Results tagged ‘ Scott Baker ’

2/22 Extra bases

* Travis Wood will start the Cubs’ Cactus League opener Saturday against the Angels. Here’s the lineup for the game, to be played in Tempe and broadcast on WGN Radio. Len Kasper will be subbing for Pat Hughes, who will be in Arizona later this spring:

Watkins 2B
Sappelt CF
Rizzo 1B
Hairston RF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Jackson LF
Lillibridge SS
McDonald DH

* Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer and Edwin Maysonet added a three-run shot for the White team which beat the Blue team, 6-3, on Friday in a Cubs intrasquad game at HoHoKam Stadium. Brett Jackson was 3-for-3 for the Blue team.

Sveum has raved about Valbuena’s defensive skills and said this spring that third base is Ian Stewart’s job to win. But Stewart is sidelined with a strained left quad. Could Valbuena be the Cubs starting third baseman?

“Like I said, it was [Stewart’s] job to win, not to lose,” Sveum said. “Things might change because who knows when Stewart will be back to play. I know Valbuena can play third. He doesn’t need to play third to get his at-bats.

“The guy had good winter ball, and obviously put a good swing on a ball today,” Sveum said after Friday’s intrasquad game, in which Valbuena hit a two-run home run. “I’m not too concerned about Valbuena. I need to see him everywhere. If things work out that way, then yeah, he’ll be playing third base quite a bit. First half of spring you’ll see him a lot more at other positions.”

* Third baseman Josh Vitters was day to day with a strained left quad, which he injured running the bases during drills. He was not expected to undergo an MRI on his leg.

“I’m just going to take it easy,” Vitters said.

* Scott Baker, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will throw a side session on Saturday, and then be re-evaluated. As of now, Baker has not been scheduled to pitch in a Cactus League game, manager Dale Sveum said. Baker, who had the surgery last April, was not expected to be ready by Opening Day.

— Carrie Muskat

2/14 Baker needs time; Feldman set

Here’s an update on the Cubs rotation: Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, most likely will not be ready by Opening Day, and Scott Feldman will start and won’t need to multi-task as he did with the Rangers. With Feldman securing a spot and Baker not being ready by April 1, that leaves one vacancy in the rotation. Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson are set and Matt Garza appears healthy after missing more than two months last year because of an elbow problem.

“There’s an above average chance Baker is going to probably start a little bit late just because you don’t want to rush him,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “There’s no need for that. You have Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, Feldman and the other spot, and you never know — there’s no guarantees of any spots besides the top three. We’ll let it all pan out and see what happens.”

But asked about whether Feldman, who has pitched in relief and started for the Rangers, would be considered for the ‘pen, Sveum said, “Feldman’s a starter. He’s going to be one of the starters.”

Feldman was happy to hear that.

“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come here was to get the opportunity,” Feldman said when told the news. “I’m not going to take anything for granted and I’ll keep working hard and try to improve all spring and carry that into the season.”

The right-hander was 5-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 21 starts with the Rangers and 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in eight games in relief.

Carlos Villanueva will likely be used in relief, Sveum said. That would give lefty Travis Wood an edge for the last rotation spot.

“There’s competition and we have a lot of time to see them and see what’s going on,” Sveum said.

The Cubs were expected to finalize the rotation by March 20 or March 25, Sveum said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/12 Baker feels good

Scott Baker threw about 40 pitches at 70 percent effort on Tuesday, the first workout day for Cubs pitchers and catchers. The right-hander will be “babied” this spring in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Baker has been encouraged by how his arm feels heading into camp in his first season with the Cubs.

“I feel I’m much farther along than I was at this point last year,” he said. “It was such a battle to get ready for last year’s Spring Training. Sometimes I think when you’re healthy, you’re healthy, and it’s allowed me to prepare for the season at a much greater capacity than I’ve had in the past couple years and it’s exciting.”

Last April, Baker had been scheduled to have surgery on his flexor pronator tendon but when doctors did the surgery, they decided to repair the ligament, and the pitcher underwent reconstructive elbow surgery. Pitchers normally take 12 to 18 months to recover from Tommy John surgery. Sveum would not commit to whether Baker will be ready for the first week of the regular season.

