Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ 4 Cubs who could be wearing Yankees uniforms ]]> Lead story image

GORDON WITTENMYER: Five years ago, Jeff Samardzija was a rookie reliever when the Cubs helped christen the new Yankee Stadium with an exhibition series at the end of spring training. ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:06:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jason Hammel focusing on hitters, not Yankees’ Tanaka ]]> Lead story image

NEW YORK — Through his first two starts, Jason Hammel has done more than anyone could have reasonably expected when he signed that one-year, $6 million deal just before spring training started. At 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA, he has half the Cubs’ victories and is second only to Jeff Samardzija in ERA (among starters) and innings per start. Not bad for a guy who had his entire offseason held up by the celebrity free-agent pitcher he’ll face at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. “Every free agent was [in a holding pattern],” said Hammel, who talked to the Cubs early in … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:05:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rain postpones Cubs-Yankees game Tuesday ]]> Lead story image

NEW YORK – Coming off their ninth consecutive series loss, dating to last year, maybe the Cubs could use Tuesday’s rainout more than most, especially coming off back-to-back losses against the rival Cardinals over the weekend. So no one was complaining when rain all day Tuesday and a worse forecast for Tuesday night forced the postponement of the opener of the quick two-game series against the New York Yankees before the teams even arrived at Yankee Stadium. Not until Wednesday, at least. That’s when the series will be played in its entirety as a split doubleheader, with game times of … ]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:05:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Former Cubs teammates are eager to say hi to Alfonso Soriano ]]> Lead story image

NEW YORK — A lot of these Cubs in New York for this two-game interleague series with the Yankees have never played in the Bronx, much less the new, sixth-year Yankee Stadium. But almost everywhere they look Tuesday and Wednesday, they will see reminders of what they might have been — and used to be. From the free-agent pitcher they committed an offseason to chasing, without getting him. To the manager the business-side ­execs claimed they could land, without getting him. To the outfielder who remains the highest-paid player on the Cubs’ books this year — the last big-money, star-power … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:23:47 -0500 <![CDATA[ Where Cards mine gold, Cubs find failure ]]> Lead story image

MARK POTASH: There’s a faction of Cub loyalists that considers Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer flim-flam men whose baseball judgment is not nearly as keen as they would like us to believe. ]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:33:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ After missing on Yankees’ Tanaka, Cubs settled for Hammel; they’ll face off Tuesday ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — Even three months later, 1,000 miles away and a league apart, Masahiro Tanaka stands as the defining player for the 2014 Cubs and represents where their underfunded rebuilding project sits. The Cubs put the entire weight of their limited offseason resources behind a six-year, $120 million bid for the premier free-agent pitcher on the market, only to watch the megabucks New York Yankees ­casually put another $37 million and a seventh year into the pot to land the Japanese right-hander. As they ride out of St. Louis on the rails of their eighth loss in 12 games … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 23:06:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Justin Grimm has eye on Cubs’ closer job ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — Justin Grimm always has seen himself as a starting pitcher. Until the Texas Rangers traded him to the Cubs last summer, all 18 of his appearances last year were as a starter, all but one in the big leagues. “Then I showed up [for spring training], and they said they wanted to see me out of the bullpen,” Grimm said of the Cubs’ staff, “and I just got fired up about it.” All of a sudden, just two weeks into the season, the hard-throwing right-hander has another reason to get fired up: The closer job is wide … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:47:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs airing replay of 2013, fall to Cardinals ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS – Nobody in the Cubs’ clubhouse wants to admit how similar this season looks to last. “You can’t compare them. Last year was last year,” pitcher Carlos Villanueva said this weekend. “Different personnel… different guys.” And same old stuff. But by the time $52-million starter Edwin Jackson got done with Sunday’s six-inning re-enactment of his awful 2013 debut season for the Cubs, it was getting harder and harder to deny. A 6-4 loss to the rival Cardinals in which Jackson blew a lead, left the Cubs with their fourth series loss in as many tries this season – … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 17:45:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ To compete with Cards, Cubs have to strike gold deep in the draft ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — The Cubs are not shy about pointing out how popular their farm system has become with the baseball trade publications. Their system is ranked anywhere from second to fourth heading toward the 2014 draft, depending on the outlet. But just how much of that is a reflection of the player-development “machine” team president Theo Epstein talked about building when he took over the baseball operations in the fall of 2011? And how much of it is a function of having a $30 million Cuban free agent in the system and of being so bad in recent years … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:35:32 -0500 <![CDATA[ Wild mess: Jose Veras out as Cubs’ closer ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — That didn’t take long. In about 12 hours, Cubs manager Rick Renteria went from sticking with his struggling closer Jose Veras to demoting him out of the role. Renteria, who met with Veras on Saturday morning, won’t identify a replacement and calls it a temporary move. “I told him I have all the confidence in the world in him, and I think he’ll be back,” said Renteria, who on Friday night responded to Veras’ worst inning as a Cub by saying the right-hander was still the closer. “We’re going to try to find some spots that he … ]]> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 02:35:44 -0500 <![CDATA[ Saturday’s result: Cards 10, Cubs 4 ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS – No closer controversy in this game. Not the way the rival Cardinals knocked around Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva early in a 10-4 rout of the Cubs Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Villanueva lasted five batters into the fourth, without recording an out in the inning, as the Cardinals tagged him for nine runs – far more than enough for St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, who pitched seven innings for the victory. The Cubs actually led early, when Junior Lake led off the game with a first-pitch home run. But it was short-lived as the Cards scored four … ]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 17:15:21 -0500