Results tagged ‘ Mike Fontenot ’

3/7 Blanco out 10-14 days

Infielder Andres Blanco will be sidelined 10 to 14 days because of a mild to moderate sprain of his right knee, suffered Saturday. Blanco showed up at HoHoKam on Sunday wearing a large brace on his right knee.

“It’s nothing real serious,” Blanco said. “The doctors said I’ll be fine, 100 percent in a week or two.”

His foot got locked in the infield dirt at second as he tried to make a tag in the sixth inning against the White Sox.

“As soon as I got locked, my knee popped,” he said.

Now, Blanco has to wait for the inflammation to subside, and then he’ll begin treatment.

“The doctors said it won’t take me too long,” Blanco said.

The loss of Blanco doesn’t mean shortstop sensation Starlin Castro moves up on the depth chart. The Cubs organization plans on having Castro open the season at Triple-A Iowa.

“This will give me a chance to play [Mike] Fontneot at short, which I said I needed to do,” Lou Piniella said. “We have [Darwin] Barney in camp.”

— Carrie Muskat


3/6 Cubs injury updates

Don’t expect Xavier Nady in Sunday’s lineup. Nady, coming back from Tommy John surgery, was expected to DH but Lou Piniella said Saturday that he’ll be held back. There’s plenty of time to get ready.

“How many at-bats does a player really need?” Piniella said. “And quite frankly, if he needs more at-bats, we can always send him down to the Minor Leagues to get 10 or 12 [at-bats]. I’m not concerned, no.”

* Mike Fontenot was able to take grounders at second base during batting practice. He will not play Saturday but could be in the lineup Sunday in Mesa if his shoulder passes all the tests. He was injured when he took a tumble at third on Thursday.

“If he feels fine, we’ll put him out there to play,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/5 Fontenot out with sore shoulder

Mike Fontenot was not expected to play until Sunday because of a strained right shoulder suffered when he tumbled at third base in the Cactus League opener. Fontenot was trying to avoid a tag in Thursday’s game.

“He’s got a little bit of a strain and that’s it,” Lou Piniella said. “We were a little concerned when we left the ballpark. It’s a little bit like a football injury when your shoulder hits the ground. We think he’ll be ready like Sunday.”

Jeff Baker, who is competing with Fontenot for playing time at second, started there Friday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/4 Fontenot OK after bumpy slide

The competition at second base was nearly over in the fourth inning Thursday when Mike Fontenot took a tumble at third. Fontenot was tagged out trying to advance on Geovany Soto’s single. He seemed to dive head first into the dirt.

“My knee hit,” said Fontenot, whose left knee required an ice pack. “I haven’t practiced that slide for awhile. The first thing I hit was my knee. I never hit my head.”

Fontenot is competing for playing time at second on the Cubs with Jeff Baker.

“You should’ve seen the smile on Jeff Baker’s face,” first baseman Derrek Lee said as reporters talked to Fontenot.

Lee was joking.

— Carrie Muskat

2/27 Saturday sked & the bench

Rain is in Saturday’s forecast but there should be enough time for the Cubs pitchers to get their work in. Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and Carlos Marmol all are scheduled to throw live BP at Fitch Park.

Expect Zambrano to stick to pitching this year and not be used as a pinch-hitter.

“We’re deeper here in camp than we were last year with more position players,” Lou Piniella said. “I don’t foresee the need for Zambrano to pinch-hit. This is why we want to move people around early to see what we’re going to leave with.

“There are two jobs open on our bench,” Piniella said. “Our regular team will take care of itself, assuming we stay healthy. On the bench, we’ve got decisions on two positions. [Koyie] Hill will be our backup catcher. We’ve got [Xavier] Nady, and whoever doesn’t play second base [between Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot]. There’s two spots to play around with a little.”

Fontenot took grounders at shortstop on Friday with Ryan Theriot. The Cubs want to see if he can handle that position as well as second.

Last season, Piniella used Big Z out of necessity at the plate.

“[The fans] enjoy watching him [hit] and I understand that,” Piniella said. “Using Carlos is only in an emergency or a pinch.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/25 Samardzija, Cashner get head start

Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner threw live BP on Thursday before the full squad stretch, getting their work in early at Fitch Park. They weren’t the only ones on the field for extra work. Infielders Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Micah Hoffpauir and others did drills with coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus.

Jeff Gray, who has been sidelined with a sore groin, did long toss in the outfield. Angel Guzman, slowed after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in January, is close to throwing off a mound.

— Carrie Muskat

2/24 Decisions, decisions

Mike Fontenot is willing to playing some shortstop this spring. He did it in the Minor Leagues in 2007 and also has taken grounders there during the regular season just to strengthen his throwing arm.

