Results tagged ‘ Brent Lillibridge ’
Kevin Gregg returns to the Cubs bullpen, where he was the club’s closer in 2009. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday afternoon. The North Siders brought Darwin Barney off the 15-day DL, and officially added relievers Kevin Gregg, Kameron Loe and infielder Cody Ransom to the major league fold.
Gold Glove second baseman Barney returns after lacerating his knee on the final weekend of Spring Training. During his three-game rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa, the 27-year-old went 5-for-10 with a double and four runs scored. Playing in 155 games at second base last season, Barney committed just two errors, including a stretch of 141 consecutive games without an error.
The 34-year-old Gregg has spent much of the last 10 years in the majors, including a stint as the Cubs’ closer in 2009. The right-hander has a career 4.13 ERA and 144 saves, including five straight seasons of 22 or more saves from 2007-11. Gregg was in Dodgers camp for Spring Training before being released on April 3. He has previously spent time with the Angels (2003-06), Marlins (2007-08), Blue Jays (2010) and Orioles (2011-12).
The Cubs claimed the 31-year-old Loe off waivers from Seattle on Sunday. The nine-year major league veteran moved into a full-time relief role in 2008. The right-hander has a career 4.44 ERA and owns a 33-41 overall record. He’s previously played with Texas (2004-2008), Milwaukee (2010-2012) and Seattle (2013).
The Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom off waivers from the Padres. The 37-year-old has spent 11 seasons in the majors with the Giants (2001-04), Astros (2007), Yankees (2008-09), Phillies (2010), Diamondbacks (2011-12), Brewers (2012) and Padres (2013). His finest season came last year, when he hit .220 with 14 doubles and 11 home runs in 90 games. He is a career .215 hitter with 21 homers and 85 RBI.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Cubs designated infielder Brent Lillibridge and reliever Hisanori Takahashi for assignment and optioned reliever Rafael Dolis to Triple-A Iowa.
Lillibridge hit .042 with one hit in 24 at-bats this season, while Takakashi had a 6.00 ERA (2 ER, 3 IP). Dolis held the Giants scoreless in his lone relief appearance this weekend.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Earlier this week, the Cubs announced that third baseman Ian Stewart will begin the season on the disabled list with a lingering quad issue, further weakening a spot in the order that already lacked offensive punch in 2012. Manager Dale Sveum likes what he sees defensively in the multifaceted Luis Valbuena, who was solid with the glove last year and is currently hitting .282 in 42 plate appearances this spring. But it appears his inablilty to hit lefties (.196 in 2012) has opened the door for fellow utilityman Brent Lillbridge.
It sounds as if the 29-year-old right-hander will get his chances against lefties, at least to open the season, as Sveum has already said Lillibridge is a “no brainer” for the Opening Day roster. Despite hitting just .195 for the White Sox, Boston and Cleveland last season, Lillibridge has crushed Spring Training pitching, hitting .458 in 24 plate appearances. His addition will also give the Cubs some defensive flexibility, as he played every position but pitcher and catcher last year.
In 2011, his finest season in the majors, Lillibridge hit .258/.340/505 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 13 homers and stole 10 bases in 97 games. With Wandy Rodriguez in the Pirates’ front three, don’t be surprised to see Lillibridge get the start at least once in the opening series.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Baseball fans and writers alike have taken notice of the emergence of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Now baseball statistics website Fangraphs.com is calling him one of the best first basemen in the game.
The 23-year-old came up with the Cubs in late June, and wrapped up 2012 with a .285 average, 15 homers and 48 driven in. He also impressed in a short stint with Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.
This week, Fangraphs is ranking organizations by positional strength, using projected WAR (wins above replacement) as its baseline. The objective is to rank all 30 teams by how much production the publication feels they will get out of each position on the field.
Fangraphs unveiled its first base rankings on Thursday, and rated the Cubs fifth best at the position with a total WAR of 3.8 (Rizzo accounts for a 3.9 WAR, utility man Brent Lillibridge a -0.1 and converted catcher Steve Clevenger a 0.0 WAR at first).
