Archive | Neal Cotts

Cubs To Decide on Final 2 Bullpen Spots This Weekend in NY

Posted on 01 April 2009 by Lou

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There are 2 spots left in the Cubs 2009 bullpen, and 4 pitchers competing for those spots.  It has come down to Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman and Rule 5 Draft pick David Patton.  Guzman is out of minor league options, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry has already said that none of the players will be placed on waivers.  What does it all mean?  That Patton and Guzman will either make the Cubs Opening Day Roster or be traded to another team before the start of the season.

As it stands now, Kevin Gregg will be the Cubs closer, with Carlos Marmol serving as the primary set-up man.  Aaron Heilman, Neal Cotts and Luis Vizcaino have also locked up spots.  Patton is the big X Factor – in 12+ spring innings, Patton has a .073 ERA giving up only 1 run on 10 hits.  He has struck out 15 batters while walking only 2, but he has never pitched at a level higher than Class A.  Cubs manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Patton:  “He hasn’t been rattled all spring – it’s been very refreshing.  It doesn’t look like the situation is getting to him.  He’s out there competing and throwing the ball.  We’ll see if everything works his way. ”  He’ll get a big chance when he pitches against the New York Yankees in front of 40,000 people in the new Yankee Stadium.  If he can show some resolve in that situation, we may see Patton on the Cubs Opening Day roster.

As for the other 3 players, none have had a good spring.  Gaudin’s control has been bad – 20 hits and 9 walks in 13 2/3 innings with an ERA over 10.00.  Guzman has an 8.71 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of Cactus league work.  Samardzija has the best ERA of the 3, which isn’t saying much at 8.16.  Samardzija does have options left and could be assigned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for one of the other 3 pitchers.

Pinella has indicated that nothing is permanent.  “Regardless of how we go, if it’s not right, we’ll fix it.  Let’s not forget that.  We’re going to do the best we can.  We’ve let everybody compete, like we said, so that’s not a problem.  We’ll see how this thing stands by Saturday or Sunday and then we’ll make a decision and if it’s not the right decision, we’ll rectify it.”

Good attitude Lou.  Maybe give the kid Patton a shot instead of losing him via trade and see if it works.  And if not, you can always bring Samardzija back up from Triple-A Iowa.  It should certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out.  Opening Day on the road in Houston is only 4 days away!!!

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Cubs Get Revenge on Dodgers – Too Bad the Game Meant Nothing

Posted on 18 March 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs clobbered the Los Angeles Dodgers 12-3 at the Dodgers new facility in Phoenix on Tuesday.  Too bad the Cubs didn’t show this effort back in October 2008 against the Dodgers.

Carlos Zambrano took game MVP honors.  At the plate, Zambrano hit a 3-run home run in the 2nd inning and an RBI double in the 4th inning.  On the mound, Zambrano pitched 5 innings – his longest outing of the spring.  He gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks and had 1 strikeout.

Other Cubs highlights – – Reed Johnson was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle with 3 hits and 2 RBI’s.  Koyie Hill had 4 hits and Aaron Miles and Andres Blanco each had 2 hits.

The Cubs bullpen put in a solid effort as well.  Regulars Sean Marshall, Neal Cotts and Kevin Gregg each threw scoreless innings in relief of Zambrano, allowing only 2 hits and no walks the rest of the way.

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Sean Marshall Lucky #5!

Posted on 15 March 2009 by Lou

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Sean Marshall is taking direct aim at the Cubs 5th spot in the Cubs starting rotation.  Marshall had another effective outing on Friday in the Cubs 8-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.  Marshall pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only an unearned run on 3 hits and 1 walk.  He also had 3 strikeouts.  That marks 12 1/3 straight spring innings in which Marshall has not allowed an earned run.

Aaron Heilman has also pitched the ball well for the Cubs as a starter this spring.  Either Marshall or Heilman would look good in the 5th starting spot, and Marshall has done just about everything he could do to lock down the job.  The only thing going against him is that the Cubs only have 1 other left-handed pitcher in the bullpen – Neal Cotts.  By keeping Marshall in the bullpen, that would give Manager Lou Pinella 2 left-handed options to work with late in the game.  But is that really a reason to keep Marshall out of the starting rotation?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  The positives – Marshall and Heilman both have experience as starters and coming out of the bullpen.  While the “loser” of the competition will surely be disappointed, he will have what it takes to be effective out of the Cubs ‘pen in 2009.

Kevin Hart and Mike Stanton pitched scoreless innings in relief for the Cubs.  The Cubs are now 8-9 during spring ball.

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