Results tagged ‘ Nate Schierholtz ’

Raley scheduled to make start with regulars

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Left-handed starter Brooks Raley got a taste of what life in the big leagues was like in 2012. The 24-year-old struggled in five games down the stretch for the Cubs, going 1-2 with an 8.14 ERA. But 2013 brings a new window of opportunity, as well as another chance to crack the major league roster. With a much deeper rotation in place, his most likely role this season is as a swingman.

Raley will make his spring debut Wednesday against the Dodgers at HoHoKam Stadium, and many of the Cubs regulars will be manning the field behind him.

Newcomer Nate Schierholtz brings some World Series experience to the Cubs after spending most of the last six seasons with the Giants (though he finished 2012 with Philadelphia). The outfielder, who is starting in right field Wednesday, hit .257 with six home runs in 114 games last season. Journeyman Scott Hairston is playing center field. He hit .263 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI in 134 games last season for the Mets before the Cubs signed him to an offseason deal.

Newcomer (and former South Sider) Brent Lillibridge is starting at short, with Starlin Castro playing DH.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CST. Cubs fans can listen to the free webcast exclusively on Cubs.com. The Dodgers will be sending righty Aaron Harang to the mound. Here is the full batting order:

3B Valbuena
DH Castro
1B Rizzo
LF Soriano
RF Schierholtz
CF Hairston
C Castillo
2B Barney
SS Lillibridge

1000 Words: First steps of the 2013 season

GameOn

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The 2013 Cubs take the field for the first time today at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. In an intrasquad matchup, the white team, laden with veterans like David DeJesus and new right-fielder Nate Schierholtz, took down the prospect-heavy blue team 7-3.

Cubs vs. Cubs, white team takes down blue 7-3

Game-1

The Cubs season is officially underway. After a few weeks of workouts, batting practice and bullpen sessions, the team cranked it up to game speed in a blue vs. white intrasquad matchup Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Stadium. The veteran-laden white team took down the top prospects in the system 7-3 in a five-inning affair.

After a rainy day yesterday in Arizona—it even snowed in some areas—the grounds crew spent most of the morning getting the HoHoKam field back in playing shape. But by game time, things had dried out.

The white team got off to a fast start off blue team starter Chris Rusin in the first. After a David DeJesus groundout, Starlin Castro doubled, Anthony Rizzo walked and Alfonso Soriano singled to load the bases. New Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro followed with a single, and third baseman Ian Stewart laced a ringing double to left center to put the white team up 4-0.

Shortstop Starlin Castro, who many expect to have a big year in 2013, got off to a good start with the bat, going 3-for-3 with a double and three runs scored.

“Castro put two good swings and then just missed another really nice swing down the right field line,” said manager Dale Sveum. “That’s obviously one guy we really don’t have to be concerned with when the numbers are all done. That guy can just hit.”

Though the white team boasted most of the projected Opening Day starters, the blue team might have been the more interesting group, as it was loaded with many of the organization’s top prospects, including Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Junior Lake and Brett Jackson.

And Soler didn’t disappoint. The left fielder gave Cubs fans a glimpse of the future when he crushed a soaring home run to left off minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck in his first at-bat of the game. Soler also walked and made a good play coming in on a ball in left. Mind you, it was only an intrasquad, five-inning game and he was hitting off a minor league pitcher, but Soler certainly made a good impression.

“Pretty nice bat speed you saw,” Sveum said. “Those were some good at-bats—took a walk. … That guy following him up (Baez) had some pretty good bat speed going through the strike zone too—as well as Lake. There are some guys who are on that radar right now that could possibly be impact players some day.”

Top-ranked shortstop prospect Baez, who batted in the seven hole, had a little more of an up-and-down game. He struck out in the second and was robbed by Castro, who ranged to his left for a diving catch, in the fourth. On defense, he made a diving play of his own to rob David DeJesus of a single, but also got eaten up by Navarro’s single in the first.

“Baez was a little shaky today,” Sveum said. “Kind of some young stuff that’s still there that’s got to be cleaned up. [There's] a lot of stuff, even stuff that’s behind the scenes that everybody else doesn’t see, that we have to change—some instinctive stuff.”

New Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz homered in the bottom of the third inning and had an RBI sac fly for the white team. Brian Bogusevic, an Oak Lawn, Ill., native who spent the last three years with the Houston Astros, also homered for the blue team.

Following the game, Sveum announced that third baseman Ian Stewart, who was pulled from the game in the second inning, was day-to-day with a mild—emphasis on mild—left quad strain. Josh Vitters is also day-to-day with the same injury.

“It’s an epidemic,” Sveum joked.

Now Playing: Mesa Cubscast, Kicking Back with the Cubs

Think you know everything there is to know about the 2013 Cubs? Think again.

