November 2011

11/28 A’s consider Mesa as Spring Training site

When the Cubs leave their current Spring Training facility in Mesa, Ariz., the Athletics could move in. The A’s have entered exclusive negotiations with the city of Mesa that could result in a move from Phoenix. The Cubs are relocating to a new site in Mesa, which was expected to be ready for Spring Training 2014. The A’s would move their year-round Minor League operations from Phoenix’s Papago Sports Complex to Mesa’s Fitch Park. The exclusive negotiation period lasts through May 15. Oakland’s current agreement with the city of Phoenix expires after the 2014 season.

— Carrie Muskat

11/28 Matt Garza’s availability

Both FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi and ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Monday that the Cubs are letting teams know that Matt Garza is available. However, moving Garza doesn’t make much sense. One of the reasons the Cubs were willing to part with five players, including four highly touted prospects, for the right-hander was that Garza, 28, is under team control for two more years, and won’t be a free agent until 2014. He was the Cubs’ best pitcher in 2011, despite a 10-10 record. He didn’t get much run support and left with the lead and did not factor in the decision in seven of his starts. If the Cubs had more pitching depth in the farm system, Garza would be expendable.

— Carrie Muskat

11/28 Winter League update

Cubs prospect Austin Bibens-Dirkx gave up two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in Zulia’s 7-3 win over Margarita on Sunday in Venezuela Winter League play. Bibens-Dirkx struck out four and did not walk a batter.

Jay Jackson, who pitched at Triple-A Iowa last season, pitched one inning in relief on Sunday and picked up the win for Caracas in a 5-4 victory over Lara. Jackson did strike out two of the five batters he faced. The right-hander started on Friday and picked up the win for Caracas.

— Carrie Muskat


11/26 Winter ball update

Cubs prospect Junior Lake homered in the first inning to help Estrellas de Oriente beat Toros del Este, 11-1, in Dominican Winter League play on Friday.

* Marwin Gonzalez will join the Cubs training in Mesa, Ariz., this offseason. The second baseman played his last game Friday with Caracas. According to reports, the Venezuela Winter League is upset that Gonzalez is leaving and want him to continue playing the remainder of the season. Gonzalez was batting .333 in 26 games with Caracas, with three doubles and 13 RBIs. He hit .301 in 64 games with Double-A Tennessee, and .274 in 60 gmes with Triple-A Iowa.

— Carrie Muskat

11/25 Winter ball update

Jay Jackson threw five shutout innings for Leones del Caracas in Venezuela en route to a 6-1 win Thursday over Aragua. Jackson gave up three hits, walked one and struck out five in his second start for Caracas.

Also, Carlos Zambrano is day to day as far as his next start to give him time to heal after being hit in the face by a line drive. He has made three starts for Caribes in Venezuela.

* Bryan LaHair has been replaced on Magallanes’ roster by Cubs prospect Rebel Ridling.

— Carrie Muskat

11/25 Give the gift of Cubs tickets

You can give Cubs tickets for the holidays. Starting at 10 a.m. CT today, Holiday Gift Packs were available for purchase, with package prices starting at $94 (prior to 12 percent amusement tax) for two seats to four games.
Six different four-game packages are available in both the seating bowl and the bleachers. Packages can be customized to include as few as two tickets per game or as many as 12 tickets per game. Fans requesting quantities over 12 tickets per game should contact the Cubs Ticket Office at (773) 404-4242. All other ticket orders may be completed at Total package prices will vary based on location and the number of tickets purchased.
Holiday Gift Packs must be ordered by Dec. 17. for U.S. Postal Service delivery or Dec. 20 for FedEx delivery before Christmas Day. Advanced ordering is recommended, as these mail delivery dates cannot be guaranteed.
— Carrie Muskat                       

11/24 Winter ball update

In his first game with Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League, Junior Lake went 2-for-5 and scored two runs to help in a 6-0 win over Escogido on Wednesday. Lake batted .296 in 28 games in the Arizona Fall League, which ended Nov. 17.

In Venezuela, Marwin Gonzalez had a hit for Caracas, and now is batting .333 in 24 games.

In Mexico, Marco Carrillo gave up two hits over six shutout innings to help Obregon beat Mazatlan, 5-1. Carrillo struck out five and walked three. Carillo compiled a 2.36 ERA in 29 games, including seven starts, with Double-A Tennessee. He began last season with the Smokies, then was bumped up to Triple-A Iowa from late May until mid July, when he was 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in 11 games (two starts) before rejoining Tennessee. He’s now 2-2 with a 2.28 ERA in eight starts in Mexico.

Blake Parker, another Cubs prospect, threw one inning of relief on Wednesday for Hermosillo in Mexico. He’s given up runs in three of his 20 appearances, and has a 3.32 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.

— Carrie Muskat

11/23 Cubs offer arb to Ramirez, Pena

The Cubs offered arbitration to Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena but not Kerry Wood. All three were considered Type B free agents. By offering Ramirez and Pena arbitration, the Cubs will receive a compensatory Draft pick between the first and second rounds if they sign with another team. The Cubs are expected to continue talks with Wood, and not offering arbitration is strictly a procedural move.

— Carrie Muskat

11/23 Sveum talks to Bosio re: joining Cubs

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the Cubs asked permission last week to talk to Chris Bosio about joining the team as the pitching coach. New Cubs manager Dale Sveum and Bosio were teammates on the Brewers from 1986-91, and both coaches on the 2009 staff. Bosio was an advance scout for the Brewers last year and named the Triple-A pitching coach in September. Sveum is interviewing people for his staff, and has told hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo he’d return. The 2012 season will be the last of Jaramillo’s three-year deal.

— Carrie Muskat

11/23 Ice rink at Wrigley to open Friday

The Cubs will open the ice rink at Wrigley Field on Friday for public skating. It’ll be a festive event with the addition of a 30-foot holiday tree. The full-size skating rink will be available in the Cubs’ parking lot at the corner of Clark and Waveland streets. The Rink at Wrigley is sponsored by the Ricketts family and the Cubs, the Chicago Park District, Westrec Marinas management and Patch Landscaping.
The ice rink will be open beginning Friday through Feb. 26. It’ll be open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child Monday through Thursday, and $10 per adult and $6 per child Friday through Sunday. Season passes are available for $60. Skate rentals will be available for an additional fee of $5 for adults and $3 for children Monday through Thursday, and $10 for adults and $5 for children Friday through Sunday. Proceeds help offset the cost of the rink.
A Grand Opening celebration is planned in coordination with the lighting of the decorated holiday tree near the Wrigley Field Marquee on Dec. 3, at 5 p.m. For more information, visit
— Carrie Muskat