Results tagged ‘ Mike Quade ’

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

9/12 The Rabbit sits

Bryan LaHair was batting .571 in six games since he was called up to the big league team but was on the Cubs bench Monday.
LaHair went 0-for-3 against the Reds’ starter Dontrelle Willis one week ago at Wrigley Field. Willis seems to be the only pitcher who can get the red-hot LaHair out so far.

“He’s getting base hits and doing some things with his at-bats — his takes, his pitch counts that he’s running up, he’s doing a lot of good stuff even if it results in a line drive to right,” Mike Quade said of LaHair. “We’ll see if it continues.”

LaHair did face lefties at Triple-A Iowa, batting .284 (40-for-141), including nine of his 38 homers.

On Monday, LaHair received the 2011 Joe Bauman Home Run Award, presented to the Minor League player who hits the most home runs. LaHair, 28 will receive $7,600 — $200 for each homer he hit — at Baseball’s Winter Meetings in December.

Whether LaHair has done enough to win a spot on the Cubs’ roster next year has yet to be determined. Quade has been impressed but it’s a small sample. LaHair has 14 at-bats.

“I’m not inclined to go nuts after watching a guy for four, five games,” Quade said.

P.S. Yes, LaHair’s nickname is The Rabbit.

— Carrie Muskat

9/7 Extra bases

When you go 4-for-9 in your first three games, including a home run into the wind, you get another start. On Wednesday, manager Mike Quade decided to try Bryan LaHair in right field.

“We have to find somewhere,” Quade said. “He’ll catch what he gets to. He’ll give you as good a effort as you want out there. We want to see him swing the bat. He’ll do what he can and hopefully get us the lead and we can have somebody out there who is a little more accomplished later.”

One of the raps against LaHair, 28, is his defensive ability. It’s one of the reasons he’s spent nine years in the Minor Leagues.

“People are going to have opinions and it is a bit unusual to spend as much time as he has and not really gotten a shot or an opportunity,” Quade said of LaHair. “That’s what makes his first three days even more impressive. He knows what’s what, and here he is, given an opportunity, and he’s put together five or six really good at-bats and he knows, ‘If I’m going to have a shot or make an impression, I have to do this.'”

* Andrew Cashner was available in the bullpen Wednesday. When he does pitch, it will be his first big league game since April 5. He’s been on the DL with a strained right rotator cuff.

* Darwin Barney returned home to Oregon to be with his wife Lindsay for the birth of their second child. The Cubs second baseman was expected to join the team on Friday in New York for their three-game series against the Mets.

“It may be just what the doctor ordered — a break today and off day tomorrow,” Quade said of Barney, who was 1-for-14 on the homestand and 3-for-38 in his last 12 games.

DJ LeMahieu, called up from Triple-A Iowa, started at second base Wednesday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds.

* Ryan Dempster has 32 wins at home since returning to the rotation in 2008. That’s tied for the most among NL pitchers with the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.

— Carrie Muskat

9/5 Marmol back on track — for now

Carlos Marmol needed nine pitches Monday to dispense of the Reds in the ninth inning and pick up his 32nd save, preserving the Cubs’ 4-3 win. Marmol, who blew his ninth save opportunity in his last outing on Saturday against the Pirates, said he’s forgotten about that game.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Marmol said. “You don’t want to think about what happened yesterday.”

The right-hander doesn’t think about mechanics when he’s warming up in the bullpen. That’s just time to get his arm loose. But he can usually tell in the ‘pen if his mechanics are right. Can he do a seven-pitch outing every time?

“I wish,” he said.

“I’m a bit of a realist,” manager Mike Quade said. “When a guy struggles in an outing two days ago, you’re always a little bit concerned. Marmol’s pattern is that he’ll come back off those days and pitch like he did today. He hasn’t had a year like this, he hasn’t had the struggles like he’s had. Figuring out how to get back to where he was, figuring out how to deal with the frustration of not saving games, to me it’s all still a learning process. I wish he hadn’t had this adversity for sure but I do believe he’ll be better for it. The response today was exactly what you’re looking for.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/5 Cashner rejoins Cubs

Andrew Cashner was back in the Cubs’ clubhouse on Monday, activated from the disabled list and will be available in the bullpen Tuesday at the earliest. The right-hander has been on the DL since April 6 because of a strained right rotator cuff. He wrapped up his rehab with one inning on Sunday for Triple-A Iowa.

“The velocity was there and I’m really pleased with the way everything has gone,” Cashner said. “No pain and I feel like I’m 100 percent and ready to roll.”

In three appearances for Double-A Tennessee, he gave up two runs on three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out six over 2 2/3 innings. All of the runs came in his first outing. In two outings at Iowa, he did not allow a baserunner in two innings, and finished with two strikeouts.

“His pilgrimmage is over,” Mike Quade said.

“I threw the ball well,” Cashner said. “The main thing I wanted to work on was my fastball command down there. It’s there right now, so I’m feeling good and have a lot of confidence now and throwing good breaking balls and changeups. Everything’s been good.”

He will be used strictly out of the bullpen for the Cubs’ final 21 games. In October, he’ll pitch for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and was expected to start.

— Carrie Muskat

8/23 Cashner, Castro, Barney & Wood

Andrew Cashner struck out the first two batters he faced in his first rehab outing, pitching for Double-A Tennessee on Tuesday. After the two Ks, Cashner then gave up a single to Alex Castellanos, who stole second. Cashner served up back to back singles, and was then lifted. In two-thirds of an inning, he served up two runs on three hits and threw 23 pitches, 15 for strikes. The right-hander has been on the disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff since April 6.

* Starlin Castro was back in the Cubs’ lineup on Tuesday after being benched one game because of a defensive gaffe.

