Results tagged ‘ Steve Clevenger ’

6/4 Minor matters

Sunday’s games

Chris Rusin gave up five runs over seven innings in Iowa’s 5-3 loss to New Orleans. Dave Sappelt had two hits. Michael Bowden struck out three, gave up one hit and walked a batter in 1 2/3 innings.

Tennessee vs. Jackson was postponed Sunday because of the weather.

Austin Kirk struck out seven over six shutout innings in Daytona’s 5-0 rain-shortened win over Brevard County. The game was called after seven innings because of the weather. Javier Baez had two hits and one RBIs and Jorge Soler drove in two runs. Soler has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.

Dan Vogelbach hit his eighth home run in Kane County’s 3-2, 10-inning win over Cedar Rapids. Albert Almora had three hits, including a double. Jeimer Candelario had three hits.

Monday’s games

Brett Jackson had four hits, including his fourth home run, and drove in two in Iowa’s 10-5, 13-inning loss to New Orleans. Nick Struck started but did not get a decision, giving up five runs over five innings. Brad Nelson had two hits. Steve Clevenger started his rehab assignment and hit a double and drove in three runs.

Kyle Hendricks, named the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the month for May, kicked off June with seven shutout innings in Tennessee’s 2-0 win over Jackson in the first game of a doubleheader. Hendricks struck out seven. It was his fifth straight quality start, and he’s now 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA. In the second game, Christian Villanueva hit his fifth home run in a 7-1 win. Ronald Torreyes had three hits and two RBIs.

Javier Baez hit a double and Jorge Soler drove in a run but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost, 5-3, to Bradenton. Yaniel Cabezas had two hits, both doubles, and one RBIs.

Dillon Maples threw five shutout innings, striking out seven, in Kane County’s 10-4 loss to Cedar Rapids. Reggie Golden had two hits, including his first home run, and Rock Shoulders and Gioskar Amaya each had two hits. Albert Almora also had a hit and has hit safely in nine of his first 11 games. He’s batting .455.

4/29 Extra bases

* Dale Sveum doesn’t give the Cubs relievers a heads up before the game to let them know who the designated closer is that day. He’s sticking with the best matchup.

“It’s been working,” Sveum said Monday. “I’m not going to say it’s a fix-all and that you don’t want to name a closer. You definitely don’t want to rock the boat when things are going good in the back of the bullpen when everybody is healthy and ready to go that night. It could be one of four guys. It depends on the matchups.”

The four include Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Shawn Camp and James Russell.

“After the fifth inning, everybody in that bullpen is on call at any time, depending on how we want to use it in the matchups,” Sveum said.

How does Gregg feel about that?

“There’s pros and cons to both ways,” Gregg said about picking one pitcher and using a closer by committee approach. “You name a closer and you definitely allow guys to slide into a position where they’re comfortable and know what they’re preparing for. Sometimes that backfires on some guys. That knowing [they're the one], the anxiety gets to them a little bit.”

Even if Sveum tells the pitchers that they’ll be called on late in the game, some prefer more specific instructions.

“Late in the game in the seventh inning and late in the game in the ninth inning are two different animals,” Gregg said. “You have to know what guys are comfortable with, what situations they’ll be successful in.”

* Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa threw 32 pitches in a bullpen session Monday, his first since going on the disabled list April 13, and will do so again before he makes a Minor League rehab outing. Fujikawa, sidelined with a strained right forearm, was expected to join Triple-A Iowa on Sunday if all goes well.

“Things didn’t go real crisp today,” Sveum said of the session. “Everything was fine and he felt great and everything, but the location wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”

* Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery one year ago, resumed his throwing program on Monday in Mesa, Ariz. Baker threw from about 45 feet.

* Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was to start Wednesday for Double-A Tennessee, which would be his second Minor League rehab outing. He will make at least three such starts.

* Catcher Steve Clevenger, on the DL with a strained left oblique, was able to catch two bullpen sessions on Monday and is throwing from 120-130 feet. He expected to start swinging a bat early next week.

– Carrie Muskat

4/14 Clevenger on 60-day DL; add Loe

Steve Clevenger will be sidelined at least six weeks because of a left oblique strain suffered on a swing Saturday. Clevenger, who missed time last year because of a strained right oblique, was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Kameron Loe, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Mariners. Loe will not be at Wrigley Sunday. The Cubs are waiting for Darwin Barney’s return from the DL, expected Tuesday. Clevenger was 1-for-8 in eight games with the Cubs.

“We lose a lot by losing him,” Dale Sveum said of Clevenger.

Loe, 31, appeared in four games with the Mariners and gave up eight runs over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander has pitched for the Rangers and Brewers.

– Carrie Muskat

4/14 Extra bases

The Cubs will have more news on Steve Clevenger’s status today. Clevenger injured his left oblique on a swing which ended Saturday’s game against the Giants. The team may not call anyone up because Darwin Barney is scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday, which means they would be short-handed for one day. Monday is an off day.

