Results tagged ‘ Marlon Byrd ’

2/24 Sveum: “We’re here to try to win the World Series”

In his first address to the full squad, manager Dale Sveum repeated his message that this is not a rebuilding year for the Cubs but the goal is to win it all.

Sveum was one of the speakers before Friday’s first full squad workout at Fitch Park. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, plus Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, and general manager Jed Hoyer also talked to the players.

“I just let them know that, look, you’ve got a veteran catcher behind the plate, a guy who won the MVP in Triple-A playing first, a guy who did a nice job — [Darwin] Barney — at second base,” Sveum said. “[We’ve got] a guy who had over 300 hits in his first two years in the big leagues [at short], a guy who hit 20 something plus home runs a couple years ago in Colorado at third, an All-Star in center field, a guy with 340 home runs in left field and a really nice leadoff-type professional player playing right field.

“[Plus] obviously the pitching staff with [Ryan Dempster], [Matt] Garza, [Paul] Maholm, [Randy] Wells, [Travis] Wood and you go on and on with the bullpen and [Carlos] Marmol and [Kerry] Wood and [Jeff] Samardzija,” Sveum said. “I just let them know that’s a team that can compete and do really well. We’re not here to rebuild, we’re here to try to win the World Series this year.”

If you aren’t familiar with the Cubs’ roster yet, the catcher is Geovany Soto, the first baseman is Bryan LaHair, the shortstop is Starlin Castro, the third baseman is Ian Stewart, the center fielder is Marlon Byrd, the left fielder is Alfonso Soriano, and David DeJesus is in right.

— Carrie Muskat

2/18 Byrd: “There’s a good feeling here”

The Cubs head into the season as underdogs in the NL Central. That’s OK with Marlon Byrd.

“Everyone’s counting us out so I’m sure they’ll have us down with the Astros, Pirates, whoever,” Byrd said Saturday. “That’s fine with us.”

He pointed out that the Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out and ended up winning a World Series. One aspect of the team that is suspect is the pitching. There’s a lot of new faces.

“We got a lot of guys who can throw it,” Byrd said. “With [Travis] Wood and [Chris] Volstad, those guys, you have guys you’ve faced and you’ve seen the talent they have and you’ve seen what they can do. You hope the change of scenery really helps them big time. At the same time, we have competition. We have a lot of guys here — Andy Sonnanstine, Rodrigo Lopez — to push guys. It’ll be fun and nice to watch those guys compete and develop at the same time.”

Byrd has been in Mesa, Ariz., for a few weeks. Has he had a chance to lobby with manager Dale Sveum for his preferred spot in the lineup? Not yet, he said. Byrd and Sveum have talked about hitting, situational baseball and playing the game right. Where does he want to hit?

“Put me in the lineup, that’s it,” Byrd said. “I’m going to dictate where I am by the way I’m hitting. I started in the three hole and ended up in the six, seven hole. I showed I wasn’t hitting. If I’m hitting, they’ll put me where I need to be.”

This is the last year of Byrd’s contract with the Cubs. He’d like to stay.

“I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said. “I came to Chicago for a reason and that’s to help them win and I haven’t done that yet. I have a lot to accomplish here. I just have to go out there and do what I can to help this team win. if they want me here, I’m definitely going to be here.”

So far, the tone in camp is good.

“There’s a different feeling around here, and it’s a good feeling,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/18 A man of few words

Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd not only lost 20 pounds this offseason but also gained a new tattoo. He now has part of Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” speech from 1910 on his right arm. It’s something his wife gives him every year before the season starts. Here’s an excerpt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

— Carrie Muskat  

1/9 Future free agents

To those of you wondering who will be free agents after the 2012 season, MLB Trade Rumors put together a list to consider:

Pitchers: Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Chris Iannetta, Russell Martin, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski, Yorvit Torrealba

First base: Lance Berkman, Aubrey Huff, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Lee, James Loney.

Second base: Kelly Johnson, Maicer Izturis, Freddy Sanchez. Also possible FA: Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler and Brandon Phillips (if Phillips doesn’t sign extension and Cano and Kinsler’s options aren’t picked up)

Shortstops: Erick Aybar, Stephen Drew, Marco Scutaro, Alex Gonzalez.

