Results tagged ‘ Bobby Scales ’

Cactus Notes: B. Jackson, Rizzo, 5 others sent to minor league camp

Mesa, Ariz. – The Chicago Cubs sent seven players to minor league camp Friday, including a pair of elite prospects in Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson.

Rizzo, as well as infielder Adrian Cardenas were optioned to Triple-A Iowa, while Brett Jackson, Jim Adduci, Michael Brenly, Jay Jackson and Bobby Scales were assigned to minor league camp.

Rizzo, a 22-year-old first base prospect, came over in an offseason trade with the San Diego Padres for pitcher Andrew Cashner. Rizzo hit .364 with a .962 OPS in 33 at-bats this spring.

The Cubs used a 2009 first-round draft pick on the five-tool outfielder Brett Jackson. The non-roster invitee hit .276 with seven RBI and an OPS of .986 through 29 at-bats in the Cactus League.

While Manager Dale Sveum has praised both of their abilities throughout the spring, it was well-documented that neither would make the Opening Day roster.

Cactus Notes: Second intrasquad game this afternoon

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs are currently out on the practice fields preparing for the second straight day of intrasquad games before the Cactus League season kicks off tomorrow against the Oakland A’s. In yesterday’s matchup, the prospect-laden Blue team defeated the veteran White team 10-4, behind six RBIs from outfielder Matt Szczur. Today, both teams are highlighted by younger players and new acquisitions, including Jae-Hoon Ha, Welington Castillo, Dave Sappelt, Anthony Rizzo and Bobby Scales. Left-hander Chris Rusin will toe the mound for the Blue team, and righty Jay Jackson will start for the White team.

Below are today’s starting lineups:

White Team

1. Sappelt – CF

2. Cardenas – 3B

3. Rizzo – 1B

4. Clevenger – DH

5. Gibbs – C

6. Mota – SS

7. Szczur – LF

8. Scales – 2B

9. B. Jackson – RF

J. Jackson/McNutt – P

Blue Team

1. Campana – LF

2. Adduci – RF

3. Ha – CF

4. Mather – 1B

5. Castillo – C

6. Gonzalez – SS

7. Amezaga – 2B

8. Tolbert – 3B

9. Lalli – DH

Rusin/Cabrera – P

Cubs invite 21 non-roster players to major league camp

With only a few weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 18, the Cubs have invited 21 non-roster players to major league Spring Training camp. The invitees include veterans who have had success in the major leagues, such as Manny Corpas and Alfredo Amezaga, and top prospects, such as Brett Jackson and Trey McNutt. The Cubs’ first full-squad workout is scheduled for Fri., Feb. 24.

The Cubs 2012 non-roster invitees:

Pitchers – right-handers Marco Carrillo, Manuel Corpas, Jay Jackson, Rodrigo Lopez, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker and Dae-Eun Rhee, and left-handers Trever Miller and Chris Rusin

Catchers – Michael Brenly, Jason Jaramillo and Blake Lalli

Infielders – Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Jonathan Mota, Bobby Scales and Matt Tolbert

Outfielders – Jim Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Brett Jackson and Joe Mather

The Road To Omaha

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgDes Moines–It felt more like a Sunday, with the way the guys sauntered into Principal Park this morning around 11 AM. But from what I am told, it was a much-preferred and welcomed alternative to the typical 4 AM wake-up call for 6 AM flights to further Pacific Coast League cities like Portland, Fresno and Salt Lake City.

Today, the guys were headed to Omaha, Neb., just a short two hours away down Interstate 80, and I was going with them.

Everyone’s seen the 1988 film “Bull Durham” starring Kevin Costner. There’s a classic scene where Costner’s character Crash Davis is telling all his teammates about his time in the big leagues while strumming a guitar confiscated from a shrill Nuke LaLoosh.

Well, right-hander Justin Berg, who apparently plays in a band in his off-season, brings a guitar on the road, as does rightfielder Brad Snyder. But neither pulled out their axes on the bus.

DesMoinesDay3 001a.jpg“I only play in my hotel room,” Berg said. However, during his brief cup of coffee earlier this season, I saw Berg’s guitar in the home clubhouse. In fact, I saw the guitar before I saw Berg. But on this trip, the guitar and wa-wa pedals were stowed below.

Some guys slept, some guys just listened to music. Left-hander JR Mathes watched a movie on his laptop. It was surprisingly quiet, guys weren’t even talking to each other much. Because Omaha was so close, manager Bobby Dickerson, who normally flies ahead of the team to rent a car for the staff, simply drove ahead in his own truck so that the staff would not have to rent a car. In the minor leagues, cutting costs is applicable all over.

