Results tagged ‘ Lou Piniella ’

8/18 Soto & Silva updates

Geovany Soto hit off a batting tee for the second day Wednesday and has yet to take batting practice but he is on schedule to be activated Sunday from the disabled list. Soto hit off the tee for the first time since going on the disabled list Aug. 7 with a sprained ligament in his right shoulder.

“I think as far as Geo’s concerned, he’s on track for Sunday, unless there’s a setback,” Lou Piniella said Wednesday.

* Pitcher Carlos Silva, hoping to return to the rotation after undergoing a procedure to correct an abnormal heart rate, threw 40 pitches on the side Wednesday. It was his second bullpen session since he had the cardiac ablation on Aug. 9. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was to meet with the medical staff to discuss the next step for Silva (10-5, 3.92 ERA), which most likely will include a Minor League rehab start.

— Carrie Muskat

8/18 Derrek Lee update

Derrek Lee may have changed his mind. Lee, who invoked his 10-and-5 rights and rejected a trade to the Angels in late July, was believed to be targeted by the Atlanta Braves, who are looking to upgrade their lineup.

The Braves were currently evaluating the first baseman’s health, sources told’s Mark Bowman. Lee had an epidural injection in his lower back on Monday to ease discomfort from a bulging disk. He was expected to be ready to play Thursday. The Cubs, coincidentally, open a three-game series against the Braves on Friday.

Lee declined to comment on the rumored deal prior to Wednesday’s Cubs’ game against the Padres. He has homered in three straight games for the sixth time in his career, and the first time since June 18-20 last season. He’s hitting .251 overall and has not blamed the back problems on his numbers this year, saying it’s tough sometimes to bend over but it doesn’t affect his hitting.
Lee has a full no-trade clause as well as the 10-and-5 rights. It was unknown whether he has said he would accept a trade to the Braves. With Troy Glaus struggling at the plate and experiencing leg discomfort recently, the Braves have been looking for a veteran first baseman who can hit in the middle of their lineup. This is the final year of Lee’s contract and he is still owed a little more than $3 million for the remainder of this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, Lou Piniella tried to downplay the rumors.

“There’s no reason to speculate,” Piniella said. “I wouldn’t put much credence in rumors until something happens.”

Hendry was not available for comment on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Looking to the future

Andrew Cashner and James Russell gave up two runs each in Monday’s 9-5 loss to the Padres.

“These young kids we have here pitching-wise, we give them the opportunity of a lifetime and none of them want to step up,” Lou Piniella said. “You can’t have better opportunities than what we’ve given these guys.”

There isn’t much margin for error.

“It’s just a learning experience,” catcher Koyie Hill said of the pair, two of five rookies in the Cubs bullpen. “They’re learning on the job a little bit and that’s tough. [The Padres] are good, real good.

“There’s not much wiggle room there,” Hill said. “To their credit, they keep their heads up and come back with confidence. Nobody’s given up on them, that’s for sure. I guarantee they’ll be good ones and better for it. We’re asking an awful lot of them.”

Hill is already working on 2011.

“One of my priorities this last month or so,” Hill said, “has been working with them more closely and talking more in the outfield and after games and before games and what things mean and what we’re trying to do. It’s just a matter of time. I think these guys have good ability. Sometimes you have to get drug through the mud a little bit.”

Take the Padres’ eighth inning, for example. Cashner, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2008, gave up a single to Chris Denorfia, a double to pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr., and got the next batter to ground out. But a run scored on a wild pitch and Miguel Tejada hit a RBI single to open a 7-2 lead.

Cashner, to his credit, struck out both Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Ludwick to end the inning.

“It’s definitely there,” Hill said of the ability. “The biggest difference between the Minor Leagues and big leagues is consistency and execution and that will come. It’s no different than with a young hitter who learns how to hit first and the power will come. I think all these experiences will be good for them in the long run.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Extra bases – updated

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, on the disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right shoulder, was to begin taking batting practice on Tuesday. Soto did some work Monday
with catching instructor Matt Sinatro. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday.

* Monday’s 9-5 loss to the Padres marked the 17th time the Cubs have given up nine or more runs this season. They’re 0-17 in those games. They also did that in 17 games in 2007 and went 1-16. In 2009, they did it 12 times (0-12) and 15 times in 2008 (3-12).

* Kosuke Fukudome went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. He’s totaled three hits in three games this year, but this was the first time since April 25 at Milwaukee. Monday was his 18th multi-hit game of the year. He had 36 in 2009 and 39 in 2008.

* Starlin Castro did not start Monday, a rare night off for the rookie shortstop. He did
some work with infield coach Alan Trammell prior to the game.

* They say it’s tough to evaluate players in September. What about August? “You can look at their stuff, you look at their composure, you look at their mound presence, you can look at how they respond if they get roughed up a little bit,” Lou PIniella said. “There are things you can look at, believe me, especially when you’re playing these teams in contention and they’re going after it. This is a whole lot different here than pitching in the Minor Leagues.”

* The Arizona Fall League was expected to announce players participating, and one of the Cubs’ candidates is outfielder Brett Jackson, the team’s No. 1 Draft pick in 2009.

* Piniella was asked about the antiquated conditions at Wrigley Field but he said that’s not the reason the team has struggled this season. One of the upgrades was a new kitchen in the clubhouse. “They had caviar in there,” Piniella said Monday. “I told Otis [Hellman, clubhouse manager], if we were in first, they’d have a chef from France.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/16 Derrek Lee update

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had an injection in the epidural of his lower back to ease discomfort from a bulging disk.

