Results tagged ‘ Rudy Jaramillo ’

4/29 Speaking same language

Kosuke Fukudome’s hitting coach, Kyosuke Sasaki, predicted this spring that the Cubs outfielder will finish this season batting above .300. On Thursday, Sasaki said he’s encouraged by his star pupil.

What Sasaki started working on this offseason — and what Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has continued — is to have Fukudome lower his body in his stance and be more compact.

“At the end of last year, just watching the video, I was thinking that he probably should lower himself down a little bit,” Sasaki said Thursday through Fukudome’s interpreter Hiro Aoyama. “Then, at the end of the season, he came to Osaka where I live. I started to talk about it and he was actually thinking the exact same thing. We were in agreement. Then I started working with him about it.”

“What I am thinking is the same thing [Jaramillo] is thinking,” Sasaki said. “I’m thinking Kosuke is comfortable around him.”

Entering Thursday’s game, Fukudome was batting .333. One year ago, the outfielder got off to a good start and hit .338 in April but finished at .259. In two seasons in the U.S. Major Leagues, Fukudome has compiled a .258 batting average. In nine years in Japan, he hit .305, winning a batting title in 2006 when he hit .351.

Sasaki predicts this will be a good year.

“Just looking at him, he’s definitely getting better,” Sasaki said. “As a batter, I think everybody has to be ready for the quick approach and he is ready for it so I think it’s definitely a better situation for him.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/25 Ramirez: "I have to do the job"

Aramis Ramirez ended an 0-for-21 skid with a bloop RBI single in the sixth inning Saturday night but says he still has a lot of work to do. Ramirez was back in the starting lineup after missing two games to work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. He went 1-for-4 in the Cubs’ 5-1 win over the Brewers, and is batting a very un-Ramirez like .134.

“Rudy’s good,” Ramirez said, “but I’m the one who has to do the job out there. I used to be a good hitter and now I can’t hit.”

He was kidding, folks. Often a bloop single like the one Ramirez got can help a hitter get out of a slump.

“I only went 1-for-4 but I felt a lot better,” Ramirez said. “I think I made good swings. I didn’t swing and miss much tonight — I didn’t used to do that until this season. I’m working on it.”

Marlon Byrd wasn’t too worried about Ramirez.

“He’ll get his .300, 30 [home runs], 100 [RBIs] at the end of the season,” Byrd said. “Nobody’s worried about him. That’s going to be one of many for him.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/23 Rudy & Ramirez

Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo isn’t worried about Aramis Ramirez or any of the other Cubs hitters. Ramirez, who was batting .127, did not start Friday to give him more time to work with Jaramillo.

“He’s such a good hitter in the past,” Jaramillo said Friday. “I’ve never really seen him live but I am now. Right now, it’s just a timing issue. He’s just late. When you’re late, that comes from maybe trying too hard or trying to do too much. When you hit so well and then you get out of yourself a little bit and you start chasing pitches and start guessing and you make up your mind to swing — all those things happen when things aren’t going right.”

The Cubs were outscored 15-3 in the three losses in New York but Jaramillo sees lots of positives.

“We’re working the pitchers and getting a bunch of guys on base and we’re just two hits away from things breaking open,” Jaramillo said. “When that happens, everybody relaxes and things come together. I really believe in these guys, I really do. I care about them.”

— Carrie Muskat


4/10 Diggin' the long ball

Of the 17 total runs the Cubs have scored in their first five games, 12 have come on home runs. They’d like to manufacture runs a little better and can’t afford to have games like Friday when they stranded 13.

“Today, obviously, the long balls helped us out,” said Jeff Baker, who smacked a pinch-hit, go-ahead solo homer in a 4-3 win over the Reds Saturday, “but we have to get some of these runners in and when we have some traffic out there, making guys pay.”

The Cubs added three more homers to the early season total as Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano each connected. It was the first for each.

Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo isn’t preaching home runs. And the Cubs don’t want to wait for that three-run blast.

“There’s a lot of games you can get shutout [if relying on homers],” Baker said. “If you run into a tough pitcher, you might not get that pitch you can drive out of the yard. If that’s your only source of offense, it can be a long day.”

Jaramillo is simply trying to help the batters get more balanced at the plate and have good swings.

“I think Rudy’s philosophy is scoring runs, however you want to do it,” Baker said. “[Home runs] are just one facet of the game. Rudy’s a complete hitting coach. He doesn’t get into one area, like ‘Hey, we’re going to try to hit homers,’ or ‘Hey, we’re going to try to play small ball.'”

— Carrie Muskat


4/1 Soriano has "a little skip in his jump"

Lou Piniella and Rudy Jaramillo looked at film of Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto late Wednesday. Early Thursday, Jaramillo had the two in the batting cage and the extra worked paid off for Soriano. He went 3-for-3, including a two-run homer, to help the Cubs beat the Rockies, 2-0.

“That made my day,” Piniella said of Soriano’s showing. “That’s it — that made my day. I can enjoy a nice margarita tonight.”

He wasn’t the only one who was happy.

“I had a little more concentration,” Soriano said. “It’s good to have three hits but more important is how I feel at home plate. I feel great. Today I felt much better, more timing, and stayed back. I’ve been working with Rudy [Jaramillo] the whole Spring Training and that’s how I want to be. How I swung today is how I want to be.”

Said Piniella: “He had a little skip in his jump.”

Soriano and Jaramillo were together in Texas in 2004-05, and have been reunited this year, which is the hitting coach’s first with the Cubs.