Here’s what Fangraphs had to say about the Cubs’ first base corps:
Who had the Cubs fifth in the pool? Don’t lie. 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo is a young hitter who had a nice debut for Chicago last year, but it is a bit shocking to see the nearly universal jump in power projected by all the systems. They must be really impressed by his Triple-A numbers, which look pretty stunning when it comes to his power. Minor league translations are a tricky matter, so there’s a great deal of uncertainty in play. Rizzo needs his power to to be for real if he’s going to be a star, because so far, his walk and strikeout rates are not exceptionally impressive. Still, even if Rizzo only repeats his rates from 2012, the Cubs will have an above-average performer at first base who has room to improve. Bryan LaHair left for Japan in the off-season, so there is no safety net if Rizzo has an Eric Hosmer-esque sophomore season.
The Cubs made a plethora of moves this offseason to improve a struggling rotation. The biggest of those moves—Edwin Jackson—is scheduled to put his arm on display Tuesday as the North Siders host Colorado in Mesa, Ariz.
Even though Spring Training games are just kicking off, Jackson’s path the Cubs has been well documented. Despite entering the majors on his 20th birthday, making an All-Star team, throwing a no-hitter and winning a World Series, he was traded six times from 2006-11. Last season in Washington, he went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA and completed his sixth straight year starting 30 games.
Defensively, Cubs regulars Anthony Rizzo (first base), Starlin Castro (shortstop) and David DeJesus (center field) will all be in action. Projected backup Dioner Navarro will catch and Brett Jackson will be playing left field, spelling Alfonso Soriano, who will DH. The bottom third of the order is comprised of a trio of interesting hopefuls.
Brent Lillibridge, whose versatility has already been applauded this spring, will start at second. Though he struggled offensively for three teams (White Sox, Red Sox, Indians) last year, he saw time at every position but catcher in 2012.
Christian Villanueva was the key piece in the Ryan Dempster deal during the trade deadline. In High-A ball last season, the third baseman hit .279/.353/.427 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 14 homers and 68 driven in. But the 2012 Top 100 prospect according to Baseball America is better known for his slick glove. Villanueva gets the nod at third base Tuesday.
Johermyn Chavez put up monster stats in High-A in 2010 for Seattle. Hitting .315 with 32 homers and 30 doubles, things looked promising. But his stats haven’t resembled that season since. Last year he hit .232 in 288 at-bats, with eight home runs in Double-A. But he is just 24 years old. The Cubs took a chance and signed him in November, with the hopes of regaining those numbers. He’ll be starting in right field.
First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST. Cubs fans can listen exclusively on Cubs.com. The Rockies will be sending out righty Jhoulys Chacin. Here is the full batting order:
CF David DeJesus
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
DH Alfonso Soriano
LF Brett Jackson
C Dioner Navarro
2B Brent Lillibridge
3B Christian Villanueva
RF Johermyn Chavez
Reliever Jaye Chapman was one of 22 players invited to Spring Training Friday.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
The clubhouse in Mesa, Ariz., will be a little more crowded later this month as the Cubs have invited 22 non-roster players to major league Spring Training camp. For some of the younger ballplayers, the invite serves as a chance to get acclimated to major league hitting or pitching. For the veterans, it could be another shot to break camp with a big league team.
The Cubs non-roster invitees include a mix of top prospects (Javier Baez, Nick Struck), familiar faces (Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Blake Parker) and former major leaguers (Brent Lillibridge, Brian Bogusevic, Darnell McDonald).
Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa Feb. 12, and the first full squad workout is Feb. 17. Below is the complete list of non-roster invitees:
Right-handed pitchers: Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Barret Loux, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Nick Struck, Cory Wade
Left-handed pitchers: Hisanori Takahashi
Catchers: J.C. Boscan, Michael Brenly, Rafael Lopez
Infielders: Javier Baez, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Edwin Maysonet, Brad Nelson
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Johermyn Chavez, Darnell McDonald