“It doesn’t bother me swinging, just moving around on defense and trying to run,” Lee said Monday. “It gets pretty tight.”

Lee has homered in three straight games for the sixth time in his career, and the first time since June 18-20 last season. However, he’s hitting .251 overall. He didn’t blame his back problems on his numbers this year, saying it’s tough sometimes to bend over but it doesn’t affect his hitting.

Lou Piniella had a little trouble explaining what was wrong prior to Monday’s game.

“Derrek has a minor ball disk,” Piniella said, then corrected himself. “Minor bulge disk. How about that? ‘Ball disk.’ I feel like a mechanic.”

Lee was expected to miss two to three days. The problem is on the right side of his lower back.

“He went to [athletic trainer Mark O’Neal] during the game [Sunday] and right away we took him out of the ballgame,” said Piniella, who removed Lee from the game on Sunday as a precautionary measure.

— Carrie Muskat

8/12 Good effort, bad execution

The Cubs may have lost Thursday’s game to the Giants in the ninth but the fifth inning was more costly. Aaron Rowand was safe on a throwing error by third baseman Jeff Baker and then stole second, sliding under a missed tag by Starlin Castro who dropped the ball.

“[Pat] Burrell was key for them in this series,” acting Cubs manager Alan Trammell said. “But you cannot give Major League teams extra out. Can’t make a play — can’t make two plays, to be honest.”

One out later, Randy Wells walked two batters to load the bases for Burrell’s grand slam, his 10th homer of the season. It’s the first time Wells has given up three homers in one game.

The problem wasn’t mechanical but mental.

“It’s just a bad game,” Wells said. “Poorly executed and no feeling sorry for yourself. Cut and dry, it’s pitiful.

“I can’t keep putting the team in a hole like that,” he said. “It’s not professional, it’s not acceptable. Just chalk it up to a bad day and move on.”

Trammell turns the Cubs back over to Lou Piniella on Friday when he joins the team in St. Louis to start a three-game series. Since Piniella’s been gone, the Cubs have traded Fontenot and added Micah Hoffpauir plus rookies Marcos Mateo, Welington Castillo and Darwin Barney this week. Barney is the 11th rookie on the 25-man roster and entered as a defensive sub in the ninth.

“I’ll be very glad to see [Piniella],” Trammell said. “He feels like we’re in good hands. Obviously, we haven’t done that well but I think he’s comfortable knowing we did our best and we did.

“The effort level is there,” he said, “but we have to clean some things up. It’s more than just talking — we’ve talked about it. Guys have to go out there and do it. For some reason, this year in particular, we’ve had more than our share of mistakes that have come back to cost us.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/12 Part-time job

Kosuke Fukudome batted third on Thursday for the first time this season. Acting manager Alan Trammell wanted to break up the lefties in the Cubs lineup against Matt Cain. Fukudome hit third last season in 32 games, and batted .259. The outfielder has lost his starting job to Tyler Colvin but entered the game riding a five-game hitting streak.

“I don’t think anybody wants to accept [a part time role] but he sees it and to his credit he goes about his business and he’s ready,” Trammell said. “I’m sure he’s not happy about it but he’s professional and he’s ready to go. I’m sure Lou [Piniella] is aware of that and how much playing time he gets from here on out, I can’t tell you. I do have him in there today. He’s earned that and we’ll see where it goes.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/12 No La Russa vs Cubs

Lou Piniella will be back on Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis but Tony La Russa will not be in the dugout for the first two games. Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson suspended La Russa and Reds manager Dusty Baker two games for their part in the brawl Tuesday in Cincinnati. The only other player suspended was Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who was given a seven-game suspension. St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter and Yadier Molina were fined as was the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and Russ Springer.

— Carrie Muskat

8/11 Hoffpauir backs Ryno

If Ryne Sandberg needs a reference as he pursues a big league managing job, he can call Micah Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir, who has played for Sandberg this season at Triple-A Iowa, said the Hall of Fame second baseman supported him when he struggled during the first two months.

“I like him,” Hoffpauir said. “I think he’s a great players’ manager, I think he knows the game. I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a great big league manager.

“He loves to be in the lockerroom and if the pitchers are out throwing, he’s out there talking, hanging out, seeing what they’re doing,” Hoffpauir said. “If we’re in the cage, he comes in. He’s always around, he’s always there. I think he’s going to be a good manager.”

Sandberg has gotten lots of media attention since Lou Piniella announced he was retiring at the end of this season. The Cubs will be looking for a new manager and Sandberg has made it clear he’d like the job.

“I think Ryno’s worried about one thing and that’s getting himself ready to be in the big leagues,” Hoffpauir said. “I was walking by the other day and a reporter asked him, ‘Do you want to manage in the big leagues?’ and he kind of giggled and said, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m doing this.’

“He’s there in Iowa trying to learn as quickly and as well as he can how to be a manager, how to handle a game,” Hoffpauir said. “I think he’s done a great job. He’s shown maturity from the standpoint of being behind his players. That’s one thing I absolutely love. He’s very quiet and soft spoken but if something happens, he’s got your back.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/8 Family matters

Lou Piniella was headed to Tampa, Fla., after Sunday’s game to be with his mother, who was hospitalized. Piniella had missed three games July 31-Aug. 2 to attend his uncle’s funeral in Tampa.

“I’ll be there for the time that’s needed,” Piniella said after Sunday’s loss to the Reds. “Hopefully, I can get her home quick and make some arrangements to make sure everything is good before I come back.”

Bench coach Alan Trammell will take over in Piniella’s absence.

— Carrie Muskat