Results tagged ‘ Luis Valbuena ’

12/9 Extra bases

* Besides looking for bullpen help and another starting pitcher, the Cubs are searching for players who will be good role models for the current youngsters on the roster.

“I think people forget how young guys like [Anthony] Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro are,” GM Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Winter Meetings. “They need some positive examples.”

The Cubs are hoping new first base coach Eric Hinske can fill that role as well.

“He did a great job as a bench player and being a team leader,” Hoyer said of Hinske, who played last season for the Diamondbacks. “It was always about having different influences on the coaching staff for our players. You want to have different avenues. [Players] might gravitate toward the guy who has been teaching for a long time, or they might gravitate toward the guy who just came off the field.”

* Luis Valbuena, who led the Cubs with 94 starts at third base last season, has been playing strictly second base in the Venezuelan Winter League. That’s by design.

“We want him to be versatile and he is versatile,” Hoyer said. “[Darwin] Barney can play shortstop, Valbuena can play some shortstop, Donnie Murphy can play some shortstop. We have a really versatile infield and that’s a great thing. We may not have to carry a standard utility guy and can mix and match in different ways.”

Speaking of Barney, Hoyer said he expects the second baseman to have a much better season than he did in 2013.

“It’s a big year for him, no matter what,” Hoyer said of Barney, who batted .208 this season. “He had a down year offensively and he’d be the first person to say that. I don’t think it has anything to do with competition among young players. He wants to bounce back and get back to where he was.

“With him, mechanically and approach-wise, he got caught with some things last year,” Hoyer said. “A lot of things with him isn’t the hard work or the swing, it’s the approach.”

The team does have a promising second baseman in Arismendy Alcantara, ranked No. 8 among MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs prospects, but he will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, Hoyer said.

* Andy MacPhail, who was the Cubs’ president and CEO from 1994-2006, including a two-year stint as the general manager (2000-01), is keeping an eye on how the current Chicago front office is trying to rebuild the organization.

“They have to do it the way they’re comfortable with and the way they think most guarantees their success, and I know that’s what that group is doing,” MacPhail said Monday at the Winter Meetings.

“I have a lot of confidence in that group that they’re going to do it the way they think will most assuredly get them the end goal because that’s the prize, winning the whole thing,” MacPhail said. “We got close [in 2003]. You ultimately aren’t successful until you at least get to the World Series.”

* Outfielder Ryan Sweeney hoped to begin work this week with Hall of Famer Rod Carew. The two worked together last season, and Sweeney said he benefitted from the sessions. Sweeney batted .266 in 70 games with the Cubs, and signed a two-year contract extension on Oct. 8.

* New manager Rick Renteria will get together with his coaches in Mesa, Ariz., this weekend to get a tour of the new facility and start preparations for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13.

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, recently completed his studies at Dartmouth and graduated with a major in economics. Hendricks was a combined 13-4 with 2.00 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

* Junior Lake is done playing in the Dominican Republic winter league, and those who saw him raved about his outfield play.

– Carrie Muskat

12/6 Winter ball update

* Luis Valbuena 2-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs in Lara’s 10-5 win over Margarita in Venezuela. Valbuena, who has been playing second base, was batting .284.

* Darnell McDonald, who recently signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs, is playing for Yaquis de Obregon in Mexico, and was 1-for-4 on Thursday in a 6-3 win over Guasave. In three games, he’s 2-for-10 with one RBI.

12/2 Winter ball updates

Sunday’s games

Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4 with one RBIs for Lara de Cardenales in Venezuela. Valbuena was batting .270 with two home runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs.

Winter ball statistics:

Junior Lake: .360/.404/.465 in 22 games with three doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs, six stolen bases.

Arismendy Alcantara: .200/.231/.280 in 17 games with one double, one home run, four RBIs, two stolen bases.

Rubi Silva: .372/.413/.465 in 11 games with four doubles, six RBIs.

Luis Valbuena: .270/.352/.413 in 16 games with three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs, one stolen base.

Christian Villanueva: .244/320/.411 in 28 games with six doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, one stolen base.

Pitchers

Marcos Mateo: 3-0, 1.04 ERA, 15 games, seven saves, 17 1/3 innings.

Marcus Hatley: 1-3, 3.94 ERA, 17 games, six saves, 16 innings.

