January 2012

1/26 Condolences

Lou Piniella’s mother, Margaret, died this week in Tampa, Fla. She was 92. Margaret was considered the athlete of the family, credited with playing a key role in developing Lou’s interest in sports as well as his temper. She famously once ran onto the court during one of Lou’s Jesuit High basketball games to argue with the referee, according to the Tampa Bay Times. She had been in failing health for several years. Lou left the Cubs in August 2010 to care for her.

Online condolences can be sent at jgrfuneralhome.com. Donations can be made in her memory to the Judeo Christian Clinic, 4118 N. MacDill AVe., Tampa, FL, 33607, or the McDonald Training Center, 5420 W. Cypress Street, Tampa, FL, 33607.

— Carrie Muskat

1/26 Roster move

The Cubs opened a spot on the 40-man roster for Kerry Wood on Thursday when they outrighted pitcher Manny Corpas off the 40-man. Corpas now will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. Wood agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with an option for 2013 on Jan. 13.
Corpas, 29, is coming back from Tommy John surgery, which he had in September 2010. In all or part of five seasons with the Rockies, he was 12-16 with 34 saves, 51 holds and a 3.93 ERA. He was Colorado’s closer midway through the 2007 season, and went 4-2 with 19 saves and a 2.08 ERA in 78 relief appearances. If healthy, Corpas could provide some experience to the bullpen.
The Cubs are expected to announce all non-roster invitees soon.
— Carrie Muskat

1/24 Cubs linked to Cespedes, Concepcion

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic and now is waiting for approval from Major League Baseball to be declared a free agent, his representative Edgar Mercedes told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. Cespedes, who was playing for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League, has said the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians are interested in him. The outfielder was expected to command a contract greater than the one Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman signed in 2010 when he agreed to a six-year, $30.25 million deal with the Reds.

The Cubs also are reportedly one of the teams interested in Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion. His agent, Jaime Torres, listed the Cubs, Rangers, Yankees and White Sox as some of the teams that have shown interest in the lefty. Concepcion was 10-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 21 games last season. He defected from Cuba last June and established residency in Mexico. He was declared a free agent last week.

— Carrie Muskat

1/24 Prince Fielder to Tigers

Prince Fielder has agreed to terms with the Tigers on a nine-year, $214 million deal, which means he’s out of the NL Central. But, he’ll be back at Wrigley Field on June 12-14 for Interleague games against the Cubs. Wrigley is one of his favorite places to hit. In 49 games there, Fielder batted .298 with 11 home runs and 15 doubles.

— Carrie Muskat

1/24 Plan now to attend HOF ceremonies

Are you planning on attending Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to honor late Cubs third baseman Ron Santo? The events will be July 20-23 in Cooperstown, N.Y., and more than 50 Hall of Famers are expected to return. Santo, who was named to nine All-Star Games in his 15 big league seasons, received 15 of 16 votes from the Golden Era Committee members at the Winter Meetings in December to gain induction. He is the 12th third baseman elected to the Hall of Fame and the 15th overall (including Negro leagues players).
The July 22 induction ceremony will place on the grounds outside of the Clark Sports Center, which is located on lower Susquehanna Avenue, just one mile south of the Hall of Fame. The ceremony is held rain or shine, unless severe weather forces the cancellation of the event. Seating for the event is unlimited and free of charge. A blanket or lawn chair is recommended for comfortable viewing. As the weather in Cooperstown can be quite warm in July, it is recommended that visitors bring a cap and sunscreen. It’s a tremendous weekend.

