Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

Konerko honored by Cubs’ classy move

Paul Konerko and Jeff Samardzija have been tied together as part of the Crosstown Cup White Sox/Cubs rivalry since Samardzija hit the White Sox captain in the left side of the face with a pitch in the third inning of a May 18, 2012 contest at Wrigley Field.

With that unfortunate moment now well in their past, it seemed only fitting that Samardzija would present Konerko with a retirement gift from the Cubs prior to Tuesday’s contest in Konerko’s last game at Wrigley.

“It was kind of fitting that he gave it to me and he’s doing great right now,” said Konerko of Samardzija. “Good for him.”

“I was asked to do it and jumped on the opportunity right away,” Samardzija said. “When the whole thing went down when I hit him, the first thing I said was it’s the worst guy it could happen to because I respect him more than anyone in this game.”

Konerko was presented with the No. 14 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard, representing his jersey number. He is certainly not on any sort of retirement tour and isn’t looking for gifts at each final stop. But Konerko definitely appreciated the pregame gesture.

“That was cool. Classy move by them. I mean I certainly didn’t expect it and it’s really cool that they gave me it,” Konerko said. “That’ll definitely go up in the house somewhere. You grow up watching games on TV at Wrigley Field and you know the history.

“The fact that you can go out and play your career and at the end of it you’re at a place like that where if you do something at the place, it’s pretty neat. It’s definitely not lost on me how cool that is. I definitely took it in, and that was nice.”

A healthy dose of respect also exists between the presenter and recipient Tuesday.

“You talk about losing two guys in the game like [Derek] Jeter and Konerko, it’s tough. It’s bad for the game,” Samardzija said. “We love to see those guys and how long they played and we’d love to see them keep playing. Outstanding man, and hopefully he has a strong year to end it and enjoys it too and enjoys the run he had and soaks it all in.”

“He’s a good guy. He’s doing great,” said Konerko of Samardzija. “I’m a fan of his as far as the way he pitches and he’s aggressive out there and he swings the bat well on top of it. I don’t know him well; I’ve met him a few times off the field but you know his teammates really like him and he’s respected over there. The guys that are with him every day, they’re not going to be wrong on that stuff.”

Game 5: Sale’s high standard

Round 1 goes to the Cubs, who claimed a 5-1 victory over the White Sox before 10,327 at Camelback Ranch on Friday. There will be seven more chances for the White Sox to get even, but here’s a look at the highs and lows of this first battle.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: If Chris Sale gets this charged up over his first Cactus League start, one can only imagine the energy he’ll bring to the rotation during the 2012 regular season. The raw stuff is there for Sale, probably the best raw stuff on the White Sox staff.

Like any other pitcher, he’s working on location and building up arm strength as the regular season fast approaches. The endurance is especially important for Sale, who is moving from late-inning relief to the starting five.

And his anger over the two-out, nobody-on walk issued to Junior Lake in the second, which was followed by Edgar Gonzalez’s two-run home run, is reminiscent of the same high personal standard for no free passes held by new staff ace John Danks. Sale felt as if he’s figuring out his pregame routine as a starter, but wasn’t making excuses even in his Spring Training debut.

“It was what it was. You’re still working out kinks, but there’s no excuse at all,” Sale said. “You still got to pitch. But you’re still finding some things out and figuring some things out along the way. But at the end of the day, you still got to be better than that.”

Alejandro De Aza laid down a perfect bunt single in the first, while A.J. Pierzynski, back hitting in the two-hole, moved De Aza to third with a single to left in the first and sacrificed over two runners in the third. Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, both strongly in the closer’s mix, each pitched a scoreless frame.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Nate Jones, who pitched two scoreless innings during his Cactus League debut, gave up a Marlon Byrd homer in the sixth and a Steve Clevenger home run in the seventh. The White Sox also failed to score with the bases loaded and out in the third against Travis Wood and Randy Wells.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s a rare doubleheader for the White Sox on Saturday, with both games taking place at Camelback Ranch. Dylan Axelrod gets the start in Game 1 against the Rangers, which will be an exclusive webcast starting at 2:05 p.m. CT, and Philip Humber starts the nightcap against the Dodgers at 8:05 p.m. CT. Brent Lillibridge will be leading off and playing second base against the Rangers in the early game.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Adrian Cardenas’ ninth-inning pop out to shortstop Ray Olmedo, as it completed two scoreless innings of relief for Nestor Molina. It was a tough first outing for Molina on Monday, allowing five runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings, but the right-hander gave up one hit and struck out two on Friday.

