Results tagged ‘ Reed Johnson ’

3/24 Cubs trim 5: Scales, Ojeda, Moore, Camp, Perez

The Cubs trimmed five more players from the spring roster, optioning outfielder Fernando Perez to Triple-A Iowa and assigning Bobby Scales, Augie Ojeda, Scott Moore and Matt Camp to the Minor League camp. The moves leave 31 in camp, including 16 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

Perez hit .143 in 16 games. His departure means Reed Johnson has made the Opening Day roster. It also would appear that Darwin Barney has made his first Opening Day roster.

Ojeda has been bothered by back spasms, limiting him to seven games. Scales hit .375, Moore .342 and Camp .200.

– Carrie Muskat

2/22 Cubs notebook

Even though Cactus League games have yet to begin, the Cubs roster is nearly set. Manager Mike Quade does need to find one extra infielder and one extra outfielder for the bench. The extra infielder has to be able to backup at short, and Darwin Barney and Augie Ojeda are among the candidates. Reed Johnson, Fernando Perez and Brad Snyder are among the players they’ll look at for the extra outfielder job. Perez, listed as a right-handed hitter, will try switch-hitting this spring.

“Sometimes that works itself out and sometimes it doesn’t and it becomes a brutally tough decision,” Quade said Tuesday about filling the roster spots. “A lot of the people involved in this, we need to see play. This will be something [decided] at the end of camp that will be tough.”

* Tyler Colvin will continue to work both in the outfield and at first base this spring. “He can invest the time at first base to try to be as good as he can there without losing what I’d be concerned about in the outfield,” Quade said of Colvin, who will play at least once a week if not more at first this spring.

* Carlos Pena has been bothered by chest congestion, but has been able to do the workouts.

* The Cubs and WRTO 1200 AM extended their agreement to broadcast an expanded number of games in Spanish. This year, WRTO 1200 AM will broadcast 43 games after doing 35 games last season. The station’s first broadcast will be April 3 against the Pirates.

* Carlos Zambrano, Kerry Wood and Matt Garza are scheduled to throw live batting practice on Wednesday. Zambrano and Garza will pitch Sunday in the Cactus League opener.

* Someone on the Cubs pointed out to Quade that bullpen catcher Edgar Tovar’s 2010 jersey was being auctioned off for $400 while the manager’s jersey was available for $350. The price difference was posted on a piece of paper with the headline, “Who says Qaude doesn’t get any respect?” The typo of the manager’s name was on purpose. Quade received a package from Chicago with the error.

– Carrie Muskat

2/21 Cubs notebook

* Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza will both pitch in the Cubs’ Cactus League opener Sunday against the Athletics. Ryan Dempster will start the regular season opener April 1 at Wrigley Field.

* Mike Quade talked to Tyler Colvin to make sure he’s comfortable at first base. Colvin has been doing drills there as well as working out with the outfielders. Said Quade: “What I physically see is great.” Expect to see Colvin starting at first about one week into Cactus League games.

*  Todd Wellemeyer will be looked at as both a starter and reliever, but most likely would make the Cubs’ roster as a reliever.

* Kerry Wood was back on the mound at Fitch Park, throwing to hitters. Said Quade: “He’s a favorite son here, so it’s always kind of special.”

* Reed Johnson was plunked on the elbow by Carlos Marmol during Sunday’s live BP session. Scott Rice had a tougher assignment. The left-hander had to face Quade in the batter’s box. Rice was one of the last to throw and all the hitters needed to go to coach Rudy Jaramillo’s meeting.

“This poor kid is left with nobody,” Quade said of Rice. “So, I grab a bat and I’ll get in there, let’s go. I’m in there for half a dozen pitches before I realize, this poor kid. First day on the mound against hitters, new organization, new manager, and I’m standing in there. He was doing fine. It didn’t dawn on me until [coach] Marty Mason said, ‘Fastball in, get the ball in.’ They gave me a heads up in case I want to bail, and the ball is left out over the middle of the plate.”

At that point, Quade told coaching instructor Marty Peavy to stand in.

“[I said], ‘He won’t care if he hits you,'” Quade said.

What was Rice thinking?

“I wanted to get it in there but the last thing I want to do is hit the manager,” Rice said. “I guess that’s the kind of pressure you’ll feel in games. You have to go in and do it and not think about who’s in there and make your pitch.”