Dickerson is a fair, but tough manager, who is not afraid of calling out a player, but will offer a pat on the back just as readily. At the Triple-A level, many of the players have “grown-up” responsibilities, supporting spouses and children, mortgages. In a short trip like this, he allowed several players who had family with them to drive themselves to Omaha. So the bus was a little light of personnel.

I asked infielder Bobby Scales–who himself is married– about the seeming lack of interaction among his teammates. A veteran of nearly 11 minor-league seasons, Scales has seen a lot and his insight was enlightening.

“Part of it is the technology,” Scales said. “You mentioned Bull Durham. Yeah, they put a lot of stuff in movies, but really, if you think about it, technology has changed things. Guys have a lot personal entertainment devices, so guys aren’t really talking all that much. I think guys back in the day probably talked more because there was nothing else to do.

DesMoinesDay3 b.jpg“The other thing is this team is very heavy on both ends, there aren’t a lot of guys in the middle,” Scales added.

“There are a bunch of older guys, maybe 27 or older then a bunch of guys 24 and younger. So there’s a gap there. What do you talk about? I talk about my wife and my house, but these younger guys don’t want to hear that.”

The busiest guy on the bus was trainer Matt Johnson, whose duties also include acting as the traveling secretary–arranging bus and plane rides, keeping track of meal money and hotel arrangements. Or in the case of this photo, coordinating travel arrangements for the end of the season for outfielder So Taguchi, who lives in St. Louis.

“Sometimes there’s a lot to do that isn’t necessarily athletic training,” said Johnson, the LaGrange Park, Ill., native said. “First and foremost, our job is to keep these guys healthy, but there are a lot of other things you have to do as well. It is the minor leagues.”

–Mike Huang


Football Sunday

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgDes Moines–An overcast day at Principal Park today. I was commenting to Andrea Breen, Iowa’s manager of media relations that the clouds covering Iowa will most likely meet me in Chicago when I return tomorrow.

It was business as usual for these farmhands, most of them strolling into the clubhouse around 10:00. Poker chips lay strewn across a table in case an impromptu game might just break out during a rain delay. Clubhouse manager Cleo Welch was busy cooking breakfast–big fluffy pancakes, some eggs.

Five guys were taking early cage work with hitting coach Desi Wilson. Utilityman Matt Matulia, catcher Chris Robinson, and infielders Darwin Barney and Bobby Scales were all taking their hacks.

Andrea told me that when she asked the players to fill out a questionnaire at the during the season, the player teammates voted as the “most intense” was Scales. In the cage, that was evident.

Always quick with a smile and a guy who loves to talk about college football–especially his alma mater the University of Michigan–you’d never think Scales was that intense given his usually cheery disposition when we last saw him in Chicago. But there he was, talking and muttering to himself, motivating himself, trying to talk himself into squaring up the ball better and not swing a bad pitches. He takes his job very seriously, and after getting his first taste of the big leagues this year, he desperately wants to return.

Outside, the pitchers started throwing long toss; Jeff Samardzija looked relaxed, as did lefty James Russell. Playing a different kind of long toss was Micah Hoffpauir and Matt Craig. They were throwing the pigskin around a little bit.

DesMoinesDay2small.jpgAs a guy who was with the big-league club most of the season, Hoffpauir is in the awkward position of being a strong consideration for a call-up but he has put up mediocre numbers at Iowa.

“I don’t have any control over what happens in Chicago,” Hoffpauir said. “My numbers aren’t what they should be, but I’ve been working things out, trying to right the ship here.”

He has tried to prevent the impending Sept. 1 date from hovering in his mind, despite his eagerness to return to Chicago. Like Scales, when you get that taste, you want more. There’s something special when the skipper calls you in on that day.

“For younger guys, they probably aren’t even thinking about [Sept.1]; they’re just happy to be in Triple A,” Hoffpauir said. “But for some older guys, they might be a little more disappointed. But I remember when me and Koyie Hill went up at the same time. Pat [Listach] called us in. We both had been up once already, so he told us together. But Casey McGehee hadn’t been up yet. So when it was his turn, they called him in by himself to make it a little more special.”

It was Chris Robinson’s last game, too, chipping in a single for good measure. Afterward, he shook hands with every one of his teammates and coaches and set off to the Great White North and Team Canada. To a man, Iowa personnel and the team all said Robinson was one of their favorite players this year.

