Results tagged ‘ Rick Renteria ’
Wednesday is the day for the Cubs’ first full squad workout, which means it’s time for live batting practice, which is always entertaining. Among the pitchers scheduled to pitch are Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Villanueva, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Travis Wood, Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks, and Armando Rivero. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was expected to address the media.
The players will be on the field later because manager Rick Renteria is scheduled to address them.
– Carrie Muskat
* The Cubs have yet to play a game under new manager Rick Renteria, but it appears Starlin Castro is the top candidate to be the leadoff man. Castro has a career .300 average batting first, but also has a career .322 on-base percentage, which would not put in him the top 25 in the National League.
“Starlin has had that role in the past and I think he did a pretty nice job,” Renteria said Sunday. “He’s not what you would consider a typical on-base guy. I think that as he continues to get more and more comfortable, hopefully, this year is a year he recovers some of his confidence and that little edge that he brought and that you guys all saw when he was coming up. he’s an individual that is looking to do well.”
Castro batted .300 in 2010, his rookie season, and followed that with a .307 average in ’11. But last season, he struggled to bat .245.
Renteria is still tinkering with his lineup.
“We have the whole spring to develop a scheme as to who might fall into that role,” he said.
* Jake Arrieta, slowed this spring because of tightness in his right shoulder, is taking part in the Cubs’ pitcher drills but has yet to throw off the mound. Arrieta has been able to play catch and so far, is making progress, manager Rick Renteria said Sunday.
* Renteria, who had hip replacement surgery in October, walked for nearly 45 minutes around the Cubs complex at 5 a.m. MT Sunday as part of his exercise. “The catchers are working early,” Renteria said. “I’m not asking them to be out and do anything I wouldn’t do. [My early work] kind of re-enforces that.”
* Besides Kris Bryant and Brett Jackson, Albert Almora and Josh Vitters also reported to Cubs camp on Sunday. The first full squad workout is Wednesday. “I’ve been pretty impressed with the fact that the numbers are kind of high,” Renteria said of the early birds. “It shows me a lot of interest. First of all, I’m sure they want to see the new facility. … No one is making them be here, they’ve chosen to be here. It’s nice to have them preparing for what will hopefully be a very good season.”
* Pitchers who threw their second side sessions on Sunday included Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Blake Parker, and James McDonald. Renteria said he likes what he’s seen so far.
“Their energy is high,” Renteria said. “I’m hoping the tone that is set now will continue when the [position] players come in.”
– Carrie Muskat
* One of the pitchers the Cubs are eager to see this spring is Arodys Vizcaino, who has been slow in coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. On Saturday, Vizcaino threw his first side session, and manager Rick Renteria was impressed.
“The ball came out of his hand pretty easy,” Renteria said of Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves in July 2012 in the Paul Maholm deal. “He stayed down in the zone pretty consistently in his pen today. He looked comfortable, very fit. I think he looked as good as we would want him to look at this point.”
The Cubs don’t want to put a timetable on his return, but Vizcaino is projected for the bullpen when ready.
“Obviously, it’s been a long road back,” Renteria said of the right-hander, who pitched in the big leagues in 2011 but had a setback last season.
* The Cubs will be careful with Welington Castillo, too. So far, he’s had no problems with his right knee, which needed arthroscopic surgery and forced him to end the 2013 season early.
“We’re going to monitor the innings he’s catching, just like anybody who comes off something, especially a catcher,” Renteria said Saturday. “He’s working hard. We were out there this morning, and he was moving fine. We’re aware of it and we’ll do what we can to make sure he stays healthy.”
Castillo admitted the knee bothered him well before he had the surgery.
“There was a time when it felt a little sore but what can I do?” Castillo said. “I’m here to play and will try to do all I can to win a game. I don’t worry about it. Sometimes you have to play with pain. You’re human. You need to prepare yourself before a game and do all you can do to win the game.”
– Carrie Muskat
* According to Nikkan Sports, five teams made formal offers to Masahiro Tanaka, including the Cubs and White Sox. Also submitting bids were the Yankees, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. All of the bids were believed to be more than $100 million and over six years. Fans at the Cubs Convention asked Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer on Saturday for an update on talks with the Japanese pitcher, and Hoyer said they would not comment on negotiations. The Cubs did have a contingent meet with Tanaka and his representatives in Los Angeles, where they explained the vision of the team.
