Results tagged ‘ Rick Renteria ’

9/30 Cubs coaching staff

The Cubs coaching staff will remain intact for 2015 with the exception of assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley, who will likely be re-assigned in the organization, possibly as a scout. Theo Epstein made the announcement Tuesday at Wrigley Field. That means manager Rick Renteria’s staff will include bench coach Brandon Hyde, pitching coach Chris Bosio, hitting coach Bill Mueller, first base coach Eric Hinske, third base coach Gary Jones, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello, quality assurance coach Jose Castro and assistant Franklin Font. This was Brumley’s first season on the Cubs coaching staff.

9/28 Cubs 5, Brewers 2

Anthony Rizzo hit his 32nd home run, a two-run blast in the first, and scored on Arismendy Alcantara’s tie-breaking two-run double in the sixth to lift the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers in the season finale Sunday in front of 33,837 at Miller Park.

Under new manager Rick Renteria, the Cubs finished 73-89, and below .500 for the fifth straight season, but they did top last year’s 66-win total and head into 2015 encouraged by the play of some of the top prospects, including Alcantara and Jorge Soler. It’s the first time the Cubs have won 73 games since a 75-87 season in 2010.

The Brewers, on the other hand, have to be wondering what happened after leading the division for 150 days and not making the playoffs.

Jacob Turner picked up the win, starting in place of Kyle Hendricks, who was scratched after the Cubs decided the rookie right-hander had reached his innings limit. Turner improved to 3-1 in six career games (five starts) against the Brewers, which included a win at Wrigley Field on Sept. 1.

Chris Coghlan walked to lead off the game against Brewers starter Mike Fiers, stole second and one out later, tallied on Rizzo’s 32nd home run. Rizzo is the first Cubs left-handed batter to hit 32 homers in a single season since Rick Monday did so in 1976.

– Carrie Muskat

9/27 Starlin Castro update

It’s been a frustrating final month of the season for Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, who will head home to the Dominican Republic after Sunday but plans to continue his rehab at the team’s facility in Mesa, Ariz. Castro, who injured his left ankle on Sept. 2 when he slid awkwardly into home plate, was examined Saturday by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo at Miller Park. All the shortstop has been able to do is rehab and watch.

“It’s big time frustrating,” Castro said Saturday. “It’s tough for me because I worked really hard to come back for one game or two. It’s not going to happen but I’m not going to get frustrated. It’s a really important season next year and I’m going to be healthy.”

If there was some way he could get on the field for one more play, he would, but Castro is still wearing a supportive boot on his left foot.

The 2014 season was Castro’s fifth in the big leagues, and he finished as the top hitting shortstop in the National League (.290) ahead of the Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez. This is the first time in the last four seasons that Castro will not lead the NL in errors. He made 15 in 133 games for a .973 fielding percentage, the highest in his young career.

“I think he’s grown up,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “I think he took a lot upon himself. As the season progressed, he was more accountable to himself and to his teammates. I think he worked very, very hard to overcome a lot of real and or perceived deficits in this game. He also became, as far as I could tell, a much better teammate. I think everybody started to gravitate to him. I think it’s been a positive season for him.”

Castro will spend time this offseason with Cubs strength coach Tim Buss to prepare for the season.

“I’ll just try to be healthy,” Castro said. “That’s a really important goal for me. I’ll try to do my full Spring Training without injuries. I’m prepared for that. When that happens, it’ll be better season.”

He sees a bright future for the Cubs. Castro has had plenty of time to watch young players like Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara.

“We see a lot of good things here,” Castro said. “Those kids, those young guys, we have good communication. We’ll show next year that we can fight, we can fight with whatever. We can play baseball to win. I think we’re pretty close.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/24 Renteria: “We’ll be better next year”

Wednesday was the Cubs last home game at Wrigley Field, and manager Rick Renteria was already looking ahead to next year.

