Julio Borbon cut after boneheaded play on basepaths
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org August 3, 2013 11:24PM
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez leaps over a sliding Cody Ransom while turning a double play, one of four pulled off by the Dodgers. | AP
Updated: September 5, 2013 7:08AM
The decision to cut outfielder Julio Borbon after his ninth-inning baserunning gaffe Friday was a purposeful message to the team to play smarter.
“You don’t see really good teams do that very often,’’ general manager Jed Hoyer said Saturday. “The Cardinals and the Pirates this year, by and large they play solid, air-tight baseball, and we have to do that more often.’’
Borbon was designated for assignment hours after the play in which he doubled to lead the ninth, but then tried to take third on a pitch to the next batter, David DeJesus, with the Cubs trailing 6-2. Borbon was out and DeJesus eventually walked.
“That was a frustrating play, for sure,’’ Hoyer said. “If nothing else, we could have had a chance to have multiple base runners. We have to make better decisions [as players] and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.’’
Manager Dale Sveum admitted being angered by the play.
“Those are things that are controllable,’’ he said. “Knowing the game and thinking ahead and understanding the ramifications. In that situation, you mean absolutely nothing. You can literally stand on second base and not do anything and everything will be perfectly fine.
“One of the biggest things you obviously try to do is have talent, but you have to have a combination of talent and smart players who are playing the game, thinking ahead, what’s the score — just the most common things in the course of a baseball season.
“If you look back and see things like that constantly, even if you lose one game because of them, that’s too many.’’
A defensive play by Anthony Rizzo in the fifth inning Friday also was a mental error, Rizzo throwing to third when there was no force play as Juan Uribe advanced on a ground ball.
“You don’t mind guys trying to make the plays, but it’s the awareness of what’s going on and knowing the runner and leaving your position too early when there’s no play on—these are the things that have to be done,’’ Sveum said.
The Cubs will place Luis Valbuena on the disabled list with a right oblique strain he apparently suffered Friday. The third baseman pinch hit in the sixth Friday and singled but was out in an ensuing double play.
Valbuena wasn’t available Saturday and the team is expected to make a roster move Sunday.
They already added an infielder in Donnie Murphy, 30, who was called up from Class AAA on Saturday to take Borbon’s roster spot.
Murphy signed a minor-league contract in April after his release by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was hitting .265 with 18 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 89 games at Iowa.
Yasiel Puig suffered a bruised left thumb after making a diving catch of Starlin Castro’s line drive in the seventh. He is day-to-day.
Starlin Castro is hitting .284 (42-for-148) with one error in his last 35 games, all since getting his first day off June 26 to end a streak of 269 consecutive games played. He was hitting only .140 with five errors in his 10 previous games.
His fielding percentage of .993 since June 26 ranks second among all shortstops.
“You don’t like [slumps] to happen, but you know that’s the reality in this game,” Sveum said. “It comes in handy in the long run when you have the chance of winning championships to have guys who have gone through adversity already.”