Results tagged ‘ Luis Valbuena ’

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.

11/16 Extra bases – UPDATED

AFL Championship

The Mesa Solar Sox face the Surprise Saguaros on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League championship game. Cubs prospect Dallas Beeler is scheduled to start for Mesa, and Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora could be in the lineup. The game will be televised on MLB Network, starting at 2 p.m. CT. Bryant leads the AFL with six home runs and a 1.184 OPS.

“Anytime you play baseball, you want to be the last one on the field,” Bryant said. “A lot of us are swinging the bats well and our pitchers are throwing strikes. We’re pretty confident going into Saturday.”

Radio update

The Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) reports Ron Coomer is being considered as WGN Radio’s new color man. Coomer played for the Cubs in 2001 and has done TV work for the Twins. Coomer knows Chicago — he’s a graduate of Lockport High School and has a baseball academy in the south suburbs. WGN Radio is looking for someone to partner with play by play man Pat Hughes after Keith Moreland announced he was not coming back for the 2014 season.

Winter League

Arismendy Alcantara had two hits, including a RBI single in the fifth, in Licey’s 6-2 victory over Oriente in Dominican Winter League play. Junior Lake was 2-for-4 for Oriente.

Luis Valbuena had his second straight two-hit game for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela, which lost, 13-12, in 13 innings to La Guaira. Valbuena started at second base for the second consecutive game.

Roster moves

Infielder Walter Ibarra, who has been in the Yankees system since 2006, has signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs. Ibarra, 26, reached Triple-A level this season. He posted a .276/.308/.367 line combined at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s primarily played short and second.

The Cubs also have signed outfielder Aaron Cunningham, 27, to a Minor League contract. A sixth-round pick in 2005 by the White Sox, Cunningham has played 222 games over five seasons with the Athletics, Padres and Indians. He spent last season at Triple-A Round Rock, and posted a .247/.337/.401 line in 115 games there with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs.

The Cubs have signed free agent catcher Eli Whiteside, 34, to a Minor League contract, according to MLB.com transactions page. He spent most of last season with the Rangers’ Triple-A team, batting .187 in 67 games. He last appeared in the Majors with the Giants in 2012.

Also, infielder Jeudy Valdez, 24, has reportedly signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs, although he did not receive a Spring Training invite. He posted a .251/.300/.406 slash line in 125 games with San Antonio last season, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 49 runs with 16 steals.

Rick Renteria

Check out MLB.com’s Corey Brock’s story on Rick Renteria and how he was able to get the Cubs manager’s job wearing sweatpants. It’s on Cubs.com and a great read.

– Carrie Muskat

9/19 Cubs 5, Brewers 1

Jake Arrieta’s extended audition for the Cubs’ 2014 rotation went very well Thursday. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and Luis Valbuena and Brian Bogusevic each added solo shots to back Arrieta, who gave up three hits over seven innings in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Acquired from the Orioles in July in the Scott Feldman deal, Arrieta walked leadoff batter Norichika Aoki, then retired 11 straight before Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander retired the next seven batters he faced before Carlos Gomez spoiled the shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the seventh on an 0-1 pitch. Two outs later, Jeff Bianchi doubled for the third hit off Arrieta.

“Everything was working really really well,” Dale Sveum said of the outing by Arrieta. “He hung one cutter to Gomez, but other than that, there was weak contact. … That was a pretty impressive outing.”

This was Arrieta’s eighth start with the Cubs, and it was his longest outing since he threw seven shutout innings against the Cardinals on Aug. 16.

“He was throwing filthy stuff,” Gomez said of the right-hander. “The fastball was explosive, had good sink. He commanded the curve really good. He’s got good stuff. I don’t know why he was never more successful most of his career. This guy’s going to be good.”

The emphasis was on keeping the ball down and having command of his pitches.

“I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio] after the game, I feel like I just threw my pre-game ‘pen, and I could’ve gone another 100 pitches, that’s how good I felt today as far as controling the game and my effort,” Arrieta said.

The knock on the right-hander has been a lack of command but he not only showed he could control his cutter/slider and two-seam fastball but also had a good curveball.

“You have to get that [command] established as early as possible and not allow hitters to eliminate pitches and today they weren’t able to do that,” Arrieta said. “You saw a lot of below average swings and a lot of guys were just off balance and not able to anticipate what I was coming at them with. That’s one of the big things I have to do as a starter to try to pitch deep in the games is keep them off balance and get them to pitch to contact early.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/10 Monday: Cubs 2, Reds 0

Travis Wood scattered six hits over seven scoreless innings and Luis Valbuena and Ryan Sweeney each homered to lift the Cubs to a 2-0 victory over the Reds Monday in Cincinnati. Wood improved to 9-11, and finally beat his former team in his fifth start against the Reds. It was Sweeney’s sixth home run, which matches his single-season high, also set in 2009 with the Athletics. Valbuena’s blast was his career-high 11th, topping his previous best of 10 set in 2009 with the Indians. Kevin Gregg picked up his 31st save. Edwin Jackson faces lefty Tony Cingrani at Great American Ball Park in the second game of this three-game series.

