Results tagged ‘ Larry Rothschild ’

3/27 Marmol not a fan of Arizona

Carlos Marmol may be one Cubs pitcher who wouldn’t mind seeing the team move to Florida. The dry Arizona air is not helping him get a good grip on his slider, which may be contributing to the closer’s struggles in his last two games. He took the loss Friday, serving up three runs, and has given up home runs in each of his last two outings.

“I’m OK,” Marmol said Saturday. “I tried to make my pitch, they saw it. We’re in Spring Training now. I didn’t walk people — that’s what I’m looking for is not walking people.”

And that’s what the Cubs want to see is better control, no walks. Pitchers do seem to favor Spring Training in Florida.

“I can’t feel my slider,” Marmol said. “That’s why I hit people with my slider. I can’t feel it in my hand. That’s why I want to leave here.”

He’s actually talking about leaving for the regular season, not Mesa.

What about his mechanics?

“I’m OK,” Marmol said. “My fastball is good. My slider, I need to work on it a little bit. We’ll see.”

It’s been a better spring for the right-hander who knows he’s the closer. There’s no competition this time.

“I feel good about that, I feel very comfortable,” Marmol said. “I don’t have to fight for the position with anybody. I feel more confident and I want to go out there and give my best.”

Lou Piniella tried to show the media what Marmol was doing wrong after Friday’s game. We’ll let pitching coach Larry Rothschild handle the mechanics.

“Sometimes you do a bad thing [with mechanics],” Marmol said. “Who knows? Nobody’s perfect. You make a mistake. Sometimes you win the battle, sometimes they don’t swing and miss, and sometimes you pay for it. I feel very comfortable and confident.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Marmol "flat" in 2nd bad outing

Lou Piniella watched a little film of closer Carlos Marmol after Friday’s game. The Cubs closer served up a home run in his second straight outing in a 5-2 loss to the Athletics. Piniella felt Marmol was “flat” and wondered why.

“We’ll let Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] work on it tomorrow,” Piniella said.

In his last two outings, Marmol has given up four hits and four runs over two innings.

“His mechanics are off,” Piniella said. “What he’s doing is showing the ball to the hitter quicker and he’s losing that nice depth on his breaking ball.”

The problem is Marmol was throwing more sidearm than over the top and his elbow was leading the ball. When you do that, Piniella said, “you lose that good snap. It was very evident in the film. It’s something to work on. That’s why it’s called Spring Training.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/16 Silva update

Carlos Silva had his best outing this spring. The Cubs right-hander served up two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three over four innings against the Rangers at HoHoKam Park. He’s looked healthy and the adjustments suggested by pitching coach Larry Rothschild appear to be working.

— Carrie Muskat

3/16 Lilly & Samardzija update

Ted Lilly will return to Arizona and throw to hitters on Thursday. Lou Piniella said the left-hander was eager to throw some live BP. Lilly, who is rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder, had returned home to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son. After live BP, he’ll throw a simulated game — or “assimilated game,” as Piniella calls it — then start in a Cactus League game. Lilly will stay back in Arizona when the big league team breaks camp to get more work in.

“Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] seems to think three starts will be enough,” Piniella said. “That’s why we’re optimistic.”

If the lefty does that, he could be in the Cubs rotation by mid to late April.

* Jeff Samardzija will throw four innings of a Minor League intrasquad game on Wednesday at Fitch Park. The right-hander is a candidate for the rotation. Piniella said all of the pitchers will get two starts in Cactus League games.

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Big Z gets big hit

Carlos Zambrano gave up one run on five hits over four innings in his longest outing on Monday at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson. Zambrano, who will be the Opening Day starter, did not strike out a batter in his third spring game.

“It’s just like [Greg] Maddux used to say, it’s better to have movement than velocity,” Zambrano said. “Don’t get me wrong, velocity is good at this level. When you locate your fastball, it’s good. My sinker was good — great today. I was able to command my pitches and get out of some situations.”

The winds at Hi Corbett created a Wrigley Field-like feel. The Rockies are moving to a new facility near Phoenix next year.

“It was crazy,” Zambrano said. “The first time when I went out, the wind was blowing out. Ten minutes later, it was across to right field. There was a ball hit by [Carlos] Gonzalez that I thought was a fly to center field. I saw Sammy [Fuld] go back and back and back. I thought, ‘Gee, this ball is going out.’ They only scored one run.”

Gonzalez ended up with a double in the third inning and scored on Jonathan Herrera’s double. The Rockies added four more runs off Cubs relievers to post a 5-2 win. Zambrano and Fuld combined for a run in the second. Fuld was safe on a bunt single and scored on Zambrano’s double.

“I was lucky today,” Zambrano said.

* Lou Piniella drove to Tucson with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and discussed the pitching rotation. Jeff Samardzija, a candidate for one of the vacancies in the rotation, will throw in the Minor League camp on Wednesday, which is an off day for the rest of the team.
Rothschild was able to set up the rotation between now and March 25, which is when Piniella hopes they can make some decisions.

