Baseball Diamond News

Friday, March 31, 2006

Roster almost final

The Cubs have almost finalized their roster by sending down Rich Hill and Roberto Novoa and leaving Michael Wuertz and John Koronka fighting for the final bullpen spot. The Cubs still haven't put Wade Miller on the 40-man roster, but that should be happening in the next couple of days. Also it looks like Ryan Theriot has fallen into the bench spot. I am hoping the Cubs trade for/or sign someone that is more ready than Theriot, as this spring Theriot has hit horrible and probably could use some more seasoning in AAA.
Sean Marshall has been named the 4th starter in the Cubs rotation over Jerome Williams, who now goes to the 5th starter. I hope Sean can keep up what he has done this spring and even last year in the minors, but for the time being I am not going to get my hopes up too high. I figure worse thing that happens is he has a few bad starts and then goes back to AAA, but I also don't expect that to happen either. I expect him to throw a few gems, while following some of those with a couple of disasters.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cubs: Make more cuts.

Today the Cubs announced more roster cuts: the Cubs optioned pitchers David Aardsma, Angel Guzman and Jae Kuk Ryu to Iowa (AAA) and sent non-roster invitee catcher Casey Kopitzke to the minor league camp. Also Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were both put on the 15-day DL.

This leaves the Cubs roster officially at 30, with Wade Miller yet to be put on DL, so 29. I was hoping that Angel would make the rotation, but the Cubs are probably right in sending him down to the minors to get a few more innings in. With Guzman down in the minors, the fight for the 4th and 5th spot is now between Jerome Williams, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, with the loser heading to the minors. If Jerome Williams has a bad last outing I would expect him to be sent down, as Rich Hill has come around since starting out slow and Sean Marshall has given up only 3 hits and no runs all spring.

The pen situation is Roberto Novoa, Michael Wuertz, and John Koronka all fighting for the final spot and Koronka might have taken the lead as Wuertz has struggled mightily this spring (though tonight he pitched one perfect inning) and Novoa is likely to be headed to the minors to make up for losing time this spring to "valley fever".

Also it looks like Michael Restovich is not going to make the team either. After starting out doing well, Restovich has been struggling and is now batting .184 and slugging a paltry .327

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Good-Bye Wellemeyer

The Cubs traded Todd Wellemeyer to the Florida Marlins today (this is getting to be a very common occurence) for 2 pitchers, righty Lincoln Holdzkom and lefty Zach McCormack.
Lincoln last season was recovering from Tommy-John Surgery and according to Mike Berardino of Baseball America, he was topping out at 94 mph last year (about 3 less than before the surgery). Zach McCormack hasn't put up any real decent numbers besides k/9, but even that has gone down each season since his first year.

Earlier I might have thought this trade was for making a spot on the 40-man roster (since neither Lincoln nor Zach need to be on 40-man roster) for Marquis Grissom, but he retired today, so my theory for this trade was to open a spot to put Wade Miller on the 40-man roster.

Grissom Retires

First let me say thank you to Marquis Grissom for making Dusty Baker job a lot easier and Cubs fans relieved by his retiring today. Marquis had a productive 17 year career, but last season the wheels fell off and this spring he could not get it going. This probably means that Angel Pagan has assured himself a spot on the roster also.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Rotation Battle heating up

The Cubs played 2 games today and pitchers Rich Hill, Angel Guzman and Sean Marshall all pitched and from the lines of the game all did quite well out there.

Rich Hill came in to pitch the last 4 innings verse the Royals today. He ended up giving up 5 hits, 1 run, no walks and 4 strikeouts. Walks have been Hill's problem and seeing him not give up any in 4 strong innings is always a good sign.

Sean Marshall started the game against the A's and also went 4 innings. In those 4 innings Marshall gave up no runs, no hits, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. Marshall is making a strong run at the rotation, though I still believe a few starts in AAA is best for him (another start like this though I will have to change my mind).