Did you know Edwin Jackson could have been a real estate agent, Anthony Rizzo feels a kinship with Justin Timberlake, and Dave Sappelt has a little crush on a cartoon character?

Thanks to the World Baseball Classic, Spring Training is a few weeks longer than usual this season. As the spring slate drags on, everyone needs to blow off some steam. After a rain-shortened workout Wednesday, even manager Dale Sveum said, “It’s not bad to have a little breather,” from time to time.

Vine Line had some fun with the team to dig up a few facts you won’t find on the back of a baseball card. Check back later this week for more in our Kicking Back video series.

Now Playing: Mesa Cubscast, The New Guys

After a busy offseason, the 2013 Cubs came into camp riding a wave of optimism. The team added depth to the rotation, versatility in the outfield and an extra year of experience for the younger players. On Tuesday, Vine Line sat down with some of the new guys to find out why they wanted to come to Chicago and what goals they have set for the season ahead.

Vine Line will be posting videos and content from Fitch Park and HoHoKam Stadium all week long, so keep an eye on the blog and our Twitter account, @cubsvineline.

Spring Training Preview: In the Outfield

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Baseball is finally back. Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training last week, while position players reported this weekend. And Cubs fans everywhere got a little more excited with the realization that the baseball season is almost here.

To get us back into gear, the February issue of Vine Line previewed the squad heading into Mesa, Ariz. We broke the team down into five categories—starting pitching, relief pitching, catchers, infielders and outfielders—to give fans a clearer picture of what to expect when the Cubs break camp and head to Chicago.

Below is a look at the outfield. The February issue is on newsstands now, with single issues available by calling 800-618-8377. Or visit the Vine Line page on Cubs.com to subscribe to the magazine.


While Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus appear to be locks in the outfield, the Cubs may be inclined to move either of them if the right deal comes along this year.

In 2012, Soriano provided value to the Cubs in a multitude of areas. He was surprisingly durable (his 151 games played were the most in his Cubs career) and drove in a career-high 108 runs (though consistently hitting in the clean-up spot for the first time certainly helped). He also slugged 32 home runs and received a few MVP votes, accomplishments he hadn’t achieved since his first season with the club. Soriano markedly improved on defense and emerged as a leader on a team that was sorely lacking in that department after trading veterans at the deadline.

DeJesus provides strong defense in right field and delivers solid on-base skills. The signing of Nate Schierholtz means DeJesus might spend quite a bit of time in center field, where his defensive skills are average at best. But that should increase the value of his bat due to the lower expectations for power that come with moving from a corner outfield spot.

The left-handed Schierholtz provides a strong bat against right-handed pitching and solid defense, including a great arm in right field. It’s likely he will be part of a platoon with new acquisition Scott Hairston. Dave Sappelt is also a rangy outfielder who could rack up some innings in any of the three spots. Elite prospect Brett Jackson, who made his big league debut last season, will start 2013 in Triple-A and continue to refine his swing and work on his contact rate.

The trajectory of the Cubs’ 2013 outfield could be similar to that of the 2012 starting pitching staff, a unit that looked vastly different at the end of the season than it did at the beginning.

Cubs, Schierholtz agree on one-year contract

Schierholtz

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty)

The Cubs improved their outfield depth Friday by agreeing to terms with outfielder Nate Schierholtz on a one-year contract.

Schierholtz, 28, is a career .270 hitter (344-for-1,275) with 75 doubles, 15 triples, 24 home runs and 123 RBI in 540 major league games with the San Francisco Giants (2007-12) and Philadelphia Phillies (2012). The left-handed batter and right-handed thrower has spent the majority of his big league career playing right field (420 games, 261 starts), where he owns a .989 fielding percentage (seven errors in 616 total chances), but he has also seen limited time in center field and left field. In 2010, he ranked fifth in outfield assists and fielding percentage among right fielders.

Schierholtz had spent his entire professional career in the Giants organization before being dealt to the Phillies as part of a four-player trade on July 31, 2012. He combined to hit .257 (62-for-241) with eight doubles, five triples and six home runs in 114 games between the two clubs last season.

Originally selected by San Francisco in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Schierholtz made his major league debut with the Giants in 2007 at the age of 23 and was a big league mainstay by 2009. He was a member of San Francisco’s 2010 World Championship team and followed that season by hitting .278 (93-for-335) and setting career highs with 22 doubles, nine home runs and 41 RBI in 2011.

Other Cubs Notes:
Left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers, and right-handed pitcher Sandy Rosario was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants. Left-handed pitcher Gerardo Concepcion cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Single-A Kane County.

Chicago’s 40-man roster now stands at 39 players.

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