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Cubs Lineup: 5/6/15

Cubs vs. Cardinals – Busch Stadium
First Pitch: 7:15 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Cardinals Starter: Lance Lynn, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Chris Coghlan, LF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Jorge Soler, RF
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Addison Russell, SS

Cubs active RHP Grimm; recall OF Szczur

Grimm

Justin Grimm returns to the Cubs after a stint on the DL. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs activated right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm off the 15-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Matt Szczur from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Outfielder Junior Lake has been optioned to Triple-A and right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro has been designated for assignment.

The 26-year-old Grimm returns to the Cubs after landing on the disabled list on April 10 with right forearm inflammation. He made one rehab appearance as part of his return, tossing a scoreless inning with a walk and two strikeouts on Monday for Iowa. Grimm made Chicago’s Opening Day roster for the second season in a row, but has yet to make his 2015 debut.

The right-hander went 5-2 with 11 holds and a 3.78 ERA (29 ER/69.0 IP) in 73 relief appearances last year with the Cubs, his first full season in the majors. Grimm tied for ninth in the National League in appearances while striking out 70 batters and walking only 27 in 69.0 innings. Overall, he stranded 25 of 30 inherited runners last year and posted a 2.60 ERA in 29 games following the All-Star break.

Grimm joined the Cubs as part of the five-player deal that sent pitcher Matt Garza to the Rangers on July 22, 2013. He was the American League Rookie of the Month with Texas in April 2013, and posted a 2.00 ERA (2 ER/9.0 IP) in 10 relief appearances with the Cubs following the trade that summer.

Szczur, 25, joins the Cubs for the second time this season. He was a member of Chicago’s Opening Day roster and batted .200 (2-for-10) with one double and one RBI in eight games before being optioned to Iowa on April 19. With Iowa, Szczur has batted .262 (11-for-42) with two homers, a triple and seven RBI in 11 games this season.

The outfielder made his major league debut with the Cubs last August and batted .226 with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in 33 games. Szczur has played 14 games in left field, nine games in center field and 13 games in right field during his big league career. Overall, he has batted .222 with three doubles, two home runs and six RBI in 41 career major league games.

Lake, 25, is hitting .286 (4-for-14) with one double and one RBI in four games with the Cubs this season. He is batting .289 (13-for-45) with two doubles and eight RBI in 13 games with Iowa this year.

Varvaro, 30, was claimed off waivers from Boston on Sunday and was added to the 25-man roster yesterday. He did not appear in Tuesday’s game. He was traded to the Red Sox on Dec. 17, 2014, and went 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in nine relief appearances this season before being designated for assignment on April 29.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/5/15

Iowa and Myrtle Beach each kept winning streaks alive, and South Bend picked up a victory behind a dominating pitching performance Tuesday. Tennessee couldn’t hang on in the loss. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (12-13)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.0)

Iowa won its third straight game, blanking host Nashville 4-0. It marks the I-Cubs’ second shutout this year.

  • RHP Carlos Pimentel (5.40) fanned seven in 6.0 innings, giving up no runs on three hits.
  • DH Adron Chambers (.255) went 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk, adding two RBI and a run scored.
  • 3B Chris Valaika (.224) snapped a six-game hitless skid (0-for-14), going 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored and his eighth RBI of the season.
  • RF John Andreoli (.271) went 2-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases.
  • LF Mike Baxter (.323) went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in three straight games (4-for-12).

Tennessee Smokies (13-11)
Southern League (Double-A)
T-First Place (–)

Tennessee surrendered four runs in the sixth inning, dropping a 4-3 decision at Pensacola.

  • SS Elliot Soto (.277) went 2-for-5 with a run scored. It’s his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
  • 3B Anthony Giansanti (.206) went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
  • RHP Starling Peralta (1.13) allowed just three hits in 2.1 scoreless innings. He has allowed one run in 8.0 innings of work this season.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+1.5)

Myrtle Beach won its fifth straight game as the Pelicans scored five runs in the fourth inning to win 5-2 over visiting Salem.

  • RF Billy McKinney (.299) went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
  • LF Mark Zagunis (.267), DH Ben Carhart (.222), 1B Jacob Rogers (.300) and 3B Jeimer Candelario (.258) all had one hit and a run scored.
  • RHP Jonathan Martinez picked up the win, giving up two earned runs in 6.0 innings. He has tossed back-to-back quality starts, allowing two earned runs in 12.0 innings.

South Bend Cubs (14-12)
Midwest league (Low-A)
T-Third Place (-2.0)

RHP Jeremy Null tossed 8.0 scoreless innings as South Bend blanked Great Lakes 3-0.

