Results tagged ‘ Nate Schierholtz ’
The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) named Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz as the team’s 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner. The honor goes to active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
MLBPAA Director of Communications Nikki Warner said Schierholtz is an exemplary teammate, consummate professional and inspiration to his community.
The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. These players will be recognized prior to an upcoming home game.
* For the first time this season and 10th time in his career, Ryan Kalish was the leadoff man.
“He has the ability and the history coming up as being a guy who can work the count,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Sunday about having Kalish lead off. “I thought it was an appropriate substitution.”
Renteria wanted to give Emilio Bonifacio a day off and preferred keeping Junior Lake in the No. 2 spot, so Kalish got the assignment. Does it make a difference?
“The only difference is you see the first pitch of the game — that’s it,” Kalish said. “It’s all standard from there.
“I will say about the leadoff position is that being out there, it’s important to have a good idea of the strike zone, especially early,” he said. “I’m not saying you can’t be aggressive early, because that’s cool, too. You want to make sure you have control of the zone and show that we’re going to do that today.”
* Jake Arrieta, who made his fifth Minor League rehab start on Saturday, will join the Cubs in Cincinnati on Monday. When the right-hander returns to the rotation is still to be determined. Arrieta was slowed this spring by tightness in his right shoulder. On Saturday, he threw 44 pitches over two innings for Double-A Tennessee, which was a short outing because it’s the equivalent of the last Spring Training start for pitchers.
“Jake did a nice job yesterday,” Renteria said. “He worked through it healthy and we’ll see where he’s at once we put our eyes on him.”
Carlos Villanueva is 1-3 with a 10.19 ERA in four starts, and scheduled to pitch Wednesday in the series finale against the Reds. It’s unlikely Arrieta would be activated and take Villanueva’s spot, pitching on four days rest, but Renteria said no decision would be made until he and pitching coach Chris Bosio get a chance to see the right-hander.
* Nate Schierholtz started on Sunday against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta even though the Cubs outfielder is 0-for-14 in his career against the pitcher.
“He doesn’t like being out of the lineup,” Renteria said. “I thought, let me give Nate another day. He’s a pretty strong man and he’s prepared on a daily basis to come out and perform. We wanted to give [Ryan] Sweeney a day and keep him off his feet a little bit. Schierholtz is a pretty resilient individual and I think he’ll work his way out of it.”
Schierholtz is scuffling against right-handers, and entered Sunday’s game 10-for-59 (.169) against righties.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs play host to the Athletics at Cubs Park in Mesa today with the game scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. MT. You can listen to Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie on a webcast on Cubs.com. Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year last year, gets the start. Emilio Bonifacio starts at shortstop in Day 2 without Starlin Castro, sidelined with a mild strain of his right hamstring. Here’s the lineup:
Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz had a sore jaw and headache after a collision on Friday with Junior Lake during a drill.
“I just got knocked around a little bit out there,” Schierholtz said Saturday. “I didn’t lose consciousness but I saw stars for a second. I took it easy the rest of the day and I feel good today.”
Lake collided with Schierholtz on the right side of his jaw and head. Schierholtz wasn’t exactly certain what body part he collided with, but he did feel it.
“I don’t know what it was,” Schierholtz said. “I don’t remember the play. … Full speed, it’s never a good combo when two guys collide.”
Ironically, this was a drill to work on communication.
“It’s not ideal,” Schierholtz said. “There were almost a couple close calls out there. Next time I’d rather just let the ball drop.”
This is why teams do these drills in Spring Training.
“Exactly,” Schierholtz said.
He was expected to take part in Saturday’s practice but was not part of early work by some of the outfielders.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I feel good, aside from a sore jaw and side of my head.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ Nate Schierholtz was sent home as a precautionary measure after a collision in the outfield with Junior Lake during a drill on Friday. Manager Rick Renteria said Schierholtz checked out fine and should be back on Saturday.
The Cubs were doing pop fly drills when the accident happened in shallow right field.