The I-Cubs took down the Redhawks again, 2-0, behind some fine pitching from Mitch Atkins, John Gaub and Blake Parker.


–Mike Huang

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Did they send you down, too?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgDes Moines–I arrived at Principal Park startled to see a huge board in the concourse with the current standings of the North Division of the Pacific Coast League. Even at Triple A, the Cubs were chasing the Cardinals.

The Iowa Cubs entered tonight trailing the Memphis Redbirds by a game and a half. I’m here doing a story for Vine Line following our Triple-A club. I wanted to see what life was like for Triple-A players leading up to the Sept. 1 call up day.

DesMoines2.jpgNot only that, I wanted to see what that proverbial minor-league bus ride was like. Thanks to Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita and Iowa Cubs media relations manager Andrea Breen, I was able to somehow weasel my way on to the bus for their Aug. 30 road trip to Omaha.

But before that, I am taking in two games at Principal Park, watching the I-Cubs take on the Oklahoma City Redhawks, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

Before the game, I wandered around batting practice saying hi to a bunch of players and coaches. There were a lot of familiar faces, as many of them, like Andres Blanco, Micah Hoffpauir, Bobby Scales, Justin Berg, Jeff Samardzija, Mitch Atkins and Jeff Stevens, have seen big-league action this year. It was almost as if I were watching the Chicago club.

Blanco came over to me and laughed, “Hey, did they send you down, too?”

Hitting coach Desi Wilson was watching behind the cage while catcher Chris Robinson lined a shot to third where Andres Blanco, who has been battling a calf injury, snagged the ball that would have certainly speared teammate Nate Spears.

“There’s baseball going on right now, you know!” yelled Hoffpauir.

Hoffpauir, who had made the big-league club out of spring training seemed to be in OK spirits, but there was a tinge of melancholy.

“How you doin’ Hoffy?”

“I’m doing fine. Things in Chicago good for you?”

“It’s been a little rough, as you might have heard.”

“Yeah, well, it’s still where you want to be, right?”

And that was when it hit me that even though the big-league team was struggling, as a player, the big-leagues was where he would rather be.

Don’t get me wrong; he loves Des Moines, saying “it’s a great city. Quiet. Clean. A lot like where I live now.” But he’d trade it for a ticket back to Chicago in an instant.

The I-Cubs ended up winning 7-4. Robinson’s last game is tomorrow, as he will be going to play with Team Canada. He was voted the team’s MVP.

-Mike Huang



The Road To Wrigley: Iowa comes to Chicago

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgIt’s often a long road for a lot of minor-leaguers to travel, but they do it because playing in the major leagues has been a lifelong dream.

Today at Wrigley Field, some of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs players and coaches just soaked up their big-league surroundings before their game against the Las Vegas 51’s in the second annual Road to Wrigley game.

Last year featured the Cubs’ low Class-A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, including current Iowa hitting coach Desi Wilson, who served as Peoria’s hitting coach last year. He is the only repeat participant, but it doesn’t make the experience any less special.

“I just love seeing how the players respond,” Wilson said. “But it’s great for the fans to see some of the organization’s prospects.”

However, with Iowa just three and a half games out of first in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s North Division, the game still is a game–one they must win.

“We try to tell the guys that it is just another game,” said Iowa Cubs manager Bobby Dickerson. “But I’ll tell you what–this is special, and I am going to try my darndest to get as many guys in as I possibly can. Not everyone can make the big leagues. For some guys, this could be the closest they ever get.”

DICKERSON SANDBURG small.JPGSo it probably would be great for the Iowa Cubs to get out to a 14-0 lead by the third inning so Dickerson could sub guys in at will, right?

“Heh, well I wish it were that easy,” he laughed. “But there are places where I can pick and choose to bring some guys in.”

Last year featured Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (pictured, left), who managed the Peoria Chiefs and is now the manager of the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies. This year it was Dickerson’s (pictured, right)  turn at the helm.

“Heck, this might be the only time I’m up here, but hopefully not,” Dickerson said. “Desi made it up to the bigs as a player. I never did. So I’m just going to enjoy the heck out of this.”

For some Iowa Cubs, being at Wrigley Field was more than de ja vu. They’ve actually been here already this year. I-Cubs like right-handers Justin Berg, Mitch Atkins and infielder Bobby Scales all have seen cups of coffee with the big club this year. Heck, first baseman Micah Hoffpauir–who was optioned Aug. 7 to make room for Geovany Soto–still has his old locker. 