Rice did admit it was in the back of his mind that it wasn’t just another hitter but the manager. What if he had hit him?

“It would’ve been funny for everyone else,” Rice said.

– Carrie Muskat

2/21 Marmol ready to go

Carlos Marmol says he’s ready for the season to start. The Cubs closer had his first live BP session Sunday at Fitch Park, and threw in brutal un-Arizona-like weather.

“It was raining, it was cold — it’s like Wrigley, Opening Day,” Marmol said.

Some of the Cubs players did whatever they could to avoid having to face Marmol Sunday. The right-hander did plunk Reed Johnson on the left elbow with a pitch during his session. Marmol just smiled when reminded of that Monday.

“I feel good so far, and almost ready for the game,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

2/20 Cubs notebook

Most of the Cubs pitchers got their work in on the fields Sunday despite a cold rain. Reed Johnson realized too late he should’ve been wearing his elbow pad during live BP. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol clipped Johnson with a pitch on the left elbow. Johnson’s elbow guard was in his locker after the session.

“It’s a couple hours too late,” Johnson said. “I have to callous that elbow for the season. Marmol was doing me a favor.”

* The first Cactus League game is Feb. 27, and Quade and pitching coach Mark Riggins were finalizing the spring rotation. Expect an announcement Monday or Tuesday on who will start against the Athletics in one week.

* Sunday was significant for John Grabow because it was the first time the left-hander faced hitters since June 28. That was his last game of 2010 before being sidelined with a torn MCL in his left knee. He will wear a knee brace for the entire season.

“Now, I’m used to it and I don’t even know it’s there any more,” he said. “Can I pitch without it? I’m not going to take that chance.”

* James Russell will get stretched out this spring as the Cubs try to decide if the left-hander can fill a slot in the rotation. If not, the next decision will be whether he’s better off starting in the Minor Leagues or in the bullpen with the big league team. That decision won’t be made until late March.

* Quade carries a fungo bat with him nearly everywhere he goes. “It’s like my security blanket,” he said. “It used to be a tool. Now, you get kicked upstairs and now it just helps me get around.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/13 Johnson shows up early

Cubs pitchers and catchers have to report on Sunday but outfielder Reed Johnson was one of the early birds at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz. He was eager to return to Chicago, where he played in 2008 and ’09.

“It’s great to be in a spot where you’re familiar,” Johnson said. “It’s tough going to an organization in Spring Training having to start all over again. I feel like there’s still a lot of pieces in place here. [Kerry Wood's] back here, too. We’re all working our way back.”

Position players don’t have to report until Feb. 18 but Johnson has a 1-year-old and a new puppy, and wanted to get settled in Arizona quickly so he showed up at Fitch early.

When Johnson realized he would likely have to sign a Minor League deal, he tried to get back to the Cubs. Fans showed him very early how knowledgeable they are about the game. One of his early at-bats at Wrigley Field, he recalls grounding out to second and driving in a run, and the whole stadium stood up and cheered.

“I think the fans in Chicago appreciate the little things,” Johnson said.

– Carrie Muskat

1/12 Reed Johnson is back

The Cubs have signed Reed Johnson to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training. The outfielder played with the Cubs in 2008 and ’09, and batted .287. He spent last year with the Dodgers. No word yet on whether Johnson will revive his popular “Reed Between the Lines” blog.

– Carrie Muskat

8/1 DeWitt ready to go

The Cubs didn’t waste any time getting new second baseman Blake DeWitt in the lineup. He was batting eighth and starting at second on Sunday. Acquired Saturday from the Dodgers for Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot, DeWitt said the trade came as a surprise.

“It was definitely a shock,” DeWitt said Sunday. “I’ve been with the [Dodgers] organization for a while. Like everybody told me, the first time being traded is always the toughest. You grow close to your teammates but I really couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. It’s a great organization, a great city and great baseball.”

DeWitt did give up some ground in the standings by switching from the Dodgers to the Cubs.

“It’s an organization that’s definitely committed to winning and definitely has a bright future,” DeWitt said. “I can’t wait to get out on the field.”

He’ll get some extra time on Monday. Acting manager Alan Trammell had wanted to give DeWitt a day to get used to his new teammates but instead had the infielder starting at second. Aramis Ramirez’s left thumb flared up again. On Monday, Trammell and DeWitt and the other middle infielders will be on the field to get some extra work in.