“You can hear him talk and doing things, taking charge, which is nice,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Molina. “To have that first outing and come back, with that impressive performance, it catches your eye.”

MOMENT TO FORGET: Sale’s 0-2 pitch to Gonzalez in the second. It got too much of the plate.

Game 4: Ventura wins, Dunn bashes

There were no champagne corks popping or raucous celebrations going on in the White Sox clubhouse following Robin Ventura’s first win as a manager on Thursday in Surprise. But the 6-3 victory for the South Siders still had plenty of highlights, as the White Sox improved to 1-3 in Cactus League action.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn. And … . Oh, yes, Adam Dunn.

It was just the fourth game of 2012 for the White Sox and it was Cactus League play in Arizona, after all, where the statistics don’t make their way to the back of baseball cards. But the big slugger still looks locked in at the plate in a way he never did during all of the 2011 season.

“The at-bats are more important for me looking at it,” said Ventura of Dunn, who homered on a 1-2 pitch from Neftali Feliz in the first and doubled home another run in the third. “I see his at-bats, his approach when he does it, instead of if he gets a hit. That’s all I’m really looking for right now, him having quality at-bats up there. He’s in a great spot.”

Gordon Beckham also went deep in the fourth, while Brent Morel’s two hits leave him at 5-for-8 over the first four games.

And let’s not forget about Hector Santiago, who is getting extremely close to locking up the fifth spot in the White Sox bullpen. Santiago started on Thursday and held scoreless over two innings a Texas lineup featuring Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus. Santiago struck out Cruz and Hamilton.

“I just worry about the next time to go out there. I try to do the same thing every time,” said Santiago, refusing to handicap his roster status. “I just tried to go out there and not worry about who is in the box and just hit (Tyler) Flowers right in the mitt. That’s all I was trying to do.”

WHAT WENT WRONG: Gregory Infante possesses Major League stuff, but simply has trouble getting it over the plate at times. He walked three over 1 2/3 innings on Thursday.

The biggest trouble spot was the first real injury of camp suffered by Minor League prospect Brandon Short. He dislocated his left shoulder going for a Luis Martinez double in the eighth, running into the center field wall on the attempt. Short was to have a MRI done on the injured area.

WHAT’S NEXT: It’s the first of eight meetings this season between the Cubs and the White Sox, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. CT Friday at Camelback Ranch. Chris Sale makes his long-awaited debut as part of the starting rotation, not counting his intrasquad appearance. The two teams hook up again on March 18 in Mesa, before meeting six times during regular-season Interleague action.

MOMENT TO REMEMBER: The handshakes on the field at Surprise Stadium after Anthony Carter, who had good velocity on his pitches in earning the save, retired Martinez on a ground ball double play to end Ventura’s first victory. Ventura also offered up this on-the-mark postgame quote.

“It’s good to get wins just for the psyche of guys walking on the field, shaking hands,” Ventura said. “But you know, most of the guys that you want to see do it are already driving home. It’s good for the young guys to kind of finish it off and do that, but I’m concerned about those first five innings a little more than the end right now.”

MOMENT TO FORGET: Short’s injury. Otherwise, the White Sox had a pretty solid afternoon of baseball.

Williams called Hendry about Guillen/Zambrano dinner

Hopefully, these are the final words on the most publicized meal involving sports figures in Chicago since LeBron James was spotted at Ed Debevics. I kid, of course–that place was the one spot where James wasn’t reportedly found.

“I hope it was good. I hope it was good.”

That comment came from White Sox general manager Ken Williams at today’s Double Duty Classic at U.S. Cellular Field, when asked for his opinion about Friday’s dinner involving much maligned Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and their respective families. The dinner came the same night after Zambrano’s dugout meltdown during the White Sox 6-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field, resulting in the Cubs suspending their hurler.

