Javier Baez will make his 2015 debut Thursday, playing for Triple-A Iowa. The Iowa Cubs are scheduled to play host to Oklahoam City on Thursday in Des Moines. Baez has not played this season, and was on the bereavement list following the death of his sister, Noely. She was 21.
Iowa manager Marty Pevey said Baez will play second base and bat third.
“We’re here as a team to help Javy out as much as we possibly can,” Pevey told the Des Moines Register.
You have to be culturally aware to keep up with Cubs manager Joe Maddon. After Wednesday’s 8-1 loss to the Pirates, which ended a four-game winning streak, Maddon was somewhat up beat.
“They got us, but any time you ‘Meat Loaf’ the other team in a series, you’ll take it,” Maddon said, referring to the 1977 song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”
“Meat loaf tastes good all season long,” Maddon said. “By the end of the season, it might be your favorite meal of all time.”
The Cubs did take two out of three against the Pirates. Last season, Pittsburgh won 14 of 19 meetings. So far this year, the Cubs have won four of seven.
— Carrie Muskat
Gerrit Cole gave up one unearned run on three hits over six innings to help the Pirates beat the Cubs, 8-1, on Wednesday in the series finale. Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run triple in a four-run sixth. Kyle Hendricks took the loss, giving up two runs over five innings. Miguel Montero had three hits, including a RBI single for the Cubs. The loss ended Chicago’s win streak at four games.
Despite the loss, the Cubs will finish April with a 12-8 record. It’s their first winning April since going 17-10 in 2008.
Up Next: After an off day Thursday, the Cubs play host to the Brewers in a three-game series. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 6.23) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (0-3, 5.04)
Saturday: RHP Jake Arrieta (3-1, 2.03) vs. RHP Mike Fiers (0-3, 5.79)
Sunday: RHP Jason Hammel (2-1, 3.55) vs. RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 3.63)
Seeing the White Sox and Orioles play without anyone in the stands in Baltimore on Wednesday made Cubs manager Joe Maddon stop to say thanks to the fans outside of Wrigley Field.
“When I walked in today, I made sure to stop and sign every autograph on my way in,” Maddon said. “That game really emphasizes and reveals the role of the fans in our game. And sometimes it could be taken for granted.
“To play a baseball game with nobody in the stands would be very not fun,” Maddon said. “I wouldn’t want to do it. What would be the appeal? … I think that game, more than anything, today illustrated the importance that fans play in our game. That was my takeaway from watching that was that one particular point and I’d like to hope or believe that the players stop and reflect on that a little bit because I think sometimes we do get a little bit negative in that regard.”
Maddon has spent plenty of time in the Minor Leagues, playing in front of small crowds.
“I think I have a great appreciation of the fans, but I hope now I have a greater appreciation for our fans and all baseball fans based on that event today,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat
Cubs reliever Justin Grimm, on the disabled list since April 2 with inflammation on his right forearm, threw a bullpen on Tuesday and could pitch in either a simulated game or an extended Spring Training game this weekend. Reliever Neil Ramirez, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, has been playing catch but has yet to throw off the mound.
Infielder Tommy La Stella, sidelined with a strained left side, has yet to resume hitting, but has been able to throw and was doing a lot of his rehab in the pool at the Cubs complex in Mesa, Ariz.
Tsuyoshi Wada, who has made two Minor League rehab starts for Triple-A Iowa, threw a bullpen on Wednesday at Wrigley Field, and will rejoin the Minor League team. He began the season on the DL with a strained left groin.
Albert Almora, ranked No. 5 on the list of top Cubs prospects by MLB.com, was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a concussion after a diving catch for Double-A Tennessee.
— Carrie Muskat
Kris Bryant didn’t expect disco balls, smoke and bright lights after games in the big leagues, but that’s what happens in the Cubs clubhouse after a win.
“Every time we win, it’s like we won a World Series,” Bryant said Wednesday. “There’s disco balls and smoke every where — it’s a lot of fun. It’s something I’ve wanted to be a part of.”
He’d heard about Major League pitching, not Major League partying.
“I didn’t expect it,” Bryant said. “We just put some new lights in here and a new disco ball. I guess it’s against tradition. Usually when you win, you just expect it. Here, we’re celebrating every win. There’s nothing wrong with it.
“Guys here want to have fun, I want to have fun,” he said. “It’s much more fun when you win.”
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer gave manager Joe Maddon and the players his blessing.
“It is hard to win games, there’s no doubt,” Hoyer said. “I like the fact that they have a lot of fun. We have a young team so it adds some new life to it. Joe and Davey [Martinez, bench coach] really encourage it. [Anthony Rizzo] may be the ringleader. It’s a lot of fun and hopefully they’l have a lot of chances to continue it. If it starts to break the budget, I guess it’s a good thing.”
