Results tagged ‘ Scott Baker ’

3/23 Extra bases

* Scott Baker was to be examined Sunday by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. Baker was shut down after his one Cactus League start last Sunday because of discomfort in his right elbow. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery and expected to open the year on the disabled list.

“I’m happy with the progress it’s made,” Baker said of his elbow. “Obviously, we’re doing something right as far as treatment and the medication is helping and there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy either.”

Baker will likely stay in Mesa for extended Spring Training. Scott Feldman also was expected to stay in Mesa and start March 31 before joining the Cubs, throwing 50 pitches in a game. He will start the Cubs’ fourth game, April 5 in Atlanta.

* The decision for the final spot in the Cubs bullpen may not be determined until the last weekend in Houston. Four relievers are competing, including Hisanori Takahashi, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis and Cory Wade. Dolis has been bothered by a blister. There’s no favorite, Sveum said.

“It’s completely undecided now,” Sveum said. “We’ll sit down and weigh all the options and everything, and the teams and durability. All that stuff comes into play.”

* The Cubs are monitoring the waiver wire to see who is available. They’re looking for some backup infield help. Javier Baez was not an option. This spring, Baez batted .389 against left-handed pitchers, but was 7-for-29 (.241) against right-handers.

“He’s so far away from the big leagues, the defense and everything,” Sveum said. “The guy has to develop. I know he hit all the home runs and everything, but he’s still premeditated swinging. He’s got a lot to learn yet. There was never a thought he’d be on this team.”

* Brett Jackson, bothered by soreness in his right shoulder, was able to throw on Friday and took about 20 swings off a batting tee. The Cubs hope he can play in a Cactus League game this week.

* The Cubs have three more games at HoHoKam Stadium. On Friday, officials with the Athletics toured the facility to consider changes for 2015 when Oakland moves in. There will be a new scoreboard and an updated clubhouse. The bleachers in left and right field will be removed, as will the seats. New, wider seats will be installed.

* Dave Sappelt was picked for the Cubs’ 25-man roster because of his ability to play center field. That’s his preferred position.

“I was defensive player of the year two years with the Reds in center,” Sappelt said. “I bounced around when I got here. I don’t have a problem with it. The corners are easy. You can make a lot of good, cool plays. Center is kind of wide open, you can catch them standing up; the corners you can dive, run into the wall.”

Sappelt’s nickname is “Mighty Mite,” and he got that from Dusty Baker.

“Whatever I’m listed at, I’m probably not that height, and I can probably hit the ball pretty far,” said the 5-foot-9 Sappelt.

— Carrie Muskat

3/19 Baker has setback – UPDATED

Cubs pitcher Scott Baker’s throwing program has been suspended indefinitely. Baker felt some discomfort in his right elbow after his first Cactus League start on Sunday, and underwent an MRI on Monday. The results of the test were not released, and Baker was to be examined by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo this weekend. There’s no timetable for Baker’s return and the extent of the injury is not known. Baker had Tommy John surgery last April, and the Cubs had hoped he would be ready by mid April this year.

“Right now, I’m chosing to be optimistic and hope for the best,” Baker said Tuesday. “Obviously, any setback of any sort is not something you like to hear but I think we’ll know more when Dr. Gryzlo gets down here and he can do a physical exam. MRIs are great and everything but you treat the patient, you don’t treat the MRI.”

On Sunday, Baker threw 23 pitches.

“It’s more disappointing for him, for a guy who’s worked that hard and did everything and really did nothing to warrant something like this, being shutdown,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Hopefully, it’s not that big a deal and he can continue. It’s just a wait and see thing now.”

This is the first setback Baker has had in his rehab.

“From talking to guys, it’s fairly uncommon not to have any setbacks,” Baker said. “Thus far I haven’t had any up until now. Is there ever a good time for a setback? Absolutely not. It is pretty common, but at the same time, it’s not fun.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/18 Baker to have precautionary MRI

Cubs pitcher Scott Baker, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, had an MRI on his right elbow Monday because he felt some soreness after his first Cactus League start. Baker was scheduled to pitch two innings Sunday but was pulled after facing six batters in the first. He gave up three runs on three hits, including a three-run homer by Oakland’s Chris Young, and two walks in one-third of an inning.

