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Yency Almonte
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Zambrano Leaves Early With Back Injury

The Cubs offense opened up another can of whoop-ass on an opposing pitcher, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Z gave two of those runs back and has been replaced in the bottom of the 4th inning by Jeff Samardzija, who promptly gave up a leadoff double(runner since erased on a sac bunt attempt).

Len mentioned something about back stiffness, I'm sure more details will be forthcoming.

UPDATE: It doesn't appear to be too concerning to Z at least and he plans to make his next start..blames it on being a big guy and possibly the hotel bed.

"As the game was going, it was feeling worse and worse, and I saw my arm dropping," Zambrano said. "Lou told me something that was right. He said, 'Before you get injured because of your back, let's get you out of the game.' I knew my release point was low. It was the best choice to take me out of the game." 

Aramis Ramirez also left the game in the top of the 10th inning. He was hit in the left elbow by a pitch, stayed in and made it to second base and then signaled to the trainers and had to be helped off the field after complaining of dizziness. Lou seemed to indicate he was okay though

I saw the hit by pitch, but walked away and didn't see Ramirez get removed from the game. I did catch the bottom of the 10th and if you missed it, Lou was forced to put Alfonso Soriano at second base, Jeff Baker at third base and Sam Fuld in left field. Even better, he switched Baker and Soriano when the lefty Jeremy Hermida came up to bat, rightfully figuring that the odds were higher that Hermida would pull the ball to second (Hermida K'd eventually). Either way, some fun water cooler talk as the Cubs nearly blew what should have been a laugher.


the postseason with Marmol in the bullpen." A little wildness and a few bad outings and these announcers overreact. But the control problems are worrisome. Of course, every team in baseball would want Marmol in their pen, but the number of BBs does make our dependence on him a gamble.

Two outs, nobody on, 3-run lead...are you fucking kidding me? As I have said before, the Cubs should just forfeit all games in Florida and avoid making the trip.

Wow, that was some game but a huge win. I have little or no faith in Dempster, but they absolutely killed Nolasco earlier this year. Taking 2 out of 3 at this god forsaken place would be way more than you could hope for. Ok edit, Nolasco wasn't as bad as I remember, 6 runs 5 earned in 6 innings. I remember he didn't look very good though? We'll take it.

Brenley why would you take the bat off your shoulders no one hits marmol , stikeouts walks or hit by pitch. Just think if he cutr his walks in half WOW. Also would be alot less stress on cub fans.

[ ]

In reply to by Ahone Ahtwo Ahthree

the cubs currently have just 4 starters on the roster and are carrying an extra bullpen arm... dont you think a pitcher is more likely to go down tues when gorzelanny is activated? stevens or samardzija? depends on how much the bullpen is used in the next few days, but i am more inclined to think a pitcher would go before a 4th outfielder, and one of two defensively sound outfielders on the team. or maybe jeff baker and his .216 avg (w the cubs) and 3 years service time mark inching closer. by the way, when does miles have to come back? isn't his 20 day dl stint almost up? what are the team's options there?

So Friday night, Nunez strikes out Hill to end the game with a three run lead and a runner on. Nunez throws his arms up in celebration, and Hill takes note. Tonight, Hill grounds into a 3-1 put-out to end the top of the 10th with Nunez pitching. Hill looked to attempt to make contact at first while Nunez loitered on the bag. Nunez then stared down Hill briefly, while Uggla re-directed him to the dugout. Brenly made a comment about how that was a good decision on Dan's part, as Hill would destroy Nunez. This was of course on top of the hitters getting hit. Bad blood building here? Dempster may still be thinking payback for Braun's May 9th antics in Milwaukee, too.

[ ]

In reply to by mjmiller73

Not to mention: Nunez plunking ARam Bonifacio going nuts for himself after his Very Awful Triple Bradley kinda doing the same thing after a safe-at-2nd call Marmol doing his usual antics after getting out of his usual jam The hated Cody Ross tracking down a lazy fly ball in an exaggeratedly lackadaisical way (may not have been part of it; I just hate Ross and wanted to blame him for something) I definitely had the sense that these teams were trying to show each other up. Of course, biased as I am, I believe the Marlins started it and the Cubs are just responding in kind, perhaps out of frustration that this judy-hitting, overhyped bunch (H. Ramirez excluded) continues to give them fits.

I have been wondering here out loud since last year: is jeff samardjia ready to pitch in the majors? is Hendry ramming him down Lou's throat? are there not better options in AAA?

Go read "Heart of the Game" by S.L Price. It helped me to understand why guys like Samardjia get "rammed down" MLB manager's throats. He seems to me to be quite a ways away from being a productive, reliable MLB pitcher. He scares me every time he comes into a game. His performance last night is typical. I am sure there are plenty of pitchers in AAA and even AA who are pissed that the "golden boy" gets the opportunity to fail at the MLB level while they continue to toil (or have success) in the minors. If the Cubs can put him in the trade mentioned above for Brian Roberts, I say do it.

