Results tagged ‘ Ryan Dempser ’

2/22 The bench & Monday notebook

Lou Piniella, Alan Trammell, GM Jim Hendry and assistant GM Randy Bush met Monday at Fitch Park to discuss the Cubs’ bench and bullpen.

“There’s different ways we can go with our bench,” Piniella said. “We’ve got some decisions to make, whether we go a little more defensive-minded bench or offensive-minded. We’ll see how Spring Training plays itself out.”

The Cubs did talk to Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park, who reached an agreement Monday with the Yankees. Hendry is still looking at trade options but right now, the young pitchers in camp have a shot.

“This gives them a really great opportunity to establish themselves and get themselves in roles,” Piniella said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the rotation with the [Ted] Lilly situation but possibly one or two of those kids can work into the bullpen situation, too. Then we have the kids like [Justin] Berg, [Jeff] Gray who we got from Oakland, and maybe another young kid who wants to pop up and get in the mix. You hate to get too young but that’s what we have in camp here.”

Those pitchers in the rotation mix include Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, Sean Marshall and Carlos Silva. Rule 5 Draft pick Michael Parisi also could be in the ‘pen.

Rain on Monday forced the Cubs pitchers to throw again in the batting cages. Some of the team went to HoHoKam Park to get their work in.

* The Ricketts family was expected in Mesa on Tuesday for the first full squad workout.

“It’ll be a new start for Cubs baseball,” Piniella said. “I think it’s going to be a really good thing to have a family-owned team. They’re going to care, they’re going to take pride in it. The short conversations I’ve had with Tom Ricketts is he wants to win and that’s what we want to do for him.”

Chairman Tom Ricketts was expected to speak to the players. Piniella also will deliver a message to the team.

“First of all, we’ve got some good talent here,” Piniella said. “Last year, this baseball team finished second in this division with a whole lot of injuries and some problems. I’m proud of the way they hung in there. The message [to the team] is basically, ‘Let’s stay healthy and let’s work hard this spring and let’s tack on another 10 or so wins and give ourselves a chance in postseason again.’ That’s going to be the message.”

* Rudy Jaramillo said he’s encouraging Kosuke Fukudome to communicate with him about hitting, adding “I want more feedback.” The two met Sunday and Jaramillo made a few suggestions. Fukudome applied a few of the tips on Monday.

“I think we’re getting somewhere,” Jaramillo said.

Piniella has seen nothing but positives in the batting cages.

“Rudy’s available, he’s knowledgable about what he’s talking about, he’s had success with hitters,” Piniella said. “He’s got a regimen that the players seem to like. I know when I played, I had a guy like Charlie Lau and I learned as much as I could under his tutelage.”

* Ryan Dempster hosted a few of his teammates on Sunday night to watch the U.S. hockey team play the Canadians in the Winter Olympics, and bet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the outcome. He lost a few bets.

“It’s a lot of peanut butter — trying to figure out who wants crunchy and who wants smooth will be the tough part,” Dempster said.

Dempster’s Canada team lost, 5-3, but the game lived up to the hype.

“That game yesterday was as good a game as I’ve seen in a long time,” Dempster said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/19 Cubs add an "idiot" in Millar

Kevin Millar is the first to admit he’s not a five-tool player.

“I don’t think I have a tool box,” Millar said Friday. “That’s not what made me. What made me is I’ve always loved it more than anybody else and that’s always the big thing.”

Millar, 38, signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs and is battling for a spot on the bench. He’s excited about being in Arizona — it’s his first Spring Training in the state. He’s also reunited with former Florida teammates Ryan Dempster and Derrek Lee.

“We lost a lot of games together,” Millar siad. “I think we lost 100-something games a year. But you learn from those times and now you look at the success these guys have had and just to be back is awesome.”

Millar isn’t really what the Cubs are looking for. They’re already overloaded with right-handed bats.

