August 2012

8/31 Double-A Tennessee news

Double-A Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour was named to the Southern League postseason All-Star team on Friday. Bour, 24, currently leads the Smokies in batting average (.290), hits (141), doubles (36), home runs (17) and RBIs (110), which leads the Southern League.  His also won a Southern League “Player of the Week” award, July 30-Aug. 6, and a start on the North team in the Southern League All-Star Game.

* The Smokies also announced that C Anthony Recker and LHP Chris Rusin will join the team in advance of Friday’s game against Pensacola.  In corresponding roster moves, RHP Dallas Beeler has been promoted to Triple-A Iowa and infielder Elliot Soto has been placed on the disabled list. Rusin will start Friday to tune up for his next Major League start on Tuesday against the Nationals. Recker, 29, joins Tennessee after spending only three games with the I-Cubs, where he hit .286 (2-for-7) after being traded from the Athletics organization for C Blake Lalli on Aug. 27.

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Soriano shows off for Giants

Alfonso Soriano looked motivated on Friday. The Giants considered him in their pursuit of another bat, but they knew he wasn’t keen on the idea because of the San Francisco weather. He has cleared waivers. Teams had until 10:59 p.m. CT Friday to trade for players to be eligible on the postseason rosters.

“It’s very hard to play on the West Coast, especially on that field,” Soriano said. “It’s nothing against the team — they have a very good team. It’s more the city because of the weather. They have a very good team that’s in first place. I know if I go to San Francisco, I won’t feel comfortable in the city. I’d feel comfortable on the team, but not in the city.”

It’s nothing personal but the cold weather bothers Soriano’s left knee, not just his bat. It was hot at Wrigley on Friday. Soriano hit a two-out RBI single in the first off Madison Bumgarner (14-9), and also his 24th home run, a two-run shot, in the third.

“He’s hurt us over the years,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Soriano. “If you make a mistake, there’s a good chance you’re going to pay for it.”

As for being dealt this offseason, Soriano said he’ll wait and see.

“I like it here,” Soriano said. “I don’t like to lose, especially late in my career. I just want to go someplace to win. If it’s here, I’d be happy. We’ll see what happens.”

Because he has a no-trade clause, Soriano has the final say.

“It has to be a perfect place for me to go,” he said. “I don’t want to go anywhere for one month. If somebody picks me, it depends on the situation and that team.”

— Carrie Muskat 

8/31 Look out, September

The Cubs have a goal for the final month of the season: not to lose 100 games. Chicago wrapped up a tough August with a 6-4 victory Friday over the Giants as Alfonso Soriano drove in three runs, including two on his 24th home run, and Anthony Rizzo added a solo home run, his 10th. With the win, the Cubs finished August at 8-21.

“The last month, we want to win,” Rizzo said. “We want to play .500 baseball in September, and everyone in here wants to finish strong. It’s a cliche but we want to build as much momentum in September going into Spring Training and move forward.”

The last Cubs are 51-80, and hoping to avoid being the first team to lose 100 since the 1966 club was 59-103.

“I know [losing 100 games] is something I don’t want to be a part of,” Rizzo said. “I think our magic number is down to 12 wins now. We’re not going to lose 100 games. It’s something we’re all motivated enough to do.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Step by step with Jackson

Brett Jackson is still a work in progress, but Dale Sveum sees lots of positive. Jackson had two doubles in the sixth inning on Thursday, and was batting .368 (7-for-19) on this homestand.

“Right now, we’re going to deal with some of the strikeouts and the at-bats, but what you’re seeing is a kid who is fortunately not a deer in headlights,” Sveum said. “He’s going up there with the intention of doing some damage all the time and swinging the bat and getting some good swings. He’s getting quite a few walks and you look up and with the strikeouts, he’s got an over .800 OPS. You don’t want to live with [the strikeouts], but you can live with it as long as the OPS and walks are there.”

Plus, Jackson has been great in center field.

“He’s a guy with a lot of tools and some adjustments need to be made to put him in a spot in the order where we can use his speed,” Sveum said.

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Call-ups

Jeff Beliveau joined the Cubs on Friday, taking Brooks Raley’s spot on the roster. There will be more players added, starting Saturday. Expect Tony Campana, Adrian Cardenas and Dave Sappelt to join the Cubs at that time. Chris Rusin also will be added, and start on Tuesday. He first went to Double-A Tennessee so he could stay on his work schedule. The Cubs also want to get a little look at newly acquired pitcher Miguel Socolovich and catcher Anthony Recker. They’ll join the team soon.

