Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

Pinch-run delay bothers Marlins

Having a pitcher wait around on the mound for a replacement once is rare. For a delay to occur twice within a week, has some Marlins a little bothered.

The awkward delay in the fifth inning on Sunday at Wrigley Field was the latest incident involving the Marlins. 

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano reached on a bunt single off Ricky Nolasco. But when sprinting to first, Zambrano strained his left hamstring. Zambrano was examined by the trainer, causing a brief delay. Then manager Lou Piniella heads over, causing more time to pass as Nolasco is standing around.

Zambrano stays in game, and Alfonso Soriano steps in to hit. Then the Cubs dugout calls time, and Zambrano is replaced by a pinch runner. However, the runner is Rich Harden, who doesn’t have the proper shoes on. So Harden takes a few minutes to get ready.

Again a delay. Nolasco is given the option to throw pitches as he waits.

Four batters later, Derrek Lee hits the grand slam.

“I don’t understand what’s going on there,” Nolasco said of the delay. “I don’t know how that’s acceptable. It doesn’t affect me, but it’s just odd. I don’t know how it’s allowed to happen.”

The irony is Sunday marked the second time during the road trip that a Marlins pitcher was standing around for a delay caused during a substitution by the opposing team.

In the ninth inning of last Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Mets at Citi Field, New York manager Jerry Manuel called for Omir Santos to pitch hit with the bases loaded and two outs. Santos, a catcher, was in the bullpen, and it took him several minutes to reach the mound. Matt Lindstrom awaited his arrival, and he was given permission to throw warmup pitches. Even though the Marlins won that day, the were upset by the stoppage.

A few days ago, the Marlins sent a letter to MLB regarding the incident, and the league on Saturday levied an undisclosed fine on Manuel for violating the league’s “pace of game” stipulations.

“That’s the second time that happened to us this year,” catcher John Baker said. “The first time it worked out OK, but it’s frustrating. You’ve got a guy in a big situation standing on the mound. He wasn’t quite the same. It’s not necessarily an excuse for him, but it kind of is, in a sense. As a catcher, you see something is different.

“He has to wait, and throw a couple of warmup pitches. Even Soriano was a little bit frustrated as a hitter. He kept kind of looking in the dugout, throwing his hands up, like saying ‘Let’s go.’ “

— Joe Frisaro 

Cubs honor Maddux, Jenkins

Before Sunday’s series finale between the Marlins and Cubs at Wrigley Field, a couple of the greatest right-handed pitchers ever were honored.

The Cubs did a joint retirement of the No. 31, worn by Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.

During the ceremony, from the Marlins dugout, the entire team paid close attention as both pitching greats recognized.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, formerly a Braves coach when Maddux was in Atlanta, tipped his cap to the right-hander who retired with 355 wins.

In his storied career, Maddux made 42 starts against the Marlins. His record was 19-15 with a 2.92 ERA.

— Joe Frisaro

Uggla hopeful for Sunday

With a day of rest, Dan Uggla is hopeful to be back in the starting lineup on Sunday in the Marlins series finale with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Uggla was scratched just before Saturday’s game due to tightness in his left hamstring. The All-Star second baseman extended himself making a stretch at second base in the fourth inning on Friday.

On the play, Alfonso Soriano hit a hard grounder into the hole at short. Alfredo Amezaga made a nice diving stop and threw to Uggla at second. Looking like a first baseman doing a stretch, Uggla pulled the ball in to get the force out on Mike Fontenot.

“On that play yesterday, I stretched it really as far as it could go,” Uggla said. “Yeah, I’d like to think tomorrow [I’ll be ready]. We’ll wait and see.”

In pregame warmups on Saturday, Uggla did some starting and stopping running. Hitting, he is fine, but moving around was a problem.

“It was really tight today, and I didn’t want to push it, and do anything bad to it,” Uggla said. “I felt it stretch, but it didn’t really bother me at all [Friday]. I felt it a little bit in the ninth. It was tight, but nothing big. I woke up this morning and I guess it had been stretched as far as it can be stretched.”

Even though he didn’t play Saturday, manager Fredi Gonzalez considered using Uggla as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. But the situation didn’t arise. Had Uggla batted and reached base, he would have been lifted for a pinch-runner.

— Joe Frisaro

Uggla resting hamstring

Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla was scratched from the starting lineup on Saturday morning due to a tight left hamstring.