Hector Rondon: 2-0, 2.38 ERA, 12 games, 11 1/3 innings.

11/26 Winter league updates

* On Sunday, Luis Valbuena hit a three-run home run in the ninth to secure an 8-3 win for Lara over Magallanes in Venezuela. Valbuena was batting .275, and this was his second home run of the winter league season.

* On Monday, Junior Lake was 2-for-4 with a RBI double in the ninth in Estrellas’ 7-2 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican Republic. Lake was batting .361.

* Rubi Silva was 3-for-4 with a RBI double in the fifth Monday for Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico. The outfielder, who batted .284 with 30 doubles, nine triples and 15 home runs for Double-A Tennessee last season, was batting .385 this winter.

11/24 Winter ball update

Saturday’s games

* Hector Rondon struck out two, walked two and gave up one hit in one scoreless inning in relief for Leones del Caracas in Venezuela. So far, the right-hander has given up four runs on 12 hits over 9 1/3 innings in 10 games.

The Cubs also have reportedly signed outfielder Casper Wells to a Minor League contract, and he was currently playing for Leones. In 19 games, the right-handed hitting Wells was batting .178 with one home run.

* Luis Valbuena drew a walk and scored a run for Lara de Cardenales in Venezuela. He was batting .278 in nine games.

* Right-hander Marcus Hatley had a rough outing for Culiacan. He entered the game in the ninth and walked the first Mexicali batter he faced, then made a throwing error. The next batter smacked a RBI single to tie the game, and one out later, Hatley served up another RBI single. He escaped without further damage but took the loss. It was only the third time in the last 10 games teams have scored on Hatley. The right-hander has a 3.00 ERA in 16 games, giving up five earned runs on 15 hits and six wlaks over 15 innings.

11/23 Winter league update

Friday’s games

* Luis Valbuena was 1-for-3, hitting his first home run of the offseason, but it wasn’t enough as Lara lost 10-4 to Aragua in Venezuela. Valbuena is batting .303 this offseason, and has played strictly at second base.

* Junior Lake was 1-for-3 with one RBI in Estrellas’ 5-2 loss to Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Lake, who started in center, was batting .344.

11/21 Winter League updates

* Luis Valbuena went 2-for-3, scored two runs and drove in another in Lara’s 7-2 victory over Zulia in Venezuela. Valbuena, who has only played second base, is now batting .346.

* Junior Lake hit a double and drove in two runs in Estrellas’ 4-2 win over Licey in the Dominican Republic.

* Christian Villanueva had one hit and one RBIs in Obregon’s 10-3 loss to Los Mochis in Mexico.

11/20 Winter league update

* Junior Lake had three hits in Licey’s 3-2, 13-inning win over Estrellas in the Dominican Republic. The two teams used 23 pitchers combined.

* Luis Valbuena drove in the go-ahead run with a one-out RBI single in the eighth to lift Lara to a 5-4 victory over Aragua in Venezuelan Winter League play. Valbuena, who has started at second base every game, is batting .304.

11/18 Winter league play

Sunday’s games

* Luis Valbuena went 2-for-5 in Lara’s 9-8 loss to Caracas in Venezuelan winter league play. Valbuena started his fourth straight game at second base.

* Christian Villanueva was 1-for-2 in Obregon’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to Hermosillo in Mexican winter league play. Villanueva is batting .256.

11/17 Saturday’s winter league games

* Daniel Bard continued to struggle in Winter League play. He walked five and gave up three runs on Saturday in his third appearance for Criollos de Caguas in Puerto Rico. The right-hander started the seventh, and walked the first two batters he faced, then threw a wild pitch, then walked another to load the bases. One run scored on a wild pitch, and then another run scored on another wild pitch. Bard walked two more batters before he was lifted.

In three relief appearances in Puerto Rico so far, Bard has given up seven earned runs on nine walks and four wild pitches, has hit three batters, and has yet to give up a hit. He’s retired one of the 13 batters faced over three outings.

* Luis Valbuena made his third straight start at second base on Saturday for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela, and for the first time, was hitless.

* Junior Lake was 1-for-4, scored a run and stole two bases in Estrellas’ 6-4 loss to Toros in the Dominican Republic.

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