Results tagged ‘ Casey Coleman ’

From the Pages of Vine Line: Getting the Call

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Though Casey Coleman has started a few games recently, he spent most of 2013 making the transition from starter to full-time reliever. (Photo by Dave Durochik)

The following can be found in the August issue of Vine Line. For stories like this, an exclusive feature on the 25th anniversary of the lights at Wrigley Field and much more, be sure to subscribe to the magazine.

Back in March, right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman braced for his fate at the Spring Training postmortem the Cubs’ player development staff has with each player. The news: After five years of starting, Coleman was going to become a full-time reliever.

A few decades ago, this news would have been devastating to a young pitcher. Relievers were generally seen as guys who couldn’t hack it in the rotation. But today, there’s such a strong emphasis on bullpen specialization that relievers are being developed from the lowest levels.

“Now there’s such a focus on pitching depth, teams want [to develop] good arms as starters and relievers,” said Coleman, a 2008 15th-round pick from Florida Gulf Coast. “They’re not just talking about guys who can’t start and putting them in the ’pen. They’re getting the right guys for bullpen roles.”

So what makes a good reliever? First you have to have swing-and-miss stuff, but you also need to be mentally tough like Daytona lefty Jeff Lorick, who said he relishes the challenge of entering games in pressure situations.

“I like the adrenaline and spontaneity of the call to the bullpen,” said Lorick, whom the Cubs acquired from the Braves in the 2010 Derrek Lee trade. “It gets your blood pumping.”

Coleman and Lorick have emerged as two of the better bullpen prospects in the system, but both admit they had to learn how to become good relievers.

“When you have a chance to get in every single game, your mental preparation is a lot different,” Coleman said. “You’ll have days with early wake-up calls and long bus rides. It doesn’t matter. You still have to be ready to pitch.”

Because relievers often work with the game on the line and very little margin for error, it’s important they can come into games with guns blazing and attack hitters in the strike zone. But some still need a reminder not to nibble.

“Earl Weaver was my manager in my first year in the big leagues, and he made it clear to me that whether you were a reliever or a starter, he wanted you to throw strikes,” said Daytona pitching coach Storm Davis, a 13-year big league veteran who both started and relieved.

Davis tries to keep his message to players just as simple.

“I remind our relievers often that once they cross the white lines. it’s all about what happens at the plate,” Davis said. “It’s not about their delivery or anything mechanical. It’s the execution of the pitch—period. And one pitch doesn’t roll to the next.”

The bottom line is being aggressive and having a plan for getting the strikeout. Some of that has to do with sequencing pitches, and some of it has to do with paying attention to see what the starter was trying to do. But Davis said almost everyone gets the message and embraces it.

“When you put together world championship teams, all the pieces have to be in place,” Davis said. “You cannot win without two or three guys at the back end who can take over a game.”

—Chris Gigley, Freelance Writer

Cubs minor league recap: 4/7/13

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Jorge Soler homered and drove in two on Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Tennessee Smokies and the Daytona Cubs picked up a win after Sunday night’s games while Iowa and Kane County both continue to search for their first victories of the season after falling short this weekend. Here are the highlights from Sunday’s games:

IOWA CUBS (0-4)
Iowa suffered its fourth consecutive defeat to start the season, falling 7-3 at Albuquerque.

  • RF Ryan Sweeney went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run.
  • CF Brett Jackson (1-for-4, R) and LF Darnell McDonald (1-for-4, R, 2B) also collected hits and a run.
  • RHP Casey Coleman allowed two runs on three hits in 2.0 innings out of the bullpen, striking out two.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES (2-2)
Tennessee stranded the tying run on second base in the ninth inning, losing 5-4 at Pensacola.

  • 1B Justin Bour (2-for-4, R, RBI) collected two hits including a RBI double in the third inning.
  • 3B Tim Torres walked and singled twice in three at bats.
  • RHP’s Tony Zych (1.2 IP, 2 H) and A.J. Morris (1.1 IP) combined to hold the Blue Wahoos scoreless over the final three innings.

DAYTONA CUBS (3-1)
Daytona scored nine runs over the final four innings to shutout Brevard County on the road, 9-0.

