Results tagged ‘ Mike Fontenot ’

4/11 Lineup & Theriot

Ryan Theriot was in the Cubs’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Reds but he has a tight right calf and may be scratched. If so, Mike Fontenot will start at shortstop and Jeff Baker at second base. Theriot hurt his leg stealing second base Saturday.

Here’s the lineup:

SS Theriot

RF Fukudome

1B Lee

3B Ramirez

CF Byrd

LF Soriano

2B Fontenot

C Soto

P Gorzelanny

— Carrie Muskat

4/10 Funky Monkey Baby

An unwritten rule in the clubhouse is that the starting pitcher picks the pregame music. Carlos Zambrano decided Saturday to expand his song list and let outfielder Kosuke Fukudome hook up his iPod and play Funky Monkey Baby, a popular Japanese band that combines hip-hop, pop and rock together.

“The country guys play country music, the Latin guys play Latin music — Kosuke’s on the team so he should be able to play his music,” Zambrano said.

Judging by their reaction, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot and Marlon Byrd probably won’t rush out and download Funky Monkey Baby’s new greatest hits album, released in February. This was definitely not like Stoney LaRue, one of Randy Wells’ favorites. But Fukudome was singing along to the tunes.

The mood changed when Zambrano switched to Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra — Geovany Soto knew the words to his songs — and then to the Mexican band, Mana.

“What kind of music is this?” Byrd asked Zambrano about Mana.

“Soft rock,” Big Z said.

OK, soft Latin rock. Byrd recognized that it was Mexican.

“That’s from my Esteban Loaiza, Luis Ayala, Vinny Castilla days,” Byrd said. “As long as it gets Zambrano right, it’s OK.”

What does Byrd prefer?

“When I go in the weight room, I go in there by myself and I’m blasting my hip-hop,” Byrd said. “In the offseason, I’m more heavy metal when it comes to music — anything from ‘Slipknot’ to ‘Metallica,’ it doesn’t really matter. Anything that makes me go crazy and want to go to the gym.”

You can sing along if you want.

— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Trammell checks out the infield

Alan Trammell was the acting manager on Thursday in Tucson and was the perfect person to give an assessment of the Cubs’ infielders. Trammell says Mike Fontenot has come a long way. The Cubs have had Fontenot play shortstop to see if he can handle that in a pinch.

“I’m confident to say he can do it,” Trammell said.

The Cubs want to find someone who can give Theriot a day off now and then. It will help determine the bench. If Fontenot can do it, the Cubs may be more likely to carry Chad Tracy or Kevin Millar.

“To me, [Fontenot] looks like a better player this spring,” Trammell said of Fontenot.

* Trammell also got to see super hyped shortstop Starlin Castro, who is now in the Minor League camp.

“There’s no question that as much as he thought he was ready to play — and he should feel that way — he was not ready,” Trammell said. “I just think there’s all parts of his game that he needs to get a little better at. He just turned 20 years old [on Wednesday]. He’s a very good looking ballplayer and I think he’s got a great future, bright future. He needed to go down there to get regular at-bats and regular playing time and we’ll see what happens.”

* One infielder who Trammell says has “opened some eyes” is Darwin Barney. He spent part of Wednesday working on the second base pivot with Theriot.

“He’s a shortstop and learning second base and going back and forth has been an adjustment,” Trammell said of Barney. “I’m confident that in time, he’s a guy we could depend on.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/21 Cubs Sunday notebook

Mike Fontenot started the second straight game at shortstop on Sunday. If he can play there, the Cubs may be more inclined to keep Kevin Millar or Chad Tracy on the bench than a defensive player like Andres Blanco. Millar started in left and had no problems. Expect to see Xavier Nady in the outfield and first base in the final two weeks of Cactus League play.

“You have to get a little game ready, get some balls off the bat, get your legs in shape, get out there running around,” Lou Piniella said. “It’s a lot different than just DH-ing. We have to give him some time.”

* Aramis Ramirez stayed at HoHoKam on Sunday to hit with coach Rudy Jaramillo and the regulars. There’s no time line for when Ramirez, nursing a sore tricep, will get in a game.

* Blanco, who has been out since March 6 with a strained right knee, played shortstop in the Minor League camp on Sunday.

* Pitcher Brian Schlitter survived a liner off his right calf by Ryan Hanigan in the fifth inning Sunday.

* In the 10th inning Sunday, the Cubs had players from Korea (Hak-Ju Lee), Italy (Alex Maestri), Canada (Chris Robinson), the Dominican Republic (Jose Valdez) and the U.S. on the field.

* Angel Guzman will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. James Andrews will do the procedure.