Clubhouse attendants Rich Rupp, Gary Stark and Tim Hellmann sheeted off the big-leaguers’ lockers with plastic and ran a steel rod the length of both walls for the minor-leaguers to hang their clothes. I patted Hoffpauir on the back to sort of “welcome” him back.

“So, Hoffy, it’s like you never left! But you can’t use your old locker?” I asked.

“Well, I didn’t want to ruin the delicate plastic sheets in front of them,” he laughed, pointing to his big-league jersey lurking just behind the I-Cubs jersey hanging on the steel rod. “But really it’s not that big a deal. And a lot of these guys have been here before earlier in the year, so for them it’s old hat. But for the new guys it’s great to see their faces as they walk out on to the field. Because [Wrigley Field] is an awe-inspiring place.”

Iowa Cubs general manager Sam Bernabe said: “For the Iowa Cubs organization, the game is extremely exciting. I’ve been in town two or three times in the past couple of weeks and to see our logo all over the place promoting the game, it’s incredible.”

Mike Huang

This is Cubtown

Soriano, LF
Theriot, SS
Bradley, RF
Lee, 1B
Johnson, CF
Soto, C
Fontenot, 3B
Blanco, 2B
Wells, RHP

Left-hander Randy Wolf (2-1, 3.02 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers.

Hello, goodbye … hello

The Cubs recalled Bobby Scales today, as Ryan Freel hit the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. That comes one day after he was optioned to Iowa …

(Typically, players cannot be recalled for 10 days after being sent down, but that does not apply in cases of injury.)

Well enough

Notes from our media relations department:

Randy Wells Saturday night in San Diego tossed 3.0 scoreless frames before allowing the first runs of his major-league career in the fourth inning … the runs allowed capped a couple of impressive streaks for Wells, as he went 19.1 innings to start his major-league career and 18.1 innings to start his Cubs career without allowing a run.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wells is the only pitcher on record to toss 18.1 innings to start his Cubs career … the previous longest run on record to start a Cubs career was Vern Olsen with 15.1 scoreless frames covering the 1939-40 seasons.

Iowa-Chicago shuttle

There were three new faces in the clubhouse today, as general manager Jim Hendry recalled slugger Jake Fox and selected the contracts of infielder Andres Blanco and left-hander Jason Waddell. Lefty Neal Cotts and infielder Bobby Scales were optioned to Iowa, while Aaron Miles was placed on the 15-day DL.

Some Triple-A numbers for you:

Fox: .423 AVG/.503 OBP/.886 SLG with 17 homers and 50 RBIs in 40 games

Blanco: .314/.349/.451 with nine doubles in 43 games

Waddell: 5.51 ERA with 17 hits, one home run, seven walks and 12 strikeouts in 16.2 innings

Those of you following along with Vine Line’s minor-league notebooks will know that Blanco has a great glove and has done well to improve his bat tremendously since joining the Cubs organization. Fox can mash, especially fastballs, and has adjusted his hitting approach since his major-league debut with the 2007 Cubs.

Finishing off the Pirates

Soriano, LF
Theriot, SS
Bradley, RF
Lee, 1B
Johnson, CF
Soto, C
Freel, 3B
Blanco, 2B
Zambrano, RHP

Left-hander Zach Duke (5-4, 2.77 ERA) closes out the series for the Pirates.

Time to start a winning streak.

Wrapping up the homestand

The Cubs will try to make it a 5-1 homestand this afternoon against the Giants. Lou is resting a number of regulars for the game:

Gathright, CF
Miles, SS
Fukudome, RF
Lee, 1B
Hoffpauir, LF
Fontenot, 3B
Scales, 2B
Hill, C
Marshall, LHP

Right-hander Tim Lincecum (2-1, 3.16 ERA) will pitch for the Giants.

Earned pinstripes

Bobby Scales makes his first career start today. I had the opportunity to talk to him earlier about his first call-up to the big leagues, after 10 years and 1,013 games in the minors. He said he’s taking everything one day at a time — knowing that he could be shuttling back and forth between Triple-A Iowa and Chicago. And he said he is up here with the mindset to do absolutely anything the team wants him to do.

As you can imagine, he said being in uniform and the Wrigley Field dugout last night was an unbelievable experience. Today, he gets the chance to help the major-league club win.

Iowa reunion

Right-hander Randy Wells also was in the clubhouse this morning, though he has not officially been called up yet and won’t be in uniform today. He exchanged hugs with Scales and Jeff Samardzija, who has spent parts of this season and last in Des Moines.

— Sean Ahmed