Results tagged ‘ Mark Riggins ’

9/27 Cashner begins next phase in AFL

The Cubs’ season may end on Wednesday but Andrew Cashner will begin the second phase of his 2011 season next week when he joins the Arizona Fall League as a reliever. Cashner has been sidelined most of the year because of a strained right rotator cuff, felt after his first start April 5. He has been limited to a relief role since coming off the disabled list Sept. 5.

The plan in the AFL, which gets underway Oct. 4, is for Cashner to continue to pitch in relief. He will be limited as far as his pitch count but also may throw up to two innings per outing, Cubs pitching coach Mark Riggins said Tuesday. Can Cashner start again?

“I think he can,” Riggins said. “If he does start, we have to watch the number of innings. Medically, there is a certain amount of innings that you can jump up to before you run into some danger with stress on the arm so you kind of have to build up from year to year the number of innings.”

Where Cashner fits in the Cubs’ pitching plans in 2012 is still to be determined. He has a 1.86 ERA in six games. Maybe he’s better suited to pitching in relief? Maybe he could be the closer some day?

“Eventually, he could be,” Riggins said. “He has the ability for that plus his stuff, his composure on the mound, he throws strikes, he has command of three pitches. It’s not out of the question that he could do that at some point in his career. The thing about a closer is they don’t step in there and be a closer right away. It’s an earned spot on a staff. That’s in the future for us.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/16 Extra bases

Carlos Marmol had a short throwing session with pitching coach Mark Riggins and will throw on the side Sunday as he tries to get his slider back. The problem is his grip — he’s been throwing with his hand on the side, not on top of the ball, Riggins said. It’s a minor adjustment.

“The timetable is open ended,” Mike Quade said. “That will depend on what they see as far as quality of pitches go and everything else.”

* Chris Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster for Carlos Zambrano, activated from the DL on Saturday so he could start. Carpenter could use some regular work. He hasn’t pitched since July 10. With the move, Ramon Ortiz is now in the bullpen and will be used in long relief.

* For the second straight game, Quade didn’t change his lineup. That’s unusual.

“I’ve got to be honest, I looked at the four right-handers coming into this series, and I thought how nice is this going to be,” Quade said. “I can just show up and write it down and post it and not have to think for two hours about where I’m going with this.”

* In his second game with Triple-A Iowa, Brett Jackson went 2-for-5 with a double and a triple and stole a base. Jackson, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2009, was promoted from Double-A Tennessee after the All-Star break. Ryan Flaherty, also promoted from Tennessee, hit his first homer for the Iowa Cubs on Friday.

* Ryan Dempster’s foundation will host its second Casino Night on Thursday at the Palmer House in Chicago. There are still openings for the event, which will feature a silent auction of unique items and trips. Go to for more info.

* Zambrano delivered 175 pairs of shoes and 200 shirts to an orphanage in Guatemala during the All-Star break. “Everytime I go there, I realize how fortunate we are,” said Frank Alvarez, director of Zambrano’s foundation.

— Carrie Muskat

12/6 Cubs to name Riggins pitching coach

The Cubs were expected to name Mark Riggins as their pitching coach on Monday. The 2010 season was Riggins’ second as the Minor League pitching coordinator. He handled the same duties with the Cardinals for 12 seasons from 1996-2007, spending a total of 29 seasons in the St. Louis organization.

Riggins does have some big league time, having served as the Cardinals’ pitching coach under Joe Torre and Mike Jorgensen in 1995. He began his playing career in 1979 in the Cardinals organization after signing out of Murray State. Riggins, 53, pitched five Minor League seasons.

He will replace Larry Rothschild, who signed a three-year contract with the Yankees. Rothschild was the longest tenured coach on the staff, having handled the pitchers for nine seasons.

— Carrie Muskat

11/20 Pitching coach candidates

The Cubs are expected to promote someone from within the organization as their next pitching coach to replace Larry Rothschild, who announced on Friday he is joining the Yankees. Here are some of the top candidates:

* Mark Riggins: The 2010 season was Riggins’ third as the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator. He handled the same duties with the Cardinals for 12 seasons and spent 29 seasons in the St. Louis organization.

* Lester Strode: This past season was Strode’s 22nd with the Cubs and fourth at the Major League level. He has been the Cubs’ bullpen coach for the last four seasons. Prior to that, he was the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator from 1996-2006. He pitched in the Minors from 1980-88 with the Royals, Orioles, Cardinals and Cubs.

* Dennis Lewallyn: The 2010 season was “Lew’s” fourth as Double-A Tennessee’s pitching coach. He spent 11 seasons in the Diamondbacks’ system before joining the Cubs, and was Arizona’s Minor League pitching coordinator from 2002-06. As a player, he made his Major League debut in 1975 with the Dodgers and played eight seasons, including stints with the Rangers and Indians.

* Mike Mason: Mason pitched for the Cubs in 1987. The 2010 season was his third as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach, and his 18th year in coaching. He was the Royals’ Minor League pitching coordinator in 2007 after handing the roving pitching coordinator duties from 2004-06. He’s also worked in the Phillies’ Minor League system.

— Carrie Muskat

9/24 Archer throws at Wrigley

Chris Archer, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year, had a chance to get a bullpen session in at Wrigley Field on Friday. Archer and outfielder Brandon Guyer, named the organization’s player of the year, were to be honored Saturday prior to the Cubs’ game against the Cardinals.