Williams added how he spoke to Cubs general manager Jim Hendry about the dinner but simply to clarify Guillen’s role as friend in the matter.

“It’s an unusual situation, and I wanted to make sure they understand we were respecting Chicago Cubs business,” Williams said. “You’ve heard me say, ‘Stay out of White Sox business,’ and I didn’t want that perception over there.

“They viewed it as a positive, with one friend dining with another and making sure a certain message, Ozzie can get a certain message to Carlos maybe few others can get through. If it turns out to be a positive, then good for everyone.

“Is it a dicey situation? Yeah, it is. It is,” Williams said. “But all of the men you are talking about, myself, (Cubs manager) Lou (Piniella) or Ozzie, we are all friends, we’ve been there. We know there’s no maliciousness in our dealings at all. I don’t think they thought much of it other than maybe wanting (Zambrano) to step up a bit in other ways.”

The call also was placed by Williams in support of his manager because he wanted to make sure it was known Guillen’s involvement should not be construed as any sort of meddling, as Williams felt might have been wrongly portrayed in Saturday media reports.

“I wanted to make sure that Jim and Lou didn’t misinterpret Ozzie’s action as anything other than from the heart and at a friendship level,” Williams said. “That’s all.”

Guillen speaks on Zambrano outburst

When fans rise in unison and a murmur starts in the stands during the Crosstown Classic at either Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field, usually it means a fight has broken out between passionate Cubs and White Sox supporters.

There clearly was something different going on after the first inning of Friday’s 6-0 victory for the White Sox.

Fans seated near the White Sox dugout and near the Cubs dugout watched Carlos Zambrano let loose on anyone who would listen as he stomped around his teammates, screaming about his team’s performance during a four-run first inning for the South Siders. Of course, nobody on his team hung a 0-2 changeup to Carlos Quentin, resulting in a three-run home run.

Zambrano’s crazy tirade resulted in the right-hander being pulled from the game after one inning, a suspension issued by the Cubs and an embarrassment for an organization already suffering through a miserable 2010 campaign. It was the topic of conversation for much of Ozzie Guillen’s postgame press conference, primarily because of Guillen’s close relationship with Zambrano, Derrek Lee, who had to be kept apart from Zambrano and Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

Zambrano and the Guillen family also had dinner after Friday’s contest.

“He got a lot of time to make the reservation,” said Guillen of Zambrano, drawing a big laugh from the assembled media.

Guillen defended Zambrano after the incident, stating how Carlos is a great guy. It’s a sentiment echoed by many who know the hurler around the city of Chicago, but that off-field persona might not be able to save his on-field temper in this situation.

“A lot of people don’t know Carlos,” Guillen said. “When he puts his uniform on he like to compete, likes to do well. Off the field, he’s a different cat.

“That’s part of the game. That’s the way he is. If I see him, that’s the way he is and you’re not going to change that. Now he has to come back to the team and talk to his teammates I guess. It’s not an easy situation, but he will be alright.”

One of the questions asked of Guillen was whether he could manage someone like Zambrano. He quickly responded, ‘Yes,’ adding how he could manage anyone.

In a credit to White Sox general manager Ken Williams, Guillen hasn’t been saddled with any players causing situations such as Friday’s during his seven-year reign. He has made some disciplinary moves but never had to handle such a disrespectful maneuver toward teammates.

Yet, in theory, Guillen thought he could handle Zambrano.

“I can manage anybody. I can,” Guillen said. “Why not? You go about your stuff, you believe in yourself, you believe in respect. I’m not afraid [to manage] any player in baseball because I’m going to give them all the respect I can to perform for me.

“You can call me lucky because sometimes guys overreact out there. You tell them right away, ‘Cut it down.’ With that situation, I don’t know how I would react because that hasn’t happened to us yet. If that happened to us, that’s different and you would have to see how I would respond. That hasn’t happened yet.

“I’m the one that’s crazy in the clubhouse,” a smiling Guillen said. “I’m not saying I’m a dictator, but I don’t believe in guys going out there and fighting each other.