[ ]

In reply to by etschosi

I can name one who was devestated when Samardzija leapfrogged past him into AAA, former Cubs #2 prospect and 2006 Cubs minor league player of the year Donnie Veal who went from a AA All-Star the first half to a disastrous second half of the season when Samardzija was promoted ahead of him. Of course, Veal is now with the Pirates where he is equally as not ready for primetime as Smardz is for the Cubs.

I'm so impressed with Tim Lincecum. The guy is 12-3 with a 2.14 ERA. That's Greg Maddux peak of his career good. Back to back Cy Youngs? If he keeps up like this I think it's a lock.

OPS last 30 days: D Lee: 1.026 A Ramirez: 1.011 A Soriano: .945 M Bradley: .894 K Fukudome: .892 and J Fox: .998 Even though Harden and Lilly have crappy ERAs for the last 30, their WHIPs are 1.23 and 1.31 respectively. August and September should be fun.

Next time Sori plays anywhere in the IF they'll bunt it toward him to test him. Not exactly a confidence boost by Lou last night per his abilities there.

makes one wonder if gregg is still pitching for the marlins... although, 2 runs in 9 innings just ain't good enough. several missed opportunities; too bad for dempster, he deserved better. on to cincy, where an awful team awaits. thank you, schedule makers.

This loss is all on Lou! Gregg threw 40+ pitches last night, obviously struggled against his old team, and should have been unavailable for this game. He was set to fail even before he got on the mound... Lou is pissing me off with his stupidity more and more with each passing retarded move...

[ ]

In reply to by Ahone Ahtwo Ahthree

The entire bullpen was burnt. Do you really put Grabow or Marshall, pitching for the thrid day in a row, in a position they aren't used to? Gregg sucked, but Lou really had no other legitimate choice....the bullpen was destroyed with Zambrano's short performance yesterday.

[ ]

In reply to by blockhead25

marmol, marshall, guzman for later rather than earlier... there were better options than gregg, imo... this is a deja-vu converstaion with similar shades to the use of stevens back on tuesday. big hurry to use stevens after almost a week off only to not use him since...4 days off. go figure.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

You truly must be kidding about Marmol? How in the heck was he a better option after 2 equally horrid performances the previous two days. Gregg at least had not pitched on Friday. Marshall was used the previous two days and hasn't been a closer before...and is used to facing lefties recently. Stevens...I don't know. I don't think putting a minor leaguer in closer situation in a pennant race is better than Gregg there. I could buy Stevens or Marshall over Heimann (although based on numbers, Heilmann was the right pick). But based on the use of the bullpen the previous two days, I really think Gregg was the only legitimate choice.

[ ]

In reply to by blockhead25

im pretty sure the main point of contention is gregg threw almost 40 pitches yesterday and was marched out less than 24 hours later to put in an inning. yeah, i'd take marmol over gregg. i'd let guzman close that day if that wasn't an option... i wouldn't be thrilled with marshall/stevens closing, but hey...use them earlier in the game....whatever.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Marmol pitched 23 on Friday and 22 on Saturday...that's a heck of a lot for two straight outings, especially when it was two straight awful outings. I'd take Gregg over Marmol there 100 out of 100 times. Guzman makes more sense...still totally disagree about Marshall.Stevens closing though.

[ ]

In reply to by blockhead25

If Lou would just take a gander at Rob G's handy bullpen usage chart, he would see that a better move (after getting 6 great innings out of Dempster) would have been to use Stevens in the 7th, Marshall in the 8th and Guzman as the closer. Samardzija and Gregg should have been unavailable today due to their high pitch counts. I could also see possibly using Heilman again in the 9th, given his success and presumed confidence after closing one out rather easily yesterday. Gregg was obviously laboring last night and how could his confidence not be shot after getting 2 quick Ks and then giving up 3 runs? Bad performance + almost 40 pitches = not available the next day. Lou thinks outside the box when it comes to putting Marshall in left and moving Soriano around the infield like he is Timmy Lupus, so why can't he see that Gregg was not the right choice there?

[ ]

In reply to by Ahone Ahtwo Ahthree

Maybe Lou thought it was a good idea to get Gregg back on the field as possible after blowing it last night? Doesn't make sense to me, but I'm running out of ideas. Maybe Lou just has no confidence in Stevens (which begs the question, why bother to call him up at all).

