Ryne Sandberg too slow out of the gate on replay challenge
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media April 5, 2014 9:30PM
Updated: May 8, 2014 9:59AM
Ryne Sandberg might have had a case if he wanted to challenge whether Mike Olt touched third base on Phillies catcher Wil Nieves’ fourth-inning double-play grounder.
He just didn’t do it quickly enough to avoid altering pitcher Cliff Lee’s warmup.
With one out in the top of the fourth and runners on first and second, Nieves grounded to third. Olt fielded the grounder and tried to swipe at the base with his right foot before throwing to first.
Replays appeared to show Olt didn’t touch the base, but by the time Sandberg went out to the field the Cubs were in the dugout and Lee was already warming up for his next inning.
“The timing of it had a lot to do with it,” Sandberg said. “By the time we had some advice on it, my team’s out there and Cliff’s warming up.”
Olt said he touched the base, albeit barely.
“It was too close for comfort I guess but yeah, I definitely thought I [touched] it,” he said.
Carlos gets the call
Carlos Villanueva has two losses in two brief bullpen appearances, but is on track to make his first start.
Manager Rick Renteria said Villanueva will start Sunday’s series finale with the Phillies. Villanueva worked in relief Monday and Wednesday — losing both games — but threw a side session Friday and the Cubs decided he’s ready to make his first start despite the workload.
Villanueva threw eight pitches in Monday’s season opener at Pittsburgh and took the loss in the 1-0, 10-inning defeat. He relieved again Wednesday and threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and a run in the 4-3, 16-inning Cubs’ defeat.
Villanueva is expected to stay in the rotation as the fifth starter until Jake Arrieta returns from the disabled list.
Anthony Rizzo hit .189 with seven home runs against left-handers last season. Instead of shielding Rizzo from them, Renteria said the first baseman will get the chance to improve by facing more lefties.
He had that chance Saturday against Lee and Jake Diekman, going 2-for-4 and raising his average against lefties to .231.
“The more he continues to face lefties, the more he’s adjusting his approaches, over the long haul hopefully he starts to improve,” Renteria said. “But you can’t do it unless you’re out there.”
The Cubs confirmed they have transferred pitcher Casey Coleman from Class AAA Iowa to short-season Boise, a move that effectively ends his time in the organization.
Coleman, 26, appeared in 48 games with the Cubs, going 7-13 with a 5.76 ERA.