Results tagged ‘ So Taguchi ’

6/21 Cubs Inbox

We’ll do a quick Cubs Inbox here. Send your questions to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown. Thanks.

Q: To follow up regarding Bryan LaHair and left-handed pitching, what were his stats in the Minors against lefties? I agree we cannot fully develop his talents if we don’t play him against lefties. — Tony H., Los Angeles, CA

A: In 2011, LaHair batted .284 (40-for-141) vs. left-handed pitchers. He had a .546 slugging percentage, .338 OBP, .884 OPS, with nine homers and 10 doubles. Against right-handers, LaHair batted .352 (111-for-315) with a .717 slugging percentage, .434 OBP, 1.151 OPS, 29 homers and 28 doubles. Dale Sveum was asked about LaHair vs. lefties this week.

“I think he’s got to get it out of his own head,” Sveum said. “There’s probably too much thinking, too much worrying about this pitch, guessing too much and not being aggressive enough early in the count, especially.”

Q: Did the Cubs sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler yet? I was really hoping for him to be a Cub. — Riley T., Dyersville, IA

A: Soler has not officially signed with the Cubs. There is still immigration paperwork to be processed, and he must pass a physical.

Q: Being that third base is our weakest offensive position, is it crazy to think LaHair or Anthony Rizzo could make that conversion? — Brian T., State College, PA

A: Yes, it’s crazy to think that.

Q: I have not heard anything about the progress of Wayne Gretzky’s son, who signed with the Cubs for a nice bonus. What’s his status? — John C., Hanford, CA

A: Trevor Gretzky, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft, had a shoulder injury, and was rehabbing at the Cubs facility in Mesa, Ariz.

Q: I love the history of the Cubs uniform numbers. Has a Cub ever worn 00? I remember Turk Wendell and Todd Hundley wore No. 99. — Ed W., Terre Haute, IN

A: No one has worn “00” on a Cubs uniform or a single “0.” By the way, the last to wear No. 99 was So Taguchi in 2009. Hundley was the first in ’01.

– Carrie Muskat

9/16 Soriano, Soto, Johnson & more

Alfonso Soriano was in the clubhouse Wednesday, one day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He can only rest and ice for now, but will begin his rehab Monday when he joins the team in Milwaukee.

“Everything’s good,” Soriano said. “Today, I feel better than yesterday, and I hope tomorrow, I feel better than today.”

* So Taguchi was sitting on the couch in his St. Louis home Tuesday when he got a phone call. He didn’t recognize the number, so he didn’t answer it. His agent finally contacted Taguchi and told him to get in touch with Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita, who wanted to know if Taguchi had any plans for the next two weeks. The 40-year-old outfielder said it took about 10 seconds to say he was available.

Taguchi, who spent the season at Triple-A Iowa, was needed as a backup in center field. Both Sam Fuld and Reed Johnson are about one week away from being available, leaving the Cubs a little short for the final 18 games.

The problem with Johnson’s fractured foot is that the injury is in an area that doesn’t get much blood, which is why it’s taking longer to heal.

“It’s just kind of a bad spot,” Johnson said. “It’s going to heal — it’s just a matter of when it’s going to heal.”

* Geovany Soto finally looks like he did last season when he won the NL Rookie of the Year award. Soto was batting .360 in his last seven games after batting .128 in August.

“He seems more relaxed and he’s hitting the ball, he’s driving it,” Lou Piniella said. “This is what we saw last year. It bodes well for us and for him, too. I’m happy to see him attacking the ball.”

* Mike Anderson, who was Randy Wells’ pitching coach in the Minor Leagues and helped the right-hander make the conversion from catcher to pitcher, was scouting the Cubs and Brewers this week. He’ll be in the stands Thursday to watch his protege. Anderson is now a scout for the Rangers.

– Carrie Muskat

9/16 Taguchi called up

The Cubs called up So Taguchi from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be in uniform for Wednesday’s game against the Brewers. Taguchi batted .248 for Iowa with four homers and 24 RBIs. The Cubs felt they needed an extra outfielder after Sam Fuld strained his right thumb. Fuld will be sidelined at least a week.

Taguchi, 40, played for the Phillies last season, appearing in 88 games and batting .220.

– Carrie Muskat

3/29 Roster moves

The Cubs reduced the spring roster to 30 players on Sunday. Right-handed pitchers Kevin Hart and Randy Wells were optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Catcher Mark Johnson, infielders Andres Blanco and Esteban German and outfielders Brad Snyder and So Taguchi were assigned to the Minor League camp. The spring roster now includes 16 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

– Carrie Muskat

Something to think about

While driving back from Tucson Saturday night on I-10, shortly before reaching Picacho Peak, the discussion turned to So Taguchi vs. Joey Gathright. It was prompted by a play in the eighth inning when Colorado’s Ryan Spilborghs tripled to right. Two runs scored, but what will not show up in the box score was the way that Taguchi, who was playing in left, ran in to backup at third base. Taguchi, 39, who signed a Minor League free agent contract with the Cubs, is batting .263 this spring and is fundamentally sound. Maybe he should be the extra outfielder?

“I’ll tell you the guy who’s had a heck of a spring is Taguchi,” Lou Piniella said after Friday’s game, totally unprompted. “He gives you a very professional at-bat and has done a really nice job. I don’t know if there will be room, but what a professional young man he is and the way he approaches things and the way he works. I’ve been very impressed.”

Gathright is batting .244 so far after an 0-for-4 game Saturday. A left-handed hitter, he batted .254 with 21 stolen bases last year for the Royals, missing time because of a bone bruise in his right shoulder. He has a career .263 average against right-handed pitchers, and a .288 average with runners in scoring position.

Taguchi, a right-handed bat, hit .220 in 88 games with the Phillies last season, is a career .281 hitter against lefties (but just .184 last year), and .278 hitter vs. right-handers. He has a career .332 average with RISP.

Both can play the corners. Gathright can help in center, but the Cubs already have Kosuke Fukudome and Reed Johnson. There’s been a lot of talk about needing more left-handed bats, but if the Cubs take Micah Hoffpauir, they should have enough.

Between Taguchi and Gathright, who can help the Cubs more? We’ll see.

– Carrie Muskat

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