What's the free agent market for closers like next year? Gregg is a basket case on the road, Marmol can't throw a strike -- doesn't bode well for September. When Gregg blows saves, it not on bloops or bad luck -- he gives up f'ckin' rockets. Still -- I agree with the earlier comment -- after last night's game and pitch count, I didn't think Lout would use Gregg tonight. Woof -- would have been a big win....

Submitted by ddp33 on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 11:36am.
the cubs currently have just 4 starters on the roster and are carrying an extra bullpen arm... dont you think a pitcher is more likely to go down tues when gorzelanny is activated? stevens or samardzija? depends on how much the bullpen is used in the next few days, but i am more inclined to think a pitcher would go before a 4th outfielder, and one of two defensively sound outfielders on the team. or maybe jeff baker and his .216 avg (w the cubs) and 3 years service time mark inching closer.

by the way, when does miles have to come back? isn't his 20 day dl stint almost up? what are the team's options there?


DDP33: If Aaron Miles spends the full 20 days allowed on a minor league rehab (it's 20 days max for position players and 30 days max for pitchers), his last day at AAA Iowa will be Tuesday. At that point, the Cubs can either reactivate him, release him, trade him, or leave him to rot on the DL until 9/1 (when rosters expand).

He is owed about $700K for the balance of the 2009 season plus another $2.7M for next season, so if they release him and he signs with another club (like STL) for the MLB minimum (prorated about $100K left in 2009 and the full $400K in 2010), the Cubs would be on the hook for about $2.9M over the next two seasons. If they can find another club interested in acquiring him in a trade, the Cubs would still almost certainly have to pay a substantial portion of his remaining salary 2009-10, but at least it might be less than $2.9M.

As for Jeff Baker, the Cubs can outright him without Baker having the right to refuse the assignment up through 8/14. Beginning on 8/15, Baker will have accrued three years of MLB Service Time, and if he were to be outrighted to the minors 8/15 or later he could be a FA either immediately or after the conclusion of the regular season (player option).

If he does get outrighted on or after 8/15 and opts to be a FA immediately, he gives up his 2009 MLB contract and the Cubs would owe him nothing further, so he would likely accept the outright assignment and defer his right to be a FA until after the season (most players do this if they get outrighted during the season).

On the other hand, if Baker is not claimed off waivers and accepts an outright assignment 8/15 or later and defers his right to be a FA until after the end of the regular season but then gets added back to the Cubs 40-man roster before the end of the regular season, he cannot be a FA.

And if Baker were to get outrighted prior to 8/15, he cannot be a FA and the Cubs keep control of him (he would be on the Iowa roster), and if that happens, he would almost certainly get an NRI to ST in 2010 and would be available at Iowa in 2010 if the Cubs wish to bring him up sometime during next season. 

Submitted by The Joe on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 6:53pm.
That's why we got B.J. Ryan


Joe: If the Cubs don't add B. J. Ryan to their 25-man roster by 8/12 he can opt out of his minor league contract and be a FA, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs bring him up much sooner than that. Possibly this week.

Ryan wasn't at Fitch Park very long before the Cubs realized his mechanics didn't need a whole lot of tweaking (a lot of his problems are mental), so his being at Iowa is just a matter of showing he can get outs and throw strikes, and so far (albeit just three appearances) he has gotten outs (3.1 IP, no runs, no hits, 2/3 BB/K), but he has thrown only 50% of his pitches for strikes (48 pitches thrown in three games, only 24 strikes). However, he did throw 12 pitches (eight strikes) in his one perfect inning yesterday. 

Given how Kevin Gregg imploded the past two games, Piniella may want to try a Gregg/Ryan co-closer thing, and if that doesn't work, there is always the fearless Angel Guzman.

file under miscellaneous: Brewers Corey Hart to the DL, he had an emergency appendectomy sunday. Ouchie. on a related note, Kevin Gregg gave me a severe tummy ache today.

Gregg has 5 blown saves...all on the road. Maybe not the best idea to pitch him today in the Cubs house of horrors after throwing a ton of pitches yesterday. They were 90 feet away from one of the most brutal sweeps in memory. One out of three in Florida is better than usual.

Recent comments

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Would you take Wisdom over Cooper if both were healthy? Power over steadiness?

  • Eric S (view)

    That throw was very concerning. Maybe he still was second guessing not throwing to second base and instead thought throwing towards the first base side dugout was the best option. 

  • crunch (view)

    forget the error on the shaw throw (from 2nd)...the velocity on the throw (made on the move) was as terrible as it was wide, even for a 2nd baseman.

  • crunch (view)

    wicks again but not jameson taillon or imanaga yet?

    i hate to tin foil...NONETHELESS...

    is wicks being thrown to the wolves to determine whether he's trutsted enough to snag that 5 slot or the cubs -might- need to add another starter?  getting some vibes over here...

