Results tagged ‘ Scott Baker ’

12/10 Pitching, pitching, pitching

The Cubs used nine different starting pitchers last season, including Scott Baker who started three games in September, and want to make sure they have enough depth. GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the goal is to add at least one and possibly two more starting pitchers before the season begins. So far, the rotation includes Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta with Chris Rusin and Carlos Villanueva possibly getting starts. The Cubs have had talks with Baker’s agent about the possibility of the right-hander returning for another season. Baker spent most of the season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Whether that extra pitcher is Masahiro Tanaka has not been determined as Major League Baseball and the Japan baseball officials sort through the posting process.

“In general, we only need one starter in theory,” Hoyer said, “but we know we’ll go through a lot more starters. We’re in on a lot of starting pitchers and we could well sign more than one starter. That’s a possibility. Someone is going to be hurt, someone could go to the bullpen for a short amount of time. I feel it’s a dangerous game playing that ‘just enough’ starting pitcher game. Could we add more than one starting pitcher this winter? Absolutely.”

On Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, Hoyer and Theo Epstein continued their meetings with agents and teams.

“I think we’ve laid the groundwork and we’ll keep doing that,” Hoyer said. “It’s boring to say but that’s what you do here. You have meeting after meeting and try to kick ideas off each other. You hope that having the big group here and having everyone in the same building will lead to a little more creativity.”

* The Cubs may go to Spring Training and let the relievers battle it out for the closer’s job.

“In theory we can,” Hoyer said. “I think we have people on the roster who can certainly hold down that job. At that point, it would be on [manager Rick Renteria] to name a closer in Spring Training. I’m not sure that will happen or not. I think we have more power arms on the roster and we feel better about our bullpen. We do still want to add to it.”

The list of candidates includes Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, and Hector Rondon. However, the Cubs are looking at adding some relievers, and hoping the chance to be a closer could entice some free agents.

Renteria did admit that managing the bullpen is the “most critical part of the ballgame.” He’d like to have roles established for each pitcher.

* Kyuji Fujikawa is continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery but most likely would not be back until May at the earliest.

– Carrie Muskat

10/31 Free agent update

With the World Series now complete, the following Cubs players are free agents:

RHP Scott Baker
RHP Kevin Gregg
RHP Matt Guerrier
C Dioner Navarro

The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 34.

Teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for five days after the completion of the World Series. Baker, Gregg, Guerrier and Navarro will be free to begin negotiations with all 30 teams, starting at 11 p.m. CT on Monday. The Cubs’ quartet are among 147 players who have officially filed for free agency.

9/20 Cubs lineup

The Cubs open their final homestand of 2013 on Friday against the NL East-leading Braves. Here’s the lineup against lefty Paul Maholm:

Castro SS
Barney 2B
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Murphy 3B
Lake LF
McDonald RF
Sweeney CF
S. Baker P

9/19 Cubs vs. Braves

The Cubs return home Friday for the final homestand of the season, playing host to the NL East leading Braves. Atlanta’s magic number is two, and they are off on Thursday. Former Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm gets the start Friday against Scott Baker, who will be making his final start for the Cubs for the season. Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, will then have to make a decision about next season. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday, 1:20 p.m. CT: RHP Scott Baker (0-0, 0.82) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.35)
Saturday, 3:05 p.m. CT: LHP Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (14-12, 3.32)
Sunday, 1:20 p.m. CT: RHP Edwin Jackson (8-16, 4.75) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (12-8, 3.14)

9/15 Extra bases

* James Russell is tied for first for the most appearances in the Major Leagues by a reliever, pitching in 73 games this season. On Saturday, he served up a game-winning home run to the Pirates’ Marlon Byrd in the seventh, and has given up four hits and two walks over three innings in his last four games.

“The ball’s up,” Dale Sveum said of the lefty. “Even the out he got on [Pedro] Alvarez [on Saturday], every pitch he threw was up in the strike zone. It’s a matter of keeping the ball down. He’s having a real difficult time getting the ball down.”

Could Russell be tired?

“For whatever reason, mechanical or tired or whatever — he’s had quite a bit of rest the last few weeks,” Sveum said. “We’ve tried not to use him unless we’re tied or teams we’re playing are in the pennant race to give him a break. He has thrown a lot of pitches and innings the last couple years but he says he feels as good as he ever has.”

* Scott Baker will get one more start on Friday at Wrigley Field when the Cubs play host to the Braves, and then the right-hander will be shut down. Sveum said there has been no talk about having Baker make another start. In two starts, Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery in April 2012, has given up one run on five hits and one walk over 11 innings.

* The Cubs played the Pirates on Opening Day, but the roster that faced them in this four-game series has undergone several changes. Only 12 of the 25 players on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster are still with the team. The 13 players no longer present have either been traded, outrighted off the 40-man roster, or granted their unconditional release. Nate Schierholtz is the lone outfielder remaining from Opening Day, and James Russell and Hector Rondon are the only remaining relievers. Overall, 33 players have made their debut for the Cubs this season, a franchise record that tops the 30 who did so in 1902.

