Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’

7/22 Reaction to Ryan Braun’s suspension

On Monday, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season for violating the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Here’s some reaction from the Cubs:

* Manager Dale Sveum:
“It’s unfortunate for baseball, it’s unfortunate for the Brewers organization. I’m just glad it’s kind of finally over. Now he’s come out and obviously admitted it to the public and apologized. I think it’s the best thing to happen to Braun and the organization. He’ll be able to play Opening Day next year and everything is behind him as well as the organization and the players he let down … and the fans who have supported him for six years in the organization. At least now it’s finished, it’s over and they can move on.”

* Jeff Samardzija:
“It is what it is, I guess. You shouldn’t be taking things you shouldn’t be taking, connected to people you shouldn’t be connected to. Nowadays, you can’t hide from anything. That’s what it tells you is that everything you’re doing is going to be found out and going to be talked about.”

* Alfonso Soriano:
“I think sometimes people don’t realize how good they are. They want to go try something else. I just focus and try to do my job and not pay attention to what happens outside of baseball.

“I remember my first year, maybe people used [PEDs], but they didn’t have tests. Now they have tests and people have to be careful what they use, what they drink. It’s not the money, it’s not the suspension. For me personally, it’s family, friends, fans, what you do to your teammates, all that kind of stuff — the money is not important but how your family, how people want to treat your family, that’s hard. I never want to try to do anything negative because I did something wrong. I don’t want to do anything wrong to make it bad on myself or bad for my family.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/27 Being selective

One of the things Dale Sveum has stressed with the Cubs players is the need to improve their pitch selection, which will hopefully make them smarter hitters. Sveum was the hitting coach for the Brewers for three years and was asked about one of his former pupils, Ryan Braun. Did he take a lot of pitches in the beginning?

“Not when he came up,” Sveum said Monday of Braun. “He swung at more pitches out of the strike zone than anybody in baseball his first two seasons.”

So, how do you teach someone to be more selective?

“It’s not the easiest thing to teach because you’re still trying to create slugging percentage,” Sveum said. “You have to remember, Braun went to a major college and played for a long time. The bottom line is, he came to the conclusion that he was strong enough, fast enough and confident enough that he was going to hit any fastball in his count. A lot of times, young players don’t have that confidence in their ability to hit a fastball in any count so they speed things up. He’s changed things, he’s able to hit 0-1 with no panic. He doesn’t swing at a lot of 2-0 pitches, he doesn’t swing at 3-1 pitches, but that comes with a tremendous amount of confidence.”

So, is it something that can be taught?

“It’s very difficult to teach,” Sveum said. “Unless you tell them to take pitches, it’s a very difficult thing. About the time you do that, there’s a ball right down the middle and they get frustrated and the whole system breaks down. The system of on-base percentage and OPS — those are obviously the stats we judge people by offensively but remember that curve is brought up by the Yankees and the Red Sox and the Rangers. They have 28 to 32 year old hitters. That’s why that scale is so high. That doesn’t come with young players. Every one of those guys over there on the other side of the fence today [on the Brewers] were young and none of them walked. They walk enough to keep their heads above water. Rickie Weeks was the only one who walked from the get go but sometimes it wasn’t the best thing either. When J.J. Hardy was there to Corey [Hart] to Braun to Prince [Fielder], none of them walked.

“But you get old enough and tired of swinging at pitchers’ pitches, and you get more confident in your own abilities, that scale starts coming up when you play the game,” Sveum said.

The Cubs, by the way, rank 13th in the National League in slugging percentage, and 15th in OPS.

— Carrie Muskat

5/12 Lineup & Quick hits

Derrek Lee is back in the Cubs’ lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Padres. “He’s ready to go,” Lou Piniella said of Lee, who has not played since May 5 because of a bulging disk. It’ll be LF Soriano, SS Theriot, CF Fukudome, 1B Lee, RF Bradley, 3B Fontenot, C Soto, 2B Miles and P Harden.

* Ryan Dempster will start Thursday in the series finale against the Padres followed by Randy Wells on Friday and Sean Marshall on Saturday.

* No word on Milton Bradley’s appeal of his two-game suspension.

* Carlos Zambrano will make a rehab start in Clearwater, Fla., either Saturday or Sunday. Zambrano, on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, was to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. He’ll do some fielding exercises on Thursday, and if he passes all the tests, he’ll join the Class A Daytona team. Zambrano was hitting the ball well in batting practice Tuesday.

Zambrano would then be in line to pitch in the Cubs’ series in San Diego, and most likely return to action on May 22.

When Zambrano does return, the Cubs will then decide what to do with Wells and Marshall. Piniella said one would stay in the rotation, the other would go to the bullpen. “That’s the biggest chore we have here is to put together a solid bullpen that can function for the rest of the summer,” Piniella said.

* Expect Mike Fontenot and Ryan Freel to share third base as the Cubs try to get by without Aramis Ramirez, who is on the DL. “We’re not going to put anybody over there with Ramirez’s power, but we can play a little different game,” Piniella said. The Cubs manager also wouldn’t mind if one of the two made a case to keep the job. “There’s nothing wrong with that either,” Piniella said. “I welcome it, actually.” Expect Freel to start Wednesday night.

* Piniella was surprised to hear that Major League Baseball will review the Ryan Dempster-Ryan Braun at-bat from Saturday’s game. Milwaukee manager Ken Macha accused Dempster of throwing at Braun’s head. “We never even gave it a second thought,” Piniella said. “I don’t have an understanding for that situation. I read something about it today and it surprised the heck out of me.”

— Carrie Muskat