9/1 Minor matters

Saturday’s games

Dave Sappelt had two hits and a stolen base and Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits, including a double, and two stolen bases in Iowa’s 7-2 loss to Nashville. Yoanner Negrin gave up two runs over 1 2/3 innings.

Nick Struck gave up three runs over five innings in Tennessee’s 4-3 win over Chattanooga. Javier Baez posted his 14th multi-hit game in August, hitting a two-run homer in the first. Baez finished the month batting .357 with 11 doubles, eight homers and 30 RBIs. Christian Villanueva also hit a first inning home run, a solo shot.

Daytona dropped a 5-1 loss to Brevard County. Wes Darvill had three hits, including a double, and one RBIs.

James Pugliese gave up five runs over three innings in Kane County’s 9-0 loss to Peoria. Ryan Sweeney was 1 for 4 and Luis Valbuena 1 for 3 with a walk in their rehab outings.

Hillsboro’s Kyle Schepel threw a nine inning no-hitter to beat Boise, 5-0. Dillon Maples took the loss, giving up two earned runs over five innings. Yasiel Balaguert was the only Boise player to draw a walk.

8/31 Extra bases

Scott Baker will make his final Minor League rehab start Monday for Class A Kane County. The right-hander, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, hopes his next outing will be with the Cubs. Baker’s rehab was interrupted by rain as weather in Florida while he was scheduled to pitch for Class A Daytona kept forcing games to be cancelled.

In his last outing for Kane County, he gave up one hit over five scoreless — and dry — innings.

“For me, it’s just about making pitches, and I feel like I’m making pitches,” Baker said Saturday. “Some of the arm speed is starting to come back. I know that takes time. Just being a realist, it’s a long time since I’ve pitched competitively. There’s only one way to gain the arm speed and that’s to pitch.”

His goal is still to pitch for the Cubs in the final month of regular season play.

“As long as I can make pitches, I think I can be competitive,” Baker said.

He knows how many pitches and innings he needs to convince the Cubs front office.

“I’m cutting it close for sure,” he said of the timing. “I feel if I can get to that six-inning, 90-pitch mark, then that puts me right in line to start a game at the Major League level. Of course, that decision is totally up to them. I really can’t complain one bit because things have been great, and they’ve taken good care of me and allowed me to take my time and made sure I’m just not healthy for the short term but for the long term.”

* Ryan Sweeney stopped by Wrigley Field to pick up his gear. He hopes to be back on Sunday for the rest of the season. Sweeney and Luis Valbuena were scheduled to make rehab outings Saturday night for Class A Kane County. If all goes well, Sweeney, who has been sidelined since June 30 because of a left rib fracture, could be added on Sunday when rosters expand.

“He’ll be back [Sunday],” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday of Sweeney. “It’ll be good to have him back.”

Valbuena, who has been out since Aug. 3, may need a little more time. Kane County’s season ends Monday. Sweeney was batting .295 when injured while Valbuena was hitting .225, but had hit nine home runs and driven in 31 runs.

The Cubs also may add a left-handed pitcher to the bullpen. James Russell has handled those duties by himself for the majority of the season.

* September will be a key month to evaluate the Cubs players.

“I think the last month is priceless for some guys, especially some guys who had a tough struggle or whatever,” Sveum said. “Other guys are being evaluated for next year. The adage of it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, it helps the winter a lot. You don’t want a bad September and then sit on that for the winter.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/30 Extra bases

Third baseman Luis Valbuena, outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitcher Rafael Dolis will join Class A Kane County to continue their rehab assignments, with Valbuena and Sweeney to be added to the Cubs’ when rosters expand on Sunday. Valbuena has been sidelined since Aug. 3 with a right oblique strain. He played in two games for the Cubs’ Rookie League team in Mesa, and was 5-for-7 with two doubles and a stolen base. Sweeney has been out since crashing into the outfield wall in Seattle June 29 and suffering a fractured left rib. In four games with the Rookie League team, he was 4-for-14 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Dale Sveum said Friday that Valbuena and Sweeney will likely be added once rosters expand on Sunday. The Cubs also were expected to add catcher J.C. Boscan and some pitchers from the Triple-A Iowa roster.

Sveum didn’t expect Valbuena to play every day once he returns.

“It’s nice to have left-handed bats when you can for matchups,” Sveum said. “As for playing every day, I don’t know. This last month will be evaluation for a lot of things.”

* Scott Baker, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was at Wrigley Field for a bullpen session, and will make one more rehab start for Class A Kane County on Monday. So far, Baker has made two starts for Class A Daytona, and five for Kane County. In his last outing on Wednesday, he retired the first 13 batters he faced, and gave up one hit over five innings.

“We’ll evaluate and see what we want to do the rest of the month,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Baker, who signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the team last November.

Kane County’s season ends on Monday.