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Childersb3: Because Edwards, Peralta, and Cooper are post-2023 Article XX-B MLB free agents who signed 2024 minor league contracts, they have automatic opt outs on Opening Day if not added to the 40 by that time. So they are essentially injury insurance and likely won't make the Cubs Opening Day 26-man roster unless there is an injury. 

    So Peralta probably has a chance to make the team only if something bad happens to Busch, Happ, Bellinger, and/or Tauchman during Spring Training, Cooper has a chance probably only if something bad happens to Morel and/or Wisdom, and Edwards has a chance to make the team if something bad happens to Neris, Alzolay, and/or Merryweather. 

    Meanwhile they can play in MLB Cactus League Spring Training games and show what they have to offer to the other MLB clubs (or even to NPB and KBO clubs) in case it turns out the Cubs don't need them and they opt-out at the end of Spring Training. 

  • azbobbop (view)

    It’s nice having a farm system where the rosters aren’t loaded with minor league filler.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Phil and I are together on the lack of faith in Leiter.

    He better get that splitter going asap.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    If Canario and PCA don't make the OD roster, look at the Iowa roster here:

    C Windham/Veteran

    1B Mervis/Bote

    2B Strumpf/Cantrelle

    SS Vazquez/Cantrelle

    3B Murray/Slaughter

    LF Davis/DHill

    CF PCA/Roederer

    RF Canario/Caissie

    DH Caissie

    I thought their lineup last year was loaded

    This is ridiculous

    Rotation: Brown, Wicks, Kilian, RThompson, maybe Wesneski and Horton soon

    Not bad at all

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Here are the pitchers reports from Monday's Reds - Cubs game at Sloan Park: 

    FB: 86-88
    CH: 81 
    CV: 72-74 
    COMMENT:  Threw two innings (29 pitches - 20 strikes - five foul balls - two swing & miss, one on a CV and the other on a CH)... allowed one run on one hit (a legit triple by a LH-hitter on a CH), a walk on a 3-2 pitch, and an HBP, struck out one (swinging on an 81 MPH CH), and 1/4 GO/AO... this is Hendricks circa 2024, meaning a fly ball pitcher who keeps hitters off balance (most of the time) with a nice mix of pitches, all of which he can throw for strikes... it was fun watching him warm up in the pen with about a dozen of the young pitchers standing behind him watching each pitch with great interest...  

    FB: 95-96
    CT: 89-91 
    SL: 86-87 
    COMMENT: A nine-pitch (seven strikes / two balls - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning (a 4-3 GO, a K-swinging on a SL, and an F-7)... 

    FB: 96-97
    SL: 85 
    COMMENT: A seven-pitch (six strikes - no swing & miss) "pitch to weak contact" 1-2-3 inning (F-7, 4-3, F-7)...  

    FB: 89-92 
    CV: 77 
    COMMENT: A six-pitch (four strikes - no swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning (P-3, L-9, L-8)... despite the 1-2-3 inning, Reds hitters squared up his FB pretty good...   

    FB: 92-94 
    SL: 83 
    COMMENT: 1-2-3 inning (L-6, K-looking, and a K-swinging)... threw 12 pitches (eight strikes - two swinging - three foul balls)... Cuas was really "on" today... some of the swings against him were really ugly / funny...  

    FB: 88-90 
    SPLIT: 82-84
    SL: 77-79 
    CV: 72 
    COMMENT: Threw one inning (23 pitches - 12 strikes - four foul balls - two swing & miss) and allowed two runs on two hits (a single and a double, both by LH-hitters) one walk (also a LH-hitter), and a WP, and he struck out one (a RH-hitter swinging on a SL-sweep)... he is either working on his other pitches or he just doesn't want to throw the splitter (he threw only two, and both were out of the strike zone and did not induce a swing)... FB was hit very hard, even the two outs were hammered... no evidence whatsoever of the Leiter "reverse splits" that got him a "pseudo-lefty" pen job this time last year, so maybe the Cubs will need an actual lefty (or two) in the pen this year... 

    FB: 95-97 
    SL/CT: 87-90 
    CH: 85 
    COMMENT: Threw one inning (20 pitches - 12 strikes - three foul balls - one swing & miss) and allowed two runs on three hits (two doubles and a single) and one four-pitch walk, and struck out one (swinging on a CT)... FB has good velo but he got no swing & miss with it, and secondaries got whacked... 

    FB: 90-91 
    CH: 86 
    SL: 78-79 
    COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (10 pitches - six strikes - one swing & miss)... surrendered a lead-off single and then a 6-4-3 DP erased the runner, final out was a K-swinging on a SL-sweeper on a 2-2 pitch...  

  • Cubster (view)

    Bellinger deal is official. Presser set for Wednesday.