“He came in today kind of sore in the [elbow] so we’re going to do an MRI today,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Monday. “[Tuesday] morning, he could come in with no symptoms at all, and it [could’ve been] normal type feeling that other people get who didn’t have Tommy John surgery.”

Baker was starting his first game since Sept. 24, 2011. He missed all of the 2012 season. The Cubs were targeting a return of mid April for the right-hander, which would be the one-year anniversary of his surgery.

— Carrie Muskat

3/17 Baker’s 1st start – UPDATED

Scott Baker was scheduled to pitch two innings on Sunday but was pulled after reaching his pitch count in the first. He faced six batters, and gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in one-third of an inning as the Cubs faced the Athletics in Phoenix. This was Baker’s first spring start, and first game since Sept. 24, 2011, when he started for the Twins against the Indians. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery last April, and missed all of 2012. He was not expected to be ready for the regular season until mid to late April.

“Results are one thing, but getting back out there and pitching in front of fans was something I haven’t done yet, so it’s exciting to get out there and do that today,” Baker told reporters in Phoenix after his first spring start against the Athletics.

How did it go?

“I felt like I made some decent pitches,” Baker said. “Occasionally I got a little jumpy and left the ball up a little bit. I was happy to be out there. It’s another step. You go back and work on the things that, regardless of whether you had surgery or not, you work on those things mechanically and just go get them next time.”

As of now, Baker will start every fifth day, which will give him at least two more starts in Arizona before the Cubs break camp. He could then stay in extended Spring Training. What was encouraging to Baker on Sunday was that he could throw all of his pitches.

“Did I locate as well as I would like to? No,” Baker said. “That’s still part of the process, also. It’s another step. The results weren’t there. Physically, I did everything I could to prepare for this outing, and that’s going to continue to be the case. As long as I continue to progress and build the pitch count up, we’re still shooting for that mid-April time frame.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/13 Extra bases

* Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, will make his first Cactus League start Sunday for the Cubs against the Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium. Baker tuned up by throwing two innings in a Minor League game Tuesday at Fitch Park. Cubs manager Dale Sveum watched the workout and said Baker’s velocity improved in his second inning, and he was throwing his breaking ball as well. If all goes well, Baker could be ready for the regular season by mid April.

* Both Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters were scheduled to run the bases on Wednesday, and if all goes well, they could get into a game on Thursday. Stewart and Vitters both have been sidelined with sore left quads, injured Feb. 21 in an intrasquad game. Whether they will play in a Minor League game or a Cactus League game was to be determined.

* Matt Garza was to play catch on Wednesday, and continues to make progress in his rehab from a strained left lat. Garza was not expected to be ready for the regular season until early May.

* Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Villanueva will start Saturday and Sunday for the Cubs in split squad games in Las Vegas against the Rangers. Hisanori Takahashi will start Saturday in Mesa against the Royals, while Baker will start Sunday.

— Carrie Muskat

3/12 Baker, Villanueva get work in

Scott Baker threw two innings in a game in the Cubs’ Minor League camp at Fitch Park on Tuesday, and all went well. Carlos Villanueva also got his work in at Fitch, throwing three innings in a game, and totaling 76 pitches for the day. Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and if he recovers from Tuesday’s outing, the next step could be a Cactus League game.

— Carrie Muskat

3/7 Extra bases – UPDATED

* If Thursday was Opening Day, Starlin Castro would be in the Cubs lineup, but because it’s early March, the shortstop is still rehabbing. Castro has been sidelined since Feb. 27 with a tight hamstring. He could return Monday, or the team may take advantage of Tuesday’s off day and give the shortstop one more day before having him play Wednesday.

“If it was Opening Day, he’d be playing,” Sveum said. “I don’t think he has to worry about his job.”

Castro was able to take batting practice and also take part in the bunting tournament. More on that below.

Brent Lillibridge, who injured his groin on Feb. 27, also was projected to return to the lineup either Monday or Wednesday.

* Scott Baker threw a two inning simulated game on a back field at HoHoKam Stadium Thursday and the Cubs were encouraged by the velocity of his pitches. The next step will be to pitch in a Minor League game next week. If all goes well, the right-hander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, would then make his first Cactus League appearance.

“He got up to 89 miles an hour today in the second inning and let it go today a lot more,” Sveum said of Baker. “He felt good, finished good. It all went really well, especially the second inning when he cranked it up a little bit.”