“When you sit back as a player and look at the numbers and right-handed, left-handed, obviously it’s it’s not a great fit on paper,” Millar said. “My role is to come in here and have a good camp and hopefully win a spot on the bench. That’s the main thing is just to be a veteran and have some leadership qualities and do the best you can. You get caught up in numbers and stuff as a player and it’s tough and it doesn’t make sense at times. It always works out so we’ll see what happens.”

He does have a reputation as being a great clubhouse guy. The Cubs had some discord last season, primarily created by Milton Bradley, now with the Mariners. Millar talked to Dempster before signing with the Cubs.

“[Dempster] feels this is a good spot, being that I’ve played in a place like Boston and went through a lot of the same things — there was a huge curse there and it was a huge thing and 86 years [without winning a World Series] and it was almost like ‘This is this year’ — every year is the year,” Millar said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Millar batted .297 in 2004 when the Red Sox ended their so-called curse and won the World Series. The main thing, Millar said, is to have fun.

“You go out there and you compete for three hours and play the game hard, play the game right, but you can have fun,” he said. “I think guys forget that sometimes. I think there’s such a pressure and you have to act like somebody you’re not. Be yourself. It’s a game.”

He joked that he begged GM Jim Hendry on his hands and knees to let him play for the Cubs. This is the second straight year Millar has signed a Minor League contract. He made the Blue Jays last year and batted .223.

“Last year was the first time I had to be a role player and it was a learning experience,” Millar said. “The American League is tough. Once you accept it, it’s a lot easier. In the National League, I think have a chance to be involved a lot more than in an American League game. We’ll see what happens.”

Somewhere deep in his locker were six or seven gloves. He couldn’t find any of them Friday.

“But I’m 50 years old,” he said. “I might only be able to pinch hit. Shortstop is out, center field is out but I can catch. I can play the corners and catch.”

Geovany Soto shouldn’t worry about his job. Millar is well known for his clever ability to come up with nicknames — he labeled the Red Sox “idiots.”

“We might have to think of something around here,” he said. “I have to make the team first. [Idiot] is my nickname back at the house.”

If Millar didn’t make the big league club, would he accept a Minor League assignment? He didn’t want to consider that.

“When you look at your paperwork and it says ‘Iowa Cubs,’ you just have to close your eyes when you fill that stuff out,” he said. “I’m thinking ‘Chicago.'”

— Carrie Muskat

2/5/10 Ryan & Riley Dempster update

Nice article in NY Times about Ryan Dempster and how he’s dealing with 10-month-old daughter Riley, who has a rare disease that makes it difficult to swallow.

Dempster and his wife have created the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation dedicated to raising awareness of DiGeorge Syndrome, which Riley has, and reach out to families with children who have this, and help them deal with difficult situations they face. Go to his website for more info:


— Carrie Muskat

12/7 Koyie Hill got his wish

Koyie Hill’s Big Wish event Saturday in Wichita, Kan., was a huge success, and the Make-A-Wish foundation estimates they raised between $180,000 to $210,000. Cubs players who attended included Ryan Dempster, Mike Fontenot, Randy Wells and Rick Sutcliffe. Thanks to all who participated.

— Carrie Muskat

10/19 Koyie Hill's Big Wish

Cubs catcher Koyie Hill is throwing a party on Dec. 5 in Wichita, KS, to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas. Cubs players past and present such as Ryan Dempster, Ryan Theriot, Randy Wells, and Rick Sutcliffe, plus other big leaguers will take part in the event at the Hartman Arena. There will be a silent auction, followed by a Tracy Byrd Concert, and then a live auction. The VIP tables are nearly sold out, and Hill wanted people who have shown interest to know that proxies will be available and phone numbers as well on the Big Wish Kansas website closer to the Dec. 5 date.

Anyone interested in more information should go to:

— Carrie Muskat



10/4 Last lineup

Here’s the lineup for the Cubs’ final game of the regular season:

SS Theriot

LF Taguchi

1B Lee

3B Fox

2B Baker

RF Johnson

C Soto

CF Fuld

P Dempster

— Carrie Muskat

9/14 M-V-P, M-V-P

Lou Piniella was asked before Monday’s game if Derrek Lee was the Cubs’ MVP for ’09.