Archer, 21, combined to go 15-3 with a 2.34 ERA (37 earned runs in 142 1/3 innings) in 28 games between Class A Daytona and Tennessee. He struck out 149 in 142 1/3 innings and walked 65. He credited Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins with helping him get on track.

“Some things fell in place and I started to feel a lot more comfortable,” said Archer, who improved command of his fastball. “Everybody has told me once you start throwing strikes, you’re going to move fast and be successful and that’s what’s happening.”

Originally selected by the Indians in the fifth round of the 2006 Draft, Archer was acquired along with pitchers Jeff Stevens and John Gaub in the December 2006 trade for infielder Mark DeRosa. He knows how popular DeRosa was in Chicago.

“I let it motivate me because I wanted to prove to the fans and show they made a good decision,” he said.

Archer will pitch for the U.S. team in the Pan American Qualifying Team tournament in Puerto Rico, which begins next week.

— Carrie Muskat

3/28 Parisi decides Cubs best fit

Mike Parisi was a free agent for 24 hours, and decided he wanted to stay with the Cubs. The Cubs acquired the right-hander in the Rule 5 Draft last December but didn’t have a spot for him on the 25-man roster. It gets a little technical, but he was placed on waivers, and cleared. Then, he was outrighted. The Cardinals had the chance to accept Parisi back but he would’ve been assigned to their Triple-A Memphis team. Parisi said no. Because it was the second time he was outrighted, he became a free agent and chose the Cubs.

This was not a typical situation for Rule 5 players, but most have never been on a team’s 40-man roster before. Parisi had with St. Louis.

“I feel like if I work hard here and put up some good numbers and a spot comes up, I feel hopefully I have a shot here,” Parisi said Sunday. “That seems the right move for me right now. Being a free agent, for the first time ever being a free agent, I had to learn the rules. If I pitch well here, I can pitch well in Triple-A. I’ve been [with the Cardinals] for a couple years so I know what to expect. I hope I go down there and pitch well and get my shot here.”

One of the reasons Parisi wanted to stay was his relationship with Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins, who was in the St. Louis organization when Parisi was drafted. He will go to Triple-A Iowa, where he’ll be a starter. He’s also learning from the Cubs veterans.

“Just look at the amount of work they put in and the amount of fun they have doing it,” Parisi said. “That’s another reason I wanted to stay. I feel real comfortable here. I’ve only been here a month or so but I feel comfortable. It’s a fun atmosphere. That definitely goes into the equation. I love to play baseball and I love to have fun playing baseball.

“I feel if I pitch well here, I will have an opportunity so that’s where we are,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

12/17 Minor matters

The Cubs named their Minor League coaching staffs on Thursday. Ryne Sandberg was promoted to Triple-A Iowa, Bill Dancy takes over at Double-A Tennessee, and former big league catcher Jody Davis returns to managing in Boise where he’ll be joined by Jeff Fassero.

Sandberg, the Hall of Fame second baseman who led Tennessee to the Southern League championship in 2009, was moved up when Iowa manager Bobby Dickerson left to join the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. Sandberg will be joined at Iowa by pitching coach Mike Mason and hitting coach Von Joshua.

Dancy joins the Cubs after spending the past 30 years within the Philadelphia Phillies (1978-2009) and Kansas City Royals (2009) organizations. In 2005-06, he was the Phillies’ third base coach. Dennis Lewallyn will join Dancy as the Smokies pitching coach and Tom Beyers as the hitting coach.

Davis, who managed Peoria and Daytona, spent the 2009 season as the Cubs’ Minor League catching instructor and returns to the dugout for Class A Boise. Ricardo Medina, who previously coached with the Dominican Summer League, will serve as Boise’s hitting coach.

Davis, who was the Cubs catcher from 1981-1988, will be joined by former big league pitcher Fassero, who helped with the Cubs this summer in Mesa. Being retired was nice but the left-hander wanted to do more.

“I played golf,” Fassero told me in October, “but you can only do that for so long.”

Dave Bialas and Mark Riggins both return to the Cubs in 2010 as the Minor League field coordinator and pitching coordinator, respectively. So does ex-Cub Bobby Dernier, back as the outfield and baserunning coordinator. Infield coordinator Franklin Font and hitting coordinator Dave Keller also return. Carmelo Martinez enters his 13th season with the Cubs, and third as Latin American field coordinator, and Marty Pevey takes over as catching coordinator.

Buddy Bailey, who has been with the Cubs since 2006, will return to Class A Daytona and be joined by pitching coach Tom Pratt and former big league outfielder Richie Zisk. Casey Kopitzke, who managed at Class A Boise in 2009, will move up to Peoria in 2010. David Rosario and Barbaro Garbey will join Kopitzke as the pitching and hitting coaches, respectively.

Juan Cabreja will be the Rookie League Mesa manager for the second straight year and Rick Tronerud returns to handle pitching coach duties for the 10th consecutive season. Desi Wilson joins the staff as the hitting coach after handling those duties for Peoria last year.

— Carrie Muskat

9/2 Fassero coaching Cubs pitchers

Former big league pitcher Jeff Fassero is a pitching coach in the Cubs’ Minor League organization. Fassero, who pitched for the Cubs in 2001-02, has known Minor League pitching coordinator Mark Riggins since 1984. That’s the year the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Fassero. Riggins was a coach in the Cardinals system at that time. Fassero last pitched in 2006 with the Giants. “He loves working,” Riggins said of the lefty, who will help the Cubs pitchers during instructional league workouts in Mesa in October.

— Carrie Muskat