— Carrie Muskat

3/15 Long bus ride to Tucson

It’s a long drive to Tucson, and on Monday, it took the Cubs an extra hour when their bus broke down on I-10. Apparently a clamp came off the radiator line on the bus when it was about a half hour, 45 minutes out of Mesa.

Kevin Millar did a few impressions for his teammates and the bus driver was able to play a movie. They watched Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino.” Carlos Zambrano was on the bus but a friend was following in a car behind it, and pulled over to take the pitcher to Tucson. Athletic trainer Mark O’Neal was driving with his family, saw the bus and pulled over to pick up catcher Koyie Hill so he wouldn’t be late.

That left the Cubs with a pitcher, a catcher and utility player Jeff Baker, who drove himself from home.

“I can be ‘Bugs Bunny’ and play everywhere,” Baker said.

He didn’t have to do it all — Zambrano and Hill were there.

“And I’ve got everything else? Perfect,” Baker said.

The bus had been scheduled to arrive around 10 a.m. but pulled into the lot at Hi Corbett Field around 11:25 a.m.

“We’re fashionably late,” catcher Chris Robinson said.

It did get hot in the bus because the air conditioning was turned off. Millar kept it light.

“He made us laugh,” Robinson said. “But that can only go so far when you’re sitting in the middle of the desert.”

As soon as the mechanic was able to repair the bus, another one pulled up behind the Cubs. And where was Lou Piniella in all this? He was driving with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

— Carrie Muskat

3/14 Building the bench

Who’s on the Cubs bench most likely won’t be determined until the final week. They cannot keep both Keith Millar and Chad Tracy, and have to make sure they have enough backup outfield help. Xavier Nady can’t play the outfield full time when the season starts so the Cubs will need an extra outfielder.

The bench players who are set include Nady, Koyie Hill, and either Mike Fontenot or Jeff Baker (whoever isn’t starting). In a “perfect scenario,” Lou Piniella said Sunday, the Cubs would carry 11 pitchers. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild is insisting on 12.

“I keep talking to Larry and he keeps shaking his head,” Piniella said.

Expect Nady to play in the outfield in the last 10 days of Spring Training. He’s rehabbing his right elbow after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. Among the extra outfielders being considered are Sam Fuld, Tyler Colvin, Jim Adduci and Brad Snyder.

“All four of those kids can play all three positions,” Piniella said. “We’ll see what happens.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Silva making progress

The Cubs saw progress in Carlos Silva’s outing. The right-hander threw three scoreless innings on Thursday against the Padres and gave up four hits and one walk.

“The first two innings, he threw across his body, which Larry [Rothschild] has been working on,” Lou Piniella said. “The last inning, he went away from it a little bit and old habits took over. He was better, no question.

“One thing about this guy here, he’s here to do a good job,” Piniella said. “He’s working hard, he’s serious minded about what he’s doing, he wants to improve and wants to help the team. Everything is positive.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/11 Silva excited to pitch

Carlos Silva was excited to pitch on Thursday, a feeling he hasn’t had in a couple years. The right-hander made his second spring start for the Cubs and threw three scoreless innings against the Padres. He gave up four hits and one walk in what was an improvement over his first start March 6. Silva was all smiles.

“I’m very happy with the way I threw,” he said. “I told [Larry Rothschild] and I was telling my wife, too, that I haven’t seen that sinker for a long time, the one I was throwing in the bullpen. I saw the action and location and I was very excited to pitch today.”

He’s changed the angle, finishing more towards third base than first. It’s helped him finish his pitches. He got some solid defensive help from center fielder Sam Fuld, who made a leaping catch at the center field wall in the third inning to rob Scott Hairston of an extra base hit. Starlin Castro also smacked his first spring homer, leading off the fifth with his second hit of the game. Castro went 2-for-2, walked and scored three runs.

How long has it been since Silva was looking forward to pitching?

“To be honest, it’s been a long time,” Silva said. “The last two years have been hard for me to even show up at the stadium. I’m the kind of guy who is very competitive and I take a lot of pride — when I do bad, it’s hard for me to see my teammates’ faces. I feel embarrassed, I feel like I haven’t helped them. I am very hard on myself.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/8 Rain, rain go away

The Cubs had 10 pitchers each throw one inning of a simulated game in Mesa on Monday to make up for Sunday’s lost split squad games. Lou Piniella met with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to discuss the roster. There are five or six kids whom Rothschild feels can compete for a job in the bullpen.

“They all have good arms or they wouldn’t be here,” Piniella said. “They all have ability. You have to find out about the experience factor and how they respond. That’s why these Spring Training games are so important and not only for us but for a few of these guys. There are some spots here.”

The only relievers who appear to be set are Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and Esmailin Caridad. Two of the starter candidates who don’t get a spot in the rotation could slide into the bullpen. That foursome includes Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva. All but Silva were pitching Monday.

“I’ve been pleased with Marshall,” Piniella said. “I know Samardzija has thrown well in his drills. So has Gorzelanny. Silva struggled some the other day. We’ll see what happens. We’ll run them out there and let them pitch.”

— Carrie Muskat