“I feel like a totally different hitter,” Soriano said. “I know I didn’t prove it in Spring Training because I have a lot of things to do. I know this will be a fun year. I have to stay healthy and that’s the most important thing,” he said. “I’ve been stretching a lot and working with my knee to have a good season.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/31 Fuld & Hoffpauir both disappointed

Both Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir were disappointed in their springs and also at the news that both were headed back to Triple-A Iowa.

“I obviously didn’t play as well as I hoped or expected,” Fuld said Wednesday. “Where I continue to need to improve myself is with the bat. It’s disappointing the way I hit. It’s not the first time I’ve started off slow. In terms of confidence, I’m not too worried. I’m sure I’ll bounce bcak fine. It’s a long season.”

Fuld has always come through for the team when called on.

“Spring Training is tricky,” he said. “You usually don’t get a ton of at-bats, it’s a pretty small sample size. There’s nothing you can do about that. In a way, it’s a lot like coming off the bench during the season. You have to make the most of your opportunities as limited as they may be.”

So, he’ll be ready when Piniella calls?

“Exactly. I will,” he said.

Hoffpauir had gotten a head start this offseason, working with Rudy Jaramillo in Texas. He made some changes to his swing and felt he was doing better in recent games.

“I came here this spring with every expectation of making this team and that didn’t happen,” Hoffpauir said. “I’ll go to Triple-A and see what happens and I hope to get a callup soon and take care of business then.”

Did he feel he had good spring?

“Absolutely not,” Hoffpauir said. “The adjustments we made I think are going to work in the long run. It’s something I didn’t feel absolutely comfortable with the first part of spring. For about 15, 30 at-bats, I didn’t feel like I was where I needed to be. [Jaramillo] and I sat down and talked about it and I started to feel a lot better at the plate with a couple slight modications from what we’ve done and I started to feel better at the plate. I thought I was in contention for that last roster spot.

“I believe there’s  reason for everything and somebody has a plan for me somewhere and I’ll put my nose to the grindstone and get after it and hopefully good things will happen and maybe showcase for some other team. We’ll see what happens.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Baker making adjustments

Jeff Baker doesn’t look at his spring stats. He entered Thursday’s game batting .156 but he’s been working a lot with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and making changes.

“We’re trying to do some things to be more consistent,” Baker said Thursday. “It’s obviously taken longer than I would’ve liked but it is what it is.”

One of the things Jaramillo has suggested is for Baker to close his stance a little.

“I’ve been really wide and we’re trying to stay more upright,” Baker said. “It’s a big adjustment for me, to be honest. I’ve always been really, really spread out. That’s been my comfort zone and my feel. Now I’m trying to get more narrow. It’s taken a little while to get going with that. It’s one of those things that are good and will help me in the long run.”

He is allowed to say no but right now, he’s processing all of the information.

“Sometimes it might not work for you,” he said. “You try it and go with it. After that, you go with what’s comfortable and feels good. I just want to get my swing mechanics to where they need to be so once we get going, all I’m thinking about is seeing a baseball and hitting a baseball.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/20 Castro, Snyder to Minors

The Cubs trimmed two more players Saturday and sent highly touted shortstop Starlin Castro and outfielder Brad Snyder to the Minor League camp. Castro hit .423 this spring, Snyder hit .313.

“I felt good with the experience, first time being up here,” Castro said. “I’m going to go down there and work hard and try to get back up here as soon as possible.”

Castro, who turns 20 on Wednesday, used Geovany Soto as his interpreter but when asked if he felt he was ready to play in the big leagues, he didn’t need help with his answer.

“I’m ready,” Castro said. “I’m ready to play in the big leagues.”

Lou Piniella was impressed.

“Castro had a phenomenal spring for a young player,” Piniella said. “Nineteen years old, to come in here and look like a veteran and swing the bat. He showed his athleticism. He came in here highly touted and left here even more touted.”

Ryan Theriot doesn’t have to look over his shoulder any more. He was batting .533 this spring.

“Maybe having Castro around has something to do with it,” Piniella said. “You’ve got a nice young player like that pushing you.”

Give hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo credit. He’s tried to get Theriot to stop pulling the ball.

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Dempster update

Ryan Dempster only has a few things to work on: his hitting and getting his pitch count up. Dempster made his third spring start on Thursday and gave up two runs on four hits, including Manny Ramirez’s two-run homer, over four innings, in the Cubs’ 7-3 loss to the Dodgers. He threw about 70 pitches.

“For the most part, I’m throwing the ball where I want to throw it and not fighting myself,” Dempster said.

He’s always working on trying to command his fastball and approaches each Cactus League start as if he was pitching during the regular season. Dempster said his slider wasn’t quite right, so that needs work.

In his only at-bat in the second, he grounded out to the pitcher.

“I didn’t feel very good at the plate,” said a straight-faced Dempster, who may be asking hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo for some lessons.

All that’s left for Dempster to do is get his pitch count up.

“It’s easy to make pitches when you’re fresh and relaxed,” he said. “When there’s a little bit of stress, you get up in pitch count, that’s when you bear down and make pitches. I feel ready for the season.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/14 Millar spends little time with Rudy

Kevin Millar may want to meet Rudy Jaramillo for coffee every morning. Millar went 2-for-2 with a walk on Sunday, hitting a two-run homer and a double. He said he benefitted from an early session with the Cubs’ new hitting coach. A career .274 hitter, Millar worked on adding a little tap to help his timing.

“You see the ball a lot better, you’re able to lay off pitches and slow things down,” Millar said. “It was a big adjustment.

“[Jaramillo] is special,” Millar said. “It’s an honor to work with a guy who really knows the swing. I wasn’t tapping early and [he said], ‘Hey, get some rhythm back.'”

— Carrie Muskat