“Sometimes that’s good for the team. Sometimes they need that, you never know. When that happens, it wakes a lot of people up and they play better. But I don’t think it puts the Cubs in a different situation. They’re going to go out there and try and win the game tomorrow.”

Jake Peavy earned the win on Friday with seven scoreless innings, and the laid-back, good-natured right-hander is a demonstrative force in his own right on the field. Peavy spoke of composure being so important to success, especially in a high-energy, high-profile series like the Cubs-White Sox, after the intense competitor’s victory.

“Composure is everything in this game,” Peavy said. “It’s easy with the adrenaline and atmosphere you have in this series. There’s no doubt about it, when you take the field, when you come to the ballpark, when you wake up, you know it’s a little bit different day than your normal start day.

“That’s fun. That’s what you live for as a player. I can tell you I had a little more nerves going into this game than I did five days ago going when we played in Washington. That’s just the bottom line.

“In a game like this, it’s very easy if things don’t go well on the field or off the field, you can let your emotions get the best of you,” Peavy said. “The biggest thing is channeling your emotions the right way. I certainly haven’t done it all the time but today I was able to do it for the most part. Obviously, I know Carlos had a rough day and had some stuff happen. They’ll get that resolved as a team.”

Williams supports Bradley

Milton Bradley is not coming to the White Sox.

Ken Williams made that point fairly clear during his Wednesday afternoon media session at the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. But the White Sox general manager also lent verbal support to the embattled Cubs outfielder, whose potential trade has fueled the rumor mill for three days in Indianapolis.

“You know, the funny thing is I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Milton in the past and it saddens me to a great extent, actually some of the things, or some of the situations he’s been put in, or put himself in,” Williams said. “I would like to see this guy be able to go out there without all of the distractions from everything and do what he can do.

“This guy can play. I don’t know if I see a fit for us, and I probably shouldn’t even be talking about him because he’s not our player but Milton Bradley can play. He’s really a more thoughtful person and a better person that has been portrayed or he’s shown. It’s too bad.”

Acquiring Bradley would make sense for the White Sox only, and the word only needs to be stressed here, in that he has a career .371 on-base percentage and the switch-hitter also can play the outfield from time to time while serving primarily as designated hitter. Don’t look for that move to happen, despite Williams’ backing of Bradley.

“Listen, I don’t like it when people get in our business and I certainly don’t want to step over any lines,” Williams said. “It’s none of my business what transpires with that situation.”

Dan Hudson on the way

Dan Hudson is on his way to the Major Leagues.

At least, that’s what the young right-hander is saying.

According to a Tuesday report in the Newport News Daily Press, Hudson said that he was told by the coaches at Triple-A Charlotte that he soon will be joining the White Sox. The 22-year-old right-hander, selected in the fifth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, has cruised through the White Sox Minor League system this year. He posted a 14-5 record and 2.32 ERA over 26 starts between stints with Class A Kannapolis, Class A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Charlotte. He fanned 166 over 147 1/3 innings.

During stops for the Barons and Knights, the highest levels of Minor League competition, Hudson has a perfect 9-0 record with a 2.02 ERA.

Hudson threw just three innings at Norfolk on Tuesday, striking out five, before telling the publication about the big conversation he had with pitching coach Richard Dotson.

“When they told me, I did a double-take. They had to tell me twice before I believed them,” said Hudson of reportedly getting called up after rosters expanded on Sept. 1. “It’s an awesome feeling. Just an amazing feeling.”

White sox pitching coach Don Cooper was asked Wednesday about Hudson’s arrival, but he deferred the decision to general manager Ken Williams as his call. Having pitched three innings Tuesday, Hudson won’t pitch Thursday against the Cubst. But he could get a chance when the fifth starter comes around next, depending on Jake Peavy’s recovery and the White Sox playoff standing.

Peavy exits early

The next time a fifth starter will be needed by the White Sox comes Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. This makeup game from a postponement on June 16 looked to be a prime late-season battle between two heated crosstown rivals who were set up for an exciting Sept. postseason push.

And now? The heated rivals still will be present but those postseason pushes have hit a couple of respective bumps in the road. The White Sox sit five games out in the American League Central, and the Cubs have a better chance in the NL Wild Card then the NL Central.