“I’ve seen it many times, but not that severe,” Dale Sveum said of Clevenger. “I’ve never seen somebody in that much pain.”

Some notes from Saturday’s game:

* Dioner Navarro hit a two-run pinch-homer off Madison Bumgarner in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was Navarro’s second-career pinch-homer and his second in as many days. On Friday, he connected from the left side of the plate, on Saturday, it was from the right side. Navarro is the third Cub to hit a pinch-home run in back-to-back team games and the first since Darin Jackson did so Aug. 14, 1988, vs. the Cardinals and Aug. 16, 1988, vs the Reds.

“It’s called pinch hitting and not pinch walking or pinch taking,” Sveum said. “That’s nice to see. That’s why we went with the three catchers, to have the ability to do those kinds of things with those two guys.”

* Alfonso Soriano posted his first three-hit game of the season.

* Jeff Samardzija dropped his second straight game. He is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven-career games (two starts) vs. the Giants. Cubs starting pitchers have compiled a 3.00 ERA (22 ER/66.0 IP) with six quality starts in the first 11 games of the season.

“I think he’ll probably tell you that he wasn’t as sharp as his first two outings,” Sveum said of Samardzija. “Fastball command and the split was ‘scuds’ so to speak. The life on the fastball wasn’t quite what it has been.”

* The Cubs have served up five home runs, tied for fewest in the Majors.

* Each game of the Cubs-Giants series has been a one-run decision. The Cubs are 1-2 this series and 2-3 this season in games decided by one run.

– Carrie Muskat

4/12 Clevenger starts at 3B; Stewart progressing

Steve Clevenger was a middle infielder before he was converted to catcher in the Cubs’ Minor League system, but on Friday, he was back at third base. Clevenger got the start against the Giants’ Matt Cain as the Cubs tried to overload the lineup with left-handed hitters.

“I got my ground balls in,” Clevenger said. “I feel very comfortable over there. I played infield when I was first drafted. It’s nothing new to me, just getting the reps.”

He did play infield this spring than in the past. Last year, Clevenger won a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster as a backup catcher.

“It’s just a reaction position at third,” he said. “It’s basically catch it and throw it.”

He’s also prepared as far as equipment.

“I always keep my infielder’s glove broken in,” he said.

“If he’s going to be here, he has to play,” manager Dale Sveum said of Clevenger, who is the third catcher on the Cubs’ roster. “It’s time to get him in the lineup against Cain and see what happens.”

Third baseman Ian Stewart, on the disabled list with a strained left quad, has been rehabbing at extended Spring Training, and played four innings on Thursday, hitting a couple doubles. Sveum said he expected Stewart would begin a Minor League rehab assignment soon.

– Carrie Muskat

4/12 Cubs lineup

Steve Clevenger gets a rare start at third base on Friday for the Cubs in the second game of their four-game series against the defending world champion Giants. Clevenger is 1-for-5 against Matt Cain, and did play one inning at third on Thursday. Carlos Villanueva gets the start. If you’re coming to the game, bundle up.

DeJesus CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Schierholtz RF
Castillo C
Clevenger 3B
Valbuena 2B
Villanueva P

– Carrie Muskat

3/27 Extra bases

* The Cubs will say goodbye to HoHoKam Stadium after Thursday’s game. The team has called the ballpark home since its first game, Feb. 28, 1997, against the Mariners. Fittingly, the Cubs will wrap up the 2013 Cactus League season against the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT. The Cubs are 132-118-13 all-time in Cactus League play at HoHoKam Stadium over 17 seasons.

Just because the big league team is leaving after Thursday’s game, it doesn’t mean HoHoKam will be dormant. The Cubs’ Minor Leaguers will play there this spring before breaking camp for their respective sites, plus the stadium will host the team’s Arizona Rookie League squad this summer. The Mesa Solar Sox also will play Arizona Fall League games at HoHoKam, starting in October.

The Athletics have signed a 20-year lease to play at HoHoKam, starting in 2015. Among the changes they will make is a new video scoreboard, wider seats, and a bigger clubhouse. The Cubs are moving to a new facility, currently being built in west Mesa at the intersection of highways 101 and 202, and scheduled to be ready for 2014 Spring Training.

* Outfielder Brett Jackson played in a Minor League game Wednesday, and got some at-bats. Jackson, sidelined with a strained right shoulder, was expected to play four or five innings on Thursday. He will open the season at Triple-A Iowa.

* Third baseman Ian Stewart expects to take batting practice on Friday. He will remain in Arizona and continue his rehab here from a sore left quad.