The soreness isn’t considered serious, and he’s day-to-day. Uggla tried to do some drills on Saturday morning.

On Friday, Uggla was involved making a long stretch at second base to end the inning. The field was a bit muddy, and Uggla made a nice play, getting the put out at second to end the fourth inning.

The play was a pivotal one for the Marlins in their 8-6 loss.

Alfonso Soriano hit a hard grounder into the hole at shortstop. Alfredo Amezaga made a terrific back-handed, diving stop. Amezaga threw to Uggla covering second to retire Mike Fontenot for the third out.

Emilio Bonifacio started at second base on Saturday, and Wes Helms got the nod at third.

Uggla is batting .220 with four home runs and 17 RBIs.

While Uggla was out of the lineup, the Marlins on Saturday welcomed Hanley Ramirez back at shortstop.

Ramirez’s return was expected, especially after he entered Friday’s game in the seventh inning. Ramirez last was in the starting lineup on Monday at New York. But in the first inning of that game, he was struck on the right hand by a John Maine fastball.

— Joe Frisaro

Penn sprains right ankle

Hayden Penn slipped coming off the mound in the sixth inning on Friday night, and after a few warmup tosses exited with a right ankle sprain.

The Marlins reliever was shaken up on Mike Fontenot’s single to right field. Coming off the mound and onto the grass, Penn fell to the ground while changing directions. He was examined by trainer Sean Cunningham and manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Penn did take a few warmup tosses, but he pointed to his ankle and he was replaced by Burke Badenhop.

Penn worked one-third of an inning, issuing a walk, single and collecting a strikeout.

— Joe Frisaro


Gregg offers Lindstrom advice

For two years, Kevin Gregg was a veteran presense who offered advice to Matt Lindstrom.

This season, Lindstrom has replaced Gregg as the Marlins closer. Gregg, meanwhile, is pitching for the Cubs. The two had a long conversation at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

“He’s learning on the job now,” Gregg said. “He’s got the reins full time. Obviously, he has the stuff. Now it’s just figuring out how to use his stuff, and bouncing back day-to-day. You’re not going to be perfect out there.”

Lindstrom is 5-for-7 in save chances, but his most disappointing outing came on April 24 against the Phillies. The hard-throwing Lindstrom entered in the ninth inning with Florida ahead 3-0, but he was tagged for seven runs, including a grand slam to Shane Victorino.

“When he gave up those seven runs against Philly, that’s part of the lumps you’ve got to take,” Gregg said before the Marlins faced the Cubs on Friday. “You’ve got to learn what you’re doing, and how to control it.

“That stuff happens quick. One thing, you’ve got to get out of that inning. Secondly, then you’ve got to come back the next day. The game is going to come after you right away. He bounced back, and he’s throwing well.”

While Lindstrom has logged two straight saves since he suffered that loss to the Phillies, he had to wait four days before taking the mound again. That opportunity came on Tuesday in New York, and he closed out the ninth.

“There are times when you don’t want to stew on it, but there are also times that it’s good for you,” Gregg said. “You have to know what that feeling is like, because you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to repeat that ever. But, I think that made him tougher, and realize, ‘Hey, I’ve got to attack the hitters, and go after them.’ That’s what he showed in New York.”

— Joe Frisaro


Hanley still hurting

Hanley Ramirez walked slowly to the batting cages behind the outfield wall at Wrigley Field. The All-Star shortstop took a few easy swings. The verdict?

“Not good,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez’s sore right hand still doesn’t feel right. So the Marlins once again will be without their 25-year-old sensation.

Ramirez is still hurting from being pegged on the right hand by a John Maine fastball on Monday when the Marlins were in New York.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was hopeful that Ramirez would be back on Thursday. Now, he will wait and see if Friday is more realistic. If it isn’t, then sometime during the four-game series with the Cubs.

What was encouraging in warmups on Thursday is Ramirez fielded some grounders at shortstop and he made throws to first base.

— Joe Frisaro

Checking up on Ceda

Reliever Jose Ceda, who has some right shoulder discomfort, has been cleared to begin playing catch on Friday.

On Thursday, about 9:15 a.m. ET, Ceda went to the doctor, but not for his shoulder. He was completing some exams related to his physical.

Obtained from the Cubs in the offseason for Kevin Gregg, Ceda threw a bullpen last Saturday, the day pitchers and catchers began workouts. The team has been taking it easy on him since.

— Joe Frisaro