Results tagged ‘ Scott Hairston ’

7/8 Raley joins Cubs

The Cubs needed a fresh arm, and recalled lefty Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa to take the roster spot of outfielder Scott Hairston, who was traded to the Nationals earlier Monday. Raley has been a starter at Iowa, posting a 6-6 record and 4.91 ERA. He did make one relief appearance. He made his big league debut last August, and went 1-2 with a 8.14 ERA in five starts. He was called up June 12-13, but did not appear in a game.

How long will the Cubs go with an extra pitcher in the ‘pen?

“That’ll be dictated on what happens the next couple days with how long our starters go,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

The Cubs don’t have many options at Iowa to fill the outfield.

“[Junior] Lake is playing well but we want to let him develop more,” Sveum said. “There’s not a whole lot of options right now. Right now our bullpen concern is more important than anything right now.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/8 More on Hairston deal to Nats

It wasn’t that Scott Hairston wasn’t doing enough for the Cubs. The Nationals need him more. The Cubs dealt Hairston to the Nationals for a Minor League pitcher, Ivan Pineyro, who was pitching at High A Potomac. Hairston, 33, had been part of a platoon in right field but has gotten limited playing time. GM Jed Hoyer said Monday that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called, seeking to solidify their bench with another right-handed bat.

“[Hairston] is a real pro, and as far as bench guys who can hit lefties, he can hit a homer against a lefty as good as any bench bat in baseball,” Hoyer said. “Given the makeup of who we’ve been playing and the pitching makeup in our division, he hasn’t been playing as much as we’d hoped, and I think this is a good opprotunity for Scott and the Nationals to get more playing time. It was a good opportunity for us to get a young pitcher we liked.”

Hairston was batting .172 overall, and .179 against left-handers, and eight of his 14 hits off lefties have been home runs.

Pineyro, in his third Minor League season, began the year with Class A Hagerstown, going 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts. The 21-year-old right-hander was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team before he was promoted to Hagerstown. He will join the Cubs’ Class A Daytona team.

The Cubs have been busy in the last week, dealing Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Steve Clevenger and now Hairston. More deals are expected leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Matt Garza, who has been rumored to be dealt since Spring Training, was scheduled to start Monday against the White Sox.

Last year, the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker. Could free agents be hesitant to sign with the Cubs? Hoyer said no.

“Looking at Scott Feldman’s situation, we gave him a great opportunity,” Hoyer said. “A lot of places weren’t willing to guarantee him a rotation spot coming off a so-so year in Texas. We were wiling to do that, and I think he appreciated that. With Scott [Hairston], he looks at this as an opportunity to get more playing time. I think everything is taken on an individual basis.

“I would hope that we cease being sellers on an annual basis,” Hoyer said. “We want to be buyers. We need to acquire a lot of talent and build that wave that can come up here and give us that sustained success, and with that we hope we can move in the other direction and be buyers and not sellers.”

What about Garza? The right-hander has given up two earned runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.

“He’s been a popular name and a guy we’ve gotten a lot of phone calls on,” Hoyer said. “I think he’s opened a lot of eyes the way he’s thrown the last four, five times out.”

Because the Cubs bullpen has been overworked the last few games, they will promote left-hander Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa, and not add another outfielder.

“Our bullpen is pretty taxed right now with [Carlos] Villanueva still getting stretched back out,” Hoyer said. “We don’t want to push those guys too hard. We would like to add another right-handed bat. We’ll explore and discuss those options over the next couple days until our bullpen is rested.”

Raley was 6-6 in 16 starts at Iowa, posting a 5.08 ERA as a starter. He did make one relief appearance on May 16, and gave up two hits and one walk over three innings.

* Who else could the Cubs call up? Brett Jackson would be among the candidates at Iowa if he was healthy but he was on the disabled list with a right calf strain.

“I think we all have high expectations for Brett,” Hoyer said. “We’d love nothing more than to be able to give him playing time later in the year. He’s got to get out there and play and earn it, but he’s still a guy we’re very high on.”

Both Junior Lake and Logan Watkins have played well at Iowa, but Hoyer said they both need more at-bats in the Minors.

“They’ve both played well and both got our attention with how they’ve played and been part of the discussions,” Hoyer said. “I think both of those guys have development left. It’s nice to see them performing well at Triple-A. That bodes well for our future.”

