Former Cubs pitcher Mitch Williams will be honored at the 68th annual Pitch and Hit Club Awards Banquet on Sunday at the Carlisle Banquet Hall, 435 E. Butterfield Road in Lombard, Ill. Kim DeJesus, wife of former Cubs outfielder David DeJesus, will be honored as well for her work with the ALS Foundation. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to http://www.pitchandhitclub.org.
* Do you have tickets yet for the Cubs Convention? This year’s annual fan fest will be Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water Street, Chicago. Call 1-800-325-3535 for more information. Individual weekend passes are $60 per person without a hotel reservation, and are valid for all three days. Passes are $20 if you stay at the hotel.
Among the players scheduled to participate are Darwin Barney, Welington Castillo, Starlin Castro, Edwin Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva, and Travis Wood. New manager Rick Renteria will introduce his coaching staff, and Cubs alum scheduled to take part include Fergie Jenkins, Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Mark Prior, Dwight Smith, Jody Davis, Todd Walker, Billy Williams, Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks.
* On Jan. 16, you can sing along with some of your favorite Cubs players and help a good cause. The David DeJesus Family Foundation and Cubs Charities will present “Strike a Chord” celebrity karaoke event at American Junkie, 15 West Illinois Street, Chicago, on that date. Cubs players, alumni and their wives will sing at the fundraiser, with proceeds to benefit ALS research and support the DeJesus foundation. There are reports Travis Wood will be singing a country song.
There will be karaoke duets, an open bar, live auction and raffle. Tickets are $125 per person ($150 at the door), and $1,000 per table (four tickets plus reserved seating). The karaoke show begins at 8 p.m. CT. There will also be dancing after the event. Cubs Charities will donate half of the proceeds raised to ALS Research and Support in the name of the David DeJesus Family Foundation. Go to Cubs.com/community/strike_a_chord for more information.
* Had enough of the winter weather in Chicago? Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training at the new facility in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 13.
— Carrie Muskat
Want to sing along with Cubs players and help a good cause? The David DeJesus Family Foundation and Cubs Charities will present “Strike a Chord” celebrity karaoke event on Jan. 16 at American Junkie, 15 West Illinois Street, Chicago. You can sing with some of your favorite Cubs players, alumni and their wives at the fundraiser, with proceeds going to benefit ALS research and support the DeJesus foundation. There will be karaoke duets, an open bar, live auction and raffle. Tickets are $125 per person ($150 at the door), and $1,000 per table (four tickets plus reserved seating). The karaoke show begins at 8 p.m. CT. There will also be dancing after the event. Cubs Charities will donate half of the proceeds raised to ALs Research and Support in the name of the David DeJesus Family Foundation. Go to Cubs.com/community/strike_a_chord.
— Carrie Muskat
The Cubs miss David DeJesus at the top of the lineup. So, looking ahead to next season, who might be the Cubs’ leadoff man? It could be Starlin Castro.
“He could be that guy,” manager Dale Sveum said Thursday. “That’s where he seems to hit the best. Look throughout all of baseball. It’s not the easiest thing to find is a bonafide leadoff guy.”
Castro most likely would have to bat .300 to have the on-base percentage needed to fill that spot.
“The way he’s been hitting lately, I think he’s learned a lot where he could hit at the top of the order,” Sveum said.
This season has been a struggle for Castro, who was began with a career .297 average, but was batting .241 with nine home runs, 30 doubles and 39 RBIs entering Thursday’s game.
“Offensively, he’s had his toughest year,” Sveum said of the shortstop. “The adversity and how to deal with that is another learning experience in the big leagues. The one thing we know about this game is it’s a humbling game and how you get through that is basically it.
David DeJesus was with his wife when Theo Epstein called. DeJesus missed the call but his wife joked that he’d been traded. She was right.
The Cubs dealt DeJesus to the Nationals on Monday for a player to be named later. In a corresponding move, the Cubs will activate outfielder Brian Bogusevic from the 15-day disabled list. Bogusevic, 29, batted .261 (12-for-46) with three doubles and three RBI in 13 games with the Cubs this season. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 19 (retroactive to July 15) with a left hamstring strain. Bogusevic completed a rehab assignment during which he hit .367 (11-for-30) with four doubles, one triple and five RBI in eight games with Rookie-level Mesa (seven games) and Triple-A Iowa (one game).