  • LF Charcer Burks (.321) went 2-for-4 with a double.
  • SS Gleyber Torres (.333) went 1-for-4 with an RBI (16). It’s his seventh RBI in the last eight games.
  • RHP Jeremy Null has not allowed a run in his last three starts (19.2 IP). He walked his first batter of the season last night and has 26 total strikeouts.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/4/15

Iowa edged out a win, while Myrtle Beach slugged its way to victory on Monday. Runs were limited in Tennessee and South Bend losses. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league Cubs action:

Iowa Cubs (11-13)
Pacific Coast League
Third Place (-7.5)

Iowa defeated host Nashville, 2-1, in the first of a four-game series.

  • LHP Eric Jokisch (4.00) gave up one earned run in six innings of work, striking out five in the win.
  • CF Matt Szczur (.262) went 1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and two RBI.
  • DH Taylor Davis (.333) collected his second multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4.
  • 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.277) extended his hitting streak to seven games (.379/11-for-29) with a 1-for-4 night. He also scored once and walked once.
  • RHP Justin Grimm (0.00) made his first rehab appearance of the season, striking out two batters and walking one in a scoreless eighth inning.

Tennessee Smokies (13-10)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Tennessee lost in walk-off fashion at Birmingham, falling 4-3 in 13 innings.

  • LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.269) reached base all seven times, going 2-for-2 with a home run, five walks, one run scored, one stolen base and one RBI.
  • DH Willson Contreras (.333) hit two doubles (7), going 3-for-5 with a walk.
  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.293) went 2-for-6, his seventh multi-hit game of the season.
  • RHP Stephen Perakslis (5.84) faced the minimum over 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out three batters.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (14-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+1.0)

Myrtle Beach registered 17 hits and drew seven walks as they defeated Lynchburg, 14-6, to sweep the four-game series.

  • 1B Jacobs Rogers (.299) went 3-for-5 with a home run, a walk and four RBI. He extended his hitting streak to five games (10-for-20), including four multi-hit efforts.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.301) collected his second straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a triple, a walk, a run scored and three RBI.
  • LF Wes Darvill (.195) went 1-for-3 with a triple, two walks, two runs scored and three RBI.
  • SS Carlos Penalver (.250) went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.
  • CF Mark Zagunis (.268), 3B Jeimer Candelario (.256), DH Kevin Brown (.267) and 2B Daniel Lockhart (.222) all had multi-hit games.
  • C Alberto Mineo (.250) was the only Pelicans starter not to collect a hit, but he walked twice and scored a team-high three runs.

South Bend Cubs (13-12)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Fourth Place (-2.0)

South Bend was blanked, 2-0, by Great Lakes in the first of a three-game home set.

  • The SB-Cubs collected five hits, all singles, in the defeat.
  • RHP Jake Stinnett (5.85) tied a season high with 5.0 innings pitched. He struck out a season-best five batters.
  • RHP Francisco Carrillo (4.20) allowed one hit in 3.0 scoreless innings, striking out one batter.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/3/15

Iowa and Myrtle Beach captured wins behind strong offensive performances, while Tennessee’s pitching boosted the Smokies to victory on Sunday. Only South Bend was on the losing end of the scoreboard. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league Cubs action:

Iowa Cubs (10-13)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.5)

Iowa blasted two homers, a triple and two doubles in a 7-3 victory over Oklahoma City.

  • 3B Arismendy Alcantara (.279) went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, drove in two runs and scored once. He extended his hitting streak to six games (10-for-25/.400).
  • 2B Javier Baez (.263) went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double, earning two RBI and scoring once.
  • CF Matt Szczur (.250) knocked a triple that plated one. He also scored once.
  • C Rafael Lopez (.260) went 3-for-5 with a double and one run scored.
  • LF Adron Chambers (.229) also had a multi-hit game, walking once and scoring one.
  • RHP Donn Roach (2.59) tossed a season high 8.0 innings in his fourth consecutive quality start. He has given up just five earned runs over his last 26.0 innings of work.

Tennessee Smokies (13-9)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+1.5)

Tennessee won its second consecutive game, blanking Birmingham 3-0. The teams have split the first four games of the five-game series.

  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.244) went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs.
  • SS Elliot Soto (.292) went 3-for-4, plated two and swiped a base.
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach had a multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to four games (7-for-17/.412).
  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.250) hit a double and had his third multi-hit game with the I-Cubs.
  • RHP Ivan Pineyro (3.25) tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 4.35 to 3.25.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (13-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+1.0)

Right Fielder Billy McKinney (.290) crushed two solo home runs to help Myrtle Beach to a 2-1 victory at Lynchburg. The Pelicans look to sweep the four-game series tonight.