Angel Guzman came in relief for Marshall and pitched 4 innings (seems to be the theme for the guys today). He also gave up no runs, no hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. In Angel's last 2 games he has been very solid and may have the advantage over Hill for the final rotation spot due to Hill being a lefty and the Cubs seem to have their quota of lefties in the rotation with Rusch.

If I were the Cubs I would go with this as my rotation to start season: Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch, Guzman, Hill. Yes, I know that Jerome Williams is not listed in there, but the inconsistent pitching of his needs to get more consistent if the Cubs want to put him in the starting rotation.

OF Note:
Angel Pagan has done nothing of lately to prove that he shouldn't make the team and hit his 4th homer of the spring today in the Cubs-Royals game. I think it would be a huge mistake if the Cubs coaches don't persuade Dusty Baker to keep Pagan on the 25 man roster.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cubs: Trim roster down

After today's game the Cubs have trimmed their roster down to 41. The Cubs sent catcher Geovany Soto to AAA and catcher Jose Reyes and First baseman Brian Dopirak to AA. Also Casey McGehee and Augie Ojeda were both assigned to minor league camp. None of these cuts comes as a surprise; the only surprise in my book is that the Cubs didn't further reduce their roster with the end of camp coming to an end next week.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cubs Roster Update

Today the Cubs sent 2 players to minor league camp: Jake Fox and Dennis Anderson. Both players got more time this camp due to the absence of both Michael Barrett and Henry Blanco, and from all reports did well in camp. I am hoping that Jake Fox takes this experience and builds on it as his first couple years weren't what the Cubs were hoping for and it would be nice for the Cubs to have a good catching prospect.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cubs Update: 2b, Starting Pitcher.

The Cubs have been speculated to be leaning towards Jerry Hairston Jr. as starting 2b this season. I had been stating I was hoping Todd Walker would be starting 2b, but I also like the reasoning of why the Cubs are leaning towards Hairston, better defense. If Hairston can put up average numbers offensively this season, then it might actually be worth the gain defensively to start him over Walker.

The pitching situation:

The Cubs starting rotation now looks very weak, Carlos Zambrano, Greg Maddux, Glendon Rusch, and Jerome Williams. After Zambrano and Maddux neither of the other guys should be in a rotation for a team that wants to have any viable shot at the playoffs. I know the Cubs wish that either Wood or Miller would be able to be a starter, but neither are likely in the near future. If Rusch keeps pitching the way he has I think it might be better for the Cubs to go with a rotation that would include 2 or the following 3: Jae Kuk Ryu, Rich Hill, or Angel Guzman.

Angel Guzman in today’s game battled control problems in 3 innings pitched. He gave up 1 hit, 2 runs, 3 walks and 1 strikeout. Though it is a better performance for him than his past appearances, he will need to show better command if he wants to start while Prior is on the DL.

Rich Hill today was unhittable, but like Guzman had some wildness. In 3 innings Hill didn’t allow a run, walked 3 and struck out 5. I am sure Rich Hill is pleased of his performance compared to his last few as today he did not allow any 0-2 hits.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cubs Update: A little behind

This week was final week for me and instead of writing I did a lot of studying. In that time the Cubs sent down 7 more players: Carlos Marmol, Scott Moore, Brian Boehringer, Carmen Pignatiello, Brandon Sing, Buck Coats, and Adam Greenberg. The first two were assigned to Tennessee, while the other 5 were sent to minor league camp.

I am glad that Boehringer is not getting anymore innings in camp as I thought he was just a waste of roster space. I was hoping the Cubs would let Brandon Sing get a few more PA's, but it looks like the Cubs still don't think too much of him. Adam Greenberg didn't do much this spring, but even if he had I don't he would have made the team anyway. The other guys might be back with the Cubs in 2007, but until then don't expect to see them.

The OF Race:

Marquis Grissom .280/.333/.360 (7-25, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 2 k’s) – Those stats wouldn’t do much for most people, but Dusty stated in the beginning of camp that Grissom’s stats don’t matter. Hopefully one of his other coaches can convince him to release him before the beginning of the season.

