Archive | March, 2012

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Cubs Sign Cuban Lefty Gerardo Concepcion to 5-Year Deal – Wrigley Field 3/12/12

Posted on 12 March 2012 by Lou

It’s official – the Cubs have agreed to a 5-year, $6 million deal with Cuban lefty Gerardo Concepcion.  $3 million will be paid as a signing bonus and the remaining $3 million will be paid over the course of the contract.  Concepcion pitched in the Cuban Junior National Tournament 2 years and made 21 appearances in the Cuban National Series last year.  At only 19 years of age, he was named the Series’ rookie of the year, going 10-3 with a 3.36 ERA for Inustralies.  He made 16 starts and was highly sought after by several major league clubs.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about the announcement – “One of our focuses has been on continuing to bring in pitching depth, and he’s a 20-year old left hander, really good feel for pitching, three-pitch mix, has success at a really young age in Cuba. He’s a guy we’re excited to bring over here and work with… He’s certainly advanced when it comes to feel for pitching, but I don’t want to put expectations on him. Let’s get him to the minor leagues and let him get out and perform, we’ll figure that part out when we do that.”

The Cubs are also aggressively pursuing another young Cuban defector – Jorge Soler.  While some reports have floated around that the Cubs and Soler have already agreed to a $27 million deal, MLB has strict rules on players not making deals until they are officially deemed to be “free agents”.  With Cuban defectors, that can often be a lengthy process, so until MLB officially declares Soler to be a free agent, no MLB team can sign him.

We’ll keep you posted on Concepcion’s progress as well as any news on the Soler front…

 

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Travis Wood Shaky; Wells, Lopez Shine – Wrigley Field 3/10/12

Posted on 10 March 2012 by Lou

Travis Wood made an interesting spring debut in the Cubs 5-1 win over the White Sox on Friday.  Wood pitched just 2 1/3 innings, giving up 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks.  He definitely did not have the best command and he looked out-of-sync on the mound.  Randy Wells got Wood out of a jam in the 3rd when he got Paul Konerko to hit into an inning-ending double play in his 1st batter-faced.  He then tossed 2 more scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit in his outing.  Rodrigo Lopez followed that up with 2 more scoreless innings with 1 K.

The Cubs scored 5 runs on only 8 hits, so it was a productive number of hits for the Cubs.

There is definitely a different vibe this spring in Mesa.  Let’s hope they can continue to build some momentum this spring and then carry that over into the regular season in April…

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Volstad, Wood Shine; Marmol Implodes – Wrigley Field 3/9/12

Posted on 09 March 2012 by Lou

Another great started from a Cubs starter – Chris Volstad tossed 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit with 3 K’s.  Kerry Wood made his spring debut with a scoreless 4th inning.  But then Carlos Marmol bucked that trend with a disastrous 5th inning.  He only recorded 2 outs (both by strikeout) before being yanked from the game.  He was charged with 4 ER on 4 hits including a home run.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad – let’s just hope this was a blip on the radar for Marmol this spring and that he can bounce back in his next outing…

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Starters Looking Good – Jeff Samardzija Impressive in 6-4 Cubs Win – Wrigley Field 3/8/12

Posted on 08 March 2012 by Lou

Jeff Samardzija is making a strong case to be named a starter for the Cubs during the 2012 campaign.  Manager Dale Sveum predicted that the Kansas City Royals would not be able to hit Samardzija in Wednesday’s cactus league came, and his prediction almost came true.  Samardzija bearly broke a sweat, tossing 3 scoreless innings with 3 K’s.  The only hit allowed was a cheap blooper by Chris Getz in the 2nd inning.  Samardzija needed just 35 pitches.  Many baseball people around the country named Samardzija the most improved pitcher during the course of the 2011 MLB season.  Samardzija has been on a “mission” this winter, vowing to do whatever it takes to make the Cubs starting rotation in 2012.  So far so good for the big righty.  He consistently through his fastball in the mid 90’s and he already has great control on his slider and changeup.  That is a lethal combo.  Look for Samardzija to continue to put pressure on Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office who might be reluctant to move Samardzija out of the bullpen where he was so effective last year.

Cubs hitters also played well – 6 runs on 15 hits – including 2 hits apiece for Starlin Castro, Reed Johnson and Bryan LaHair.

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Cubs Lose Spring Opener Under New Manager Dale Sveum – Wrigley Field 3/4/12

Posted on 04 March 2012 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs lost to the Oakland A’s 12-10 in their spring opener under new manager Dale Sveum.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched 2 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts.  He did not allow a base runner.  Carlos Marmol also retired all3 batters that he faced in the 3rd inning  with 1 strikeout.  Sveum was especially pleased with Lopez’s strong outing – “He looked great.  The guy is smart. He knows what to do. He came into camp in incredible shape.  He’s definitely in the mix.”

9 runs allowed in the 4th and 5th innings did the Cubs in.  Jeff Beliveau gave up 4 earned runs – 3 walks and a run-scoring single to Josh Reddick.  Dae-eun Rhee did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings pitched – 4 earned runs on 6 hits, including 2 home runs.

Darwin Barney had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s in his debut.  Adrian Cardenas, another guy competing for the 2nd base job, drove in 3 runs with a triple and he scored a run.

The Cubs and A’s battle again on Monday in Arizona…

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Intrasquad Action – Travis Wood v Randy Wells – Wrigley Field 3/1/12

Posted on 01 March 2012 by Lou

Travis Wood will square off against Randy Wells in intrasquad action on Friday at HoHoKam Stadium.  The two will be battling all spring for a spot in the starting rotation.

Andy Sonnanstine and Casey Coleman will serve as relievers on Friday.

Can’t wait for some live action to spic things up as we enter March…

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