Regardless of the ramifications of the afternoon contest, and by the way, the early forecast for Thursday is 75 and mostly sunny, this date also was being pointed to by White Sox fans because it looked as a possibility for Jake Peavy to make his debut. But judging by Saturday’s results in Peavy’s fourth Minor League rehab start, that trip to the mound is no certainty.

Peavy had a target of 100 pitches and possibly six innings in another start with Triple-A Charlotte at Norfolk, a Minor League start primarily brought about because of tightness he felt after taking a line drive off of his pitching elbow during a scoreless effort this past Monday. The right-hander worked only 3 1/3 innings against Norfolk, giving up two runs on four hits, striking out four and throwing just 68 pitches, and according to the Chicago Tribune, Peavy left the game due to a recurrence of the tightness in his right elbow brought about by the Wes Timmons’ line drive.

So, where does this leave Peavy? Well, there was some doubt as to whether he would start in a National League ballpark from the outset. The partially torn tendon in his right ankle, which has sidelined him for close to three months, came about through Peavy running the bases and is more likely to be bothered by baserunning than anything pitching-releated. For that reason, White Sox general manager Ken Williams ruled out Peavy from that Cubs game a few weeks ago.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said during this road trip that if he needs Peavy Thursday and if Peavy is ready, then it shouldn’t matter if it’s at Wrigley. Guillen joked that he would tell the umpires the White Sox have an automatic out every time Peavy was due to hit, without even letting him get in the batter’s box.

One thing is for certain: Peavy wants to get back out to pitch– at Wrigley, at U.S. Cellular Field or on the West Coast. During an interview at Fenway Park, Peavy characterized this whole extended rehab process as a tougher period for him than all of the offseason trade rumors he had to deal with swirling around

“No, this is tougher–simply because I want to play,” Peavy said. “Being hurt is never fun and trying to get back into this and speeding it up has been frustrating at times. I think I’m starting to see the other side and looking forward to the day I can get out and help.”

Crosstown Showdown: U.S. Cellular Wrap

John Danks already has earned the utmost respect from his teammates over three big-league seasons, and throwing seven scoreless innings as he did during Sunday’s 6-0 victory over the Cubs only increases that respect.

But Danks also stepped up and showed he had his teammates’ backs by hitting Ryan Freel to open the seventh. Carlos Zambrano already had hit Scott Podsednik and Dewayne Wise earlier in the game, with Wise’s situation causing words to briefly be exchanged between the two in the bottom of the sixth.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would not go as far as to categorize Danks’ effort as a purpose pitch.

“It’s part of the game,” Guillen said. “I cannot say he hit him on purpose because that’s accusing people.”

When Danks hit Freel in the left forearm, Freel blew on the spot as if to indicate a lack of velocity or pain on impact as he ran to first. But Danks had the last laugh on this particular day.

“To be totally honest with you, I didn’t even see him,” Danks said. “He went to first base and fortunately, we were able to strand him. Whatever he did, that’s something you would have to ask him. It didn’t bother me a bit; I didn’t even see it.”

–This just in: According to a well-placed family source, Danks and Scott Linebrink combined for an all Round Rock, Texas shutout on Sunday. Linebrink, who fanned four in two perfect innings, graduated from Round Rock McNeil High School, and Danks from Round Rock High School. There’s some interesting trivia to amuse your friends.

–Danks made sure to spread the credit to catcher A.J. Pierzynski for Sunday’s victory.

“I didn’t shake A.J. once. A.J. did a great job, he always does,” Danks said. “I know that for the most part, I just have to follow his lead and try to hit his glove with whatever pitch he tells me to throw.”

Pierzynski pointed to Danks’ changeup as his outpitch against the Cubs.

“He kept getting swings and misses and weak ground balls with the changeups,” Pierzynski said.

–As Pierzynski was talking about Chris Getz’s steal of home in the clubhouse, Gary Matthews Jr. swiped home during the Angels’ game on one of the televisions on at the time.