– Carrie Muskat

9/14 Cubs lineup

Scott Baker makes his second start for the Cubs on Saturday night when they face the Pirates at PNC Park. Baker, who threw 55 pitches over five innings in his first outing, will be limited to 75-85 pitches. Here’s the lineup against Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Bogusevic LF
Castillo C
Barney 2B
S. Baker P

9/11 Cubs vs. Pirates

Looking ahead, the Cubs will travel to Pittsburgh for a four-game series against the Pirates, starting Thursday. The team is going with a six-man rotation to give Scott Baker two more starts. Here are the pitching matchups:

Thursday: LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.89) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (9-5, 3.23)
Friday: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-2, 4.28) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44)
Saturday: RHP Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (7-7, 3.48)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92)

9/8 Brewers 3, Cubs 1

Scott Baker’s rebuilt right elbow was good enough to shut down Major League hitters for five innings, even if he didn’t overpower anyone. The Cubs just couldn’t get him the win. Pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi hit a two-run single and Yovani Gallardo added a RBI single, both in the seventh, to spark the Brewers to a 3-1 win Sunday over the Cubs. It was their 21st loss in the last 28 home games.

Baker, 31, was making his first start one year and one month after his last, Aug. 8, 2011. He underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on April 17, 2012, and signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract in the offseason with the Cubs. This season, he made eight rehab starts at Class A Kane County and Daytona combined before joining the big league team.

Baker was lifted after throwing 55 pitches over five innings, walking one and striking out one. He hit 90 mph on the radar gun on two pitches in the first. What’s next for the right-hander? The Cubs want to see how he feels Monday.

“We’ll see how it all works out,” Dale Sveum said.

Junior Lake, who hit a grand slam Friday, led off the Chicago fifth with his sixth home run off a 2-1 pitch from Yovani Gallardo. But the Brewers rallied in the seventh. Aramis Ramirez doubled with one out against Justin Grimm and Carlos Gomez singled. James Russell replaced Grimm, and pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi greeted the lefty with a single to score both runners. One out later, Gallardo hit a RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

It was the 26th blown save this season for the Cubs, three shy of the club single-season record of 29 set in 2000. Gallardo struck out six over seven innings to improve to 8-3 against the Cubs with the win.

– Carrie Muskat

9/8 Cubs lineup

The Cubs wrap up their series against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. A win Sunday would give the Cubs their first winning homestand of at least two series since going 3-2 vs. the White Sox (2-0) and D-backs (1-2), May 29-June 2. Scott Baker, looks to make his season debut and will become the 55th player used by the team this year, extending a franchise record that surpasses 53 used last year. Still to make their debuts are catcher J.C. Boscan and pitcher Daniel Bard.

Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Bogusevic LF
Murphy 2B
Lake CF
Castillo C
Baker P

9/7 Cubs notebook

* Scott Baker will make his first Major League start since Aug. 8, 2011, on Sunday when he takes the mound in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers.

“He’s built up pretty good,” Dale Sveum said of the right-hander, who has been sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012. “I’m not going to put a limit on [Sunday's game]. He’s obviously not going to go over 100 pitches. We’ll see how things go. We have plenty of guys in the bullpen. It’s not a necessity to do anything but evaluate and let him pitch.”

* Ryan Sweeney will get a good look in September so the Cubs can gauge what to do next season with the outfielder.

“He’s pretty savvy, he knows what’s going on,” Sveum said. “He’s a quality left-handed bat, has the ability to hit home runs. You give him 500, 700 plate appearances that he’s never gotten before, I think you could project that to be a pretty good year.”

Sweeney missed time after injuring his ribs when he crashed into the outfield wall in Seattle.

“He’s got an ability in center field to make things look easy,” Sveum said. “You don’t want to put anybody in a Jim Edmonds category but he makes it look easy like Jim Edmonds did without a great deal of speed.”

* Junior Lake leads all Major League rookies in hits since the All-Star break, but on Saturday, the Cubs outfielder got a day off. Lake, who hit his first grand slam on Friday, was not in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Brewers on Saturday. It’s part of Sveum’s effort to give the outfielders on the roster enough playing time.

In 45 games with the Cubs, Lake has 55 hits, including five home runs. Sveum said he could project the outfielder finishing with at least 15 home runs in a full season.

“He’s got tremendous raw ability,” Sveum said. “We’ve witnessed that since the All-Star break. The power is there. You’re talking about doing things, and people still have to get the 700 plate appearances to project anything. He has the power and ability to obviously hit 15 home runs [in a single season].”

* Sveum was asked how he would judge Anthony Rizzo’s season.

“In his second year, many people in this game would take 85 to 90 [RBIs] and 25 home runs,” Sveum said. “We’re down on the average and all that, but the bottom line is, it’s been a good learning year for him and understanding about playing every day and the pitching and all that. It’s still a pretty good year for a kid who had to play every single day for the first time in his career.”

Rizzo entered Saturday’s game batting .232 with 21 home runs and 73 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

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