Posted on 31 March 2009 by Lou
Micah Hoffpauir and Koyie Hill have made the Cubs opening day roster. The Cubs released both Paul Bako and Mike Stanton as the Cubs roster now stands at 28 players. The position players are now set for the 2009 MLB schedule, while 4 relievers are still battling for the final 2 spots in the Cubs bullpen.
Hill outplayed Bako to earn the Cubs backup catcher job. Hill hit .391 this spring and showed tremendous resolve returning from a horrific table saw accident in which he severed three of his fingers. He played most of the 2008 at Triple-A Iowa and batted .275 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI’s. Bako played well this spring – .364 batting average – but it wasn’t enough.
Cubs Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Hill: “Koyie’s worked hard, it’s a good story, he’s been here before. When he had a chance to catch here, he caught well and helped us win some ballgames. He had to come in here and compete, and compete he did. He’s had one of the better springs.
Hoffpauir had a tremendous spring for the Cubs. He batted .286 and led the team with 5 home runs. Hoffpauir was also among Cactus-league leaders in RBI’s with 24. Hoffpauir was excited to make the team right out of the gates: “It’s a great feeling. It’s a dream come true. To make the Opening Day roster is special. It’s the first time for me. Hopefully, I can stick around and help the team out a little bit.”
Congrats to Hill and Hoffpauir. Let’s hope they can help Soto and Lee get some extra rest during the course of the long MLB season and be productive members of the Cubs at the major league level in 2009.
Posted on 24 March 2009 by Lou
Milton Bradley went 3 for 4 and hit his 2nd home run of the spring in the Cubs 9-8 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Chad Gaudin struggled for the Cubs giving up 2 earned runs on 2 hits and a walk in 2 innings. Jeff Samardzija (1 inning, 2 earned runs, 3 hits, 1 walk) and Mike Stanton (1 inning, 3 earned runs, 3 hits) also struggled in relief. Kevin Gregg pitched a 1/3 of an inning – the first time he pitched in back-to-back games this spring.
Posted on 22 March 2009 by Lou
Geovany Soto is back from his stint with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Soto was happy to be back with his Cubs team in Mesa, and so was Manager Lou Pinella who inserted him back in the Cubs lineup for their game against the San Diego Padres on Friday. In fact, Pinella plans on playing him every other day for the last 2 weeks of the spring – “It’s nice to have him back because, first of all, he wasn’t catching all that much with the Puerto Rico team. He needs at-bats. We’ll have four or five different pitchers on our staff, and he needs to get familiar with them.”
Soto had this to say about his first taste of the World Baseball Classic: “It was a great experience to go home and play in front of the home crowd. It was pretty special to be on the same field with all those guys.” Soto’s Team Venezuela included Carlos Beltran, Bernie Williams, Carlos Delgado, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Yadier Molina.
It’s great to have the Cubs Rookie of the Year Catcher back for the rest of spring training. It’s a catch-22 that Soto did not play that much in the WBC. At least it reduced the risk of him getting injured, but it put him a step behind getting used to some of the new pitchers on the Cubs staff like Kevin Gregg, Aaron Heilman, Luis Vizcaino and Mike Stanton. Soto should be able to make up for the lost time quickly and we’ll monitor his progress over the next week or so.
Posted on 17 March 2009 by Lou
The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 9-6 on Monday as Jeff Samardzija continues to struggle this spring. Samardzija pitched just 2 innings – 5 earned runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP and 1 strikeout. The Cubs next pitcher Jeff Stevens promptly let up 3 more runs in only 1 inning of work, to put the Cubs in a deeper hole. On the bright side, Carlos Marmol, Luis Vizcaino and Mike Stanton each worked scoreless and hitless innings after the Cubs fell behind 8-1.
At the plate, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez each had 2 hits. Ramirez hit a solo home run for the Cubs.
Jeff Samardzija is not helping his cause to make it as the Cubs 5th starter in 2009 (he is competing with Sean Marshall and Aaron Heilman for the spot). With his poor pitching this spring, he could even find himself in a battle to make the opening day roster. Other veterans have pitched well and as a young player, Cubs executives might choose to let Samardzija start in the minor leagues for the first half of the season in order to continue to work on pitches and develop as a professional baseball player. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out the last few weeks of spring ball.
The Cubs are now 9-10 in Cactus League play. Next up for the Cubs is a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on St. Patrick’s Day.