Angel Pagan .316/.391/.632 (6-19, 3 doubles, 1 hr, 3 walks, 2k’s, 3 sb’s) – I have been rooting for Angel since the beginning of camp and I still am. He has done absolutely nothing not to make the team. Now comes the part of spring training though that he will start facing better pitchers, so let’s hope he can keep it up.

Michael Restovich .333/.391/.667 (7-21, 1 double, 2 hr’s, 2 walks, 7k’s) - If Angel falls apart then I hope that Michael gets the backup job over Marquis. Michael might not be as well defensively, but offensively he will be a major plus and with Nefi Perez and Henry Blanco on the bench you can use the extra offense.

Pitching Update:

Rich Hill pretty much sealed his ticket back to AAA after his last start. This spring has not been too good for Rich. His problem is he is getting ahead of people and then gives up a hit.

Mark Prior – Well everyone knows that he has a “sprained shoulder” as the Cubs say, but who knows if they are telling the truth. As fans we have been lied to so many times that it is hard to believe them when they say they knew nothing of his arm problem. Now they are saying that he will start the season on the DL. This is no surprise, but hopefully they are telling the truth and he will be able to come back early because they really don’t have anyone ready to replace him.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lyle Prempas retires from Schaumburg Flyers

Lyle Prempas retired from the Flyers this week. Most of you reading this might wonder who the heck he is. Lyle was a classmate of mine at Fenwick and was an outstanding pitcher there and had a bunch of potential. Then the coach over pitched him and then contiuned to pitch him while his arm was hurting. This lead to him hurting it and then never getting back on track. Lyle it has been fun looking up your stats while you pitched and hoping things would come together. So I want to wish Lyle the best of luck in whatever you end up doing and also wanted to wish you luck on your upcoming marriage.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Cubs: Finish Jon Leicester trade

The Cubs and the Rangers have finished the Jon Leicester trade, with the Cubs acquiring P Clint Brannon. There is not much I can find on Clint besides that he was a 34th round pick in 2004 and put up decent numbers in Spokane in 2004. In 2005 Clint pitched for Bakersfield and put up an average season. I don't think we will see Clint in a Cubs uniform before 2008 if ever.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

First Cuts

The Cubs made their first cuts today. sending both Bobby Brownlie and Bryan Corey to minor league camp.

Neither had any chance of making the team coming into camp, so maybe this will allow them to get more innings in now since they are headed to minor league camp.

Opening Day Tickets

Well I picked up 2 opening day tickets today in the 533 section and will be going with my pal Chris Petrone once again. I am excited as this has been an annual tradition (going to the home opener) for me for the last 21 years (missing only 2 opening games in those years). Then right after the game it will be home for me and Chris to take naps as we have to drive to Ohio that evening for our baseball league draft at Noon the next day. Hopefully my AL team does better this year as for the last 2 years either my OF or IF all have been decimated by injuries.

Cubs Update

The last couple of days I have been swamped, but I have been keeping up with the Cubs. The Cubs have gone 1-2 since the last update. Losing in the Wednesday’s game to the Padres 13-8. In that game Rusch did not have the start he probably was hoping for. In 3 inning he gave up 5 hits and 5 runs (3 earned), though John Mabry’s fielding did not help him any. Also Michael Wuertz was awful in the ninth inning only getting 2 outs, but sourrendering 3 hits (1 hr) and 3 walks. John Koronka who appeared on the Cubs last year pitched a perfect inning in the 7th with a strikeout. The rest of the Cubs pitchers that appeared in the game are all bound for the minors, Wells, Pignatiello, Aardsma, and Marmol. Murton hit his first home run of the spring, while Grissom and Restovich both went 0-2. Pierre had 2 hits, but was thrown out stealing in his only attempt. Jake Fox went 2-3 and has shown that he might be turning into a semi-decent catching prospect.