— Carrie Muskat

7/8 Hairston to Nats

The Cubs have reportedly dealt outfielder Scott Hairston to the Nationals for a Minor League pitcher.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the deal Sunday night. Hairston, 33, signed a two-year, $5 million deal in the offseason, and has been part of a platoon in right field but has gotten limited playing time. He did not have a single at-bat on the Cubs’ just completed nine-game road trip. On Sunday, he delivered a pinch-hit home run.

The Cubs would not confirm the report.

Hairston was batting .172 overall, and .179 against left-handers with eight home runs and 18 RBIs.

The Cubs have been busy in the last week, dealing Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Steve Clevenger and now Hairston. More deals are expected leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline.

— Carrie Muskat

7/7 Cubs 4, Pirates 3, 11 innings

Dioner Navarro hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning to lift the Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Pirates and take the series on Sunday. Kevin Gregg served up a game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth to Starling Marte, but the Cubs rallied, loading the bases in the 11th before Navarro delivered. They’ve now won five of their last seven series.

“We’re playing the best team in the National League with the best record,” Dale Sveum said. “To come off a loss like we did [on Friday] and win two out of
three, it was nice beating the best team in baseball. Holding them down, our pitching did a good job. We had some timely hits and caught the ball and did a good job.”

— Carrie Muskat

6/22 Did you know …

Friday’s game was the first time in the Cubs’ 98 seasons at Wrigley Field in which both teams combined to score at least four runs and all the runs were on solo home runs. That’s according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Cubs had solo homers by Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Scott Hairston, and Chris Carter hit a solo shot for the Astros.

5/9 Cubs Inbox

As we celebrate the anniversary of the last cycle by a Cubs batter (Mark Grace, May 9, 1993, vs. the Padres), it’s time for a Cubs Inbox. Have a question? Send it to: Here goes.

Q: Who leads Major League Baseball in blown saves since 2008 — individual and by team — and where do the Cubs and Carlos Marmol rank? I know it’s not a friendly stat but I am curious. — Steve T., Phoenix, AZ

A: Here you go:

Most blown saves: 2008-13

1. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Qualls, 30 each
4. Kevin Gregg, 29
5. J.J. Putz, 27
6. Carlos Marmol, 26
7. Juan Carlos Oviedo, 24
8. Rafael Betancourt, Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Papelbon, 23 each
12. Jon Rauch and Fernando Rodney, 22 each

Most blown saves, teams 2008-2013
1. Brewers, 123 blown saves
2. Nationals, 121
3. Orioles, 119
4. Marlins, 117
5. Rockies and Mets, 113
7. Mariners, 112
8. Angels, 111
9. Cubs and Cardinals, 110

This season, the Diamondbacks have two pitchers who lead MLB in blown saves: J.J. Putz (4) and David Hernandez (3). The Cubs’ Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol both have two blown saves. Here are the individual leaders since ’08:

2012: John Axford, Brewers, 9 blown saves (Marmol 3)
2011: Marmol, 10 (tied with Angels’ Jordan Walden, 10)
2010: Tyler Clippard, Nationals, 10 (Marmol 5)
2009: Brad Lidge, Phillies, 11 (Marmol 4)
2008: Manuel Corpas, Rockies, and Kevin Gregg, Marlins, 9 each (Marmol 2)

2012: Brewers, 29 blown saves (Cubs 21 blown saves)
2011: Nationals, 27 blown saves (Cubs 24)
2010: Orioles, 27 blown saves (Cubs 14)
2009: Mariners, 28 blown saves (Cubs 18)
2008: Mariners, 31 blown saves (Cubs 24)

Q: Carlos Marmol had all spring to get it together. I say, release him, and bring up Chris Rusin. What say you? — Louis M., San Marcos, CA

A: Marmol went through the same rough start last year. The difference this season is that Dale Sveum acted sooner. Since the May 4 game against the Reds, Marmol has made two appearances, given up two hits and walked one over 2 1/3 innings, and has not allowed a run. It seems he needs to hit rock bottom. Last season, Marmol was able to get back on track after the All-Star break, posting a 1.52 ERA in 30 games, and going 12-for-13 in save situations. Marmol has to realize he’s not unhittable.

