* 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
* Addison Russell had two hits and one RBI and Junior Lake drove in two runs in Iowa’s 7-4 loss to Memphis in the season opener. Kris Bryant was 1-for-4 with one RBI, stole a base, and scored a run. Donn Roach started and gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings. Drake Britton took the loss, serving up two runs on two hits over 1 1 3/ innings. Armando Rivero also gave up a two-run homer in the seventh.
* Corey Black gave up one run on four hits over five innings in Tennessee’s 7-2 win over Mississippi in the season opener
Thursday. Black faced the minimum number of hitters through the first three innings.
* Jacob Hannemann, Jacob Rogers and Carlos Penalver each had three hits to back Duane Underwood in Myrtle Beach’s 9-1 win over Wilmington. Underwood gave up one unearned run on four hits and two walks over five innings, striking out five. Rogers hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a double in the Pelicans’ 15-hit attack.
* Cael Brockmeyer hit a walkoff home run leading off the ninth to lift South Bend to a 2-1 victory over Bowling Green in the season opener. Jeffrey Baez also homered in the second for the Cubs, a solo shot. Brockmeyer went 3-for-4 in the game with two doubles. Jake Stinnett gave up one run on three hits over five innings, striking out four.
— Carrie Muskat
* Santurce won the Puerto Rico championship series with a 5-3 win Tuesday night over Mayaguez. Javier Baez went 0-for-4 for Santurce, which won the best-of-seven series, 4-2, and now qualifies for the Caribbean series, scheduled to begin Feb. 2.
* Junior Lake had two hits, including a two-run homer in the eighth, in Estrellas’ 12-5 loss to Gigantes Tuesday in the Dominican League championship series. Gigantes won the best of nine series, 5-3, and advances to the Caribbean Series.
* Javier Baez was 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI, a walk and struck out once in Santurce’s 9-1 win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship. Baez hit a RBI single in the second, and hit a double and scored a run in the eighth. He was intentionally walked in the ninth with one out and runners at second and third. Santurce now leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2. Game 6 was scheduled for Tuesday.
* Junior Lake went 2-for-4, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth, in Estrellas’ 12-5 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican Republic championship series.
* Junior Lake was 1-for-2 with an RBI in Estrellas’ 2-1 win over Gigantes Saturday night in the Dominican championship series. Gigantes leads the best-of-nine game series, 4-3. Game 8 will be played Sunday.
* Cubs manager Joe Maddon was in Puerto Rico Saturday night to see Javier Baez go 1-for-4 and score a run in Santurce’s 6-0 win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship series. The best-of-seven series is now tied at 2-2, and Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday.
* Junior Lake hit a solo homer in the fifth in Estrellas’ 5-1 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican Republic playoffs. Gigantes now leads the best-of-nine series, 3-2. Game 6 will be Friday.
* Javier Baez went 0-for-5 in Santurce’s 3-2, 14-inning win over Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico championship series. Baez was intentionally walked in the 14th with two outs and two on to set up a walk-off walk. The best of seven series is tied at one win apiece, and Game 3 will be Friday.
* In Venezuela, Wilson Conteras and Rubi Silva were a combined 0-for-7 in Aragua’s 6-1 win over Zulia. Aragua (7-8) plays La Guaira (5-10) on Thursday.
* Cubs prospect Wilson Contreras hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in a six-run fourth inning to lead Aragua to an 11-5 victory over La Guaira in the Venezuelan playoffs. Contreras went 2-for-3 in the game. He batted .242 in 80 games last season with Class A Daytona. Another Cubs prospect, Rubi Silva, was 2-for-4.
* Javy Baez was 0-for-4 in Santurce’s 8-2 loss to Mayaguez in the first game of the Puerto Rican championship series. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday.
* Junior Lake was 0-for-4 for Estrellas in a 5-3 loss to Gigantes in the Dominican league championship series. The best-of-nine series is tied at two wins apiece, and Game 5 will be played Wednesday.
* Junior Lake was 1-for-4 with a triple, but it wasn’t enough as Estrellas lost, 4-0, to Gigantes in the third game of the best of nine championship series in the Dominican Republic. Estrellas leads the series, 2-1. Lake now is 1-for-7 in the series.
* Santurce faces Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican league championship, with the best of seven series beginning Tuesday. Javier Baez was expected to rejoin Santurce and play in this series.
Junior Lake went 2-for-3 with a double and Robinson Cano drove in three runs in Estrellas 7-2 win over Gigantes Tuesday in the Dominican Republic round robin playoffs. Lake, who batted third and played center, scored from first on a two-run double to left by Cano in the fourth. Estrellas plays Aguilas on Wednesday.
* Javier Baez was 1-for-3, scoring two runs and drawing two walks, in Santurce’s 10-4 loss Sunday to Carolina in the Puerto Rican league playoffs. No K’s. Santurce is now 5-2 in the round robin playoffs, and scheduled to play Caguas on Monday. Baez is 7-for-30 with six Ks in the seven playoff games so far.
* Christian Villanueva was 0-for-3 in Obregon’s 6-1 loss to Jalisco in the first game of the Mexican league best-of-seven semifinals. Game 2 will be Monday night.
* Junior Lake was 1-for-5 with an RBI single in the third in Estrellas 7-1 win over Gigantes in the Dominican Republic league playoffs. No games are scheduled Monday.