“We move on and see if he doesn’t improve,” Mike Quade said Tuesday.

Castro missed one game as a penalty for his lapse on Sunday night against the Cardinals. The 21-year-old shortstop was caught not ready when James Russell started his relief outing in the sixth inning. Castro had his back to home as Russell delivered a pitch. The shortstop said he didn’t realize the inning had started.

“It doesn’t take away from the progress we’ve seen from him and it doesn’t mean he’s on Mike Quade’s or anyone else’s time schedule,” Quade said. “You’re going to push him and do all the things you can do to get him better.”

Castro apologized to his teammates. Time will tell whether he learned a lesson.

“We need to concentrate on [the mental] part as does he,” Quade said.

* The Cubs were batting .188 with runners in scoring position in August after hitting .270 with RISP in July. On Monday, they stranded 15 baserunners in a 3-0 loss to the Braves.

“I don’t notice a different approach,” Quade said of the hitters with runners on and without. “We’re not having the same success in those situations obviously, but I don’t see a big difference in guys at-bats when there’s nobody on or when there’s people on base.”

* Kerry Wood has 17 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings in nine games this month. His previous strikeout high for a month this year was nine in April

“He’s got great velocity, he can mix in a curveball to go with his cutter that’s unbelievable,” Quade said. “He’s just locating and as good as the cutter is, the fastball location is the difference as much as anything.”

* Darwin Barney ended Dan Uggla’s hitting streak at 33 games when he made a running catch of a pop up on Aug. 14 in Atlanta. On Monday, Uggla smacked his 30th homer, launching the ball out of Wrigley Field and onto Waveland Avenue.

“I guess that’s where I’ve got to hit them against this team,” Uggla said. “If I keep in the park, Barney is going to catch it and get me out somewhere. You’ve got to hit it where they can’t catch them.”

— Carrie Muskat 

8/23 Cubs lineup

Starlin Castro is back in the Cubs lineup Tuesday night and leading off against the Braves and lefty Mike Minor. Castro was benched on Monday for his defensive lapse on Sunday night. Mike Quade has inserted Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker vs. Minor. They’re hitting .370 and .351 against lefties, respectively. The Cubs as a team are batting .271 against left-handers, second highest in the NL. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro

RF Johnson

3B Ramirez

2B Baker

1B Pena

CF Byrd

LF Soriano

C Soto

P Coleman

— Carrie Muskat

8/23 Happy anniversary

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of when Mike Quade took over as manager of the Cubs. The team finished the 2010 season 24-13 under Quade, but stumbled this season, and are 56-72 and 20 games back in the NL Central following Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Braves. It was a game that summed up the season — decent pitching (Ryan Dempster picked up his team-leading 16th quality start), three 1-2-3 innings by relievers James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood, and inconsistent offense (15 base runners stranded).

There have been a lot of distractions this season, from injuries to Carlos Zambrano’s criticism and retirement, to Jim Hendry’s dismissal. Quade’s status for next year is uncertain. He is signed through 2012 but whether he stays will be a decision left to the new GM.

“When the team is not doing good, they always blame somebody,” Alfonso Soriano said. “Sometimes they blame the manager and sometimes they blame the GM but they never blame the players. That’s the game. If we’re doing good, everyone feels that [Quade] is doing a very good job.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/21 Must see TV

If Carlos Zambrano was watching Sunday night’s ESPN baseball broadcast, he would have learned that it’s unlikely he’ll be back in a Cubs uniform. In an interview, chairman Tom Ricketts said he had a “hard time imagining” Zambrano pitching for the team again. Zambrano is currently on the disqualified list after his early exit from Turner Field on Aug. 12. Zambrano gave up five home runs that night, was ejected in the fifth inning after hitting Chipper Jones with a pitch, then packed his gear and left the ballpark. He told teammates he was retiring, and later recanted that story in an interview.

There have been plenty of distractions for the Cubs lately.

“The day to day activity here is probably a good thing,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade, who is taking it one day at a time. “It doesn’t allow you the time to sit back. You’re just consumed with what goes on here every day. I wind up saying, ‘It’s baseball,’ and then go about my business.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/21 Business as usual

Randy Bush, promoted from assistant GM to interim GM following the dismissal of Jim Hendry on Friday, met with the baseball operations staff in Chicago this weekend. He also conducted a conference call with chairman Tom Ricketts, the scouts and the player development staff as well. Bush’s message was that he will do everything possible to make the transition smooth to the next GM. He also wanted to try and address any concerns they may have about their future with the Cubs.

“Tom has spoken about how happy he is and impressed he is with our scouting departments and player development,” Bush said Sunday. “He’s happy with [player development director Oneri Fleita’s] leadership and [scouting director] Tim Wilken, and I expressed to them that [Ricketts] has those feelings about the job they’re doing and that we could see a path where a lot of things in place would stay in place.”

What would Bush tell the next Cubs GM?

“I’d tell him I believe we’ve done a great job recently of acquiring talent,” Bush said, “and that Mr. Ricketts has made a commitment both domestically and internationally to pursue the top talent available, and that our player development people are doing a great job of moving those players along at the right pace to get them here so they’ll be here for a long time.”

* If there are any waiver wire trades to be made, Bush will handle that. One thing he made clear to Ricketts was that things happen quickly in baseball. Some teams in the race may need help because of injuries or performance.

“I don’t anticipate anything,” Bush said. “I think it’s the nature of the business that opportunities come up at different times and we have to be prepared.”

The games haven’t stopped because of the change at the top.
“The day to day activity here is probably a good thing,” Mike Quade said. “It doesn’t allow you the time to sit back. You’re just consumed with what goes on here every day. I wind up saying, it’s baseball, and then go about my business. There will be plenty of time for reflection down the road.”
— Carrie Muskat