  • 1B Jacobs Rogers (.278) had a multi-hit game, extending his hitting streak to four games (7-for-15, .467). He has recorded multi-hit games in four of his last seven appearances.
  • McKinney’s two homers marked his seventh multi-hit game of the season and the second multi-homer game of his career.
  • RHP Tyler Skulina (4.95) fanned a season high eight batters and allowed just one hit in 6.0 innings for his first quality start of the campaign.

South Bend Cubs (13-11)
Midwest League (Low-A)
T-Third Place (-2.0)

South Bend’s four-game winning streak was snapped in a 6-3 setback against Fort Wayne.

  • 2B Chesny Young (.326) went 2-for-4 with two doubles in his third consecutive multi-hit game.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.316) went 3-for-5, hit a double, plated two, swiped two bases and scored once.
  • RHP Ryan Williams (0.35) had his fourth scoreless outing, pitching 6.0 innings and striking out five. He has given up just one earned run and 14 hits over 25.2 innings of work.

Cubs Lineup: 5/4/15

Cubs vs. Cardinals at Busch Stadium
First Pitch: 7:10 CST
Cubs Starter: Travis Wood, LHP
Cardinals Starter: Carlos Martinez, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Chris Coghlan, LF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Miguel Montero, C
6. Starlin Castro, SS
7. Chris Denorfia, RF
8. Travis Wood, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

Cubs name Vogelbach, Null Minor League Player, Pitcher of the Month

Vogelbach,-Dan
(Photo by Roger C. Hoover)

The Cubs today named Double-A Tennessee infielder Dan Vogelbach and Single-A South Bend right-handed pitcher Jeremy Null the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, respectively.

Vogelbach, 22, batted .362 (25-for-69) with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBI in 19 games for Tennessee. He drew 14 walks compared to 10 strikeouts, and delivered a 1.064 OPS thanks to a .470 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging mark.

Vogelbach is tied for first in the Southern League in walks, total bases (41) and extra-base hits (10); second in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS; tied for second in doubles; tied for fourth in hits and RBI; and fifth in batting average. He earned consecutive Southern League Player of the Week honors for April 9-19 and April 20-26.

Vogelbach was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2011 Draft out of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida. In 352 career minor league contests, the left-handed hitter owns a .291 batting average with 83 doubles, five triples, 56 home runs and 234 RBI. He has a .381 on-base percentage thanks in part to 191 walks.

Null, 21, went 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA (2 ER/22.2 IP) in four April starts for South Bend. He struck out 23 batters without issuing a walk to any of his 84 batters faced. He pitched into the sixth inning three times and held the opponent scoreless in three of his starts. Null struck out seven, walked none and spun 5.0 shutout innings in his season-opening start on April 10 vs. Bowling Green.

Null, who is riding a 13.2-inning scoreless streak, is 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA (6 ER/38.2 IP) in 11 career minor league games (five starts). He has struck out 36 batters, allowed just two walks and has not surrendered a home run in 38.2 career innings.

Null was selected by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2014 Draft. A graduate of Bunker Hill (N.C.) High School, he was selected by Seattle in the 37th round of the 2011 Draft, but did not sign and instead attended Western Carolina University. Null posted a 3.70 ERA with 265 strikeouts in 265.0 innings across three seasons for Western Carolina.

Hot off the Press: May issue featuring the new-look catching corps

Maddon_ON

(Photo by Stephen Green)

There’s nothing like Opening Day (or Night) to get you excited for the season. I’m in my fourth year with the team, and I can truly say I haven’t seen the kind of buzz at Wrigley Field that I saw on April 5 at any point during that stretch. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve seen it here since the playoff runs of 2007-08.

Of course, there was a lot to recommend the game.

The North Siders are coming off a huge offseason, and this was many fans’ first opportunity to see new manager Joe Maddon, prized free agent Jon Lester, leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler and the rest of the team in person. Plus, the Cubs were the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN2 and the only contest on the major league slate. To add to the atmosphere, the Cardinals were in town, and it was Lester toeing the slab versus St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

Then, of course, there was Wrigley Field. As everyone knows by now, the Cubs began their multi-year 1060 Project restoration of the venerable ballpark this winter. Opening Night was the coming-out party for the new, 3,990-square-foot left-field video board, which debuted to rave reviews from players and personnel—even those who were a bit skeptical at first.

“When I saw the mockups, I was mildly concerned,” said baseball president Theo Epstein before the game. “Then when I saw the photos when I was in Arizona, I was extremely concerned. I felt like—you ever hang a flat-screen on your wall and your wife is telling you it’s way too big and you’re arguing that it’s not too big, even though you know it’s probably too big? That’s how I thought it would be. But then I got here, and it’s perfect.”