* The Cubs did claim right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays in their continued search for bullpen help. But they won’t see the pitcher in the final exhibition games. Moscoso is not guaranteed a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, but is an option for the pen. The team did tell right-hander Cory Wade, one of the in-house candidates, that he will not make the 25-man roster. That leaves lefty Hisanori Takahashi in camp, but the Cubs are still monitoring the waiver wire.

To make room for Moscoso on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Takahashi is a non-roster invitee, and the Cubs would need to open a spot on the 40-man for him as well. The lefty has given up six earned runs on 16 hits and four walks over 15 1/3 innings this spring.

* The Cubs also have yet to finalize the position players on the roster. Steve Clevenger is in the same situation as Takahashi. He’s the last in-house candidate.

“It’s a little weird not knowing what your fate is,” said Clevenger, who made the Opening Day roster last year as a backup catcher. “I put stuff on the truck [going to Chicago]. I’m getting ready to head north, and if they tell me different, they’ll have to send it to me.

“It’s a little weird,” he said. “It’s a little nerve-racking, too. At least I’m making them make a decision rather than be already down in the Minor League camp.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/26 Updating the roster

Infielder Alberto Gonzalez and reliever Zach Putnman were told Tuesday that they will not make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, and the team is still monitoring the waiver wire to fill the final spots on the bench and in the bullpen.

With Putnam out of the mix, the in-house candidates for the final bullpen spot comes down to Cory Wade and Hisanori Takahashi, who was scheduled to pitch Tuesday.

“He’s been pitching really well, he’s been getting right-handers out a little easier than left-handers,” Dale Sveum said of the left-hander. “He’s very durable. We know he can pitch two, three, even four innings and get to 90 pitches. He’s valuable in a number of ways. If the game goes really smooth, you can have the possibility of two left-handers in the last three, four innings. I want him to keep throwing strikes like he has and keep doing what he’s doing.”

With Gonzalez out of contention for the bench, that leaves left-handed hitting Steve Clevenger as the only option in camp. He made the Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher, and can fill in at first or third if needed. The Cubs want another left-handed bat.

“I look at the transactions, and from what I’ve seen there hasn’t been anything that fits our needs as of now,” Sveum said.

Gonzalez may be headed to the Minor Leagues but he will travel with the Cubs to Houston for exhibition games Friday and Saturday.

– Carrie Muskat

3/25 Clevenger has edge

The Cubs may not finalize their bench until Sunday, the day before the regular season begins, but it appears Steve Clevenger has the edge for that last spot.
Clevenger, who made the Opening Day roster last year as the backup catcher, was batting .395 overall this spring, and .526 (10-for-19) in his last 11 games. A left-handed hitter, he’s also 7-for-13 off southpaws this spring.

“He had a rough time the last three months of last season, and struggled at a little bit of everything, and came into Spring Training in the best shape he’s ever been in and worked extremely hard at the infield,” Dale Sveum said of Clevenger, who can sub at first or third if needed.

“You can’t take away that the guy has swung the bat better than anybody in camp,” Sveum said. “The guy’s always hit. [On Sunday], he took a [96 mph fastball] and hit it off the center field wall. The other day, he gets 0-2, and lines a ball through the six hole. The guy’s a big league hitter.”

Clevenger scuffled in the second half last season with the Cubs, and was unable to make adjustments at the plate. He’s wiped the slate clean this year.

The Cubs are looking at the waiver wire for other options but Sveum has made it clear he wants a left-handed bat for the bench. The other position player in camp still in contention is infielder Alberto Gonzalez, a right-handed hitter.

Sveum does like the makeup of the reserves, which includes versatile Brent Lillibridge, Scott Hairston, Dave Sappelt and Dioner Navarro.

“We have guys who don’t strike out on the bench, we’ve got guys who put the ball in play, guys who hit the ball out of the ballpark, they’re two-way players,” Sveum said. “If Clevenger makes the team, you can pinch hit for Navarro, pinch hit for [Welington] Castillo. If Castillo is playing, you can use Navarro and Clevenger as pinch hitters. It’s a very versatile bench and for a National League team, it’s nice for me to have all that kind of versatility.”

The truck leaves Wednesday for Chicago.

“Hopefully, we get it done soon, but it could be Sunday,” Sveum said.

– Carrie Muskat

3/24 Final two

The Cubs have one opening in the bullpen and one on the bench remaining. Here’s an update on the candidates:

Position players
Alberto Gonzalez: Started at 3B, moved to SS vs Indians. Went 1-for-2
Steve Clevenger: Entered at 3B. Went 1-for-1, 1 RBI vs. Indians

Pitchers
Zach Putnam: Replaced Casey Coleman in the eighth Sunday vs. Indians with two on and two outs, and gave up two-run single to Mike Aviles.
Hisanori Takahashi: Did not pitch Sunday
Cory Wade: Did not pitch Sunday
Rafael Dolis: Optioned to Triple-A Iowa Sunday

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