Chicago's Inside Pitch
The White Sox will attempt to avoid history tonight at the U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox and Cubs are making up a May 28 rainout against the Cubs and, as you might imagine, interest in the game isn't running particularly high on either side of town.
The White Sox (34-51) were swept in a three-game series at Tampa over the weekend and they've lost 9 of 11 and 27 of 37.
The Cubs did win 2 of 3 against the first-place Pirates at Wrigley over the weekend, but they come in with a 38-48 record.
Getting back to history, neither the Sox nor the Cubs have ever swept a home-and-home interleague series, which started in 1999. The White Sox did go 0-3 vs. the Cubs in '98.
It’s already been a busy day, with the Cubs having traded outfielder Scott Hairston to the Washington Nationals for minor-league pitching prospect Ivan Pineyro. Matt Garza takes the mound tonight against the White Sox. As has been the case with every Garza start, it could be his last, as scouts from many teams will be here at U.S. Cellular Field.
However, new reports, begun by cbsssports.com writer Jon Heyman, say that the Cubs are considering a contract extension for Garza. Color me skeptical on this one. Garza has been on the disabled list in each of his three seasons with the Cub. He seems good now, and his stuff has been great of late, but a long-term deal seems risky at this point.
As jaded as you can get in this business, I’m always refreshed to see a player genuinely happy to make the all-star team. Such was the case yesterday with Travis Wood of the Cubs, who will be going to New York July 16. Hope you caught my front-page story in Sunday’s Daily Herald:
“Like I said yesterday, for a guy that has so much passion for the game and just loves baseball, he just loves being at the ballpark,” said manager Dale Sveum. “I think that’s what makes it so special for him. A guy coming out of nowhere and to pitch as well as he has and get elected to the All-Star Game … and we all know the person he is. He’s just a baseball rat.
The big news of the day, which began coming out Friday night from Daytona, is that the Cubs have promoted shortstop Javier Baez from Class A Daytona to Class AA Tennessee. Baez, arguably the organization’s top prospect, had a hitting line of .274/.338/.535 with 17 homers and 57 RBI at Daytona. In 299 at-bats, he walked 21 times and struck out 78. He also committed 31 errors.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Baez beat his development plan by about a month but added it's unlikely Baez will make the jump to the majors this year.
Oh, and the Stanley Cup was here at Wrigley Field today, with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Big weekend here at Wrigley. The first-place Pirates are in town to open a three-game series with the Cubs, and the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are making their presence felt. Brandon Bollig and Bryan Bickell were shagging flies in the outfield, and earlier in the day, Cubs manager Dale Sveum threw some batting practice to the Hawks. During the seventh inning stretch, Bollig, Bickell and Patrick Sharp will lead the crowd in “Take Me out to the Ballgame.” Should be a fun weekend.
Tomorrow, the Stanley Cup will make an appearance at Wrigley Field, along with coach Joel Quenneville. I’ve got a couple of pics up on Twitter, @BruceMiles2112.
The Cubs today added relievers Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop to the roster today. They optioned lefty Chris Rusin back to Class AAA Iowa after Rusin started Tuesday night’s series opener at Oakland. They also designated reliever Shawn Camp for assignment. The Cubs will finish up at Oakland Thursday and come home for three with the Pirates over the weekend.
They’ll need a starter for Sunday’s game, but word out of Oakland is that it won’t be Carlos Villanueva, who has just begun to get stretched out to start. Nor, apparently, will it be Jake Arrieta, acquired Tuesday in the trade that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore. Strop also came in that deal.
We’re about one hour away from the scheduled first pitch between the White Sox and Orioles, and it’s raining at U.S. Cellular Field.
It’s been a miserable first half of the season for the Sox in every area – performance, health, weather – and the bad news kept coming Wednesday.
Paul Konerko and Jesse Crain are both on the disabled list, and they’ll be out until after the all-star break.
Konerko has a sore lower back, and he sat out six games before returning to the lineup against the Orioles Tuesday.
Crain has a right shoulder strain, the same injury that sent him to the DL at this time last year.
Both players have been mentioned in trade rumors, particularly Crain (0.74 ERA). Interested teams have to wait a bit longer to make offers now.
Has the White Sox’ rebuilding process begun?
The Sox signed Micker Adolfo Zapata today, and the 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic received a $1.6 million bonus.
That is the largest bonus the White Sox have ever paid for an international prospect.
Zapata is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and ranked as the No. 2 international prospect by MLB.com.
"Micker is a terrific young man who is tremendously talented," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “As we've gotten to know Micker and his family, we've been even more and more impressed. We cannot say enough about his baseball potential and his future with the White Sox."
Hahn was in the Dominica Republic for the signing.
The Cubs had no comment Monday on an ESPN Chicago report that said the Cubs were close to trading former closer Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Marmol was designated for assignment last Tuesday, meaning the Cubs have 10 days to release, trade or re-assign him.
If the Cubs can find a taker for Marmol, they may get a minor-league player in return along with a little relief from what’s left on Marmol’s $9.8 million salary for this year, or about $4.9 million.
If Marmol becomes a free agent, he can sign with another team, and the Cubs are on the hook for the whole salary. The Dodgers might see Marmol as a good fit for seventh- or eighth-inning relief work in setting up closer Kenley Jansen.
Well, that was fun.
To be truthful, Friday's White Sox-Indians doubleheader was some of the worst baseball I've seen in two decades on the beat.
I still remember the twinbill against the Boston Red Sox in August of 2007, when the White Sox dropped both games and were outscored 21-4.
And, if I remember correctly, former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen apologized to the media afterward for having to witness the carnage.
I'm sure Ozzie was happy he wasn't in the dugout Friday afternoon, Friday night and early Saturday morning.
It was a long, long day, and the White Sox lost Game 1 of a doubleheader to Cleveland 19-10 and lost Game 2 9-8.
"It seems like when things go bad, they go bad," Adam Dunn said. "Real bad."