Results tagged ‘ Tim Buss ’

12/9 Castro amps up workouts

The Cubs are making sure shortstop Starlin Castro reports to Spring Training in better shape. The team assigned strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for three weeks in November. In January, Castro will start workouts at the Cubs’ facility in the Dominican. The shortstop is coming off his worst year, batting .245 this past season. GM Jed Hoyer said other teams have expressed interest in Castro, knowing the team has shortstop Javier Baez coming up in the organization.

“We’ve always gotten hits on [Castro],” Hoyer said Monday during his media briefing at the Winter Meetings. “I think people see him as a guy who was one of the best young players in the game a couple years ago.”

In 2011, Castro totaled 207 hits and batted .307, and followed that in 2012 with a .283 season. He asked the Cubs to help him as far as an offseason workout.

“I think he was frustrated by his season,” Hoyer said. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t show up at Spring Training in great shape, ready to go. I hope we look back on [the 2013 season] four, five years from now as a good learning experience for him and a wakeup call, if you will.”

Castro did play 161 games this year but Hoyer said to do that, a player needs to be “in really unbelievable shape.” The Cubs are banking on Castro, which is why they gave him a seven-year, $60 million contract in 2012.

“I think we felt like there’s no reason he can’t be a little faster and he can’t have more range than he does,” Hoyer said. “He’s at that age — he’s going to be 24 years old [in March]– where he’s going to start to put on a little bit of htat man strength.

“He was a college-age kid when he came up and I think he can start to put on that muscle mass now and maybe that does improve his speed, his range, his power,” Hoyer said. “It’s something he wanted to do and we certainly encouraged it.”

– Carrie Muskat

2/23 First round action

The Cubs bunting tournament got underway Thursday among the pitchers. Winners who advance to the next round include Jeff Beliveau, Lendy Castillo, Trey McNutt, Rafael Dolis, Dae-Eun Rhee, Chris Rusin, Scott Maine, and Casey Coleman. Maine won his round against  Blake Parker on his last bunt, hitting the 40-point block on the third base side. The competition is being held on a half field at Fitch Park with spaces designated with different points, ranging from 10 to 40. Rusin can relax. He was matched up with strength coach Tim Buss, and had no problems beating him. The winner of the pitchers division will face the winner of the position players division.

Think this is all fun and games? Matt Garza was practicing on Thursday after the first round ended.

– Carrie Muskat

3/6 LeMahieu flexes for game-winner

Another Camp Colvin alum had a big day Sunday. DJ LeMahieu, the Cubs’ second-round pick in 2009, belted a two-run walkoff homer in the 10th to lift the team to a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.

“I was taking [batting practice] today and one of the coaches said, ‘Last year, warning track; this year, maybe you’ll hit the fence,’” LeMahieu said of his conversation with Juan Cabrera. “I was like, ‘I’m going over the fence this year.’ It’s crazy — first at-bat to do that.”

The 22-year-old infielder said it was his first walkoff homer since Little League. He did have a clutch walkoff hit for LSU in the College World Series.

“A homer is way better,” he said.

LeMahieu added 18 pounds this offseason by working out in Mesa at what’s been dubbed “Camp Colvin” in honor of Tyler Colvin. After the 2009 season, Colvin worked out in Mesa and gained 25 pounds, had a great spring in 2010 and won a spot on the Opening Day roster. Cubs strength coach Tim Buss deserves the credit. He designs the program for the players. Obviously, Buss is having a good streak. LeMahieu begins this year with two home runs in 176 Minor League games.

Sunday’s contest was broadcast on WGN TV, and LeMahieu said he had family back home watching.

“I was trying to think up the middle and move the runner over,” he said, “and I guess all the adrenaline [got me] and I got the barrel out there really quickly. I don’t hit too many homers — to see me hit a homer, it’s like, what the heck is that?”

It’s a good sign, that’s what it is.

– Carrie Muskat

12/6 Cubs notebook

Hayden Simpson, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in last June’s First-Year Player Draft, was expected to begin workouts in Mesa, Ariz., later this month if he passes all medical checkups. Simpson did not report to a Minor League team after the Draft because he was sidelined with a severe case of mononucleosis. The right-handed pitcher from Southern Arkansas University, who was the 16th overall selection. Simpson was to get a head start on his workouts before Christmas, take time off for the holidays, and then return to Mesa.

* Camp Colvin has begun in Mesa. The workout program, which helped outfielder Tyler Colvin gain 25 pounds last season, is run by strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss. Colvin is among the participants and reports are that he’s doing well after having his season cut short prematurely when he was hit in the chest by a broken bat.

– Carrie Muskat

8/28 Lineup & B-days

Tyler Colvin is in left field and Kosuke Fukudome in right for Saturday night’s Cubs game against the Reds and Bronson Arroyo. And Saturday not only is Lou Piniella’s birthday but also starting pitcher Randy Wells’ and strength coach Tim Buss’ special day. Here’s the lineup:

2B DeWitt

SS Castro

CF Byrd

3B Ramirez

1B Nady

LF Colvin

RF Fukudome

C Hill

P Wells

– Carrie Muskat

8/28 LIneup, waivers & birthday wishes

Rookie Sam Fuld was starting in center field Friday in Game 1 vs. the Mets. New York is starting a lefty. It’ll be:

SS Theriot

RF Bradley

1B Lee

3B Ramirez

2B Baker

LF Soriano

C Soto

CF Fuld

P Lilly

* Rich Harden said he was surprised to hear he was claimed on waivers. FoxSports.com reported that Harden and Aaron Heilman were both claimed on Thursday, and if so, the Cubs would have until noon Monday to make a decision. The Cubs can either let the pitchers go to the team that claimed them, try to trade the pitchers to the team that claimed them, or pull them back and keep them. Teams that are in playoff contention need to finalize their postseason rosters by Aug. 31, so if a team were to add Harden or Heilman, they would have to do so by Monday.

“I’m happy being here and like being here,” Harden said Friday. “We’ll see what happens.”

Every team puts players through waivers, so it’s not unusual for Harden and Heilman to be subjected to this. What is unusual is to have their names released. The information is confidential. The Cubs won’t even confirm whether they’ve been contacted by the club that claimed the pitchers.

Harden is focused on his next start.

“I still plan on starting here Monday and anything can happen,” Harden said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but basically, my priority is to pitch for this team and nothing else. I’m happy here, I love playing here, the fans are good. We’ll see what happens.”

* On the final month of games:

“We’re trying to win as many games as we can and finish as well as we can,” Lou Piniella said. “I’d like to finish as strong as possible and I think the players feel the same way.”

* Expect the Cubs to call up seven or eight players when rosters expand Sept. 1. The list was expected to include players who have been with the big league team this year, which would include Micah Hoffpauir, Justin Berg, Andres Blanco, David Patton, and Bobby Scales.

* It’s not only Piniella’s 66th birthday Friday, but b-day greetings go out to Randy Wells and strength coach Tim Buss.

“I’m 66, but I feel like 76,” Piniella said. “Hopefully we’ll get a win and it’ll make me feel a lot better.”

– Carrie Muskat

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