“They were both calling for [the ball], and it sounds like Junior might have gotten him with the back side,” Renteria said. “You’re talking about two strong men.”
Lake converted to outfield late last season, having spent most of his career at third base.
– Carrie Muskat
* Wednesday was the Cubs’ first full squad workout, which meant it was the first day of live batting practice. Nate Schierholtz got to face exactly who he needed in lefty Travis Wood. Schierholtz is hoping he can convince Cubs manager Rick Renteria to not platoon the outfielder against left-handed pitchers. Last year, Schierholtz batted .262 against right-handers and hit .170 against lefties, part of the reason he had to share right field.
“That’s a huge goal of mine is to play every day and not necessarily platoon as much,” Schierholtz said Wednesday. “That’s one of my big goals this spring.”
* Renteria met with each player on Wednesday, and was impressed by shortstop Starlin Castro, who is coming off a tough year in which he batted a career-low .245.
“He’s very excited,” Renteria said of Castro. “We liked the way he looked in our meeting. He was very happy. We just told him to be himself, expand on his skills and improve his approach at the plate. He spoke a bit more than we did. He has an idea of what he wants to do.”
* Even though Mike Olt’s primary position is third base, he was working out at first on Wednesday on the first day of workouts. The Cubs don’t have a backup first baseman, and top prospects Kris Bryant and Christian Villanueva were sharing third during the session.
* Kyuji Fujikawa, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, had a long toss session Wednesday, throwing from about 135 feet. He is making progress.
“As long as there is nothing that sets him back, he continues to move forward,” Renteria said.
* Somehow, Blake Parker was aligned with lefties Wesley Wright, James Russell, Tommy Hottovy, Tsuyoshi Wada and Zac Rosscup. Parker is the only right-hander in that group. Did he have to adjust to the southpaws?
“No — I just took my glove off and we did a strictly right-handed shake,” Wright said.
* Besides Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Rusin, Carlos Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks threw live BP sessions on Wednesday.
* Thursday’s workout in Cubs camp will start at the normal time, with stretching at 9:30 a.m. Arizona time.
– Carrie Muskat
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Cubs have avoided arbitration with outfielder Nate Schierholtz, and signed him to a one-year $5 million contract. Schierholtz is coming off a strong season in which he set personal bests in home runs (21), doubles (32), at-bats (462) and RBIs (68). The outfielder made $2.25 million in 2013, and was projected to get $4.4 million in 2014.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs have reportedly reached a contract agreement with infielder Luis Valbuena and avoided arbitration. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Valbuena has signed a $1.71 million contract with the Cubs. The third baseman is one of eight Cubs who filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday. Figures were to be exchanged today. Arbitration hearings are scheduled for Feb. 1-21.
Valbuena made $930,000 last year, and was projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to receive $1.5 million this year. He appeared in the most games at third base for the Cubs in 2013, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 14 doubles.
Other Cubs who filed for salary arbitration include Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, James Russell, Pedro Strop, and Justin Ruggiano. Wood could get the biggest increase. The lefty, who was 9-12 last season, posting career-highs in starts and innings pitched, earned $527,500 in 2013 and was projected to receive $3.6 million this year.
A quick refresher on salary arbitration: Eligible players are those with at least three years of Major League service but less than six years needed to qualify for free agency. If a case goes to a hearing, the player and the team each present their case to a three-member panel.
– Carrie Muskat
The Cubs’ Jed Hoyer talked to reporters in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, the last day of the general manager meetings, and discussed a variety of topics. Here is a sample, courtesy of MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, who was covering the meetings.
Q: What are the Cubs looking for pitching-wise?
HOYER: “I felt like last year, we traded a couple of guys away, but I did feel like if we had a strength on that team, that was probably it. The starters’ ERA and rank in quality starts was pretty good. We’ve done a really good job. We’ve signed guys like [Paul] Maholm and [Scott] Feldman and they’ve come in and got better. We don’t sign those guys looking to trade them. I think we want to have that stability, but I feel that’s a strength of our team, that we can sign guys and they’ll come in and have success.