“This was certainly a great experience for me in my first year,” Renteria said. “More than anything, it’s been awesome to see a lot of those young guys show up here in the big leagues and everybody gets to see them.

“Being with them the whole year has given me an advantage because we have a basis now to establish how we’re going to continue to move forward and things we need to work on to become a better ballclub. We’ve been thinking about that for two or three weeks already.”

The Cubs will finish with a sub .500 record and Renteria knows that won’t be acceptable in years to come.

“We all know what this is about — it’s about ultimately winning,” he said. “There’s nobody who takes this [job] who thinks otherwise. I just happened to be in a unique position this year where I had a lot of young players and new players for me, and got to know them and their personalities and tried to help them in any way we could through the coaching staff and communication we’ve had throughout the season to help them become better big league baseball players.”

Can the Cubs win?

“My expectation is that we can,” Renteria said. “I’m not going to shy away from that. Do I expect we’ll be better next year? Absolutely.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/21 Extra bases

* Jorge Soler did not start Sunday, but that was part of the Cubs’ plan to help the rookie outfielder stay healthy in his return from leg injuries. Soler was pulled from Saturday’s game after five innings because rain had made the playing field slippery and the Cubs didn’t want to risk injury.

“The guys were talking about how it was getting a little softer,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Sunday about the outfield. “For us, it was the right thing to do at that time [to pull Soler]. We have three [games] more against St. Louis, then a day off Thursday, and three more in Milwaukee, and he’ll finish off playing.”

Soler has played four, five days in a row, then gotten a breather in his comeback. He began the season with Double-A Tennessee, but suffered a leg injury after his first hit in his first game April 3. He went on the disabled list and returned in May, but needed to go on the DL again. After rehabbing in Mesa, he rejoined the Smokies in July, and batted .463 in 15 games before he was promoted to Triple-A.

* Renteria and GM Jed Hoyer are conducting exit interviews with players, and the discussion has turned to what the Cubs need for 2015. What’s on Renteria’s wish list?

“What we’d really like is to have a bunch of really good baserunners,” Renteria said Sunday. “One of the things we’re talking about is going into Spring Training and get some skill work done and a better of sense what we need to add.”

Isn’t base running instinctual?

“I’ve always thought that instincts are learned,” Renteria said. “If you take advantage of experiences, it teaches you something.”

* The Cubs have yet to finalize the rotation for the last series of the regular season next weekend in Milwaukee. Kyle Hendricks will start the season finale on Sept. 28. One of the options is to have Eric Jokisch start a game. He was 9-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 26 starts at Triple-A Iowa this season.

Looking ahead, the rotation for the three-game series against the Cardinals will be:

Monday: Travis Wood vs Adam Wainwright
Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks vs Shelby Miller
Wednesday: Jake Arrieta vs John Lackey

Wood and Arrieta will be making their final starts of the season.

– Carrie Muskat

9/14 Pirates 7, Cubs 3

Matt Szczur hit the ball hard at the wrong time for the Cubs Sunday. Szczur, one of the fastest players on the Cubs, hit into a triple play in the fourth inning sparked by Josh Harrison, who also drove in two runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-3 come from behind victory. The Cubs lost for the eighth time in their last nine games and ended their road trip 1-5. Chicago struggled to generate any offense without Anthony Rizzo (back), Jorge Soler (paternity leave) and Starlin Castro (ankle). It didn’t help when the Pirates thwarted a rally with their web gem.

Chicago led 3-0 when Chris Valaika doubled to lead off the fourth against Edinson Volquez, who then walked Mike Olt. But Szczur smacked the ball to Harrison at third base to start the first triple play at PNC Park and the first the Cubs have hit into since May 14, 2000, at Montreal.

“It was a heck of a play,” Szczur said. “I was looking for a good pitch to hit and something to hit hard, and it was probably the wrong time I hit the ball hard.”

