Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Greg Maddux baffled hitters, bullpen staff on way to Hall of Fame ]]> Lead story image

Just how good was Greg Maddux and his famous pinpoint command? As good as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in that old McDonald’s commercial? To hear witnesses tell it, maybe better. Maddux, the four-time Cy Young winner who spent two tours with the Cubs and on Sunday was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, dropped jaws every week with his little-known habit late in his career of finishing off his between-starts side sessions with trick-shot pitches for strikes. “His last pitch when he was throwing in the bullpen, he wanted to throw a ricochet strike off something, like off … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:39:01 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kyle Hendricks impressive despite loss against Cardinals ]]> Lead story image

The Cubs’ touted minor-league position prospects have the physical talent. But mental aptitude is the element that can be the difference for a gifted pitcher — as it was for the onetime Cub inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. And as it could be for the young Cubs right-hander who was on the Wrigley Field mound as Greg Maddux was ushered into Cooperstown. ‘‘I’ve been asked about [Maddux] before,’’ Kyle Hendricks said. ‘‘He was one of the best pitchers of all time, and one of my favorites. He’s a guy I’d like to model myself after.’’ For now, … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:19:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ August won’t be an easy time for Cubs ]]> Lead story image

The next few days are clock-watching time in the majors as Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline nears. The Cubs could make another move to acquire more prospects, but the challenge now is more about trying to make what is left of the second half meaningful — and, at the least, avoid a 100-loss season. That makes August a difficult time; it’s too early to invite a flurry of call-ups and too soon to be motivated as spoilers. ‘‘I’m not trying to envision us in any particular place other than to make sure we have these guys push and just play the … ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:19:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs’ relievers need relief, too; Neil Ramirez sent down ]]> Lead story image

The Cubs had planned as early as spring training to find rest opportunities for relief pitchers as the summer wound toward August. The thinking even then was that the young arms in the remade bullpen would get a lot of use, especially with the expected repeat scenario of veteran starters getting traded for prospects. The Cubs’ relievers have been workhorses, and their collective 3.73 ERA and 3182/3 innings bear out what the team anticipated. Sending one of the most efficient relief arms to Class AAA Iowa on Saturday was all about that rest plan for rookie right-hander Neil Ramirez, and … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:31:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Pierzynski, Adams power Cardinals past Cubs ]]> Lead story image

Matt Adams drove in four runs, A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in his St. Louis debut and the Cardinals beat the Cubs 6-3 on Saturday at Wrigley Field to stop a four-game skid. ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:31:06 -0500 <![CDATA[ A.J. Pierzynski goes 3-for-4 in first game with Cardinals ]]> Lead story image

A.J. Pierzynski and his family planned a weekend in Cooperstown, New York, as guests of former White Sox teammate Frank Thomas for his Hall of Fame induction. But Pierzynski’s trip was cut short when he signed Friday with the St. Louis Cardinals to fill a backup role after the possible season-ending injury to catcher Yadier Molina. ‘‘I was actually on a boat with my family and Aaron Rowand’s family when we got word it was done,’’ said Pierzynski, 37, who was released by the Boston Red Sox two weeks ago. ‘‘I got in a cab and made the two-hour ride … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:41:42 -0500 <![CDATA[ Speaking up for late Cubs broadcaster Jack Quinlan for Hall ]]> Lead story image

Never mind the America’s Cup or the NFL draft. If it really wanted to brand the city as a sports destination, the Chicago Sports Commission would have gone after this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. As if it could be pried loose from the quaint village of Cooperstown, which would be nothing more than a remote dot on a New York state map if not for the Hall’s presence. Nonetheless, there will be a distinctive Chicago flavor to Sunday’s festivities, with Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa comprising half the membership in the Class of 2014. … ]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:31:37 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs overcome defensive miscues ]]> Lead story image

With the Cubs’ starting pitchers failing to last deep into games, the bullpen has been taxed of late. But on Friday, the Cubs’ defense was the reason for its overuse. Two errors allowed the Cardinals to score three unearned runs in the first inning and helped elevate Travis Wood’s pitch count, but the Cubs rallied for a 7-6 victory at Wrigley Field. Second baseman Arismendy Alcantara threw away a potential inning-ending double-play grounder, allowing Matt Carpenter to score from third base. Two batters later, Jon Jay doubled to score two more runs. Jay advanced to third on left fielder Chris … ]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:02:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs hand Cardinals fourth straight loss ]]> Lead story image

Luis Valbuena hit a decisive two-run homer in the seventh inning Friday, and the Cubs overcame a three-run deficit to hand the Cardinals their fourth straight loss, 7-6 at Wrigley Field. ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:56:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ A.J. Pierzynski to join Cardinals today at Wrigley Field ]]> Lead story image

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski will join the Cardinals for their game against the Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field. Pierzynski was in Cooperstown on Friday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies but left for Chicago. He’ll back up Tony Cruz, who was given the starting job when All-Star Yadier Molina went down with torn ligaments in his right thumb. He’s out eight to 12 weeks. Pierzynski was released by the Red Sox on July 16 after signing Dec. 4 for $8.25 million. In 72 games, he hit .254 with four home runs and 31 RBI. … ]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:02:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs want longer outings from Edwin Jackson ]]> Lead story image

Assuming the Cubs don’t trade him and the injury (right hand cramping) he left with Thursday night isn’t serious, there will be a lot of Edwin Jackson down the stretch. In dealing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, the Cubs sent away two of their innings-eating starters who were capable of saving the bullpen on any day. But with those two chasing a pennant in California, it will fall in part to the veteran Jackson to help spare a set of relievers from overuse. There is a complication, however: The Cubs need Jackson to pitch better than … ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:21:55 -0500