Results tagged ‘ Henry Blanco ’

Cubscast Mesa: Checking in with the 2015 Cubs coaching staff

There’s a totally different feeling in Cubs camp this spring, and that all starts at the top with the coaching staff. Two-time AL Manager of the Year Joe Maddon brings his vast experience and quirky personality to Mesa, and he is joined by a cast of new and familiar faces who are all working together to rewrite the script for Cubs fans. We talked to the staff, new and old, about their expectations for 2015 and why this year will be different.

We’ll be posting videos and stories from Sloan Park all spring, so make sure you’re watching the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Check out the other videos from our Spring Training series:

Cubscast Mesa: Spring sit-down with manager Joe Maddon
Cubscast Mesa: The Lighter Side, If I weren’t a ballplayer …

Homestand happenings

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgThere’s so much that our players do for the community that goes unnoticed — just fine with them, of course, but also truly deserving of mention.

Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly both hosted charitable ticket programs this weekend, packing the terrace with groups of kids.

On Saturday, Lilly invited 50 members of Maryville Academy and spoke with them during batting practice. The three programs included young men and women ages 13-21 and help offer residential care and training for those with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and emotional problems.

Dempster kicked off the fourth year of “Dempster’s Dugout” with a group of 40 from Camp of Dreams, a Chicago non-profit devoted to enriching the lives of underserved youth ages 9-18. He met with the “Dreamers” during batting practice and treated them to lunch at the ballpark.

Kudos for their work supporting the community and cherishing their influence as Cubs players.

Other observations

? Cubs players enjoyed having Henry Blanco back in the “Friendly Confines.” It was a nice touch when Alfonso Soriano flashed a smile and gave a gentle tap on Blanco’s shin guard at the plate last Tuesday.


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Randy Wells threw a dirty change-up to strike out Michael Bourn in the fifth inning Saturday. Wells gave up just four hits and three walks over six shutout innings, striking out four. In our June “In the Dugout” Q&A, Lou Piniella told Vine Line that he has been impressed with Wells since his cup of coffee last year and that the strike-thrower figures to fit in somewhere in the rotation or bullpen.


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Kosuke Fukudome’s former hitting coach in Japan, Kyosuke Sasaki, watched Sunday’s game from the seats near the Cubs’ on-deck circle. Sasaki has worked with Kosuke this season, as you can read in this story.


— Sean Ahmed

News and notes from a simmering off-season

Many of you probably have heard by now that the Cubs declined to offer arbitration to any of the club’s free agents. As was mentioned yesterday, the team still can negotiate with these players under the current Basic Agreement (which eliminated the restriction that a club must re-sign a player or offer him arbitration before the deadline else lose his rights until May 1).

The entire baseball operations department is at Wrigley Field and preparing for next week’s Winter Meetings. Those run from Dec. 8 to 11 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Some other notes:

? For those of you who have voiced your support for more Stephen Green photos on the blog, the longtime team photographer has heard your call. He is currently assembling some photos so that we can pepper them on the front page throughout the off-season.

Thanksgiving Kasper Vorwald.JPG? Charitable foundation Cubs Care funded and supported the annual National Runaway Switchboard Thanksgiving dinner at a local church last week. Play-by-play announcer Len Kasper and WGN Executive Producer Bob Vorwald helped prepare and serve food along with 20 members of the Cubs front office.

? Geovany Soto visited Wrigley Field a couple weeks ago and said that he has been back from San Juan Puerto Rico since late October. He, his wife, Luzem, and his daughter, Gia Leizan, enjoyed Gia’s first birthday on Oct. 24.

? Geo autographed hundreds of photos as gift items … including some Vine Line Cubs Convention prizes! Be on the look out for signed, uncut sheets of our exclusive 2008 Rookie of the Year cards at the Vine Line booth from Jan. 18-20.

? We offer our condolences to Henry Blanco and his family after the reported shooting of Henry’s brother, Carlos, in Venezuela.