Szczur remembers he and Logan Watkins were on the bases once for a triple play while at Class A Daytona. That was the last one he could recall.

“I thought I was going to [beat the throw],” Szczur said. “It was close. I put a good swing on it and tried to get out of the box as fast as I could. Wrong time to hit it hard, that’s for sure.”

Cubs manager Rick Renteria felt Szczur had a chance.

“He hit it right on the nose, and Harrison made a really nice play because he ended up catching it going away from him — he didn’t even back hand it, he stayed with it — and it took him right to the bag,” Renteria said.

Renteria didn’t feel that play turned the momentum in the game.

“I don’t allow our guys to put their heads down,” Renteria said. “That’s just a play that happened. We were still in the lead. That’s baseball.”

The Pirates would respectfully disagree.

“Anytime you pull a triple play, I think you’re going to feel an instant boost of energy,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s an exciting play, it was crisp, it was fun.”

Said Neil Walker: “It was huge. You don’t see that too many times, and we were in spot in the game where we were just playing flat for the first several innings, [Volquez] was having a tough time getting his rhythm, and we were having a tough time putting together some at-bats. All of a sudden, that kind of momentum carried us into the offensive side of things. Really cool to be a part of that. “

– Carrie Muskat

9/14 Renteria: “I don’t worry about my job”

Rick Renteria is wrapping up his first season as manager, and was eager to build on what the Cubs did this season. Last week, Theo Epstein complimented Renteria, saying the challenge for the rookie manager was to “provide an environment for the young players to develop and thrive at the big league level.” Renteria did just that.

Is Renteria comfortable in his job?

“Fortunately for me, the players, [the media], the front office, everybody has made it an easier transition than I would have imagined,” Renteria said. “I think everybody’s been very supportive. Everybody has a sense of what the organization is trying to do, so maybe that’s made it easier for me in my transition to manager as opposed to being a coach.”

He admitted that sometimes he’s done things that may seem a little odd, such as batting Javier Baez second — he’s more of a middle of the order hitter — and carrying an extra reliever in the ‘pen.

“There are things you do to make sure guys are gaining experience and knowledge in key situations that they need to develop those roles that they’ve fallen into,” he said.

But the Cubs development phase may be ending soon. Does Renteria expect more pressure next year?

“I don’t think it’s pressure,” he said Saturday. “It’s what you expect to do. Any club at any Major League sport is expected to win. I’ve been the first one to say it and I won’t be the last, I place expectations on myself to lead men and hopefully not get in the way and allow them to perform and win ballgames. The results are truly their process of how they play the game and giving yourself a chance. In the end if I don’t do what I was brought here to do, change is inevitable. My hope is I’m able to do a good enough job and our staff is able to do a good enough job to continue to move us forward and ultimately win.”

He isn’t losing sleep over the season.

“I’ve always said I’ll do my job and in the end, I’m always hopeful that what I do is good enough to take care of me and where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t worry about my job, never have. I’ve never done it as a Minor League coach, big league coach. I focus on my job. I think there are a lot of good things in place here. I think the organization is moving in the right direction here. I sincerely believe that. I sincerely believed that when I first interviewed for this job. It’s legitimate.”

Look at Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Both have bounced back from disappointing 2013 seasons.

“We’re all individuals and we all do what we think is best and we all have to feel comfortable in our own skins, and I think at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, good day or bad day, I want to make sure I did everything I could,” Renteria said. “If it didn’t work out, I have to put it to rest. If it did, I put it to rest, and then I go to bed. That’s the way it is, that’s the way I live my life. It’s not going to change.”

– Carrie Muskat

9/5 Cubs vs. Pirates, suspended

The Cubs will play one-plus games on Saturday to make up for Friday’s contest, which was suspended with one out in the Pirates seventh inning and the game tied at 3. Friday’s game will resume at 2 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field, and upon completion, will be followed by the regularly scheduled game, which was to start at 3:05 p.m. CT. Fans with tickets to Saturday’s game can come early.