“Without question,” Piniella said of the first baseman. “He’s really come on. He got off to a little bit of a slow start and started to pick it up and has gotten better and better since the year has gone on.”

Lee extended his hitting streak to seven games with his 33rd homer, a solo shot, in the Cubs’ 2-0 win over the Brewers Monday. He has 98 RBIs and is close to reaching his second 100 RBIs season of his career (he drove in 107 in 2005). The next closest Cubs player? Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez each have driven in 55, and Ramirez missed two months with an injury.

Is Lee the MVP?

“He is,” Ramirez said. “Thirty homers, 100 RBIs, hitting .300 — he’s the MVP. He’s got close to 100 RBIs, and the next guy has 55 maybe. That tells you who the leader is right there.”

Ryan Dempster agreed.

“Look at the way his April went and the numbers he has right now,” Dempster said of Lee, who batted .189 in the first month. “I’ve been really lucky to be his teammate for almost 10 years now, down in Florida and then here, and I’ve never met a more professional guy, a guy who comes every day and is prepared to go out there and help the team win.

“He’s battled through a lot of different things whether it’s off the field stuff or injuries,” Dempster said. “There’s really nobody I pull harder for than a guy like him. To see the success he’s having and see him plugging away, he’s a great leader just by example.”

Of course, if you ask Lee, he’s focused on winning. The team’s record matters more than personal numbers. And he hasn’t given up on the 2009 season.

“We just have to keep going about it the way we’re going,” Lee said. “Who knows what will happen? They haven’t X-ed us out [in the standings]. Obviously, it’s a big uphill climb. You just keep grinding it out to see what happens.”

And all this team MVP talk?

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/27 Lilly update & quick hits

Ted Lilly underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday, and the debridement procedure went well. He was placed on the disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Cubs decided to take advantage of the time off and have Lilly undergo the knee surgery as well. He’s expected back in mid August.

* Is there any way Derrek Lee can avoid aggravating his neck sliding into bases? Lou Piniella joked that Lee could hit more home runs. “He’s got to be a little careful with the sliding,” Piniella said.

* When Ryan Dempster returns to the Cubs rotation on Tuesday, he’ll be limited to about 80 pitches. It’ll be Dempster’s first start since July 2. The right-hander broke a bone in his right big toe on July 5.

* Geovany Soto will likely play a few Minor League games before he’s activated. Soto began taking batting practice this weekend.

— Carrie Muskat

7/22 Lost in translation

It was a strange sight. Ryan Dempster had invited about 10 friends of his wife to Citizens Bank Park, and they had a chance to watch his workout Wednesday. It was a group of Amish boys from Lancaster, Pa. Imagine, if you will, the kids trying to explain Amish culture to Venezuelans Carlos Zambrano and Angel Guzman. When told that they didn’t have electricity, Guzman decided he couldn’t be Amish because he would miss being able to watch TV.

— Carrie Muskat 

7/10 Quick hits

Kevin Hart will start Monday for the Class A Peoria Chiefs. Hart was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday after making his first Major League start. The Cubs want the right-hander to stay on schedule for the second half — he’s filling in for Ryan Dempster — so he’ll get some action in the Minor Leagues this week. Iowa will be off for the All-Star break, which is why Hart can’t pitch for that club.

* The Cubs apparently tried to claim a catcher who was designated for assignment, but lost out. On Friday, Chris Coste was designated by the Phillies, and the Astros claimed him, so he could’ve been the one. The Cubs are looking outside the organization to find a backup while Geovany Soto rehabs from a left oblique strain. Soto could be sidelined a month.

* Derrek Lee has hit six home runs in hs last nine games, and now has 17 for the season. He had 15 by the All-Star break one year ago. Thirteen of Lee’s 17 homers have come at Wrigley.

— Carrie Muskat