Lou Piniella wants Fontenot to be more comfortable at short to help determine the makeup of the Cubs’ bench.

“We’ve got a lot of people to look at here,” Piniella said. “Either you’re going to want a little more defense or you’re going to want some offense. If Fontenot can play some shortstop, we’ll look to carry a bat. If he can’t, we’ll be able to carry one less bat on the bench.

“The positions on the field are pretty well taken except we’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do at second base,” Piniella said. “If [Ryan] Theriot were to get hurt, which we don’t want obviously, we’ll just put the kid at shortstop and let him play.”

The kid is 19-year-old Starlin Castro.

If the Cubs felt they had enough depth at middle infield with Theriot, Fontenot and Jeff Baker, they could keep an extra bat like Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Brad Snyder, Bryan LaHair or someone like that. If the Cubs keep an extra defensive outfielder, a defensive infielder and a backup catcher, then they might need some help offensively off the bench.

“That’s what Spring Training is for and we’ll look at it,” Piniella said of the bench makeup. “No determination has been made.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/23 Cubs Tuesday notebook

Expect to see Mike Fontenot at shortstop a little this spring. It’s not that Fontenot is challenging Ryan Theriot for the job with the Cubs but Lou Piniella wants players who are versatile. Heading into camp, Fontenot and Jeff Baker are the candidates for the starting second base job.

“We’re not going to put anybody else in that mix,” Piniella said. “Baker did a real nice job when he came over last year. Does he have the inside track? I’d say it’s just dead even now and let ’em battle out. Fontenot needs to get back to where he swings the bat like he did the first year. One little advantage in Fontenot’s favor is the fact that he’s left-handed and we’re a lot right-handed lineup-wise. We’ll see. It’ll either be Baker or Fontenot in the lineup.”

Will the Cubs test Theriot at second base? No, Piniella said.

“We will put Fontenot at times at shortstop,” Piniella said. “We’ll see how he handles the shortstop position and not to play regularly but just to backup. Theriot will stay at shortstop.”

* Derrek Lee was happy to be reunited with his former Florida teammate, Kevin Millar.

“He’s probably the funniest guy I know,” Lee said. “I woke up this morning looking forward to seeing him. He’s a fun guy and he’ll make a difference in here.”

* Kosuke Fukudome showed some power in batting practice on Tuesday.

“He’s talked to Rudy [Jaramillo] a little bit about changing his mechanics hitting-wise,” Piniella said. “He’s made a couple adjustments and is stroking the ball well. He’s keeping his upper and lower body in a little more, shortening his stride so he’s not lunging forward. He looks good, he really does.”

Did Fukudome do more weight training this offseason to be hitting balls out of the park?

“It was the wind,” Fukudome said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/20 Cubs' Saturday notes

The pitchers were able to get their second bullpen sessions in on Saturday before the rains came. Among those who threw at Fitch Park were Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner, John Gaub, Carlos Silva, Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzelanny, Ryan Dempster, Rafael Dolis, Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg, Carlos Marmol and John Grabow.

Other notes:

* Piniella was asked how he’ll decide who will be the starting second baseman between Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker.

“We’ll let ’em compete,” Piniella said. “Baker last year did a real nice job and Fontenot had a really good first year. We’ll see how it shakes out this spring. I’m comfortable with either of them.”

* The team will take it easy with Xavier Nady as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. He’ll be getting a lot of time as the designated hitter to get his bat ready.

* Piniella has tried to downplay his status but Saturday, a national baseball writer asked the Cubs manager about this possibly being his last year.

“I’m going to do the best I can, that’s all I can do,” Piniella said. “We’re going to prepare this team as well as we possibly can this spring and have the best team we possibly can and go from there.”

— Carrie Muskat 

2/18 Numbers game

There were some familiar Cubs’ numbers on the field Thursday — Nos. 31 and 34.

Greg Maddux, now a special assistant to the GM, was in uniform wearing No. 31. That number was retired last year in honor of both Maddux and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. Maddux spent most of the first workout at Fitch Park watching the pitchers throw light bullpen sessions.

New addition Jeff Gray was wearing No. 34, which hasn’t been worn by a Cubs player since Kerry Wood. Gray, acquired from the Athletics, said he asked for the number.

“After realizing it, it was like really incredible to follow in his footsteps,” Gray said Thursday. “Hopefully, I can live up to it. It’s big shoes to fill. It’s going to be some fun. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Mike Fontenot got some grief from fans by wearing No. 17, which was Mark Grace’s number. Gray was prepared for some razzing.

“I’m wondering what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m excited.”

— Carrie Muskat