DeJesus, 33, batted .250 (71-for-284) with 19 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI in 84 games with the Cubs this season. He had a .330 on-base percentage and a .401 slugging percentage. DeJesus joined the Cubs prior to the 2012 campaign and batted .263 (133-for-506) with 28 doubles, nine home runs and 50 RBI in 148 games, posting a .350 on-base percentage and a .403 slugging percentage.
David DeJesus is back in the leadoff spot on Saturday as the Cubs play Game 2 of their weekend series against the Cardinals. Welington Castillo is batting fourth. Here’s the lineup:
For the first time in his career, David DeJesus is batting clean-up, and the Cubs outfielder initially didn’t believe it.
“[Dale Sveum] had a lineup up, and then I was getting a massage, and someone said, ‘Hey, you’re batting fourth,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, right, ha, ha,'” DeJesus said. “And he’s like, ‘No, wait, I’m serious.’ I’m like, ‘All right, cool.'”
Alfonso Soriano has the most at-bats in the No. 4 spot for the Cubs, but after he was traded to the Yankees, Sveum has had to mix and match. He’s also used Anthony Rizzo; Nate Schierholtz, who got Friday off; Starlin Castro; Dioner Navarro, Welington Castillo and Cody Ransom. Luis Valbuena and Ryan Sweeney, also have batted fourth, but both on the disabled list.
“The lineup, obviously, right now is something you have to piece together day to day,” Sveum said.
Told that it’s the first time in DeJesus’ career that he’s batting fourth, Sveum said, “I figured it was.”
DeJesus and Schierholtz have been the most productive with runners in scoring position on the Cubs. Sveum didn’t expect DeJesus to change his approach.
“The one thing about hitting is you have people who don’t really care and it doesn’t really matter,” Sveum said of the lineup. “You’re going to hit the way you hit, and hopefully that’s the way everybody stays, no matter where you put them in the lineup. You’re only the fourth hitter only once and the leadoff hitter only once. After that, you could be anything.”
— Carrie Muskat
David DeJesus is batting fourth for the first time in his career when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis. DeJesus, who has batted leadoff all season, was batting .265 overall and 2-for-10 on the road trip. He’s 2-for-13 against St. Louis starter Lance Lynn. Chris Rusin, who has never faced the Cardinals, gets the start. Here’s the lineup:
According to FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are expected to move either David DeJesus or Nate Schierholtz today. The Pirates are interested in both. The Pirates, who have a 1 1/2 game lead in the NL Central over the Cardinals, could use a left-handed bat. They’re hitting .241 against right-handed pitching compared to .251 vs. lefties. Schierholtz was batting .283 against right-handers with a career-high 14 home runs. DeJesus, who just returned from the DL, was batting .282 against right-handers. Money-wise, DeJesus has a $6.5 million club option for 2014, while Schierholtz was only signed for this year and would be a less expensive option.
Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus are both well aware the Trade Deadline is one week away. Any team looking for a left-handed bat and a solid defensive outfielder would be interested in Schierholtz, who was batting .313 with runners in scoring position this season. A few teams have followed Schierholtz, including the Pirates.
“It’s out of our control what happens,” Schierholtz said after Wednesday’s win over the Diamondbacks. “I love being a Cub, and hope to stay here. You never know what will happen in the next week. All we can do is go out there and focus on trying to win games.”
DeJesus’ name also has been mentioned in trade rumors, and Theo Epstein did take time to talk to the outfielder, but not about a possible move. Instead, Epstein wanted to thank DeJesus, and tell him how much they appreciate his mentorship of the younger players. DeJesus showed that during his rehab stint with the Rookie League players, many of whom are teenagers.
“He’s a really good baseball player, lived up to his contract, he’s a left-handed bat who has the exact approach we’re trying to teach in this organization,” Epstein said. “There’s a lot of value to having him here. That said, will we make him untouchable? No — no one’s untouchable. We’ll sit and weigh out the options and what’s best for the Cubs.”
DeJesus, activated from the DL on Wednesday, was prepared.
“My name’s been in the rumors before,” he said. “It’s nothing new. You’ve just got to be professional and play the game and see what happens from there.”
— Carrie Muskat