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Early extra bases

* The Cubs are 10-15 in 25 games against the NL West. They were swept in three California series vs. the Giants, Dodgers and Padres, and also swept in Arizona. Chicago is 10-2 against the NL West at Wrigley Field, and 0-13 on the road.

* Luis Valbuena’s .311 batting average (19-for-61) and .440 on-base percentage in August both lead the club, while Alfonso Soriano’s 18 RBIs this month are tops on the team. Carlos Marmol has recorded a 1.00 ERA (1 ER/9 IP) in nine relief appearances this month.

* The Cubs are 7-21 in August. The .250 winning percentage is their lowest in August since going 6-24 (.200) in August of 1999.

* Friday’s game is the second time in its last 22 games dating to Aug. 9 that the Cubs will face a lefty start on the mound.

— Carrie Muskat


8/31 Cubs lineup

David DeJesus, who was 3-for-4 with two walks on Thursday, gets Friday off in the Cubs’ series opener against the Giants. He’s never faced San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, but Joe Mather has. Here’s the lineup:

Mather RF

Vitters 3B

Rizzo 1B

Soriano LF

Castro SS

Castillo C

Jackson CF

Barney 2B

Volstad P

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Iowa’s season ends early

Triple-A Iowa’s season ended Thursday night with a 6-1 loss to Nashville. The Iowa team will not play its scheduled weekend series in New Orleans because of Hurricane Isaac. The Pacific Coast League announced the four-game series will be canceled after assessing the conditions in New Orleans and surrounding areas. The Iowa team finished 53-87 with the loss Thursday.

— Carrie Muskat 

8/30 Extra bases

Alfonso Soriano’s RBI single in the ninth gave the Cubs a walkoff win over the Brewers. It was the Cubs’ first walkoff win since July 29 against the Cardinals, and the first win when trailing entering the ninth since May 6 against the Dodgers.

“There were multiple heroes in that game,” Dale Sveum said. “It all worked out. That was nice. That was one of our, if not our best win of the year.”

* Starlin Castro was 2-for-5 with two RBIs, and extended his hitting streak to six games. He tripled in the first, his 10th of the year, and is the eighth different Cubs player in the last 50 years to total 10 triples in a season.

* David DeJesus and Luis Valbuena set the tone. DeJesus was 3-for-4, and reached base a season-high tying five times. Valbuena also had three hits. They combined for six hits and three walks and scored five runs. The Cubs totaled a season-high 11 walks.

“When we can walk 11 times, you know there was some grinding going on in nine innings,” Sveum said. “There were some great at-bats and guys saw a lot of pitches and got in great counts and ended up getting hits in a lot of situations.”

* Brett Jackson hit two doubles in the six-run sixth, and drove in two runs on the second hit. He said he’s hit two doubles in a Minor League game this season. He’s the fourth Cubs player in the last 15 years to record two extra-base hits in an inning, joining Jim Edmonds, Jacque Jones, and Mark Bellhorn.

— Carrie Muskat


8/30 Minor League report

Diory Hernandez had two hits, both doubles, in Iowa’s 3-0 loss to Nashville. Anthony Recker, acquired from the Athletics for Blake Lalli, hit a double and walked. Iowa ends its season this weekend in New Orleans.

Tennessee had Wednesday off, and plays at Pensacola on Thursday.

Christian Villanueva had two hits, including a solo home run, in Daytona’s 4-1 win over Clearwater in the first game of a doubleheader. P.J. Francescon gave up one run on three hits over six innings for the win. Rebel Ridling hit a solo homer in the nightcap, but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost, 3-1.

Jorge Soler had two hits and one RBIs in Peoria’s 9-5 loss to Cedar Rapids. Soler was batting .323 and has reached base safely in 13 of his 16 games.

Dan Vogelbach hit his 10th home run to help Boise beat Everett, 9-5. Rock Shoulders had two hits and two RBIs.

Mesa finished the regular season 37-19, and qualified for the postseason as the wild card winner. The Cubs will play the Athletics Thursday in the semifinals of the Arizona Rookie League playoffs. The winner advances to the one-game championship on Friday.

— Carrie Muskat