Cubs shake it up already
We have way too much going on at Wrigley Field this afternoon and evening as the Cubs celebrate Jackie Robinson Day by opening a three-game series with the Texas Rangers. The Cubs have made a spate of roster moves. Darwin Barney comes off the disabled list to start at second base. The Cubs have revamped their bullpen somewhat by adding Kameron Loe to the roster and selecting the contract of their former closer, Kevin Gregg.
Along with those moves, the Cubs have claimed infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from San Diego. Two players were designated for assignment: infielder-outfielder Brent Lillibridge and reliever Hisanori Takahashi. Also, pitcher Matt Garza will begin his rehab from a lat-muscle injury Friday by pitching for the Kane County Cougars. He'll likely go 2 innings in his first start.
We’ll flesh it all out for the paper tomorrow, but I’ll get a few snippets in here on the blog. I asked GM Jed Hoyer about his team’s performance in the small sample size of 12 games.
"I think we've underperformed the way we've played on the field," he said, noting that the Cubs outhomered the Giants 8-1 and lost three of four. "You do that and you should win a lot more games than we did. It's been frustrating with the results. the wins and losses, they are what they are, and that's our record, but given some of the production, we should have more wins than we do."
Both Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein have strong ties to Boston, and both expressed their sorrow over the bombing yesterday at the Boston Marathon.
"The injuries and the loss of life is awful. If you live in Boston for any amount of time ... it's kind of the best day in the city,” Hoyer said. “The Red Sox game is in the morning, everyone has off work, everyone runs out of the Red Sox game and goes right to the race and watches the end of the race, and there's usually tons of parties and gatherings at night. It's a day that's unique to Boston, and unique to Massachusetts and everyone has a great time and lives it up. For the rest of the country,most cities don't have that one holiday that's unique to them."
Epstein said his brother ran in the Marathon.
“All my thoughts were with my hometown and the people of Boston,” Epstein said. “Just a horrific thing that happened, surreal that it happened. I used to live about a block from there. The city is really shaken, but it’s really resilient.”
Some old friends are back in town with the Texas Rangers. Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto are the ex-Cubs. Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski teams with Soto behind the plate for Texas. Pierzynski joked that he’s glad the numbers are back on the building beyond right field, the one with “Eamus Catuli” on it. Next to that is AC0467104, designated the years gone by since various championships.
Also, Lance Berkman played the good sport in the wake of his comments about Wrigley Field. Talking to the Texas media before coming to town, the former Houston Astros star said: “If they’re looking for a guy to push the button when they blow the place up, I’ll do it,” he said of Wrigley. :Chicago’s one of the worst places in baseball … really for anything.”
Berkman was friendly enough when asked by a few of us about his comments.
“Like I was explaining before the game, a lot of those comments are borne from the fact that I’m a career .215 hitter here, and a lot of players base their opinions on ballparks by whether or not they perform well in those ballparks,” he said. “I don’t mean anything personal against the Cubs organization or the Cubs fans. I just don’t enjoy performing in this venue. It’s been very difficult for me over the years. As a consequence, I don’t have a real high opinion of the Friendly Confines.”
Berkman also nearly jumped out of his socks one night here while with the Astros during a lightning storm.
“Not only have I not performed well here, I’ve actually probably come as close to dying here as I’ve ever been anywhere in my life,” he said. “All of those experiences combined, you don’t have a real friendly feeling.’
The Kane County Cougars were rained out again yesterday Beloit, making it four postponements in five days for the Cougars. They’ll try a doubleheader today.
Class AAA Iowa lost 115-5 to Albuquerque. Drew Carpenter took the loss, going 4.1 innings and giving up 7 hits and 5 runs while walking two and striking out one. Ryan Sweeney hit his third homer, going 2-for-4. Darwin Barney was 4-for-5 with a double and 2 runs. Brett Jackson went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Tennessee (AA) fell to Huntsville 8-7. Dallas Beeler worked 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs while walking three and striking out four. Rubi Silva hit his second homer as he went 3-for-4 with a double and 4 RBI. Jae-Hoon Ha went 2-for-3 with 2 walks and a double.
Relievers Tony Zych and Trey McNutt combined to give up 5 runs on 5 hits with McNutt (0-1) blowing his first save of the season.
Daytona (A) beat Clearwater 8-1. Ben Wells got the win, going 6 shutout innings and giving up 5 hits while walking one and striking out four. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a double. He has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he’s 16-for-37. Zeke DeVoss was 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple and 3 RBI. John Andreoli was 2-for-5 with 2 runs. Ryan Searle won Florida State League pitcher of the week honors. In 2 relief appearances, he worked 8.1 shutout innings with an 0.48 WHIP. Opposing batters hit .107 against him.