Tagged: Derrek Lee

9/12 Big blast

Juan Francisco’s homer in the Reds’ second inning Monday would’ve cleared not only the right field seats at Wrigley Field but Sheffield Avenue and the buildings beyond. Francisco hit a 502-foot blast, the second longest at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The ball sailed over the right field bleachers and landed on the southern sidewalk. Francisco’s homer is second only to Adam Dunn’s 535-foot homer off the Dodgers’ Jose Lima on Aug. 10, 2004, that landed in the Ohio River.

Two Cubs are on the list of 10 longest home runs at GABP: Derrek Lee hit a 482-foot shot on April 18, 2005, off Matt Belisle that ranks fifth. Alfonso Soriano hit a 492-foot homer on May 9, 2006, while with the Nationals off Brian Shackelford.

— Carrie Muskat

8/20 Hendry timeline with Cubs

During Jim Hendry’s tenure as GM with the Cubs, they won three division titles. Here are some highlights and lowlights:

* Named general manager in July 2002, taking over for Andy MacPhail. Inherited team with $75.7 million payroll. In offseason, hired Dusty Baker as manager from the NL champion Giants.

* In December 2002, traded Todd Hundley to the Dodgers for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros. In July 2003, acquired Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton from Pirates for Jose Hernandez, Minor League player and Bobby Hill. Also added Randall Simon from Pirates. Cubs win first NL Central Division title, finishing 88-74, and beat Braves in NL Division Series. Cubs were five outs from getting to World Series but lost in NL Championship Series to Marlins.

* In November 2003, acquired Derrek Lee from Marlins for Hee-Seop Choi and Minor Leaguer. In January 2004, gave Kerry Wood three-year, $32.5 million contract. Signed Greg Maddux in Spring Training 2004. Acquired Nomar Garciaparra at Trade Deadline. Cubs finished 89-73, and lost bid for Wild Card spot in final weeks. Season ends with Sammy Sosa leaving Wrigley Field early during last game.

* In February 2005, traded Sosa to Orioles. Acquired Jeromy Burnitz (.258, 24 HR, 87 RBIs) to play right field. Neifi Perez plays more games at shortstop than injured Garciaparra, and Cubs finish fourth, 79-83.

* Injuries to Derrek Lee, Mark Prior and others result in 66-96 season. Baker and staff dismissed at end of season; pitching coach Larry Rothschild retained. Lou Piniella hired, and team spends $300 million on players, including eight-year, $136 million deal for Alfonso Soriano. Signed Ted Lilly to three-year deal while hooked up to EKG machine at 2006 Winter Meetings.

* Cubs win division in 2007 under Piniella with 85-77 record but are swept in NLDS by Diamondbacks. In August that year, Carlos Zambrano given five-year, $91.5 million extension.

* In December 2007, sign Japanese batting champ Kosuke Fukudome to four-year, $48 million contract. Add Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds. Gave Aramis Ramirez five-year, $75 million contract. In 2008, Cubs win second straight Central Division at 97-64, but are swept by Dodgers in NLDS. In offseason, traded Mark DeRosa, acquired closer Kevin Gregg, signed Ryan Dempster to four-year, $52 million contract.

* In January 2009, signed free agent Milton Bradley to three-year, $30 million contract. He hits .257, 12 homers, 40 RBIs, then is suspended in September. Cubs tied for first on Aug. 5, but finish second at 83-78. Bradley traded to Mariners in offseason for Carlos Silva and cash.

* Signed free agent Marlon Byrd to three-year, $15 million deal in December 2009. Piniella announces in July 2010 he is retiring at season’s end. Mike Quade named manager on Aug. 23. Cubs go 24-13 under Quade and finish season in fifth, 75-87. Quade gets two-year contract.

* Signed Carlos Pena to one-year, $10 million deal in December 2010 and re-signs Kerry Wood for $1.5 million. In January 2011, acquired Matt Garza from Rays for top prospects in eight-player deal. Signed Carlos Marmol to three-year, $20 million contract in February. Placed Carlos Zambrano on disqualified list in August after pitcher walks out, announcing his retirement in Atlanta.

— Carrie Muskat

7/31 Cubs face D-Lee, Pirates Monday

Last August, when the Cubs traded Derrek Lee to the Braves, it created an strange scenario. Lee was dealt the day before the Braves played the Cubs at Wrigley Field, so he had to face his former teammates about 48 hours after he left. The Gold Glove first baseman played in Chicago from 2004-10.

It’s almost the same situation this year as the Orioles traded Lee to the Pirates, whom the Cubs face on Monday. That will be the first baseman’s first game with his new team.

“He’s a very professional player, a quiet, silent leader,” Geovany Soto said of Lee. “I had the pleasure of playing with him for a couple years and it was special. He’s always upbeat, he’s always positive. I think he’ll be a good addition to the Pirates.”

So, how was it last year when the Cubs had to face Lee in his first game with the Braves?

“It’s a litte awkward, but good for him,” Soto said. “He’s got a chance to compete and get to the playoffs and best of luck.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/30 April numbers

With his two-homer game Friday against the D-Backs, Alfonso Soriano now has nine home runs, the most by a Cubs player for the month of April. And there is still one game to go this month. The previous April home run mark was eight, shared by three players and done four times.

1958: Lee Walls, 8 HR
2000 & 2002: Sammy Sosa, 8 HR
2008: Derrek Lee, 8 HR

* Starlin Castro has 38 hits, tied for third most all-time by a Cubs player in April.

