he’s pitched here in spring Training.”

— Carrie Muskat