On Thursday the Cubs defeated the Anaheim Angels (I refuse to call them anything else) 6-5. Rich Hill started the game and went 2 innings giving up 4 hits (2 hr’s) and 4 runs, while getting 4 k’s. Todd Wellemeyer pitched 2 innings also giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 1 Hit-batsman and a run. His stats just don’t show that he is getting the hitters out this spring and I would think his time is running out. Bryan Corey got the win, but was less impressive out on the mound giving up two hits and a walk in 1 inning. Koronka made an appearance for the 2nd day in a row and pitched his 2nd perfect inning. Former first-round pick Bobby Brownlie pitched an inning walking one and striking out one. It was nice to see Scott Eyre pitch and get the save, since he has been bothered with a stiff neck this spring training. Grissom started in LF and went 1-2 with a walk, while Restovich came in later to replace him and went 0-1. Angel Pagan, who has caught the eye early of the Cubs, replaced Juan Pierre and went 0-2.

Friday the Cubs lost to the Rockies 6-2. Jerome Williams pitched 3 innings and gave up 8 hits and all 6 runs while striking out none. The only positive sign for Williams was that he didn’t walk any batters, but he did hit one. Bobby Howry pitched one perfect inning relieving Williams. Scott Williamson pitched an inning, though he gave up no runs he was less than spectacular, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks and striking out none. Jae-Kuk Ryu pitched a perfect inning while showing off great reaction skills on a ball hit back up the middle. Brian Boehringer also made an appearance for an inning giving up a hit, but I don’t think he has much chance of making the team. Angel Pagan made an appearance in RF going 0-1. Restovich pinch hit for John Mabry and got an RBI single. Besides that the Cubs offense was pretty abysmal.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cubs Lose: More notes on Outfield Competition

The Cubs lost today 6-5 to the Texas Rangers. They had an early lead, but lost the lead in the top of the 6th and never got it back. It was John Mabry’s first game as a Cub and he went 1-1 with a double and a walk. Greg Maddux started today and went 2 innings and gave up no hits, but walked 3 batters. Brian Boehringer, who did not pitch last season and just signed recently, had an awful day today. In one inning Brian gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk and 2 hr’s, this does not do much for his bid to make the Cubs and if he is bad in any other games I feel he will be released. Former 1st round pick Bobby Brownlie pitched one inning giving up a run on 2 hits, 0 walks and 0 strikeouts. Bryan Corey also pitched after his disastrous appearance last time and gave up no runs this time, but still gave up a hit and a walk which probably will spell the end of him in a Cub uniform. Eric Patterson also got to make an appearance at 2b today and went 1-2, there is no chance for him to make the team, but it is nice to see him get a few at-bats this spring training.

The Outfield Competition:

Angel Pagan played again today and went 2-3 with 2 doubles. I know it is still very early in spring training, but Angel is putting on a nice display of hitting and hopefully opening up Dusty’s eyes as he would be better than Marquis Grissom.

Marquis Grissom started the game at DH (Angel actually replaced him) and went 1-2 and was caught stealing by Laird in the 2nd. Marquis getting a hit only increases his chances of making the Cubs as he is one of Dusty’s boys.

Restovich came in for RF Jacque Jones and went 1-3 with a HR. If Angel Pagan does not make the team, I am hoping the Cubs pick Restovich over Grissom. I think his power off the bench could be much more helpful than Grissom’s .533 OPS. he had last season.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another Win