— Carrie Muskat

1/21 Cubs spring broadcast schedule

The Cubs released their Spring Training broadcast schedule, and for the second straight year, most of the games will be available via television, radio or internet radio broadcast. A Cubs game will be available every day of the spring schedule via one or more broadcast mediums, and 30 of the 35 games are scheduled to be available to Cubs fans overall.
Six games will be televised (four by WGN and two by Comcast SportsNet), 10 will be on the WGN Cubs radio network, and 20 via internet radio broadcast on www.cubs.com.  Fans will be able to access the Cubs Webcasts on Cubs.com and MLB.com for free by registering for a log-in account with the website.
WGN Radio will broadcast three of the first four games: March 5 vs. Athletics; March 6 vs. Rockies; and March 7 vs. Royals. The first televised spring game will be on WGN on March 10 when the Cubs face the Brewers in Maryvale. All games start at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted.
Date/opponent/site/broadcast availability
March 4 vs. Athletics, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 5 vs. Athletics, Mesa, WGN Radio
March 6 vs. Rockies, Mesa, WGN Radio
March 7 at Royals, Surprise; WGN Radio
March 8 vs. Mariners, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 9 at White Sox, Glendale, Cubs.com
March 10 at Brewers, Maryvale, WGN-TV, WGN Radio
March 11 at Dodgers, Glendale, WGN-TV, Cubs.com
March 12 vs. Reds, Mesa, WGN Radio
March 13 at Giants, Scottsdale, Cubs.com
March 14 vs. Brewers, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 15 (ss) vs. Diamondbacks, Mesa, Cubs.com; at Rockies, Scottsdale
March 16 vs. Giants, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 17 (ss) at Athletics, Phoenix, WGN Radio; vs. Rangers, Las Vegas
March 18 (ss) vs. White Sox, Mesa, Cubs.com; vs. Rangers, Las Vegas
March 19 at Mariners, Peoria, Cubs.com
March 20 (ss) vs. Rangers, Mesa, Cubs.com; at Athletics, Phoenix
March 22 at Rangers, Surprise, CSN, Cubs.com
March 23 at Rockies, Scottsdale, Cubs.com (1:10 p.m. MT)
March 24 vs. Padres, Mesa, WGN-TV, WGN Radio
March 25 at Indians, Goodyear, WGN-TV, WGN Radio
March 26 (ss) vs. Padres, Mesa, Cubs.com; at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale
March 27 at Reds, Goodyear, Cubs.com
March 28 vs. Indians, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 29 at Padres, Peoria, Cubs.com
March 30 vs. Dodgers, Mesa, Cubs.com
March 31 vs. Angels, Mesa, CSN, WGN Radio
April 1 at Angels, Tempe, Cubs.com
April 2 at Diamondbacks, Scottsdale, Cubs.com (1:10 p.m. MT)
April 3 vs. Brewers, Mesa, WGN Radio (12:05 p.m. MT)
— Carrie Muskat 

1/19 Cubs sign Rodrigo Lopez

The Cubs have signed Rodrigo Lopez to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. A Mexican baseball magazine first reported the signing. Last January, Lopez, 36, signed with the Braves but did not make the roster out of Spring Training. He was traded to the Cubs in May, and pitched in long relief and made 16 starts. He was 6-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 26 games. In a four-game stretch June 28-July 18, Lopez was 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA, posting three quality starts.

The Cubs are expected to announce all the non-roster invitees next week.

— Carrie Muskat 

1/19 Garza numbers updated

Matt Garza and the Cubs exchanged salary figures on Tuesday. The right-hander is seeking $12.5 million while the Cubs countered at $7.95 million. Usually, the team and player reach agreement on a halfway point, which, in this case, would be $10.225 million. Garza was 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 31 starts in his first season with the Cubs. He will be a free agent after the 2013 season. The Cubs avoided arbitration with six other players.

(Note: Garza’s numbers were incorrectly reported at first. The above fixes that.)



1/19 Byrd preps for 2012

Marlon Byrd has added a martial arts workout to his offseason regimen called Muay Thai (pronounced “moy tie”) and it’s helped him lose 40 pounds. A story will be posted on Cubs.com, but in the meantime, check out this video:


— Carrie Muskat

1/18 Cubs sign Jason Jaramillo

The Cubs have signed catcher Jason Jaramillo to a Minor League deal. He has batted .235 in 366 big league plate appearances over the last three seasons with the Pirates. A second-round pick of the Phillies, Jaramillo, 29, was bothered last season by an elbow injury. He’ll compete with Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger for the backup catcher’s job on the Cubs.

The Cubs have yet to announce their non-roster invitees to Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 18.

— Carrie Muskat