“He thinks that guys are going to swing at every pitch out of his hand, and he tries to make every pitch a two-strike pitch and that’s part of the problem,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of the right-hander. “He tries to bury the pitch and overthrow the pitch. He needs to back off. A lot of times, doing too much can be a deterrent. You’re not relaxed, you’re not getting the spin on the ball, you’re not working over the top of the ball, you’re working under the ball. Get him to relax and get him to where he was the second half of last year. That’s where we all want him to be and that’s where he wants to be.”

This is the last year of Marmol’s three-year contract, and he is being paid $9.8 million. It’s too early in the year to just dump him. He’s one of the seven pitchers in the Cubs’ bullpen, and Bosio and Sveum have to figure out a way for him to contribute.

As for Rusin, I’d keep him at Triple-A Iowa and let him develop as a starter. He has a bright future.

Q: I’m wondering why Scott Hairston is not being considered an every day outfielder after hitting 20 home runs last year? How many at-bats is he projected to get this year? — Anthon S., Seattle

A: I can’t give you a number for how many at-bats Hairston will get this year but do know he hasn’t done enough to warrant every day status. Hairston batted .172 (10-for-58) this spring, and he’s batting .132 (5-for-38) so far. Plus, he’s been used in a platoon against left-handed pitchers, and is 3-for-30 and all three hits have been home runs.

Q: After this year, what will happen to Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa? Do the Cubs own either facility? Would any other Major League team be interested in coming in and rehabbing the facilities? — Don W., Simpsonville, SC

A: The Athletics will be moving into HoHoKam and Fitch after signing a 20-year lease with the city. However, there won’t be spring games scheduled there for 2014. The A’s have plans to do some remodeling at HoHoKam, including widening the seats, installing a video scoreboard and updating the clubhouse. The Cubs have to remove all of their stuff from the two facilities at the end of this year.

Q: I just wanted to say, three years ago, I got a 4×4 Cubs alternate jersey logo tattooed over my heart. I cannot wait to put “World Champions” over it when we win it all. — Chuck L., Janesville, WI

A: I’m sure the Cubs appreciate the support but I think I would’ve gone with “Mom” instead.

5/2 Post-game notes

* Travis Wood now has opened the season with six quality starts. In 17 quality starts this year, Cubs pitchers have a 2.08 ERA and only six wins. Only four NL teams have more quality starts than the Cubs.

* Scott Hairston hit a two-run home run. Three of his four hits this season have been home runs, and all three have come off left-handed pitchers.

* Carlos Marmol has made 10 straight scoreless appearances dating to April 8 against Milwaukee. However, in his last five appearances, Marmol has either given up a hit, a walk, or hit a batter.

* With Thursday’s 4-2 loss, 23 of the Cubs’ 28 games have been decided by three runs or less, and the team is 9-14 in those games. More than half of the 17 losses (10) have been by two runs or less.

— Carrie Muskat

4/29 Cubs 5, Padres 3

The Cubs may be a little unconventional these days as far as their closer is concerned, but it’s working. Kevin Gregg picked up his fourth save, Darwin Barney hit a pair of RBI doubles, and Scott Hairston and Cody Ransom smacked back-to-back home runs to lift the Cubs to a 5-3 victory Monday night over the Padres for their fourth win in the last five games.

Gregg, who signed after being released by the Dodgers April 15, now has converted a save in each of his last four outings. However, manager Dale Sveum refuses to name him or anyone else the closer.

“For whatever reason, guys are getting the job done and getting big outs when we have to get outs,” Sveum said of his collection of relievers. “That’s the key is making pitches when you need to.”

Michael Bowden picked up the win in relief of starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out eight in five innings to raise his season total to 47, among the tops in the NL. It’s the second most K’s in Cubs history in the month of April, behind Matt Garza, who fanned 51 in 2011. Samardzija now is 0-4 with a no decision since his Opening Day victory over the Pirates. He had a tough time getting a grip on the ball, still bothered by right index finger that he cut trying to make a bare-handed grab in last start.

“Too many walks,” Samardzija said. “You can’t put that many guys on for free. Just pitching in a lot of situations where you have to battle and make bigger pitches makes it harder on yourself.”

The Cubs’ 6-7-8 hitters provided the offense. Ransom and Barney also made solid defensive plays, including a running bare-handed grab by Ransom on Jedd Gyorko’s grounder with the bases loaded in the seventh. Ransom was able to get the Padres’ second baseman by a half step.

“You take a million ground balls and hope to have the opportunity to catch it and throw it,” Ransom said. “Checked swing, and it was a little strange off the bat and it came off a little harder than I thought it would and made it to me and luckily for us, Gyorko didn’t run that well.”