The Cubs beat the A's today 12-3. The starting pitcher for the A's was Danny Haren who is a hard throwing right hander (who had much success in his first full season last year) gave up 4 hits, 4 runs and in 3 innings. The Cubs starting pitcher was Angel Guzman who went 2 innings giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one and giving up no runs. Todd Wellemeyer gave up 2 hits, 2 walks and a run in an inning. This is not a good thing for Todd because he was awful in his last appearance and coming into camp had only and outside chance of making the pen. It is nice to see Brian Dopirak hit a homer and showing signs that he can hit again after a disappointing season last year. Angel Pagan is still trying to prove he is ready to make the team and hit a hr and a sacrifice fly today. Todd Walker also hit a hr which is good as I hope he wins out the 2b position for the Cubs as he is much better than Nefi Perez or Jerry Hairston Jr. Also Ex-Cub Scott McClain hit a hr off Les Walrond who until looking him up I had no idea who he was. It doesn't look like Les will have any shot at making the team, but he might be trying to show the Cubs he is worth an AAA spot.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cubs Win 5-1

Today the Cubs beat the Giants and improved their record to 3-1 this spring. I know it is spring training and doesn't mean a thing; I am not even getting excited about the record, just stating it.

First thing about the game is that the Giants had only 1 projected starter out in the field for them today, though they did throw pitchers (Worrell, Fassero, Correia. Liriano (maybe)) that will be on the team against the Cubs today. I especially enjoyed the game because I got to see Rich Hill start today (drafted him in IBL). His curve ball just drops out of the sky, which he seemed to have ok control with today, but his fastball was a little off. It seemed at times he tried to overthrow it and did not have much control of it. With Hill throwing a lot of curves in the dirt today Jake Fox should get mention for doing a good job in keeping the ball in front of him the entire time.

Jerry Hairston Jr. got hit in the head in the 1st inning today by Kevin Correia. He was removed from the game and taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. It looked like he was telling the trainer that he was alright leaving the field, but we should know by morning and I would imagine Jerry might have a migraine tomorrow.

Other Notes about Players:
hit a ball deep for a double to the opposite field today which won't hurt his cause in trying to make the Cubs (which I hope he does).
Angel Pagan did a nice job going 2-3 at the plate and stealing 2 bases today, he is a long shot to make the team out of camp, but it is nice to see he might be useful in the future as a 4th-5th outfielder.

Brandon Sing had a double today and looked ok defensively out there.

Marquis Grissom also hit a double and that might go a long way to helping his cause make the Cubs as he is a Baker favorite.

One thing the Cubs have been doing this spring that is impressive is get hits with runners in scoring position, something that they could not do all last year. Another thing I noticed today is that they had an easier time today getting the runner from 2nd to 3rd with 1 or no outs, the biggest killer of their offense in 2005. Hopefully the Cubs can continue this trend into the 2006 season as it will mean the difference between a .500 team and a contender.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Well most people that know me probably already know this, but just wanted to say that my wife and I are going to be expecting a child around August 1. We are not going to find out if it is a boy or a girl.
My reasoning is this: There are so few surprises in life and most of the surprises we get in life are bad news. I figure with this being my 1st child whatever the outcome it should be a great surprise.

Didn't see this coming (Wood)

Today it was announced that Kerry Wood was going to be going under the knife again, but not for his arm. Kerry wood is having surgery on his knee to repair a medial meniscus tear. They say it is minor and will only push him back 2-3 weeks. I don't know how wise it was for them to have him throwing today if he is going to have surgery in a few days. What if it affects his throwing motion and puts more stress on his arm? I guess that doesn't matter much.

I also love Hendry's quote, "Our stance is that if it's June 15 or July 7 and we're in the thick of the race and his knee acts up worse, then you have a problem. Then he tries to fight through the pain. Then if your knee is bothering you, it might affect your delivery. He's been through enough arm-wise that we're not going to take that chance."

Doesn't he reiterate what I said about the knee and affect his throwing, so why let him throw today? I am sure if he skipped throwing today wouldn't be a drastic set back, while the chance of Wood injuring himself is high.

Cubs cut Jason Simontacchi

Today the Cubs voided the contract of Jason Simontacchi. He had not appeared all spring due to shoulder soreness. After seeing Dr. Andrews, there was no structual damage found, but there was still pain. I never expected Jason to really compete for a spot on the roster after the money the Cubs have put in Howry and Eyre this off-season.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory