Results tagged ‘ Tony Campana ’

Cubs venture to the South Side — Part III

The Cubs continued their run of success on Tuesday, claiming a 2-1 victory over the White Sox in a combined nine-hit pitchers’ duel. On Monday, we broke down the Cubs’ pitching matchups against the Sox, and yesterday we examined the infielders. In our final installment, we dissect the designated hitters and the three outfield positions.

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Designated Hitter

Alfonso Soriano (.266/.315/.485, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 13 2B) vs. Adam Dunn (.225/.369/.559, 23 HR, 52 RBI, 54 BB)

Alfonso Soriano didn’t hit his first home run until May 15, but since then he has been providing the kind of pop the Cubs lineup has been looking for all season. His 13 home runs are tied for the team high, and he leads the squad in RBI. Even at age 36, the everyday left fielder is still proving his worth at the plate. As a likely trade candidate, Soriano could be a key piece for a team eying a full-time DH.

Even if Adam Dunn ended his 2012 season right now, he would still be a candidate for comeback player of the year, considering his miserable 2011 campaign. Dunn leads the major leagues in home runs and leads the AL in walks. Of his 293 plate appearances, 65.4 percent have ended in one of the “three true outcomes”—a strikeout, a walk or a home run.

Left Field

Reed Johnson (.292/.355/.425, 33 R) vs. Dayan Viciedo (.261/.294/.450, 12 HR, 30 RBI)

Reed Johnson’s already limited playing time will likely take an even bigger hit when first baseman Bryan LaHair moves to the outfield to accommodate the call-up of elite prospect Anthony Rizzo. In limited plate appearances (124), Johnson’s .292 average and timely hitting have been a big boost to the Cubs offense. His ability to play all three outfield spots is also a plus.

Dayan Viciedo is finally becoming the power hitter everyone thought he would be when the Sox signed him in 2008. Though his large frame costs him a bit of range defensively, he has not yet committed an error. This season, he’s put up respectable numbers and played smart defense. Plus, at only 23, he’s likely to become a more complete player as time goes on.

Center Field

Tony Campana (.281/.320/.317, 24 SB) vs. Alejandro De Aza (.295/.366/.406, 14 SB, 11 2B)

Tony Campana has the ability to be a difference maker for the Cubs. While he might soon be relegated to the bench with the Rizzo shuffle, he’s stolen a league-best 24 bases in just 49 games. On multiple occasions, Campana has turned walks into runs, but his 22.7% strikeout rate is a little alarming for a speedster. Despite an average arm, Campana covers a lot of ground in left or center, making him a very valuable defensive player.

Alejandro De Aza has been one of the better surprises for the Sox this season. After spending parts of the last three years playing sporadically at the big league level, De Aza stepped into the leadoff role on Opening Day and has been an excellent table-setter. He’s hit near .300 and gotten on base at a rate of almost .370, making him a good complement to the mashers in the middle of the Sox’s order.

Right Field

David DeJesus (.261/.362/.389, 13 2B) vs. Alex Rios (.288/.311/.472, 35 RBI, 5 3B)

David DeJesus has been the Cubs’ right fielder all season, but he’s played center in this series—and he’ll likely stay there with the previously mentioned lineup changes. But the transition to center shouldn’t be that difficult for the 10-year veteran, who has spent time at all three outfield spots during his career with Kansas City and Oakland. Offensively, DeJesus has been one of the most consistent players in the Cubs’ lineup. His on-base percentage is 100 points higher than his batting average, and he has been a regular at the top half of Manager Dale Sveum’s lineup card.

If it weren’t for teammates Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn, the league would be talking about Alex Rios as one of the better bounce-back stories of the year. After hitting .227 in 2011, the nine-year vet is having his finest season since coming over from Toronto in 2009. His five triples leads the AL, and he has a respectable 3.0 defensive UZR.

The Crosstown Classic invades Wrigley Field

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After Friday’s 3-2 loss, the Cubs now sit 39-46 against the White Sox since Interleague Play began in 1997. They do still hold a 22-21 record against the Sox at Wrigley Field.

Prior to the game, Manager Dale Sveum discussed his excitement about getting the noteworthy series underway:

“You don’t want to say it’s different than any other game, but they really are. That’s just the way it is. … Everything’s more magnified, the fans are into it, they’re going to stay longer, it’s a whole different atmosphere than any other game. It’s like being in the playoffs but you’re not. … To me, it’s like Christmas morning. You can’t wait till that morning comes. You get up earlier. It’s different than any other game.”

Cubs center fielder Tony Campana discussed what it’s like to play in front of the Wrigley bleachers:

“I’m sure it’s [ going to be crazy]. They’re always pretty rowdy out there, so I’m sure it’s a little more so because you’ve got both sides out there.”

Finally, Cubs play-by-play TV announcer Len Kasper broke down the series from the booth:

“I think it’s neat that you have two major league teams in a city. It’s always fun. There’s always extra energy in the ballpark. I think it’s as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can get in the month of May.”

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

Cactus Notes: Prospects dominate first game

MESA, Ariz.–The first Cubs game of the season is in the books, and the youngest Cubs made a big early statement. The Blue team, led by top prospects Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo, took down the White team, which consisted of most of the projected Opening Day lineup, 10-4 in an intrasquad matchup at HoHoKam Park.

Top prospect Jackson got the Blue team off to a good start when he blasted a leadoff home run off starter Travis Wood.

“I just got a good pitch to hit,” said Jackson, who who went two-for-two with two walks. “It feels good to get underway and get that feel of playing innings instead of facing pitchers with the [cage] over you. It’s a good start all around. I think it was a productive day for everyone.”

Although many of the prospects impressed, Matt Szczur, a former football standout at Villanova University, was the real star of the game, hitting a grand slam, a two-run double and scoring from second on a sacrifice fly. Designated hitter Tony Campana also collected three hits and scored three runs in the game.

Wood, a left-hander who is in the mix for one of the final two rotation spots, struggled over three innings, giving up six runs on six hits, including two home runs. Randy Wells started for the Blue team and gave up three runs and four hits in three innings of work.

Cactus Notes: Game day

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs are gearing up for their first live game action of the season this afternoon at HoHoKam Park. After morning workouts, the club will play an intrasquad game–blue team versus white–essentially pitting the major league squad against the minor leaguers. The game starts at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Here are today’s intrasquad lineups:

1. Soriano – LF

2. Stewart – 3B

3. Castro – SS

4. LaHair – 1B

5. Byrd – CF

6. DeJesus – RF

7. Lalli – C

8. Barney – 2B

9. DeWitt – DH

T. Wood – P

——–

1. Jackson – CF

2. Sczcur – RF

3. Baker – 2B

4. Rizzo – 1B

5. Johnson – L

6. Vitters – 3B

7. Lake – SS

8. Brenly – C

9. Campana – DH

Wells – P

Mesa Cubscast: The lighter side of the Cubs

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs have been working hard every day since they arrived in Mesa–on Thursday, manager Dale Sveum called the team’s effort “tremendous”–but they’re also building team chemistry and having fun. When you put 64 competitive athletes together in tight quarters, things are likely to get interesting.

Cactus Notes: 3 catchers move into Sweet 16

MESA, Ariz.–Four more players moved into the round of 16 today in the Cubs bunting tournament, and the catchers are leading the way. Three backstops, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli, all advanced this week, and one may be becoming the prohibitive favorite. After knocking out Tony Campana in the first round, Clevenger continued to impress, ousting fierce competitor Bryan LaHair. The battle between Clevenger and LaHair was also a painful one, as both players were hit by a pitch from bullpen catcher Andy Lane. Pitchers Chris Rusin and Casey Coleman also advanced today.

While top outfield prospect Brett Jackson lost his battle with Castillo, he did manage the first 100-point bunt of the tournament. Players can score 100 points if they land a bunt in a small red circle on either side of the pitcher’s mound, but they have to “call their shot” first.

Mesa Cubscast: Outlook for 2012

MESA, Ariz.–Despite finishing 71-91 last year, the pervasive feeling in Cubs camp this spring is optimism. The Cubs feel they improved their organization from top to bottom this offseason, and the energy at Fitch Park is palpable. Vine Line sat down with several of the Cubs this week to talk about how the team feels coming into Spring Training.

Now Playing: Vine Line behind the scenes with Tony Campana

Click on the image above for a video peek into the making of the October 2011 Vine Line cover with Tony Campana. The Cubs outfielder also talks about the most exciting part of his season as well as his development through the Cubs farm system.

And don’t forget to subscribe to read more Cubs exclusives all year long!

October 2011 Vine Line preview: Speed’s contagious

Bob Dernier and Tony Campana conduct a clinic with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which has a wheelchair softball team sponsored by Cubs Care. (Photo courtesy Cubs Community Affairs.) The following is the Leading Off column from the upcoming October 2011 issue, previewing some of the content in this issue and expanded coverage coming up. Subscribe to Vine Line today.

Bob Dernier said they had a term for it in his playing days.

“Spook-you speed.”

A former speedster himself—and one who still looks fit enough at 54 years old to get down the line in four seconds—Dernier glows when talking about Tony Campana. Leave it to the coach whose stopwatch is permanently affixed to his hand to best appreciate how a 5-foot-9, 165-pound kid can change a baseball game.

You’ll see in Bruce Miles’ cover feature that the Cubs’ first base coach doesn’t just believe in Campana’s athleticism, however. He has a deep appreciation for the challenges Campana has faced his whole life, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a 7-year-old and then the continual need to prove himself as able to play with the big boys in professional baseball.

Earlier this year, the two helped lead a clinic for a group from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, with which Cubs Care sponsors a wheelchair softball team. Dernier encouraged Campana to talk to everyone about his own background.

As the 25-year-old, fresh-faced Campana described all the times people told him he couldn’t play baseball—he was too sick, too small, too weak—he had a direct message for each individual.

“I never listened to that stuff, and the next thing you know, I was in the big leagues,” he said. “Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t do something. You have to believe
in yourself.” (more…)

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