  • RHP P.J. Francescon (1-0) surrendered one hit in five scoreless innings, striking out six.
  • RF Jorge Soler (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, 2 RBI) homered for the second-consecutive day, knocking in SS Javier Baez (1-for-4, R, SB) in the sixth inning.
  • LF John Andreoli reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, a triple and a RBI.
  • RHP Yeiper Castillo struck out three batters in two scoreless innings.
  • RHP’s Luis Liria and Austin Reed recorded the final six outs in order to complete the shutout.

KANE COUNTY COUGARS (0-4)
Quad Cities scored two runs in the 13th inning to defeat host Kane County, 3-1, and finish off the four-game sweep.

  • CF Oliver Zapata went 2-for-5 with a walk from the leadoff spot.
  • LF Rock Shoulders (2-for-3, BB) extended his hitting streak to four games.
  • LHP Michael Heesch took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before surrendering the first hit and run of the game.
  • RHP Felix Pena pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing three hits and walking one while striking out five.

Cubs assign 11 to minor league camp

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Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman was assigned to minor league camp Friday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs assigned 11 players to minor league camp Friday morning, reducing their spring roster from 46 players down to 35.

The list of re-assigned players includes left-hander Chris Rusin; right-handers Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Casey Coleman, Jensen Lewis and Blake Parker; infielders Edwin Maysonet and Brad Nelson; and outfielders Brian Bogusevic, Johermyn Chavez and Darnell McDonald.

Rusin is the only member of the 40-man roster to be sent to minor league camp. The lefty had an impressive spring, finishing with a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings and striking out seven.

The other 10 players were non-roster invitees.

With these moves, it is believed Rafael Dolis, Zach Putnam, Hisanori Takahashi and Corey Wade are all vying for the final spot in the bullpen.

Chicago’s spring roster, now at 35 players, consists of 18 pitchers (three non-roster invitees), four catchers (one non-roster invitee), seven infielders (two non-roster invitees) and six outfielders.

Cubs invite 22 non-roster players to Mesa

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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

Music Issue extra: Cubs Countdown

Perhaps the next Wrigleyville Block Party, Aug. 19-21, could play this Cubs Countdown of top hits. (Photo by David Banks)

In honor of Vine Line‘s first-ever Music Issue this month, we thought it would be fun to see what the Billboard Top 100’s number 1 song was at the time of some of your favorite Cubs players’ births:

  • When Darwin Barney was born on Nov. 8, 1985, the country was jamming to “Part-Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder.
  • “Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell was the number 1 song when Ryan Dempster, whose birthday is May 3, 1977, made his first appearance in the world.
  • “Best of My Love” by The Emotions was the Billboard Top 100’s number 1 song on Aug. 30, 1977, when Marlon Byrd was born.
  • When Jeff Samardzija was born on Jan. 23, 1985, “Like a Virgin” by Madonna was the most popular song cruising through the airwaves.

Here are some more of the No. 1 songs on Cubs players’ birthdays:

  • Blake DeWitt, Aug. 20, 1985- “Shout” by Tears for Fears
  • Reed Johnson, Dec. 8, 1976- “Tonight’s the Night” by Rod Stewart
  • Casey Coleman, July 3, 1987- “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
  • Mike Quade, March 12, 1957- “You Don’t Owe Me a Thing” by Johnnie Ray
  • Sean Marshall, Aug. 30, 1982- “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

The Buzz: What’s your favorite cookout food?

The upcoming June 2011 issue of Vine Line features Koyie Hill and Sean Marshall grilling up High Plains Bison steaks and burgers for a group of Cubs minor-leaguers. So with Memorial Day and cookout season right around the corner, we asked four other Cubs what they’ll be grilling this year. Subscribe or give a gift today.

Casey ColemanCasey Coleman, RHP
“My girlfriend’s from Tennessee, and her grandma cooks a whole meal by herself: ham, turkey and sweet, fried corn. In Florida, the only time we would cook out like that is Thanksgiving.”

John Grabow, LHP
“Carne asada tacos. I usually make homemade salsa, guacamole. I love to grill. That’s one of my favorite things to do in the off-season, especially on football Sundays.”

Jeff Baker, IF/OF
“I’m a hamburger-and-hot dog-on-a-grill guy. It’s about the only thing I can cook. Ketchup and relish, the more relish the better. Then go jump in the pool.”

Alfonso SorianoAlfonso Soriano, OF
“In the Dominican, it’s tropical food: rice and beans and chicken. So that’s what I like in the summer. And mangoes, too.”

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