“There are lots of teams out there who have interest,” Epstein said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Next Friday is the deadline for Tanaka to decide.
* The Cubs feel they can complete the Wrigley Field renovation plan in four offseasons, not five. However, the plans are still on hold until the Cubs receive assurances from the owners of the rooftops around the ballpark that they will not sue. The Cubs hope to begin this year. Crane Kenney, president of business operations, said the team had two meetings last week with most of the rooftop owners and the city of Chicago.
“There’s a lot of urgency to get this moving,” Kenney said.
Kenney said he did not regret the way the contract was set up with the rooftop owners, in which they give a percentage of their earnings to the team.
“You have to go back to the landmarking — that’s what I regret,” Kenney said. “This situation was created by the landmarking of the bleachers. We fought it to the end and we lost.”
He said the landmark status meant they could not put any signs in the outfield ever. What changed this summer was that the landmarking was amended. Now, the landmark commission recognizes that the outfield is not a historic feature and the team can add signage.
“That was the big win last summer, among many, and that’s what the rooftops would contest,” Kenney said. “Essentially their contest is, can you un-landmark a building. We think you can, and in fact, the city council did this summer. That’s what we want to make sure doesn’t delay the project.”
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said he expects the video scoreboard to be ready for the 2015 season.
Kenney said to complete the renovation project in four years will require more money but they will do some things more efficiently.
* The Cubs’ deals with WGN Radio and WGN TV both end after this season. Expect an announcement regarding the radio deal prior to Opening Day.
* Epstein said the team made a mistake in promoting Brett Jackson to the big leagues when the Cubs did. Jackson was called up because Dale Sveum wanted to prioritize his swing development, but Epstein said the outfielder may have been better served staying in the Minor Leagues. Epstein said they promoted Josh Vitters at the same time because they wanted to learn more about him as a player. Both will be in Spring Training camp.
* All of the position players who participated in the rookie development camp this past week are expected to be invited to big league Spring Training. Some of the starting pitchers may not be, but that’s because the Cubs want to make sure they get enough innings.
* During the seminar with the rookie development players, a fan asked how they would be different from other highly touted prospects who didn’t have success such as Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. Albert Almora’s response?
“The way we’ve been going, it’s like a family,” Almora said. “Maybe they didn’t have that back then is that family feeling.”
* The Cubs feel they have more flexibility in the bullpen with the addition of another lefty in Wesley Wright. Jose Veras will be the closer, Rick Renteria said.
* The Cubs’ new mascot was questioned by some fans but the team said Clark is here to stay.
– Carrie Muskat
Manager Rick Renteria joined Anthony Rizzo and Edwin Jackson on Thursday to help Cubs staff spruce up a Chicago school. The Cubs made a winter caravan stop at Casals School of Excellence, where they painted murals on the walls of the gymnasium and cafeteria, decorated a computer room, built benches and cabinets for reading spaces, and re-designed a room for tutoring. Earlier in the day, the Cubs staff stopped at the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines to serve lunch to about 250 military service personnel.
The caravan tour is a lead in to the Cubs Convention, which opens Friday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. This will be Renteria’s first convention.
“They’ve said it’ll be something I’ve never experienced before in my life and from a few conversations I’ve had with different people, it seems that will be the case,” said Renteria, who will answer fans questions in a Saturday afternoon session. “It is evident that the city of Chicago loves their Cubs and they want the Cubs to have success and we feel the same way.”
* The winter fan fest also is the first chance for some of the Cubs to meet their new manager. Jackson is coming off a season in which he led the Major Leagues in losses with 18. It wasn’t how the right-hander wanted to start the first year of his four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. Renteria’s message to Jackson? Learn from what happened and move forward.
“That’s the only way we’ll move the club in the direction we’d like it to go,” Renteria said.
Jackson, who welcomed a new daughter in the offseason, was eager to take Renteria’s advice.
“As an athlete, when you have a season like I had last year, if anything it makes you more eager to start the next season up,” Jackson said. “That edge comes a little quicker and you’re more ready and more excited to go out and perform the way you know you can perform.”
What about Renteria?
“He seems like he’s ready to go,” Jackson said of his new skipper. “He’s excited about being a manager of the team. He definitely sees the potential the team has and he understands what we’re capable of doing.”
