June 2009

6/30 Guzman update

Angel Guzman had an efficient outing Tuesday night for the Class A Peoria Chiefs. Guzman, rehabbing from a strained right triceps, threw 11 pitches (nine for strikes) in one inning in a game against the Kane County Cougars. The right-hander struck out two of the three batters he faced, and the stadium radar gun clocked his fastball at 95 mph. He was expected to make another rehab outing Thursday if there are no setbacks.

— Carrie Muskat

Popularity contest

Apparently, neither Chicago baseball manager is very popular with players. In a survey of 380 Major League players, 26 percent said they did not want to play for Lou Piniella and 21 percent said they did not want to play for Ozzie Guillen. The results will be published in this week’s Sports Illustrated. Tony La Russa was third among least favorite managers, as 10 percent said no to the Cardinals skipper, while the Dodgers’ Joe Torre and Indians’ Eric Wedge were tied for fourth, each getting 4 percent of the vote. Note that players were not allowed to vote for their own manager.

They are fickle. In last week’s SI poll, Torre finished second when players were asked which manager they most wanted to play for.

— Carrie Muskat 

6/30 Minor matters

Josh Vitters wasn’t the only Cubs Minor Leaguer promoted. Andrew Casher, the 2008 first-round pick, who compiled a 1.50 ERA in 12 starts at Daytona, was moved up to Double-A Tennessee. Cashner struck out 34 over 42 innings. Also, Chris Carpenter, a third-round pick in the 2008 Draft, was bumped up from Peoria to Daytona. Carpenter was 4-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 15 starts, and struck out 60 over 73 2/3 innings. 

Vitters, the No. 1 pick in 2007, was promoted to Daytona. The third baseman was batting .316 with 12 doubles, 15 homers and 46 RBIs at Peoria.

— Carrie Muskat

6/29 Vitters to Daytona

Josh Vitters is moving up. Vitters will join Class A Daytona on Tuesday. He had been playing for Class A Peoria, and was batting .316 with 15 homers and 46 RBIs in 70 games. The third baseman, who was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in 2007, will compete in the All-Star Futures Game for the U.S. team as well.

— Carrie Muskat

6/29 Miles on DL; Fuld to Cubs

The Cubs placed infielder Aaron Miles on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 21, and recalled outfielder Sam Fuld from Triple-A Iowa. Miles has a hyperextended right elbow.

Fuld, 27, was batting .286 with 16 doubles, eight triples, 27 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 73 contests for Iowa this season, including a .398 batting average this month.

Miles, 32, was hitting .203 with seven doubles and four RBIs in 46 games during his first season with the Cubs. This is his second stint on the disabled list, as he was sidelined May 26-June 10 with a right shoulder strain.

— Carrie Muskat 

"We Believe" update

The documentary on the Cubs titled “We Believe” should be in Chicago theaters by the end of the summer. Those connected to the movie say they’re still weighing distribution offers. A DVD was expected to be available in September, and will include a bonus 106 minutes of footage.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Post-game quick hits

Lou Piniella wasn’t happy with the Cubs defensive play on Sunday. Part of the problem was the wind that blew Jermaine Dye’s pop up in the sixth from in front of third base to shallow left. Ryan Theriot tracked the ball, but couldn’t get his glove on it.

“We’re going to have to shore up some areas as far as defensive,” Piniella said. “Offensively, we’ve had our problems. Their pitcher [John Danks] pitched good and had a good changeup. It just wasn’t a good game for us. What can I say?”

* Aaron Miles only hit off the batting tee on Sunday. His right elbow is still bothering him, and the Cubs were able to get by without him while playing in American League ballparks. They may have to make a move if he’s not available now that their attention is back on National League play. He hyperextended the elbow last Wednesday during batting practice.

* Angel Guzman, a key part of the bullpen, could pitch this week for Class A Peoria in Kane County if he passes a workout on Monday. If all goes well, Guzman could pitch Tuesday for the Minor League team.

— Carrie Muskat

6/28 Quick hits

The Cubs were a little short-handed Sunday. Lefty Sean Marshall wasn’t available after pitching in four straight games, and infielder Aaron Miles is still bothered by a sore right elbow. Miles hyperextended his elbow last Wednesday, and hasn’t played since.

* Aramis Ramirez did take batting practice for the third day, and is moving closer to a rehab assignment. There is soreness after his BP sessions, but he says that’s normal. He hasn’t hit since he injured the shoulder May 8.

* Piniella was asked if he was frustrated by the Cubs this year.

“How many below .500 seasons have the Cubs had in their franchise history?” he said. “We’re one game under .500, and we’re having all kinds of problems here. It’s not where you’re at in June, it’s where you finish. The injuries, they’ve taken away from what this club can do. You know they’re part of the game, too. I’m not frustrated. I enjoy winning but, look, we still have a lot of baseball to be played. We have 90-something games to play and a lot can happen in 90-something games. Let’s stay positive. I’ve seen some nice signs the past couple days.”

— Carrie Muskat

Loose lips

There’s a saying in baseball that clubhouse personnel are taught on Day 1: What you hear here, what you see here, when you leave here, let it stay here. That rule was violated Friday when someone leaked what Lou Piniella said to Milton Bradley in the visiting clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field. Piniella had followed Bradley into the clubhouse after telling him to go home, and made a derogatory comment that he apologized for on Saturday. Piniella could’ve handled that behind closed doors if the comments weren’t made public.

“Things get a little heated in the clubhouse at times,” Piniella said Sunday. “I don’t think what happened is right. I mentioned it in a nice way to the Chicago people. Look, it happened. What can you say? A lot of things happen.”

The writer who had the quote from an unnamed source brought some of the visiting clubhouse staff into Piniella’s office Sunday morning to tell the Cubs manager they weren’t the ones who had violated the code. It was a bizarre scene.

Should someone be disciplined?

“I don’t know where it came from,” Piniella said. “I’m not going to accuse anybody because I just don’t know. If I don’t know, why should I start accusing? If I knew who it was, then I would take care of that. I can’t accuse somebody, because I don’t know who to accuse.”

The Cubs players were upset about the leak. Someone from the Cubs did talk to the visiting clubhouse personnel at U.S. Cellular Field about the matter.

“They’re good at it and they’re very professional,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of the visiting clubhouse staff. “They grew up in baseball. With all the respect to whoever made the comment, that’s stupid.”

— Carrie Muskat


6/28 Lineup

Jake Fox is the DH again Sunday in the Cubs-White Sox series finale. It’ll be LF Soriano, SS Theriot, RF Bradley, 1B Lee, DH Fox, C Soto, 3B Freel, CF Fukudome, 2B Blanco.

— Carrie Muskat