Third basemen: David right, Scott Rolen, Placido Polanco.

Outfielders: Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, Melky Cabrera, Marlon Byrd, Grady Sizemore, Angel Pagan, Andre Ethier, Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher.

— Carrie Muskat

9/17 Q on lineup: “I’m mixing and matching”

Marlon Byrd got Saturday off and Mike Quade said he’s “99 percent sure” he’ll give Aramis Ramirez Sunday off. But Quade is keeping the veterans in the lineup as the season winds down.

“I’m mixing and matching,” Quade said Saturday. “They deserve an opportunity — they don’t deserve to be shelved. I don’t think we’ll be successful in a lot of areas if I shelve all thoseguys.”

DJ LeMahieu will likely start at third if Ramirez sits. Carlos Pena is getting at-bats as he aims for 30 homers. He’s reached that figure in three of the last four years, missing last season with the Rays when he hit 28.

“You got a guy driving toward 30 home runs who has been a huge part of this ballclub both on the field and off the field — we need him in the lineup to win ballgames and he’s been a big part of that this year,” Quade said of Pena.

The first baseman is hitting .278 with 14 doubles, two triples and eight homers i his last 39 games since Aug. 3.

Said Pena: “It’s kind of cool that he’s looking out for me. I respect that — that’s awesome.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Hide and seek

It’s tough to hit what you can’t see, and the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner was able to hide the ball well from the Cubs, who mustered two hits in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday. Bumgarner matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts over eight innings and Jeff Keppinger and Pablo Sandoval hit back to back homers to lift the Giants to victory and avoid a sweep. It’s the Cubs’ fewest hits since they totaled two on Sept. 21, 2010, also against the Giants in a 1-0 loss.

The only Chicago hits were a single by Starlin Castro with two outs in the third and a leadoff single by Marlon Byrd in the fifth.

“He hid the ball very good,” Alfonso Soriano said of Bumgarner, “but at the same time, when you see the ball come out of his hands, you don’t know [what it is] because you can’t see the rotation of the ball and it’s hard to hit like that. He’s good, but he got a lot of help because it was bright, too.

“It wasn’t only me but everybody,” Soriano said. “It was weird at home plate.”

Soriano did draw a walk in his first at-bat in the second, grounded out in the fourth, and struck out to end the seventh.

“My first at-bat, I said, ‘Oh my God, thank God he didn’t throw me anything close,'” Soriano said. “I saw the ball and when it came close, it disappeared. My second at-bat, I wanted to swing at the first pitch. I didn’t know if it was a fastball, breaking ball. I couldn’t see.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/24 Cubs lineup

Marlon Byrd in not in the Cubs lineup on Wednesday as they face the red hot Braves in the third game of this four-game series. Byrd is 3-for-20 on the homestand and scuffling with men on base. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

2B Barney

3B Ramirez

1B Pena

RF Colvin

LF Soriano

CF Campana

C Soto

P Wells

— Carrie Muskat

8/7 Looking on the bright side

There were plenty of positives in Sunday’s game, despite the final outcome. How about Tony Campana’s slide into second base in the seventh inning to break up a potential double play? Or Starlin Castro extending his hitting streak to eight games with his home run, a shot to straightaway center in the third? Or the fact that Marlon Byrd came through with runners on after a tough day Saturday when he stranded seven?

The Cubs’ win streak was snapped at seven after an 8-7 loss to the Reds but they aren’t done fighting.

“When you’re facing Cincinnati or the Pirates or the Cardinals, we want to win,” Byrd said. “We owe it to this division to keep playing hard. We’ll keep battling. I don’t know what our record will be at the end of the season. Whether we get to .500 or not doesn’t matter. Playing good baseball is what we should be trying to do.”

The Cubs did take two out of three against the Reds, and now have won back to back series for the first time since Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2010, when they won consecutive series against the Padres and Astros.