* Rule 5 Draft pick Hector Rondon continues to impress. He gave up one hit and struck out one on Wednesday against the Rangers. He has given up two hits over four innings in four outings this spring.

“His fastball was OK, but it was impressive how he snapped off the breaking balls that he’s been working on,” Sveum said. “It wasn’t really in his tool box coming into spring and [pitching coach Chris Bosio] has been working on a little bit better breaking ball. [Rondon] pulled them off in some key spots.”

* Some of the Cubs played a doubleheader on Thursday, appearing in both the early “B” game and the regular Cactus League game against the Rangers. Sveum called it a learning experience for some of the young players, who saw some big league pitching most of the day, and saw quite a variety of arm action, including some sidearm delivery.

“They got a little taste of everything to understand what 162 games of Major League pitching is all about,” Sveum said. “That’s where you have to evaluate yourself as a player like maybe, ‘Whoa, I might have to adjust some things to hit this kind of pitching 162 days.'”

* The Cubs bunting tournament resumed Thursday with sweet 16 matches between Edwin Jackson and Casey Coleman, and Starlin Castro and defending champ David DeJesus. Jackson narrowly beat Coleman, who won the defending champion among the pitchers last year. DeJesus needed 35 points in the final round to beat Castro, and he got that on his first three bunts, hitting the “20” mark, then “10,” then “5.” Well done.

* Looking ahead to Friday’s game in Goodyear, Nick Struck will start and be followed by Chris Rusin. It’ll be Struck’s second Cactus League start. He held the Angels to two hits over three innings in his last outing. On Saturday, Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera will face the Indians. The Cubs have been strugging to score runs.

“We’re all looking forward to that day when we have [Anthony] Rizzo back and [Starlin] Castro is healthy and you have your core players out there,” Sveum said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/2 Garza, Baker updates

Matt Garza, who has been sidelined since Feb. 17 with a strained left lat, played catch for the second time since he was injured, and could be back on the mound in a week. But Dale Sveum says the right-hander most likely will not be ready for the opening week of the regular season.

Garza will take Sunday off after his throwing session Saturday, then have another long toss session on Monday, Sveum said. The right-hander missed the last 2 1/2 months of last season because of an elbow injury.

“He didn’t lose a lot of time as far as what he’d already built up,” Sveum said. “It wasn’t like [he missed] four weeks or something like that to where now you have to build everything back up.”

The Cubs will have a better idea as to Garza’s schedule once he starts throwing off the mound.

“It’ll depend on him,” Sveum said. “Because he’s so strong and he was basically at or even ahead of what he normally is in Spring Training when he [was injured], it’s kind of a wait and see with what happens in the first two [throwing sessions] and how his arm responds to the second time he gets in the game when it’s the 50 to 60 pitch mark, like [Jeff] Samardzija had Friday.”

“All this stuff is such a wait and see,” Sveum said. “I’m not going to lie, [having Garza pitch in] that opening series is probably a longshot.”

* Scott Baker, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, also is projected to be ready in mid April. Baker had his second live batting practice session on Friday.

“He said he felt way better this time the day after [he threw] than the day after he threw live BP four or five days ago,” Sveum said.

The plan is for Baker to have one more live BP session, then pitch in a simulated game before he’s ready for a Cactus League game.

— Carrie Muskat

2/26 Pitching updates

Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino both had good throwing sessions on Tuesday. Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw 25 pitches in a live BP session, while Vizcaino threw 25 in a bullpen session. If Baker stays on track, he could be ready by mid to late April. Vizcaino, also coming back from Tommy John, was not expected to be ready for big league action until later in the regular season.

— Carrie Muskat

2/23 Baker throws bullpen session

Cubs pitcher Scott Baker threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Saturday at Fitch Park, and says he feels good. Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery last April.

“It’s another step in the right direction,” Baker said.

The right-hander said he expects to throw at least two simulated games or live BP sessions before he gets into a Cactus League game but wasn’t sure of the exact timing. He’s leaving that to the medical and coaching staff.

“Everything felt good,” he said. “As long as everything keeps going well, it’s hard to be not pleased with that.”

Was he throwing full speed on Saturday?

“For me, it’s more mechanical than physical,” he said. “You hear a million times, ‘Stay within yourself’ and it’s never more true than now. It’s very easy when you feel good to get out there and get real sloppy. I’m throwing with as much intensity as my mechanics will allow.

— Carrie Muskat