Friday’s game was interrupted twice by rain, which has been a recurring theme for the Cubs this season. They have now had 18 delays, totaling more than 24 hours. After the second delay of 1 hour 15 minutes, two of the umpires walked around the edge of the tarp, and then signaled that the game had been suspended. This is the second game the Cubs have had suspended this year; it also happened Aug. 19 against the Giants.

“I think it was a sound decision,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Friday’s suspension. “There was some weather coming.”

Renteria has spent most of his career in San Diego, where he recalled some significant rain in 1994 or ’95, and that’s about it. He has never experienced anything like the seemingly non-stop rainfall in Chicago.

“After the first rain delay, I thought this is what’s been different,” Renteria said of his first year as manager. “It’s something we have to deal with, and it’s not me, it’s those guys. The players are the ones who have to deal with the delays and getting up and sitting down, and they’ve done a great job. They’ve dealt with it with the least amount of complaints, quite frankly. It is what it is — we can’t control the weather.”

There isn’t much the players can do.

“We’ve had bad luck because of all the rain delays and long games,” Cubs catcher Welington Castillo said. “I think we have to stay with it, because if the other team stays with it, we have to stay with it. We’ll be fine. We have a lot of young guys in here who can handle it.”

– Carrie Muskat

8/28 Finding a happy medium

On Wednesday, Starlin Castro failed to run hard after hitting a ball to center, and it may have proved costly in a loss to the Reds. On Friday, Castro doubled with one out in the sixth, tried to stretch his hit, and was thrown out at third. The Cubs are working on finding a happy medium.

“Here’s a guy who everybody gets on because he doesn’t run out of the box,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been hustling, he runs out of the box hard, gets to second base, and in that instance, he did everything I wanted him to do except now you have to make sure you see the ball in front of you.

“I said, ‘It’s OK in this instance to stay there,'” Renteria said. “I’ll take that and take being able to explain to him how to approach it better than him not getting over there. I think he showed everybody he’s willing to go ahead and do the things he’s supposed to. We have to do it consistently over a long period of time. At least he showed me something by trying to get over there and trying to make something happen.”

The Cubs are counting on players like Castro and Anthony Rizzo to be examples for the rookies, who aren’t much younger than the pair. General manager Jed Hoyer said he liked how Renteria handled Castro.

“First of all, I’d say, I’m really glad Starlin right away went and apologized to everyone,” Hoyer said. “He knew he messed up. I think it’s the wrong time right now, and Ricky knows this — [Castro] is going through a lot. He knows he made a mistake, he apologized to everyone. It’s not something you need to harp on.”

Hoyer complimented Castro’s play this season, saying he’s eliminated a lot of the mental mistakes.

“In some ways we’re asking a lot of those guys — we need those guys to show [the rookies] how to play,” Hoyer said of Castro and Rizzo.

– Carrie Muskat

8/24 Renteria to the rescue

On Tuesday, the Cubs grounds crew was short-handed and couldn’t get the tarp on the field fast enough to handle a sudden downpour at Wrigley Field. On Saturday, the crew was quick and efficient, but needed help from Cubs manager Rick Renteria and bench coach Brandon Hyde, who rescued a fallen worker from underneath the tarp.

Rain halted play at the start of the third inning Saturday between the Cubs and Orioles, and as the crew was pulling the tarp across the infield at Wrigley Field, one of the workers stumbled and fell, and was caught underneath. The crew didn’t stop, and the tarp was pulled over him.

Renteria and Hyde saw what happened from the dugout, and went to the worker’s aid.

“I just didn’t think it was good for him to be under the tarp and just reacted,” Renteria said Sunday. “Brandon went in there and lifted it and got him out.”

Weren’t they nervous going under there?

“I didn’t think about it to be honest with you,” Renteria said. “The guy needed to get out of there.”

– Carrie Muskat

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