Jackson said he had no clue Dale Sveum would be dismissed after the 2013 ended. Maybe change is good?
“I hope so — I’ve changed a lot of teams,” said Jackson, who is playing for his eighth team. “I hope change can be good. Change doesn’t hurt. We have a great team, we have a great manager who is eager to get out and be with the team and help the team learn and teach us different things. We’re ready to go.”
* Renteria is thinking about his lineup but said he has plenty of time before Opening Day, March 31. His plan is to have all the players be able to get on base, get ‘em over, and get ‘em in.
“The reality is if the guys do what they’re suposed to do, it makes it a lot easier for me to set up the lineup,” Renteria said.
* Jeff Samardzija’s name has been mentioned often in trade rumors but Rizzo would like to see the right-hander stay with the Cubs.
“Jeff’s a good friend of mine, so I don’t want to see him get traded,” Rizzo said. “You don’t want that to happen but it’s part of the business.”
– Carrie Muskat
Rick Renteria is preparing himself in case Masahiro Tanaka picks the Cubs and said he ordered the Japanese version of the Rosetta Stone language learning tapes. The Cubs manager said Thursday he was part of the team’s contingent that met recently with Tanaka in California, joining Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
“We’ve had conversations with Tanaka,” Renteria said. “I’m not sure exactly where we’re at in that process. I think Jed and Theo, if something were to happen with [Tanaka], I’m sure they’ll let me know. Right now, I’m looking at the players we have and how we’re going to move forward with them.”
The Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams believed to be involved with Tanaka, who has until Jan. 24 to make a decision on which Major League team he will pick.
Renteria called the Cubs’ meeting with Tanaka “very good conversations,” and added they had an interpreter.
“I actually ordered Rosetta Stone, the Japanese version,” Renteria said.
The Cubs do have pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa on the roster. Is Renteria that confident the team will sign Tanaka that he’s going to learn to speak Japanese?
“I’m going to be prepared if it does [happen],” Renteria said. “I’m going to try to learn a little Japanese and if it happens, good for us, and if not, there are a lot of Japanese players who are quality players who could come through the organization at some point in time and I hope I’m able to at least say ‘Hello,’ ‘Good night,’ and ‘Can I do anything for you?’”
The Cubs are coming off a 96-loss season and it appears the front office is targeting the 2015 season and beyond, not 2014. The Minor League system is loaded with highly touted talent such as Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and C.J. Edwards. Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, who posted the right-hander for a $20 million fee. The bidding for Tanaka will end at 4 p.m. CT on Jan. 24.
“The points to [Tanaka] were that we’re a club on the upside,” Renteria said. “We’re a club that has a lot of talent besides the guys who we have here presently, and that the organization has quality players coming up who will significantly impact the organization.”
– Carrie Muskat
New Cubs manager Rick Renteria will introduce his coaching staff, fans can ask Theo Epstein questions and find out about the up and coming prospects, plus get a sneak peek at the film, “100 Years of Wrigley Field,” at the Cubs Convention, to be held next weekend. The three-day winter fan fest will be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, starting next Friday with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. CT.
Friday will mark the premiere of MLB Productions’ “100 Years of Wrigley Field” movie. The film, which will be released to the public in February, celebrates the history of the ballpark, which marks its 100th anniversary this year.
The following current Cubs are scheduled to attend: Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Kyuji Fujikawa, Justin Grimm, Edwin Jackson, George Kottaras, Junior Lake, Donnie Murphy, Blake Parker, Brooks Raley, Anthony Rizzo, Hector Rondon, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Rusin, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Pedro Strop, Ryan Sweeney, Luis Valbuena, Carlos Villanueva, Jose Veras, Travis Wood, and Wesley Wright.
Among the Minor League players expected at the convention will be Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, C.J. Edwards, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero, Rubi Silva, Jorge Soler, Christian Villanueva and Arodys Vizcaino.
2014 Cubs Convention Schedule of Events (all times CT)
Friday, Jan. 17
6-7 p.m., Opening ceremony: Fans can welcome their favorite Cubs of the past, present and future into the 2014 season.
7:15-8 p.m., Autograph Hunt Game: Study the map given out at the end of the Opening Ceremony and find the Cubs logos to start collecting. You never know who you’ll find, from favorite Cubs alumni to future Cubs stars.