“We’re not going to put a timetable on it,” Dale Sveum said Tuesday. “We’re going to ease him into it and see how it works.”

Baker isn’t quite 100 percent.

“I’m as far along as I’m supposed to be right now,” Baker said. “I would say ‘100 percent’ would be pitching in games, and obviously, there are no games to pitch in. That’s part of the process is using Spring Training to prepare for the season.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/10 Check your scorecard

For those of you interested in uniform numbers for some of the new Cubs, here’s an updated list:

40-man roster
32 – Scott Baker
46 – Scott Feldman
71 – Trey McNutt
56 – Hector Rondon
57 – Carlos Villanueva
41 – Arodys Vizcaino
67 – Robert Whitenack

4 – Dioner Navarro

61 – Christian Villanueva
74 – Logan Watkins

19 – Nate Schierholtz
68 – Jorge Soler

Non-Roster Invitees
76 – Drew Carpenter
77 – Dayan Diaz
60 – Jensen Lewis
85 – Barret Loux
50 – Blake Parker
63 – Zach Putnam
81 – Nick Struck
47 – Hisanori Takahashi
59 – Cory Wade

79 – J.C. Boscan
78 – Michael Brenly
82 – Rafael Lopez

70 – Javier Baez
6 – Alberto Gonzalez
20 – Brent Lillibridge
65 – Edwin Maysonet
75 – Brad Nelson

66 – Brian Bogusevic
80 – Johermyn Chavez
16 – Darnell McDonald

1/16 Baker, Garza ready to go

The Cubs feel they’ve added much-needed depth to the pitching staff with the additions of free agent starters Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, and Scott Feldman, and have given the bullpen a boost with Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa. However, Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery and Matt Garza is returning from a right elbow injury. Theo Epstein said Wednesday Baker’s plan calls for him to be throwing at least 75 pitches by the end of March. If Baker needs more time, the Cubs now have enough arms to give him extra rehab starts.

“Both guys are on a nice time table for the start of the season,” Epstein said of Garza and Baker.

The other Cubs starters include Jeff Samardzija, who appears likely to get the Opening Day assignment, and Travis Wood. The Cubs also have yet to finalize their deal with free agent Carlos Villanueva. The transaction has been delayed until the team can clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

— Carrie Muskat

1/16 Sveum: “.500 is not acceptable”

Dale Sveum says he feels more comfortable heading into his second season as the Cubs manager. Coming off a 101 loss season, he’s got high expectations.

“The one thing you hate doing is saying, ‘[finishin] .500 will be good,’ because it’s not good,” Sveum said Wednesday. “It’s not 101 losses, but .500 isn’t getting you to the playoffs. Just getting in the playoffs is satisfactory. … In a perfect world, if [Matt] Garza and [Scott] Baker are ready to go Opening Day, its not a bad staff to have [Jeff] Samardzija, Garza and [Edwin] Jackson at the top and the other guys in the four, five spots. Fujikawa would come in the eight inning, Marmol in the ninth, there’s so many things that are so much better going into this season than last year. [Finishing] .500 is, like I said, still not acceptable.”

Garza and Baker will both be ready to go in Spring Training but Sveum said the team may take a cautious approach with them to ease them into the regular season. Garza is coming off an elbow injury and Baker is coming back from Tommy John surgery.

The Cubs in the playoffs in 2013? That might be hard for some fans to consider but Sveum thinks they have enough firepower if Ian Stewart is healthy, and Nate Schierholtz produces.

“You can’t fall victim to, ‘Yeah, we are obviously in a transition in the organization, and we’re trying to get healthy and do all this,’ but don’t fall into the category that we can’t win right now,” Sveum said. “Baseball is a funny thing. Just last year, we close out some games in April and the start of the season is a lot different and you never know what happens after that. You might not have the exact same bullets as the guy actross the street, but all you need are guys to play up to their capabilities and have a starting staff and close out games, and you win a lot of games.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/30 Prepping for Nashville

The Winter Meetings will be next week in Nashville, and the Cubs still have some holes to fill. Whether they sign free agents or acquire talent via trade, one thing is certain. No one is untouchable.