— Carrie Muskat


8/7 Colvin, Campy & Byrd

Tyler Colvin may play first base sometime this season after all. Colvin has been taking grounders there and Mike Quade said he may insert him into the lineup there before the season ends. Colvin played first base in college but has been used primarily as an outfielder with the Cubs. He did workout at first in Spring Training. Right now, Jeff Baker is the primary backup at first for Carlos Pena.

* Tony Campana, who notched his first big league home run Friday with an inside the park dash, started in left field on Sunday to give Alfonso Soriano a breather.

“I’ll pick my spots for him,” Quade said of Campana, who was 2-for-3 against Arroyo earlier this season. Soriano is 8-for-42 with one home run off the Reds’ starter.

* The Cubs have been waiting for a hot streak like the one they had entering Sunday’s game. The seven-game steak heading into Sunday’s game was the longest since a seven-game stretch Aug. 23-29, 2008. Does the Cubs don’t need to make many roster changes next year?

“It’s way too early for me to concern myself [with that] — and I dodge that

all the time,” Quade said.

“There’s plenty of reason to be excited but you still want to put together more than a seven-game streak,” he said. “You want five or six months of good baseball. I couldn’t be happier with what I’m seeing now and how guys are playing.”

* The Cubs totaled 11 runs on Saturday against the Reds, pounding 13 hits, and delivered in the clutch, going 5-for-16. But Marlon Byrd had a tough day. He was 0-for-5 and ended four innings, stranding seven in the game. For the season, he’s batting .207 with runners in scoring position and .200 with RISP with two outs. He has 20 RBIs in 74 games.

“That’s something he’s working like heck to improve on,” Quade said. “He’s getting his hits. People picked him up [Saturday]. He got a couple huge RBIs in Pittsburgh in those same situations. It hasn’t been what he’d like but nobody is working harder to contribute in those situations. Yesterday was a tough day and it surprised me because he’s really had great at-bats against [Johnny] Cueto, but guys make adjustments.

“No one gets it done all the time and he’s working to get better.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/30 Rebuild? Retool? Reboot?

Are the Cubs in rebuilding mode? Yes and no.

“There are certain people who won’t be back and there are a whole lot of people we should be happy with — young players, two kids in the middle,” GM Jim Hendry said Friday. “We’re hoping [Tyler] Colvin gets back to where he was. Marlon [Byrd’s] been a fine player here and he has another year on his contract.

“You have a bullpen of a lot of guys coming back who are very good,” he said. “Everybody should be encouraged by the year Jeff Samardzija has had and where he’s going and the year James Russell has had since moving back into the bullpen. Sean Marshall will be here, [Carlos] Marmol will be here.

“You always need some kind of rebuilding when you’re in fifth place but you certainly don’t look at it like, ‘Oh, we’re not going to compete.’ When somebody says, ‘Blow the place up and start over and do it right,’ well, OK, does that mean we should get rid of the people who are really young and real good? I’ve said this a hundred times, wasn’t Pittsburgh 20 games under a year ago, and Cleveland? All you need is for your young people to get better and make the right moves, and why couldn’t we be right back in it?”

The Cubs did fall to 22 games under .500 after Friday’s 9-2 loss to the Cardinals.

“We’re having a bad year, and there’s no way around it, no excuses for it,” Hendry said. “Nobody picked us to be in the first three this year but we felt by now, we’d be at .500. [If we were .500] a week ago, it would’ve got you two or three back. We didn’t do our part. Excuses or no excuses, injuries or not injuries, we haven’t played to the level we should have.”

At the start of this road trip vs. NL Central teams, Mike Quade said he felt the Cubs still had a chance to get back in the race.

“I respect his optimism,” Hendry said. “There are a lot of teams above you. You don’t want Mike hanging his head and saying, ‘We can’t do something, we can’t do this.’ I’m sure in his heart he believes we can have a good couple months like he had last year at the end and hopefully we will. You’ve got a lot of people in front of you [in the standings] and you’re a lot of games behind. I wouldn’t want him to say, ‘Hey, we’re all done and let’s get the guys ready for next year.'”

— Carrie Muskat