8-10 p.m., Film Premiere, “100 Years of Wrigley Field:” Get a sneak peek at MLB Productions’ “100 Years of Wrigley Field.” The movie takes a look back at Wrigley’s history from 1914 to today through testimonials from former Cubs, celebrities and historians. This exclusive premiere will feature a memorable introduction.
Saturday, Jan. 18
9-10 a.m., Ricketts Family Forum: Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd Ricketts will discuss the future of Wrigley Field and the team. There will be a question/answer session.
10-11 a.m., Meet the Cubs Baseball Management: Epstein, Hoyer, assistant GM Randy Bush and assistant GM Shiraz Rehman will answer questions.
10:30-11:30 a.m., Jeopardy, “Wrigley Field 100:” Pat Hughes and Dave Otto will host the special edition. All clues will be based around the history of the balpark. Each team of players will choose a fan to participate with them.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Scouting & Player Development: Cubs baseball executives Joe Bohringer, Matt Dorey, Jaron Madison and Jason McLeod will discuss the Minor League players.
12-1 p.m., Meet the Rookie Development Program: Fans can meet top prospects, who will discuss what they’re looking forward to this year.
12:45-1:45 p.m., For Kids Only Press Conference, presented by AdvocateHealth Care: Kids take charge and have the chance to ask Jake Arrieta, Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo, Nate Schierholtz and Travis Wood questions.
1:30-2:30 p.m., Cubs Business Operations Update: Investing in the long term success of Cubs baseball requires continued growth from all areas of the organization. Hear directly from Cubs management on initiatives underway to grow the amount of resources available for baseball operations, improve the fan experience, and support the Wrigleyville community. Fans will receive updates on the efforts to restore and improve Wrigley Field, the future of Cubs television and radio partnerships and new business opportunities.
2-3 p.m., Not for Women Only: WGN Radio’s Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey join Russell, Samardzija, Strop and Sweeney in a question and answer session.
3-4 p.m., Welcome the New Skipper: Renteria introduces his coaching staff and answers questions from fans.
4:30-5:30 p.m., Cubs Family Feud: Back for its second year with an updated structure is a Cubs version of the hit game show. One fan will be selected to participate with each team.
6:30-7:30 p.m., Celebrating 100 Years of Wrigley Field: This season promises to be special as Cubs fans celebrate 100 years in Wrigley Field history. Public address announcer Andrew Belleson, scoreboard operator Rick Fuhs, historian Ed Hartig, radio play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes, television broadcaster Len Kasper and senior director of marketing Alison Miller will take part.
8-10 p.m., Cubs Bingo, presented by Budweiser: The game will include a 50/50 raffle, live auction, food and beverage options.
Sunday, Jan. 19
9-10 a.m., 30-year anniversary of the 1984 team: Several players from the ’84 team will revisit what it was like to play for the Cubs during that season.
10:30-11:30 a.m., Down on the farm: Jaron Madison, director of player development, and Jason McLeod, senior vice president of scouting and player development, will be joined by Justin Grimm and Blake Parker to talk about the Minor League system.
* Please note: The Cubs Convention will have a new autograph system to reduce the amount of time fans have spent waiting in lines. This year, an autograph voucher system will be in effect for all players at Stage A on Jan. 18-19. All other autograph stages will run on a first-come, first-served basis, as they have been in the past.
Every attendee will receive a pull tab at Cubs registration. A number of these pull tabs are redeemable for one autograph. The pull tab gives direction as to if and what each attendee has been awarded. If a fan receives access to an autograph on Stage A, they should show up at the time slot listed to be granted access to the line. Only those with the applicable vouchers will be permitted to enter the Stage A session.
Autograph opportunities on all stages are included in the price of admission. In fact, more total player autograph opportunities are available this year than any previous Cubs Convention.
* Also new this year will be chances for fans to have a more personal meet and greet with their favorite players for a donation of $125 for current players and $150 for alumni. The money will be donated to Cubs Charities. Fans will receive an authentic baseball to be signed, a photo opportunity with the player, and time to ask questions and interact. Spaces are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in receiving more information about this opportunity should visit the Cubs Charities room on the second level at the Sheraton when the convention opens.
New Cubs manager Rick Renteria met with the media on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Here are some of the highlights:
* Starlin Castro is an option to be the leadoff man. Renteria wants to address that with the shortstop in person.
