Results tagged ‘ Lou Piniella ’

8/22 "Q" takes over on Monday

Third base coach Mike Quade takes over as the Cubs interim manager, starting Monday. He’s a candidate for the job. It was quite the day Sunday as Quade took part in a coaching clinic at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, then a simulated game with pitcher Carlos Silva at 10 a.m., and then batting practice.

GM Jim Hendry picked the third base coach known as “Q” over bench coach Alan Trammell because Trammell apparently is not a candidate for the job next season.

“Alan’s a tremendous human being, quality person, outstanding coach,” Hendry said Sunday. “I spoke to Alan this morning and basically told Alan over the last few weeks, I’ve made a decision in the process moving forward that Alan would not be considered for the managerial job after this year.”

Quade, 53, a Chicago native, who has managed in the Minor Leagues for 17 seasons, has spent the last four on Piniella’s coaching staff.

“It’s probably not the way you envisioned it,” Quade said about his first big league gig.

Piniella met with the coaching staff prior to Sunday’s game to tell them he was going to retire early to go home and be with his mother, who was ill.

“I’m proud to be a part of this,” Quade said of the Cubs. “We’ll work hard to do a good job and finish up these six weeks and see where it takes us.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/22 Lou's last lineup

Lou Piniella will take the lineup card out one more time Sunday, his last game in a Cubs uniform. He is retiring to go home and take care of his mother in Tampa. Here’s the lineup:

2B Barney
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B Ramirez
LF Soriano
RF Baker
1B Nady
C Hill
P Wells

– Carrie Muskat

8/22 Lou is headed home

Family comes first, and Lou Piniella is headed home to take care of his mother. When Piniella announced on July 20 that he was retiring at the end of this season, he fully intended to finish the year with the Cubs. But his mother’s health prompted him to retire early. Sunday’s Cubs game against the Braves will be Piniella’s last as manager. He will take off the uniform for the last time to go home.

“I didn’t think my career would end this way,” Piniella said prior to the game. “My mom needs me home. She hasn’t gotten better since I’ve been here. In fact, she’s had a couple complications.

“Rather than continue to go home and come back, it’s not fair to the team and it’s not fair to the players,” he said. “The best thing is to step down and go home and take care of my mother.”

Piniella left the team Aug. 9-12 to be with his 90-year-old mother, Margaret, in Tampa, Fla., and set up in-home care. He calls her every morning, and when he called Sunday to tell her he was headed home, she cried.

“I’ve enjoyed it here,” Piniella said. “Four wonderful years and I’ve made a lot of friends. We’ve had some success here and this year has been a little bit of a struggle. Family is important, and comes first and my mom needs me home and that’s where I’m going.”

Piniella, who turns 67 on Aug. 28, compiled a 316-392 record with the club over three-plus seasons. He guided the team to the National League Central title in his first and second years in 2007-08, and the Cubs posted the best record in the NL in ’08 at 97-64.

Piniella met with the Cubs coaches and players prior to batting practice on Sunday to give them the news.

“It’s been a very tough day for him and very emotional,” GM Jim Hendry said. “It’s to the point now where he needs to be home with his family.”

After all the years playing, managing, broadcasting, Piniella is done.

“I haven’t had time to reflect on it,” he said of his career. “I’m going to try to enjoy today as much as possible. It’s been a long time and I’ve been blessed. God’s given me the health and ability to do this job and I’m appreciative. It’s been a long time.

“When I announced my retirement earlier in the season, I thought I’d finish the year and go from there,” he said. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. I’ll have plenty of time to reflect.”

Piniella was to exchange lineup cards with Atlanta manager Bobby Cox prior to Sunday’s game and then head to Tampa on Monday.

“This is a nice job but it’s a tough job,” Piniella said of the Cubs. “They’re going to win here. They’ve got a family-owned business now. The Ricketts family will do what they need to do to get this thing to where it can win. They’ll give it the care it deserves.

“When I took this job, I didn’t call anybody [for advice],” he said. “I came here and did the best I could for as long as I could.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/20 Colvin expected at 1st next week

Expect Tyler Colvin to make his ML debut at first next week during the Cubs’ three-game series against the Nationals. Colvin took grounders at first on Friday for the second day. He hasn’t played first since his sophomore year of college at Clemson and been used strictly as an outfielder with the Cubs. But he’s being eased into the position following the departure of Derrek Lee.

“He’s got good hands and he likes it,” Lou Piniella said of Colvin, who leads all National League rookies with 18 home runs. “It’s just a question of the game speed. You can take all the pregame you want and the game will speed up for you. He’s done it before. It’ll give us a chance to play him over there from time to time.”

Piniella said Colvin, who was 8-for-50 in August and has not started since Aug. 14, can play some outfield still as well as first. Right now, there’s a need at first.

“We’ll make that transition for him as easy as we can,” Piniella said.

– Carrie Muskat

8/20 D-Lee's debut

Derrek Lee parked in the same parking lot and walked down the same concourse he’s walked through for seven years. But instead of a short walk to the home clubhouse, he had to go a little further to the visitor’s side at Wrigley Field.

Lee is wearing No. 27 with the Braves now after being traded Wednesday for three Minor League pitchers. He was batting fourth in the lineup Friday against the Cubs. Does Lou PIniella have a good scouting report on the first baseman?