* Five members of the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee team were named to the Southern League All-Star team on Friday. They include second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, third baseman Christian Villanueva, shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Matt Szczur and pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

– Carrie Muskat

8/4 Roster move – UPDATED

Luis Valbuena was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, and infielder Logan Watkins called up from Triple-A Iowa, where he was batting .243. Valbuena has a right oblique strain. Watkins has primarily played second base with Iowa. Watkins and Donnie Murphy were in the lineup Sunday, and will be the 47th and 48th players used by the Cubs this season. The club record is 53 set last year.

Also, infielder Daniel Lockhart was promoted from Boise to Triple-A Iowa. Lockhart was batting .309 with five doubles and 16 RBI in 44 games with Boise. He ranks second in the Northwest League in hits and fifth in batting. A 10th round pick in the 2011 Draft, Lockhart is the son of former Major League infielder and current Cubs’ area scout, Keith Lockhart.

7/11 Extra bases

Who’s the Cubs’ first half Most Valuable Player? Dale Sveum picked All-Star Travis Wood.

“To have basically every start a quality start but one, and that was iffy itself, he’s definitely our MVP,” Sveum said.

Wood will start Sunday night in the Cubs’ first half finale against the Cardinals. Sveum has talked to National League manager Bruce Bochy, and said it’s up to the Giants manager as to whether he uses Wood in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Citi Field.

“I’ll let Bochy know it’s OK with us if [Wood] pitches one inning or he wants him to get a left-hander out, whatever he wants to do with him,” Sveum said.

Wood leads the Major Leagues with 17 quality starts in his 18 games. This will be his first All-Star Game.

* Outfielder David DeJesus, on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, could increase his rehab and play in games in Arizona, starting Monday.

DeJesus, who injured his shoulder crashing into the outfield wall June 14 at Citi Field, was hitting off a batting tee on Thursday. Manager Dale Sveum said they will evaluate the outfielder on Sunday to see if he is able to swing at full speed, and if so, DeJesus would likely go to the team’s facility in Mesa, Ariz., for the All-Star break to play.

There is no timetable for DeJesus’ return.

“He’s really close,” Sveum said.

* Luis Valbuena moved from third base to left field for two innings on Wednesday. He’s played four games in the outfield in his career but Sveum felt Valbuena could handle it. Valbuena seems to be able to deal with anything.

“He’s been our most consistent player the last two years,” Sveum said. “The at-bats he has, to have good at-bats against left-handed pitching, like the hit he got off [Matt] Thornton the other night, he’s one of those consistent guys. You put him in the lineup and don’t have to worry about him doing anything stupid. He’s a consistent player.”

– Carrie Muskat

7/7 Extra bases

* Alfonso Soriano will likely have one more game as the designated hitter on Monday when the Cubs finish their crosstown Interleague series against the White Sox with a makeup game at U.S. Cellular Field. Soriano was batting .353 with three doubles, five homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.235 OPS in his last eight games since June 28. He pickedu up his 32nd career multi-homer game on Saturday, which is tied for eighth-most in baseball with Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones. Jim Thome is seventh on the list with 33 multi-homer efforts.

“The one thing you notice is he’s hitting the fastball,” Dale Sveum said of Soriano. “When you have the confidence when you’re hitting fastballs and you lay off hitting breaking balls, or whatever it might be, and the bat speed is there, and you feel that good, you start doing a lot of good things because you’re laying off a lot of bad pitches.”

Soriano, 37, is 8-for-17 (.471) in four games this year as the designated hitter with two home runs and six RBIs. He has a career .379 average in 26 games as the DH.

* Starlin Castro has scuffled this season at the plate, including a .167 June, and Sveum said they’ve shown their support by letting the shortstop play.

“Part of it is putting him in the lineup every day, that’s the confidence you have in guys like that,” Sveum said Sunday. “Just put him in there, and it’s up to him to come out of it and start swinging the bat and start playing better.”

Castro began this season with a career .297 average in the big leagues. A two-time All-Star, he entered Sunday’s game batting .234.

“I haven’t seen him hanging his head or losing his confidence,” Sveum said.

* Third baseman Luis Valbuena has played better than his stats.

“On a whole, from last year to this year, he’s been so consistent, even though you’re not seeing a .300 batting average,” Sveum said of Valbuena, who was batting .247. “The on-base percentage and the walks seem to always be there on a consistent basis and the defense he’s played has been as good as anybody at third base.”

* Javier Baez, the Cubs’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2011, made quite an impression in his Double-A Tennessee debut Saturday, hitting a home run in his first at-bat on his first swing.

“It’s always nice for anybody to go to another league and your first swing is a home run,” Sveum said. “This guy still has to develop. It’s not just home runs we’re talking about, it’s getting ready and getting completely developed to play at this level.”

Baez led the Florida State League with 17 home runs while at Class A Daytona before he was promoted.

Meanwhile, Albert Almora, the Cubs’ 2012 top Draft pick had to leave Saturday’s game with Class A Kane County because of hemorrhoids. Almora was listed as day to day.

– Carrie Muskat

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