“A lot of those conversations I like to have one on one and in person,” Renteria said. “It always comes off better when have face to face conversations with players. They can read my face, and if they think I’m happy about it, not happy about it.”
* On Jeff Samardzija: “Right now, they way I see it and the way he sees it, is he’s a Cub, and we’re going to move forward as Cubs. When I spoke to him he was very excited about the upcoming season. He came off a high strikeout year last year and a lot of innings, and he’s looking to build off that.”
* Renteria happy to have Chris Bosio returning as the pitching coach. Renteria said: “He’s another guy who is part of the kids who have been coming up and it’s nice to have that stability.”
* The Cubs may go to Spring Training and have open competition for the closer’s job. Pedro Strop will get a chance.
* Renteria is working with bench coach Brandon Hyde this week, going over their plans for Spring Training. Renteria and his coaching staff will meet in Mesa this weekend to see the new facility.
– Carrie Muskat
* One of the first players new Cubs manager Rick Renteria called after he got the job Nov. 7 was to Starlin Castro.
“People ask me about Starlin, and I watched him from the other side and I think, what a tremendously gifted athlete,” Renteria said. “I have to get to know him as a person. I have to figure out what moves him.”
Castro is coming off a season in which he batted a career-low .245, struck out a career-high 129 times, and finished with a sub .400 slugging percentage for the first time (.347).
“He’s willing to do anything we ask him to do,” Renteria said. “I know people talk about him losing focus and having bad at-bats, and I think we have to address those things. Sometimes you don’t have conversations thinking we don’t want to have confrontations or maybe we don’t like the answer we’re going to get, but the reality is you have to have dialogue.”
The emphasis on Renteria’s coaching staff was to find people who could be “teachers” and who can communicate.
“I think it takes a special personality as well as experience and having the technical knowledge,” Theo Epstein said about the coaches. “It takes a certain personality to be able to actually reach the modern player and to dig deep and engage and relate to them and not relate to a player on a perfunctory level but find out what makes him tick and impact him on and off the field in a positive way. That’s what we were looking for.”
(Note: For more on Renteria’s day at Wrigley Field, please see the story on Cubs.com)
* Renteria was formally introduced on Thursday at Wrigley Field. He’ll wear No. 16, which he says was his number in high school.
* Renteria is known for his even-keel demeanor. He was asked if he had a temper.
“I can get hot,” Renteria said Thursday. “I think any competitor can get hot. I think you’ve got to pick your spots. I don’t think players appreciate people just losing it for the sake of losing it.
“Will I do it for the sake of people watching me do it? No,” he said. “You probably won’t see me doing it at all, but I can’t guarantee that. When it happens, it’s got to be the right time, and I think those things have to take care of themselves.
“If you’re a guy who is even-keeled and you end up losing it, I think [the players] understand you mean business and it means a little bit more. For the most part, I think conversations need to be had behind closed doors.”
* The Cubs got encouraging reports about right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in March 2012. Vizcaino made about six appearances in the Dominican instructional league, his fastball hit 98 mph and he showed good command. The pitcher, acquired from the Braves in July 2012, could be in the Cubs’ bullpen mix in 2014.
* Cubs pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 13 to Mesa, Ariz., for the start of Spring Training.
– Carrie Muskat
Eric Hinske was the Cubs’ 17th round pick in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft but never got to play for the team. In March 2001, he was dealt to the Athletics for Miguel Cairo. On Tuesday, Cubs manager Rick Renteria completed his coaching staff by naming Hinske as the first base coach.
This will be Hinske’s first coaching stint. He wrapped up a 12-year Major League career last season that included 2002 American League Rookie of the Year honors with the Blue Jays and three-straight World Series appearances, bookended by championships with the Red Sox in 2007 and the Yankees in 2009. Hinske, 36, played 1,387 Major League games with the Blue Jays (2002-06), Red Sox (2006-07), Rays (2008), Pirates (2009), Yankees (2009), Braves (2010-12) and Diamondbacks (2013). He finished his career with a .249 batting average.
Hinske joins pitching Chris Bosio, bench coach Brandon Hyde, third base coach Gary Jones, hitting coach Bill Mueller, bullpen coach Lester Strode, catching coach Mike Borzello, assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley and staff assistant Franklin Font on Renteria’s staff.
– Carrie Muskat