April Hits Leaders
1996: Mark Grace, 42 hits
2008: Derrek Lee, 39
2007: Derrek Lee, 38
2011: Starlin Castro, 38

* Kosuke Fukudome has a .418 batting average, which ranks second all-time among Cubs hitters for the month of April (minimum 50 plate appearances):

2005: Derrek Lee, .419
2011: Kosuke Fukudome, .418
2007: Derrek Lee, .392
1952: Frank Baumholtz, .389
1982: Gary Woods, .388

* Matt Garza enters Saturday’s game against the D-Backs with a chance to set the team record for most strikeouts in April. Here are the leaders:

2001: Kerry Wood, 46
2003: Kerry Wood, 43
1969: Fergie Jenkins, 42
2004: Kerry Wood, 42
2011: Matt Garza, 41

— Carrie Muskat

12/8 Cubs closing in on Pena

The Cubs may have found their next first baseman in Carlos Pena. GM Jim
Hendry continued discussions at the Winter Meetings with representatives
for the free agent, and the team expected to hear more Wednesday. A
source told MLB.com the two sides had finalized a one-year contract but a
team official said it was too early to say the deal was done.

batting average has dropped each of the last four seasons but he is
averaging 36 homers and 100 RBIs in that span. He also ranks among the
elite fielding first baseman, which would benefit the Cubs, who have
been spoiled with Gold Glove winner Derrek Lee at first for the last
seven seasons. Lee was traded to the Braves in August.

— Carrie Muskat

11/19 Hoffpauir eager to play in Japan

Micah Hoffpauir was shopping in a Dallas mall on Friday and added one more item to his holiday shopping list: some Japanese language tapes to help him adjust to his new team, the Nippon Ham Fighters. Hoffpauir, who has played his entire professional career with the Cubs, cleared unconditional release waivers on Friday and the rights to his contract were sold to the Japanese team. Those language tapes will help.

The Cubs are without a first baseman after trading Derrek Lee in August and letting free agent Xavier Nady go but Hoffpauir didn’t get a sense that he was their guy.

“I didn’t know what the Cubs were going to do,” Hoffpauir said. “Obviously, I thought they’d sign somebody and I’d be stuck in the same situation I was in the past. That’s not what we wanted. We wanted some sort of stability and that’s one of the main reasons we decided to do it.”

By “we,” Hoffpauir is including his wife Tiffany and soon to be 2-year-old daughter Addyson, who both had a vote. Hoffpauir plans on getting to Tokyo by Jan. 26 to get over jet lag before Spring Training begins Feb. 1.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the opportunity, no doubt,” Hoffpauir said. “It’ll be a neat experience.”

— Carrie Muskat

11/8 Derrek Lee has surgery

Former Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had
surgery Monday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. According
to Yahoo Sports, the surgery repaired damage Lee sustained on April 5,
Opening Day. Lee batted .260 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs this season, and played 148 games with the Cubs before he was traded in August to the

“I think [the injury] had an enormous impact on his 2010 season,” Lee’s
agent Casey Close told Yahoo Sports on Monday. “To try to gut his way
through it, it had a huge influence on his statistical measurements.
It’s amazing he played the whole season on it.”

Lee, who turned 35 in September, is a free agent. He was expected to recover in time for Spring Training.

— Carrie Muskat

9/22 Recipe for … ?

Ryan Dempster, Kosuke Fukudome, Koyie Hill and Alfonso Soriano need not worry. At least I hope not. There is no “curse of the cookbook.”

The four Cubs are featured on the cover of the Chicago Cubs Cookbook along with Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly, Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto and Carlos Zambrano. Since publication in July, Lee and Lilly have been traded, while Colvin and Soto are done for the year because of injuries. We all know what a roller coaster ride Zambrano has been on.

After seeing the proofs for the cookbook cover earlier this season, Randy Wells was upset he wasn’t included. Not anymore.

But this is nothing like the black cat or the billy goat who haunt the Cubs. That didn’t stop manager Mike Quade from joking about it. Told about what’s happened to some of the cover boys, Quade quipped: “Please tell me I’m not on the cover.”

Not to worry, “Q.” However, he does share a delicious pecan crusted snook recipe.

The book is available on Cubs.com and proceeds benefit Dempster’s foundation, which is a good thing. The book was recently ranked among the top 15 sports and recreation books in the country in sales, according to a list published in the Wall Street Journal. It’s for a good cause and good eating.

— Carrie Muskat


8/22 D-Lee note

Derrek Lee played his first game for the Braves on Friday at Wrigley. He had played 924 games for the Cubs prior to that. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last player who appeared in at least 900 games for the Cubs and then played his first game as an ex-Cub at Wrigley was Andy Pafko. Pafko played 960 games for the Cubs from 1943-51. He was traded to Brooklyn as part of an eight-player deal on June 15, 1951, and made his Dodgers debut at Wrigley the next day. He homered in the Dodgers’ 6-4 loss.

— Carrie Muskat

8/20 Colvin expected at 1st next week

Expect Tyler Colvin to make his ML debut at first next week during the Cubs’ three-game series against the Nationals. Colvin took grounders at first on Friday for the second day. He hasn’t played first since his sophomore year of college at Clemson and been used strictly as an outfielder with the Cubs. But he’s being eased into the position following the departure of Derrek Lee.

“He’s got good hands and he likes it,” Lou Piniella said of Colvin, who leads all National League rookies with 18 home runs. “It’s just a question of the game speed. You can take all the pregame you want and the game will speed up for you. He’s done it before. It’ll give us a chance to play him over there from time to time.”

Piniella said Colvin, who was 8-for-50 in August and has not started since Aug. 14, can play some outfield still as well as first. Right now, there’s a need at first.

“We’ll make that transition for him as easy as we can,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat