Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Jeff Samardzija would love to have Darwin Barney join him on A’s ]]> Lead story image

OAKLAND, Calif. — If Jeff Samardzija has his way, Darwin Barney will have his back again in the middle of the infield the next time Samardzija pitches. And if Samardzija’s boss, Billy Beane, is asking, the Oakland Athletics’ new ace will tell him. “I would put in a word for Barney anywhere on that,” the former Cubs pitcher said of the Gold Glove second baseman who was designated for assignment on Tuesday. “He’s an amazing talent. And I know you stick Barney in the right situation on a winning team, he’s going to make that team a whole lot better.” … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:50:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs cut ties with Darwin Barney, top Padres 6-0 ]]> Lead story image

Designating Darwin Barney for assignment Tuesday wasn’t an easy move for the Cubs. The organization valued his leadership and professional approach, and he’s still one of the game’s best-fielding second basemen. But it was necessary to push the Cubs closer to the future. They have players on the roster already or coming up soon who need the playing time. Barney wasn’t getting many at-bats with Arismendy Alcantara seemingly up for good and ready to play every day. The Cubs parted ways with the 2012 Gold Glove winner before their 6-0 victory against the San Diego Padres and activated Emilio Bonifacio … ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:52:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rick Renteria has to temper inclination to rely too much on relievers ]]> Lead story image

One of the Cubs’ few success stories also might represent one of the bigger challenges manager Rick Renteria and his staff face these last 10 weeks. Three seasons into Theo Epstein’s rebuilding plan, the Cubs have assembled a strong group of power pitchers in the bullpen, including impressive rookie Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon — all acquired in the last 20 months through trades and the Rule 5 draft. But a seasonlong priority of protecting the young arms got more difficult with the trade of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics a week before the … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:40:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Anthony Rizzo named NL Player of the Week ]]> Lead story image

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has picked up where he left off after earning his first All-Star selection. Rizzo on Monday was named National League player of the week after going 5-for-11 with three home runs and four RBI in the Cubs’ weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also went tumbling into a camera well to catch a foul pop-up Sunday, a play that manager Rick Renteria called ‘‘the freaking greatest effort.’’ Rizzo already has matched the 23 homers he hit last season and is tied for the NL lead with Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. ‘‘I’m just trying … ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:11:18 -0500 <![CDATA[ Losses continue to mount for Cubs ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — If the Cubs thought it was hot over the weekend, wait till they get to August with this gutted pitching staff and the likelihood of being down a few more traded veterans by then. “It’s just the situation we’re in as far as where we’re at as a team,” said de facto ace Jake Arrieta, who pitched well again as the Cubs lost again — this time 3-2 to an Arizona Diamondbacks team that was in last place when the weekend started with only one series sweep before taking all three from the Cubs. “We’re well aware that … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:27:41 -0500 <![CDATA[ Anthony Rizzo gives Cubs a scare with catch ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — As if the Cubs already weren’t beat up and short-handed, they were forced to stand helplessly in the sixth inning Sunday as their top hitter tumbled head first into a camera well near the first-base dugout while catching a foul pop. “My heart sank down pretty deep,” manager Rick Renteria said of first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s crash landing. “He got up right away, and he’s a big, strong man and we’re very fortunate he came out of that OK.” Rizzo wasn’t even sure after the game how or where he landed. “I have no idea. You tell me; … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:40:25 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs await word of more trade activity ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — A large group of scouts already had filled two tables in the dining room at Chase Field when four more walked through the door about an hour before the Cubs’ game Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. ‘‘This is a big game,’’ one said with a smile. Two teams that entered the series in last place in their divisions put what was left of their wares on display for three days in the same showroom. It doesn’t get any bigger than that for would-be contenders in the two weeks between the All-Star Game and the non-waiver trade deadline July … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:34:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Diamondbacks blast struggling Cubs, Travis Wood ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — Miguel Montero hit a go-ahead, three-run double in the fifth, Paul Goldschmidt added a two-run homer, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 9-3 on Saturday night. Goldschmidt, with Montero a National League All-Star, went 3 for 3. He also scored three runs and walked twice, raising his batting average to .314. Wade Miley (6-6) went seven innings, allowing three runs and seven hits, striking out seven with one walk. He is 3-0 in his last four starts. The Diamondbacks tagged Cubs starter Travis Wood (7-9) for seven runs — five earned — on eight hits. He … ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:48:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Junior Lake, Mike Olt on bubble if Arismendy Alcantara stays in majors ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — Arismendy Alcantara might not have looked the part Saturday, but the touted prospect is a player the Cubs want to find a way to keep on the roster when they make a series of moves in the next few days to add pitchers from Class AAA Iowa. Could that mean outfielder Junior Lake and third baseman Mike Olt are on the clock for possible demotions to keep Alcantara in the major leagues? For the first time, manager Rick Renteria didn’t act as though it was ridiculous to suggest the .219-hitting Lake, who has struck out 93 times and … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:34:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Bill Chuck’s baseball by the numbers ]]> Lead story image

This week’s names and numbers in baseball: BATTERS: NINE TO KNOW AT THE BREAK 1. Thirty-nine players had 100 or more hits, including Starlin Castro and Alexei Ramirez with 103 each. 2. Thirty-three players had 15 or more home runs, including Jose Abreu with 29 and Anthony Rizzo with 20. 3. Sixty-two players had 20 or more doubles, including Castro with 26, Conor Gillaspie with 23, Luis Valbuena with 22 and Abreu with 20.4. Forty-two players had 50 or more RBI, including Abreu with 73 and Castro with 52. 5. Thirty-eight players had 12 or more stolen bases, including Ramirez … ]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 02:34:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Prospects Arismendy Alcantara and Kyle Hendricks are only reason to follow Cubs ]]> Lead story image

PHOENIX — Looking for reasons to pay attention to the Cubs the rest of the season (beyond the dogfight for another top three or four draft pick)? Good luck. Because it’s still all about the future for these guys. But while the future isn’t exactly now for the Cubs, it might be just close enough that the roster shape-shifting over the last 2½ months could be worth watching — if not for answers to the timeline in Chicago, then at least for watching rookies and previewing prospects. As the Cubs opened their post-All-Star schedule Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager … ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 02:12:23 -0500