— Carrie Muskat

3/20 Cubs lineup vs Royals & Athletics

Here’s the lineup for the Cubs’ game Saturday at HoHoKam:

SS Theriot

2B Barney

1B Lee

CF Byrd

3B Baker

LF Soriano

C Soto

RF Snyder

P Zambrano

The lineup for the Cubs’ split squad game at Phoenix vs. the Athletics is: LF Adduci, RF Fukudome, CF Colvin, DH Nady, 1B Hoffpauir, SS Fontenot, 3B Tracy, C Hill, 2B Scales.

— Carrie Muskat

3/19 Outfield & bench options

Expect to see Kevin Millar in left field on Saturday in one of the Cubs’ split squad games. Millar and Jeff Baker worked with outfield coach Mike Quade for about 25 minutes early Friday. Said Quade: “The best part is they’ll do anything you ask.”

Xavier Nady also has been working at first base. Lou Piniella said they need to get his legs in better playing shape before the season starts. Nady, coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, should get some time in the outfield and at first before Spring Training ends.

Also, Mike Fontenot will start at shortstop in one of the Cubs’ split squad games Saturday.

“We’re basically now starting to put our final thoughts together as to the makeup of the team,” Piniella said Friday. “I would think a week from now we’ll have definite ideas.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/16 What to watch for …

Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez are both expected back in the Cubs’ lineup on Thursday when they return from an off day. Lee has played five games but has been sidelined with a bruised left foot. Ramirez has appeared in seven games so far, and was rested after feeling some soreness in his right tricep.

Lou Piniella hinted there will be some experimenting when the team returns from Wednesday’s off day. Kevin Millar, who left Monday’s game because of a mild thigh strain, will get some outfield work. So will Jeff Baker, who can expect some tutoring from outfield coach Mike Quade. Piniella wants to see how versatile his bench players can be.

Fontenot is key. If he can handle shortstop, then the Cubs feel they have enough support on the bench to carry someone like Millar or Chad Tracy.

“We want [Fontenot] to be able to finish a game out [at shortstop],” Piniella said. “If there’s a double switch we have to do for any reason — I don’t see us doing it too often with our shortstop — but if there’s a little injury or something, we want to make sure [Fontenot] can do the job. We’ll find that out in short order.”

Tuesday’s game against the Rangers was played in a brisk 2 hours 8 minutes.

“It’s a good way to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day tomorrow,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat


3/15 Theriot to leadoff; Fontenot has edge

Lou Piniella has settled on a leadoff man. Piniella said Monday that Ryan Theriot will leadoff for the Cubs with Kosuke Fukudome batting second. Also, Piniella said Theriot’s LSU teammate, Mike Fontenot, has “jumped ahead” of Jeff Baker in the battle for playing time at second base.

“It hasn’t been finalized but that’s the way I view it,” Piniella said.

With Theriot set at No. 1, the lineup would be the shortstop followed by Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, whoever is at second and Geovany Soto. That gives the Cubs left-handed hitters in the Nos. 2 and 7 holes.

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Vegas, baby

If you’re going to be in Las Vegas to see the Cubs vs. White Sox Friday night and Saturday, here’s a list of the players scheduled to be there:

Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Dempster, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, Matt Camp, Josh Vitters, Geovany Soto, Robinson Chirinos, Welington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Kosuke Fukudome, Brad Snyder, Xavier Nady,
Thomas Diamond, Blake Parker, Justin Berg, Jeff Kennard, Mitch Atkins, John Gaub, and J.R. Mathes.

Alan Trammell will manage the Vegas squad. Lou Piniella is staying in Arizona for the split squad games Friday in Maryvale vs. the Brewers and Saturday in Mesa vs. the Reds.

— Carrie Muskat


3/9 No problem for Fontenot at short

Mike Fontenot survived his first test at shortstop on Monday. Fontenot was inserted there defensively against the Athletics and had to handle a couple hard hit balls right from the start.

“They tried to get me right off the bat,” he said Tuesday. “That’s usually what happens is you get out there and someone hits a missile at you. It was just good to get out on the field. I hadn’t played in a few days.”

He’s been sidelined with a sprained right shoulder, injured last Thursday in the Cactus League opener in a tumble at third. On Tuesday, Fontenot was in the lineup, back at second base. Being able to play more than second will definitely help both Fontenot and the Cubs.

“I enjoy moving around,” he said. “Most of the time, if I’m not starting, I’m probably at shortstop. It breaks up the monotony.”

He’s been practicing at short since he joined the Cubs. The first month of 2007, he only played shortstop. How different is the throw?

“It’s a little bit further,” he said. “You just have to move your feet a little more and make sure you’re not just sitting back. You have to get your feet set.”

— Carrie Muskat