–Guillen showed strong pregame support for the White Sox visiting clubhouse staff amidst Cubs’ allegations that there was a leak surrounding what was said during Friday’s Lou Piniella-Milton Bradley spat. Guillen also shared his thoughts on Mark DeRosa moving from Cleveland to St. Louis.

“It’s funny. Mark DeRosa was my backup (in Atlanta). Now he’s the most wanted guy in baseball,” Guillen said with a laugh. “I was the backup at shortstop and Mark was my backup. I think this guy can help a lot of people.

“He can play every position very well, he’s a great man in the clubhouse. You can play him second, third, you can hit him leadoff. He can do so many great things in baseball. I think Tony picked the right guy. I think he’s going to help him.”

–Finally, here’s Jermaine Dye’s take on the 2009 competition with the Cubs, which has one more makeup game at Wrigley Field on Sept. 3 or 10.

“This series is always great, especially for the city of Chicago and the fans and for us and the clubhouse,” Dye said. “It’s a great atmosphere.

“What a series for everyone. The city of Chicago – three great games and a lot of excitement going on. That’s what you like to see when two teams in the city are playing each other.”

–Actually, one final note. Here’s a closing aside from Wise on Zambrano hitting him after Getz swiped home.

“My thing is just go out and try to get the guy out,” Wise said. “Don’t get mad and throw at someone and hit them. Play baseball and try to get the guy out.”

Crosstown Showdown, U.S. Cellular version: Day 2

Here are a few additional tidbits from another in the long line of battles between the Cubs and White Sox, covering 13 years. When Interleague Play was invented, I have to believe this is the sort of crowd-pleasing rivalry Major League Baseball had in mind.

–In a day filled with White Sox miscues, one of the strangest ones came on a Mark Buehrle balk in the fifth inning. Alfonso Soriano opened with a bloop single to right and Ryan Theriot drew a walk. Both runners moved up a base when Buehrle went to throw over to first base but Paul Konerko was not near the base. So, Buehrle didn’t go through with the throw, which isn’t allowed while he’s still on the rubber.

The veteran southpaw took full responsibility for this particular mistake.

“I screwed up. It was totally my fault. Not Konerko, (bench coach) Joey (Cora) or (catcher) A.J. (Pierzynski),” Buehrle said. “I was thinking it was a timing play when A.J. gave me the sign. Then, instead of stepping off, I threw it.”

Buehrle believes the balk actually helped the White Sox stay out of a big inning. Milton Bradley’s ensuing line out might not have ended up with shortstop Alexei Ramirez if the middle infield was playing double-play depth with runners on first and second.

As for Buehrle’s effort on the mound, allowing three earned runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, he said that he felt great.

“Obviously, I lost something in that last inning,” said Buehrle, who has a 5.40 ERA in his last three starts at home. “But overall, I felt pretty good.”

–Both manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Ken Williams have talked about the Cubs-White Sox series being the biggest one either team is going to play if they don’t make the playoffs. The two teams aren’t exactly juggernauts at this point, but the Cubs sit just 3 games out in the National League Central and the White Sox now are just 5 back in the AL Central.

So, Buehrle certainly isn’t ready to pronounce these five games, with one postponement to be made up in September, as the highlight of the season.

“Well, I don’t want to sit there and think that now,” Buehrle said. “There are still two or three months left in the season. I’m not thinking that right now. I just want to go out there and try to win games to get to the playoffs.”

–The scariest moment for Gordon Beckham on Saturday was not hitting in the ninth inning against Cubs reliever Jose Ascanio, with the game on the line. It was seeing Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski coming at him at full speed, as the celebration began after his game-winning hit.

“When you see Thome is at full sprint, you know something is up,” said Beckham with a laugh. “It was a lot of fun.”

“Good, good. Just so he remembers that,” Thome said. “No, we were having a little fun with him. It was good.”

–Best guesses for the White Sox All-Star candidates would be Buehrle, reliever Matt Thornton or right fielder Jermaine Dye. But it’s hard to overlook Scott Podsednik, who has been as important to this team staying afloat as anyone on the roster.

–The White Sox are 10-6 in Interleague Play, with two games remaining. Bobby Jenks earned his first career Interleague win on Saturday.