Lou had the morning off from media duties, and with the early start today, the players took hitting in the cage. We’ll get to some minor-league stuff, including news about a draft pick, and a few other things, along the way. The Phillies have activated Placido Polanco off the DL and released Juan Castro. Cubs lineup vs. lefty Cole Hamels:
The top three hitters were a combined 0-for-12 yesterday with 4 strikeouts. Against left-handed pitchers, the Cubs have a batting average of .276 (237-for-859). That’s tops in the NL and fourth in baseball. The Cubs are 15-15 against left-handed pitching this year.
The Cubs have 30 runs and have hit .274 in their last five games since July 9 in L.A., good for an average of 6 runs per game. They had averaged exactly 3 runs per game in their previous 17 games.
In our Cubs notebook in today’s paper, we told you about Carlos Marmol’s crazy strikeout-per-9-innings rate of 17.09. Eric Gagne has the record (14.98), set in 2003. Carlos has 81 strikeouts in 42.2 innings.
Also, I see our old pal Kerry Wood is on the DL with the Indians again. It’s his 14th trip to the DL, and this time, it’s for a blister on his right index finger.
I’m told the Cubs are getting close to signing their No. 2 draft pick, Reggie Golden, an outfielder with power out of Wetumpka High School in Alabama. It’ll be fun to see the kid if he’s at Wrigley one of these days soon when and if the Cubs get the deal done and send him to Mesa. The Cubs took him 65th overall, and he’s committed to the University of Alabama.
At Class AAA Iowa yesterday, Jeff Samardzija started and pitched 5 shutout innings of 2-hit ball as the I-Cubs beat Oklahoma City 4-0. Jeff is 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA at Iowa. He beat former Cub and rehabbing Ranger Rich Harden, who gave up 4 runs and 8 hits in 3.2 innings. Bryan LaHair hit his 11th homer for Iowa. Brad Snyder extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He’s 16-for-47 in the streak. Sam Fuld and Darwin Barney each had a pair of hits.
At Tennessee (AA) Josh Vitters hit his seventh homer. He went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles. He’s been batting third of late.
"Just being relaxed," Vitters told the Knoxville News Sentinel, "and looking for good pitches to hit."
"That's what he's capable of doing," manager Bill Dancy told the paper. "He should be a guy in the middle of the lineup with the type of power he's got. We'll let him settle in and see how he does."
Chris Carpenter started and worked 4 shutout innings, giving up 3 hits. Tony Campana extended his hitting streak to five games, going 3-for-4. He’s 12-for-23 in the streak.
At Daytona (A), with Bob Brenly on hand, his son, Michael, extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 1-for-4. Michael is 24-for-57 (.421) in the streak. The Daytona team lost the game 7-3 to Ft. Myers. Brooks Raley started and worked 4 innings, giving up 3 hits and an unearned run. Junior Lake hit his fourth homer.
Peoria (A) beat Dayton 10-8. Ryan Searle worked 4 innings, giving up 6 hits and 6 runs (5 earned). Hak-Ju Lee recorded a season-high 5 hits, going 5-for-5 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. Lee’s line is .279/.346/.344.
Boise (A) fell 3-2 in 11 to Salem-Keizer. Center fielder and recent draft signee Matt Szczur extended his hitting streak to eight games, going 2-for-5. He’s 14-for-33 (.424) in the streak. Lefty Austin Kirk tossed 5 scoreless innings of relief.