Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Playing kids can be double-edged sword for Cubs ]]> Lead story image

The Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers took the field a few minutes before the Cubs’ game against the Brewers on Monday, getting a standing ovation from the Wrigley Field crowd as they settled into their positions. The crowd wasn’t quite as ­enthusiastic when the kids left the field so the older kids in Cubs ­uniforms could take over. Maybe someday. For now, the Cubs bask in moments like they had in the second and sixth innings, when touted prospect Jorge Soler doubled to the right-field corner, then doubled off the right-center wall in an impressive Wrigley debut — even as … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:17:51 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs say thanks to Jackie Robinson West players ]]> Lead story image

The Cubs loaded up the Jackie Robinson West players with bats, personalized Cubs jerseys and other swag as they hosted the returning U.S. champs from the Little League World Series. But JRW’s success and celebrity might do far more for the Cubs and the rest of baseball, the way the team played this season and the way it made baseball look cool again to a generation of kids. “I already got a few calls about kids playing baseball,” JRW manager Darold Butler said. “Just outside. No parents, no coaches. Just five, six, seven, eight kids ­playing baseball on their own.” … ]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:18:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rookies see rivalry testiness as Lackey jaws at Castro in Cubs loss ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — That new world order the Cubs are trying to create in the National League Central might not be coming quite as fast as many seemed to believe as recently as Friday. But unless guys such as Javy Baez and Jorge Soler were asleep Sunday, they should have a pretty good idea of the havoc this Cubs-Cardinals rivalry can wreak and how brutish life in this division can be. A four-game weekend full of Cubs rookie energy, sold-out crowds in St. Louis and high-stakes baseball (for the home team) caved in on the young Cubs on Sunday when … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:09:27 -0500 <![CDATA[ Starlin Castro embraces leadership role with Cubs ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — As much as he has on his mind these days and as hard as the emotions continue to hit, Starlin Castro hasn’t stopped ­embracing the responsibility and scrutiny that comes with his oversized role in the Cubs’ rebuilding program. “In some ways, we’re asking a lot of these guys,” general manager Jed Hoyer said of his 24-year-old shortstop and 25-year-old first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. “You have to play like you’ve been in the league for 10 years because we need those guys to help show [the rookies] the way to play.” Castro, a three-time All-Star who continues … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:35:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rookie milestones stack up for Cubs’ Jorge Soler ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — Another day, ­another piece of baseball history for the Cubs’ Jorge Soler in his first week in the big leagues. The Cubs’ $30 million rookie outfielder doubled home a run in his first at-bat of Saturday’s nightcap of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, making him the first major-league player since the RBI became an official stat in 1920 to have an extra-base hit and an RBI in each of his first four games. The Cubs lost the second game 13-2, settling for a split after ­winning the opener 5-1. Soler, one of eight players to … ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:36:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ While Jorge Soler has a blast with Cubs, Kris Bryant waits his turn ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — Three Cubs who were in the minors eight weeks ago — and in A-ball less than two years ago — did their best Friday night to show the St. Louis Cardinals at least part of what’s coming to the Cubs-Cards rivalry. Jorge Soler: 3-for-3 and two home runs. Javy Baez: a go-ahead double in the eighth inning. Arismendy Alcantara: a homer in the ninth to finish off a 7-2 victory. “We’re just waiting for Bryant now,” Baez said. That’s probably going to be a long wait, certainly longer than players in the clubhouse prefer to see presumptive … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 02:13:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Cubs turning to six-man rotation down the stretch ]]> Lead story image

ST. LOUIS — The Cubs might not have the aces they need to finish off their competitive rebuild. But they have enough wild cards to go with a six-man rotation the rest of the season. General manager Jed Hoyer said the club wants to get regular looks at newcomers Jacob Turner and Felix Doubront in particular while continuing to use the four holdovers: Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood and rookies Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada. Turner, a powerful right-hander acquired from the Marlins this month after a disappointing run, made his first Cubs start Wednesday in Cincinnati. Doubront, acquired from the … ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 01:50:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Baez, Alcantara mistakes cost Cubs in 7-2 loss to Reds ]]> Lead story image

CINCINNATI — Anthony Rizzo calls it exciting. Jake Arrieta says it’s fun to watch. And everybody in Cubs management or in a Cubs uniform has a personal stake in how all these big-shot rookies fare in this trial by fire in the final stretch. But for every debut home run by Javy Baez or Jorge Soler comes a glut of strikeouts. For every 8-for-20 surge by Arismendy Alcantara comes a 3-for-30. ‘‘That’s to be expected,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. It’s games like the last two in Cincinnati that can become the problem, testing the ‘‘process’’ and Renteria, the prospect-whispering first-year … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:57:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Football days long forgotten for Cubs’ Matt Szczur ]]> Lead story image

CINCINNATI — Matt Szczur pays enough attention to know that Villanova opens the football season Friday at Syracuse. He even sent out a good-luck tweet Thursday. But that’s as far as the Cubs rookie outfielder — a two-position football All-American and national champion — takes his football thinking these days. So don’t even bother going all Jeff Samardzija on him with what-if questions about the NFL. ‘‘There was only one time when I thought about that,’’ Szczur said, referring to a chance encounter he had a couple years ago while playing for Class  AA Tennessee. That’s when he ran into Marc … ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:09:56 -0500 <![CDATA[ Jorge Soler goes deep in first at-bat; Cubs fall 7-5 to Reds ]]> Lead story image

CINCINNATI — Just before touted prospect Jorge Soler made his much-heralded Cubs debut Wednesday, he was told about the home run hit by the Cubs’ other “core” prospect on the roster, Javy Baez, in his celebrated debut three weeks ago. Soler smiled. “Si,” he said. Or maybe it was “see.” It took Soler all of one swing in the majors, on a 2-1 pitch in the second inning, for him to hit his first home run — a 423-foot shot off Mat Latos in the Cubs’ 7-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He and Baez are the first pair of … ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:06:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ When will Cubs’ business side catch up with baseball side? ]]> Lead story image

GORDON WITTENMYER: Theo Epstein and his minions in the Cubs’ front office already have done the math on how this is going to work in the next two years — maybe three — now that the long-touted power prospects have started making their big-league debuts. ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:27:14 -0500