Q: With pitching, is the emphasis on quality or quantity?
HOYER: “You’re always looking for high quality starting pitching. Everyone wants the guy who can start Game 1 of a playoff series or stop a losing streak. You also know the attrition of a season, it gets ugly. When you don’t have enough depth, that’s when teams really feel the pinch of a lack of pitching. You’re always looking for both but certainly I feel like we’ve worked hard to increase the pitching depth in the system. Maybe that’s slightly less of a concern than it has been in the past.”
Q: What about third baseman Mike Olt?
HOYER: “Mentally, he’s doing well. I think with a prospect like him, this is a guy who was a top 20 prospect. He had a down year and I think in this business, if you try to buy guys at the high point of the market you’re not going to have a lot of success. You need to always be looking for guys that had a down year. Maybe there’s a reason behind it and you can hopefully bounce back. We liked where he was mentally at the end of the year. We’ve been in contact with him. I know he’s working hard on his conditioning. We just hope that he looks back at a long, successful career and 2013 is the nadir.”
Q: Have teams asked about outfielder Nate Schierholtz?
HOYER: “We were proud of Nate. He was a guy that was non-tendered that we signed. He liked our opportunity, he came in and a lot of people asked about him in-season. We chose to hold on to him. That interest remains, but give him a lot of credit. I think he proved to a lot of people that he is an everyday player. He did that through hard work.
Q: What would be a successful Cubs season?
HOYER: “I always define it the same way. You want to win, but I think where we are as an organization, you want to be closer to the World Series. Closer to that team that is a sustained winner that comes to Spring Training every year with a chance. I think if we’re a lot closer when we’re talking next year, wherever these meetings are, then it was a good season. If we move that forward, obviously you can never answer that question without talking about winning. You want to win in the big leagues. But we also want to move our timetable closer to being the organization that we want to be.”
Q: Will the Cubs’ top prospects get to the Majors in 2014?
HOYER: “There’s a chance. We also want to be patient. The last thing we want to do is short-circuit their careers or harm them long-term by rushing them. I think when they’re ready, we’ll bring them up. It’s nice that they’re a year closer. Hopefully next year at this time, they’re one year closer and in Wrigley pretty soon.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Anthony Rizzo doubled in his first at-bat in the first to become the first Cubs left-handed hitter to reach 40 doubles since Mark Grace had 41 doubles in 2000. Rizzo finished with 65 extra-base hits this season, the most by a Cubs left-handed hitter since Mark Grace had that many in 1999.
“I’m going to take a lot of positives out of this year,” Rizzo said. “The only thing people are going to ride me on is the average but things could’ve been different there. Things didn’t go my way sometimes but that’s the game of baseball. I’m not happy about that at all but I’m going into the offseason pretty confident I can hit .300 and do all the other things as well.”
Rizzo, who finished with a .233 average in his first full season, and Nate Schierholtz (32 doubles) are the first Cubs left-handed hitting teammates to each reach 30 doubles in the same season since Jacque Jones (32 doubles) and Juan Pierre (31 doubles) in 2006.
In May, Rizzo signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension. That didn’t affect his hitting.
“One of the goals at the beginning of this year and it was the same last year was to be the starting first baseman for the Cubs,” Rizzo said. “Obviously, now it’ll be for a few more years. Like I said when I signed it, it’s security. I get to play baseball and don’t have to worry about anything else except playing baseball.”
* Shortstop Starlin Castro totaled 666 at-bats, tops in the National League. Baltimore’s Manny Machado led the Majors with 667 at-bats.
* The Cubs finished 25-51 against the NL Central, matching the Astros for the lowest winning percentage by any team in its own division. Chicago went 7-12 against St. Louis, 5-14 against Cincinnati, 6-13 against Milwaukee, and 7-12 against Pittsburgh. It’s the first time they’ve finished with double-digit losses against four teams since 2002.
– Carrie Muskat