Former Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson, now with the Dodgers, did give DeWitt a few pointers about Chicago and the team, including how to handle day games. Growing up in Missouri, DeWitt was a Cardinals fan.

“I haven’t been a Cardinals fan for a long time,” he said. “It’s an easy transition for me.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/1 Arbitration update

As expected, the Cubs did not offer arbitration to Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Reed Johnson and Chad Fox by Tuesday’s deadline.

By not offering arbitration, the Cubs will not receive any compensation in the Draft if another team signs Gregg or Harden. The Elias Sports Bureau classified Gregg as a Type A free agent, which means if Chicago had offered him arbitration and another club signed him, the Cubs would’ve received two Draft picks as compensation.

Gregg, 31, lost his job as the Cubs’ closer in mid August to Carlos Marmol.

Harden, who turned 28 Monday, was classified as a Type B free agent, and the Cubs would’ve picked up a supplemental Draft pick if the right-hander was offered arbitration, declined, and then signed with another team.

He made 26 starts, his second-highest total since he made 31 in 2004 with Oakland. Harden did make 25 starts combined in 2008 with the Cubs and Athletics.

The Cubs’ rotation now includes Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Ted Lilly, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in early November. The fifth starter can come from a pool that includes Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, and Sean Marshall among others in the system.

If offered arbitration, and the players accepted, the Cubs would’ve been obligated for at least a one-year contract and the players would’ve been in line for a raise. Gregg made $4.2 million in 2009, Harden $7 million and Johnson $3 million.

New Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has said the payroll will only go up “slightly” in 2010, and the Cubs have to factor in raises to arbitration eligible players such as Marmol, Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, and Jeff Baker. Those players are affected by the non-tender deadline of Dec. 12, which is when teams must decide whether to tender a contract. Those players have less than six years of service time and they are under team control for 2010.

Johnson and Fox were free agents, and neither was included on the Type A or B lists. Fox appeared in two games before being sidelined because of inflammation in his right elbow. Johnson, who turns 33 on Dec. 8, was limited to 65 games because of injuries.

The Cubs are in the market for a center fielder and could still re-sign Johnson but if they did offer arbitration, they ran the risk of him getting a significant raise.

– Carrie Muskat

11/29 Looking ahead …

The Cubs were not expected to offer arbitration to Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Reed Johnson and Chad Fox by Tuesday’s deadline.

A brief explanation (and I’ll try to keep it simple): Teams that offer their free agents salary arbitration get Draft picks in return if the player signs elsewhere, and the number of picks is based on the player’s rating. To get compensation, a team must offer arbitration to its Type A or B free agent and have that player either reject arbitration or sign before the deadline to reject the said arbitration.

The Elias Sports Bureau determines the designations based on statistical study. Gregg is a Type A free agent, Harden is Type B. Johnson and Fox are non-compensatory. So, if the Cubs did offer arbitration to Gregg and another team signed him, the Cubs could get two Draft picks. One would be a first-round pick from the signing team (if the team’s pick is below the first 15 picks in the Draft) and a supplemental pick. The supplemental pick is a player taken between the first and second rounds.

If the signing team has a pick in the first 15 slots, the team that loses the free agent will get the signing team’s second-round selection and the sandwich pick.A Type B free agent like Harden would be worth one Draft pick to the Cubs if he signs with another team. That pick is a supplemental pick.

Teams that do not offer salary arbitration to free agents who sign elsewhere get nothing in return.

Last year, the Cubs declined to offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, who then signed with the Cleveland Indians.

The upside for a team that does offer arbitration is the additional Draft pick or two. But if the Cubs did offer arbitration to Gregg or Harden, they also would be on the hook for at least a one-year contract at market value, which would likely be an increase from what the player earned the previous season if an offer is accepted. Gregg earned $4.2 million this year, Harden $7 million.

Gregg lost the closer’s job in mid August to Carlos Marmol and the Cubs feel they have enough starting pitching to make up for Harden’s expected exit. GM Jim Hendry has other positions to fill (center field, for example) and a budget.

If the players were offered arbitration, they would have until 10:59 p.m. CT on Dec. 7 to accept and can still negotiate with their former teams, even if they decline the offer. If the player accepts arbitration, the two sides can negotiate a deal but will go before an arbitrator if no agreement is reached.

We’ll get official word on Tuesday.

– Carrie Muskat

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