Maddon feels it’s important to celebrate.
“I think the more you celebrate, obviously, there’s that camaraderie component that goes with it and then furthermore you’re looking forward to celebrating again tomorrow night,” Maddon said. “It’s a lot of fun. So I don’t know why other teams don’t do it. They think it’s non-professional; I think it’s very pro. Actually. I’m pro-pro that.”
The loud celebration does let players “cherish the moment,” Maddon said, “because it’s not easy to win a Major League baseball game and to win them 90-plus times is very difficult in the same season.”
Bryant compared it to Little League games when players were rewarded with snacks after each game.
“If we go out there and pretend to be in Little League, we’ll win a lot of ballgames,” Bryant said.
— Carrie Muskat
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday it has concluded its tampering investigation regarding Joe Maddon’s departure from the Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Cubs. MLB said its investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on tampering.
— Carrie Muskat
* Junior Lake got his first start Tuesday night for the Cubs because outfielder Chris Denorfia isn’t 100 percent
healthy after dealing with a sore left hamstring.
“Denorfia is still not 100 percent with his leg so I don’t want to push him right now,” manager Joe Maddon said of his
lineup against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke.
Maddon had heard that Lake was guilty of mental mistakes, but the outfielder made a good impression on the manager this
spring with his play, especially his base running.
* With an 11-7 record, the Cubs have secured their first winning April since going 17-10 in 2008.
“My big thing is that we’re trying to win every month,” Maddon said. “You try to win the day, you try to win the week, you
try to win the month. At the end of the season, it looks pretty good, normally. For the most part, we’ve been playing
* Has Maddon noticed a difference this year with Major League Baseball’s efforts to pick up the pace of games?
“I don’t know time,” Maddon said. “When you’re involved in the game, the game will be over and I’ll say, ‘What time is it?’
I don’t know most of the time if it’s a fast or slow game. There’s many times I’ve been involved in long games, and don’t
really know it’s a long game. I don’t focus on that at all.”
* The White Sox and Orioles will play Wednesday without any fans because of safety concerns after protests in
“It’s really unfortunate it’s gotten to that point,” Maddon said. “It will be very awkward for the players.”
He expected most players will feel as if they’re back in instructional league. Maddon recalled a Minor League game in the
early 1980s in Walla Walla when there were about 35 people in the stands.
* Outfielder Albert Almora, ranked No. 5 on MLB.com’s list of the Cubs’ top 20 prospects, was placed on the disabled
list Tuesday with an injury he described as whiplash. Almora was injured diving for a ball in center field on Monday. He
was batting .297 this season.
— Carrie Muskat
Junior Lake makes his first start of the season in left field as the Cubs play the Pirates in the second game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Here’s the lineup:
T. Wood P
* Kris Bryant is now 8-for-19 in five games against the Pirates with three doubles and eight RBI.
* The Pirates starting pitchers rank second in MLB with a 2.80 ERA.
* Andrew McCutchen is 11-for-63 on the season, and 1-for-21 in his last seven games.
* The Pirates are batting .197 against lefties this season.
A fan was carried out of Wrigley Field on a stretcher after being accidentally hit by a bat in the seventh
inning during the Cubs game against the Pirates.
Addison Russell, making his Wrigley Field debut, swung at a fastball and the bat slipped out of his hands and into the
seats near the Cubs dugout.
“It just slipped,” Russell said. “I saw a fastball and wanted to hit it and the bat slipped. I saw it connect with his
face. I felt so bad. Words can’t describe how bad I feel.
“I found the bat in my locker so if you see that guy out there, I’m willing to give him a bat and sign it,” Russell said.
“I feel terribly bad about it.”
While the two teams resumed play, medical staff tended to the fan. Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney, who was sitting a few rows in front of where the accident occurred, got some towels from the dugout.
Was it tough to focus on the game again?
“Some things you just have to block out,” Russell said. “Whenever the bat was in mid flight, in my mind I’m screaming,
‘Watch out, watch out,’ and then I saw the dude’s glasses fly, and it just wasn’t pretty. I feel really bad.”
The Cubs issued a statement, saying the patient was transported to first aid, then transferred to an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital. According to the Cubs, the patient was “conscious and communicating with staff while being transported from the stands.”
“It’s awful,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “What I see is that I never want my kids sitting unprotected, even though it’s
a good seat.”
Maddon recalls a Minor League game in the Quad Cities in 1976 when he was catching and a father and son were sitting to the left of the screen behind home plate. The young boy was struck in the face by a foul ball. Maddon says he’s never forgotten that incident.
“You come to the game, please pay attention,” Maddon said. “It’s a crazy game, things fly in the stands. It’s awful but we
all know it can happen.”
— Carrie Muskat