“I think we know him pretty well,” Piniella said. “It’s just a question of making good pitches to him. In the St. Louis series, he swung the bat as well as he did all year.”

Lee did receive a standing ovation from the Wrigley Field crowd before his first at-bat and he tipped his batting helmet. Then he flew out to left on the first pitch.

Rookie Tyler Colvin worked out at first base for the second day and if all goes well, he’ll make his debut there next week during the Cubs’ series against the Nationals. Xavier Nady started at first on Friday.

Lee signed autographs and acknowledged the fans, many still wearing his No. 25 jersey.

“It’ll be strange watching him come up to bat in an Atlanta uniform,” Piniella said. “We wish him well over there but not necessary in this series.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/19 Big Z update

Since returning to the rotation on Aug. 9, Carlos Zambrano is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA, giving up five earned runs over 16 2/3 innings. But he’s also walked 15 and given up 15 hits. Lou Piniella saw lots of positives.

“He’s got real good movement and he’s throwing a few more breaking balls and he’s using his split finger and a cut fastball,” Piniella said. “Basically, I think the velocity will come. One run over six innings, you can’t fault that at all. It was a good performance. If he gets his command a little early, he can go much deeper in the game.”

Said catcher Koyie Hill: “I thought he did a good job getting through six innings and had a chance to win. We’re facing one of the best pitchers in the National League and you go out there and give six innings — you’d classify that as effectively wild, but he didn’t get hurt and did a good job and had a chance to win the ballgame and we were winning the ballgame.”

Friday will be a special day for Big Z. He called it his “birthday in the big leagues.” On Aug. 20, 2001, Zambrano made his Major League debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Brewers. Now, he’s the longest-tenured Cubs player.

“Whatever the team thinks is good for the team and we need for the team to be better and in a good position for next year is good for me,” he said when asked about the Derrek Lee trade.

What does Zambrano want to do?

“I don’t want to leave and I don’t think I will leave,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

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

8/19 Colvin preps at 1st base

Before batting practice on Thursday, Tyler Colvin was asked if he had been secretly practicing at first base just in case he was needed there. Colvin did play first in high school and part time in college at Clemson.

“At night,” Colvin said with a straight face. “We’ve been practicing at midnight with no lights which makes it tougher.”

At that point, none of the Cubs coaching staff had said anything to him
about a possible switch from the outfield. That changed in minutes. Colvin was taking grounders at first on Thursday.

“I was a little bit surprised but I had enough people hinting toward it
the last week or so,” Colvin said. “I was a little surprised at the
timing.”

With Derrek Lee gone to the Braves, the Cubs have a huge hole in the lineup and infield. Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker can handle the position for now but Colvin, a left-handed hitter, may get some time there in the final six weeks.

“He’ll get some ground balls over there and we’ll do that for a couple days and see how he feels and how he does,” Lou Piniella said. “If we can look at him over there, it gives the new people a head start on what the options are.”

Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell, who works with the infielders, only made a few suggestions during Colvin’s workout Thursday, saying the athletic rookie looked comfortable. How did Colvin feel?

“There’s a big difference between taking ground balls off a fungo and taking line drives from Ryan Howard,” he said. “That’s what I have to get used to.”

He used his first baseman’s glove from college which his grandfather had sent him earlier this year as well as a new Wilson A2000 model he was trying to break in. When Colvin did play the infield in college, he wasn’t the every day first baseman either. His best spot really is left field. That’s Alfonso Soriano’s space. Maybe Soriano could switch to first?

“Whoa,” Soriano said. “Never. I didn’t want to play second base and I played second base for five years.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/18 Lee to Braves

Derrek Lee was dealt to the Braves Wednesday for three Minor League pitchers, and will make his Atlanta debut on Friday — against the Cubs and Ryan Dempster.

“That’ll be weird — that’ll be really weird,” Lee said.

The Cubs acquire right-handers Robinson Lopez and Tyrelle Harris and lefty Jeffrey Lorick from the Braves, who get Lee and some cash. Lee was owed about $3 million the rest of this year.

“Atlanta is getting a class act,” Lou Piniella said of Lee, who played seven seasons with the Cubs, batting .298 with 179 home runs, 11th most in franchise history. “He’s going to be missed here.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/18 Future bright for Castro

Starlin Castro made a nice defensive play to end the first inning Wednesday, but he also made his 18th error on Tuesday night.

“Castro is 20 years old and he’s learning on the job at the big league level, which is not the easiest thing in the world,” Lou Piniella said Wednesday. “You’ve got to like the things this kid has done. He’s handled it well, he’s worked at it, and he’s very approachable. The kid is going to be a really good ballplayer. Just have some patience with him.”

Castro has 326 at-bats this season with the Cubs. He began the year with 886 at-bats in the Minors, and never played at the Triple-A level.

“I came to the big leagues and I had six full seasons in the Minor Leagues and 3,000 at-bats,” Piniella said. “That’s not the case here. Shortstop is a demanding position to play, and it’s probably the toughest place on the field to play. I think he’s handled it well. Has he made some rookie mistakes? Yes. Will he continue to make rookie mistakes? Probably so. But at the same time, let’s look at the whole picture and the whole picture is a pretty one.”

– Carrie Muskat
 

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