“That bare-hand play saved the game for us,” Barney said.

All 25 of the Cubs’ games this season have been decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record, and second most to start a season all-time in the Major Leagues. The 1914 Tigers have the longest streak at 33 games.

The Cubs are ready to turn the calendar. It’s been a tough April.

“Let’s be honest — we’ve played some really good teams in the first month,” Samardzija said. “You’ve got the defending World Champs [the Giants], you’ve got the defending [American League West champs, the Rangers], you’ve got the Brew Crew at their place, and Cincinnati. We knew we’d have to come out and be on top of our game in April.

“It could easily be flipped around and we could be 15-10 instead of 10-15,” he said. “They say you don’t win or lose the season in April. I feel we’re good where we are. … Let’s get a little momentum going and see what happens from there.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/6 Braves 4, Cubs 1

Scott Feldman was one pitch away from getting out of a jam Friday but he had thrown too many pitches already. Justin Upton drove in two runs, including one on a solo homer in the first, and Juan Francisco hit a key two-run single in the fifth to lift the Braves to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs on Friday at Turner Field. The Cubs wanted Feldman to be more efficient with his pitches, but he wasn’t.

“He threw a lot of pitches that were uncompetitive pitches,” Dale Sveum said of Friday’s outing. “He was managing to get through a night where he didn’t have much command of anything. He was basically one pitch away from getting out of that [in the fifth]. We didn’t want him to be at 100 pitches, but at that time, it was his game to win or lose. He could keep it at 2-1 or give it up. Unfortunately, Francisco had a good at-bat and ended up blooping one into left field and that was that.”

The Braves had loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth when Feldman walked two batters and hit another. That set up Francisco’s hit, which made it 4-1, and Feldman exited, having thrown 102 pitches over 4 2/3 innings.

“That was the at-bat of the game for me,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “[Francisco] gets bases loaded there with a 3-2 count and battles and battles. He flared one in there to give us a two-run lead and a little wiggle room.”

Feldman was making his first trip to Atlanta, but he had faced Upton before. Upton apparently remembered something. The right-hander fell behind 0-2 with two outs in the first, and then lined the next pitch over the left-field fence for his third home run.

“I had a little trouble with my command tonight and they got into some deep counts and made me throw a lot of pitches,” Feldman said. “That’s a tough lineup there. When you’re behind in the count, you can’t give in and they battled well and made me throw way too many pitches.”

Scott Hairston, starting in right field as part of the Cubs’ lineup against left-handed pitchers, led off the fifth against Mike Minor (1-0) with his first home run to close the gap to 2-1.

The Cubs were happy to no longer be shivering after opening the season in chilly Pittsburgh. But the warmer temps weren’t enough to get the offense going. They began the day with the fewest hits in the National League and lowest team batting average and slugging percentage.

“Nobody’s swinging the bat at all right now,” Sveum said. “Somebody’s going to have to step up and get hot and hopefully it’s the whole team at one team. We don’t have a whole lot going on offensively right now.”

Leadoff man David DeJesus, who didn’t start but got a pinch-hit at-bat, doesn’t have a hit yet. Neither does Luis Valbuena or Brent Lillibridge. Anthony Rizzo has one, and that was his home run on the first pitch he saw on Opening Day. The Cubs have had two hits in a row twice this season — Opening Day and again on Friday.

“It’s too soon to call it struggling,” Hairston said. “We as hitters need to go out and put together good at-bats and I think we’re all capable of doing that.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/8 Cubs vs Reds, ppd rain

The Cubs’ game Friday night against the Reds was called after 1 1/2 innings because of rain. Scott Hairston hit a solo homer with two outs in the first, but it doesn’t count in the spring stats. Nick Struck started for Chicago and gave up a sacrifice fly and also committed a throwing error as he threw to second for an attempted pick off — but there was no one covering second. The game will not be made up.

On Saturday, the Cubs play host to the Indians at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. Brooks Raley will get the start and be followed by Alberto Cabrera. Here’s the early lineup:

DeJesus CF
Baez SS
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Hairston DH
Valbuena 3B
Chavez LF
Nelson 1B
Watkins 2B

* Looking ahead, Scott Feldman will face Jason Marquis and the Padres on Sunday at HoHoKam.

— Carrie Muskat