“We lost 101 games last year,” GM Jed Hoyer said. “I don’t think we’re in position to say we have enough talent, or to say to any one player on the roster he’s untouchable. We certainly have several players who we would have a hard time parting with and it would take a heck of a package to make it happen.

“In general, there shouldn’t be many untouchables in the game and there usually aren’t and I think they certainly shouldn’t be on teams looking to acquire a lot of talent,” he said. “I think the answer is no, but that’s no disrespect to the players we have. We just need to acquire a lot of talent.”

It could be a busy week.  The Cubs do want to add more pitching.

“We still look at it as an area of need,” Hoyer said. “We’re actively looking to improve our bullpen and we haven’t been able to address that yet this winter with the exception of bringing back Shawn Camp.”

Plus, because Scott Baker and Arodys Vizcaino, acquired from the Braves, are both coming off Tommy John surgery, and Matt Garza had his season shortened by an elbow injury, the Cubs need depth. They also want to add an outfielder who can play center or right, and need help for the bench.

Hoyer did confirm that Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa was considering the Cubs and did tour Wrigley Field. However, Hoyer would not comment on the negotiations or provide a timetable. He did say they were impressed by the right-hander.

“If we bring in someone who has closing experience, or a number of guys who have closing experience, that’s no knock on Carlos,” Hoyer said. “I think every team in baseball wants to have an assortment of guys back there who if the need arises can pitch in the ninth inning. Hopefully we can do that.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/27 Cubs sign Feldman

The Cubs added another arm to the mix on Tuesday, signing right-hander Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6 million deal with another $1 million in incentives. Feldman, 29, is the second free agent pitcher signed by the Cubs this month, joining Scott Baker. Feldman has pitched all or part of the last eight seasons with the Rangers, going 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA in 204 appearances, 101 as a starter. He made 20 or more starts in four of the last five seasons while also making 30 relief appearances in that span. He pitched exclusively in relief his first three seasons before transitioning into a starting role in 2008.

In 2009, Feldman was 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 34 appearances, including a career-high 31 starts. That season, he ranked among American League leaders in wins and winning percentage while setting a single-season franchise record with 12 wins on the road. The right-hander was the Rangers’ Opening Day starter a year later and went 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 29 appearances (22 starts) in 2010. He missed the first half of 2011 following right knee surgery. Last season, Feldman went 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA in 29 outings (21 starts).

— Carrie Muskat

11/15 Garza gets go-ahead

Matt Garza was given the go-ahead to resume his normal offseason routine in preparation for Spring Training after getting a clean scan on his right elbow, the team announced Thursday. Garza, who turns 29 on Nov. 26, was shut down after his July 21 start because of a stress reaction in his right elbow. He underwent a scan this week which revealed he was healing as expected, and was cleared by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo to resume his workouts. Fans did their best, sending get well wishes, and the right-hander tweeted his thanks. Garza tweeted: “I’m still getting ready for February!! Slow and steady is gonna win this race! #can’twait”

In 18 starts, Garza was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA. His return is needed as the Cubs head into the 2013 season with Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood healthy, and are counting on recently acquired right-hander Scott Baker, who is coming off Tommy John surgery. The Cubs are in the market for at least one more starting pitcher.

— Carrie Muskat

11/13 Cubs sign Baker

The Cubs began adding to the rotation by signing right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to a one-year contract. Baker, 31, signed for $5.5 million with another $1.5 million possible in performance bonuses.
The right-hander has pitched all or part of seven seasons with the Twins, from 2005-11. He has totaled 28 or more starts in three straight seasons, 2008-10.
The Twins’ Opening Day starter in 2010, he was limited to 23 appearances in 2011 because of a right elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch last year.
Baker leaves the Twins ranked among the club’s all-time leaders in several categories, including winning percentage (.568, fourth, minimum 100 decisions), starts (11th with 159), wins (11th with 63) and strikeouts (11th with 770).

— Carrie Muskat