Still, it wasn’t the game or the stadium or the many luminaries in attendance that made the night so special. It was the fans. These are the four memories that stick out most in my mind weeks later.

  • Watching the teams do their traditional Opening Day lineup on the basepaths from behind home plate. At one point, I turned around to take a picture, and it was striking. There were no empty seats stretching to the farthest reaches of the upper decks. The fans were on their feet, raucous and, well, Cubs fans.
  • The spontaneous “Ernie, Ernie!” chant that shook the Confines before the tribute to Mr. Cub ran on the video board. Electrifying.
  • The roar of the crowd when Maddon was introduced for the first time.
  • Coming down from the press box in the top of the seventh inning on a 44-degree night with the Cubs trailing 3-0. As I walked behind the 200 Section, it was still standing-room only.

There’s nothing like a playoff atmosphere at Wrigley Field. As I’ve said many times before in this space, things are starting to get interesting at the corner of Clark and Addison. It was great to feel that energy again. It reminded me of everything that’s special about the national pastime and why we’re lucky to be part of the single greatest pursuit left in professional sports.

It has also been fun to watch the 2015 Cubs come together, including new catching tandem Miguel Montero and David Ross. Both joined the team this offseason, both are great with the glove, and both might be even better in the clubhouse. We take a look at what they add to the offense, the defense and the pitching staff.

We also check in with some of the organization’s top young players, including No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant, to see what they learned at major league camp this spring. Finally, we honor the legacy of one of the true trailblazers in baseball history, Margaret Donahue, the former Cubs executive who helped pave the way for women throughout professional sports.

We’ll be there for Games 1-162 (and beyond) at vineline.mlblogs.com and on Twitter at @cubsvineline. Let’s keep this energy going all season long as the team and the ballpark evolve into something truly special.

By Gary Cohen

Cubs Minor League Recap: 4/30/15

South Bend picked up a win, but Iowa, Tennessee and Myrtle Beach were all on the losing end Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Cubs minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (9-11)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-6.5)

Iowa fell to Oklahoma City in 13 innings by a score of 4-2.

  • 3B Christian Villanueva (.275) went 2-for-4, plated one, walked once and scored twice. He extended his hitting streak to five games.
  • RF John Andreoli (.261) went 2-for-5 in his second consecutive multi-hit game.
  • RHP Carlos Pimentel (7.47) tossed his first quality start of the campaign, giving up just one hit and one run, while walking two and fanning three in 6.0 innings of work.

Tennessee Smokies (11-8)
Southern League (Double-A)
First Place (+1.5)

Tennessee’s comeback bid fell short as it fell at Birmingham, 5-3. The Smokies knocked four doubles, three of which scored runs in the final four innings.

  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.357) went 2-for-4 and scored twice.
  • LF Pin-Chieh Chen (.290) went 2-for-3, hit two doubles, plated one and walked once.
  • DH Kyle Schwarber (.375) went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the eighth inning and walked once, extending his hitting streak to nine games (.447/17-for-38).
  • 3B Anthony Giansanti (.192) had a two-out, RBI double in the ninth inning.

Myrtle Beach (10-9)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+0.5)

Myrtle Beach was unable to hang on to an early lead, suffering a 6-4 loss at Wilmington.

  • LF Mark Zagunis (.254) knocked his first triple and scored a run. He has recorded an RBI in four of his last five games.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.246) went 2-for-4 with a double and scored once.
  • CF Trey Martin (.273) had an RBI double in the second inning to give the Pelicans an early lead.
  • RHP Daury Torres (3.57) earned his second consecutive quality start, giving up just two runs off six hits in 6.0 innings and fanning one.

South Bend Cubs (11-10)
Midwest League (Low-A)
T-Third Place (-3.0)

South Bend picked up its second straight win at Michigan, taking the series with a 6-3 victory.

  • SS Gleyber Torres (.352) had four hits, tying his career high. He also hit his third double, plated one, swiped a base and scored once. He has had multi-hit games in five of his last eight appearances.
  • DH Jason Vosler (.271) went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
  • C Justin Marra (.132) had a multi-hit game, recording an RBI and scoring once.
  • RHP Erick Leal (2.25) picked up his third straight win with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings.
  • RHP Francisco Carrillo (5.25) collected his first save of the season, giving up just one hit and fanning three in 3.0 innings of relief.

Cubs Lineup: 5/1/15

LesterBanksStarter Jon Lester will be looking for his first Cubs win in an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs vs. Brewers – Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 1:20 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP
Brewers Starter: Wily Peralta, RHP
TV: CSN Chicago, MLB Network; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

Cubs Lineup
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jorge Soler, RF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B
5. Starlin Castro, SS
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. David Ross, C
8. Jon Lester, P
9. Addison Russell, 2B

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