Veteran Ortiz, 38, roughed up in 2nd start as Cub
By Gordon Wittenmyer firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2011 8:48PM
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 10: Marlon Byrd #24 of the Chicago Cubs gives his hat and bat to the bat boy after striking out against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on July 10, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\118750803.jpg
Updated: October 27, 2011 12:30AM
PITTSBURGH — Ramon Ortiz picked a bad time to throw four balls to the pitcher and one particular strike to Andrew McCutchen.
It led to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ big four-run third inning in their 9-1 beating of the Cubs and helped shorten Ortiz’s second start as a Cub to four-plus innings.
Where the 38-year-old veteran’s career goes from here — as a Cub at least — is one of several questions the Cubs take into the three-day All-Star break.
‘‘I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen,’’ said Ortiz, who pitched a strong six innings in his Cubs debut Tuesday in Washington. ‘‘I can’t be concerned about nothing. The only thing I concern myself with is when he gives me the ball to pitch.’’
Manager Mike Quade said Sunday he expects Randy Wells to start the fourth game out of the break, behind Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano.
‘‘The bigger question is the fifth spot,’’ said Quade, who has gotten three consecutive decent starts from Rodrigo Lopez (1-1, 2.04 ERA in those three).
Quade suggested Sunday that part of his tolerance of Dempster’s rant at him Saturday night comes from soliciting open feedback from his players.
‘‘I tell them all the time, if you’ve got a problem, let me know,’’ he said. ‘‘Now sometimes quieter and a different location [is preferred]. But if I’m going to do that, if I’m going to be that way, I can’t say, ‘Geez, what are you doing?’ I have to be willing to say this is a back-and-forth thing that I’ve opened the door to. . . .
‘‘Sometimes you have disagreements.’’
All-Star 3B coach?
Quade said he plans to lobby for the All-Star process to include a formal selection of a third-base coach, since Major League Baseball has emphasized the importance of winning the game in recent years.
‘‘I’m dead serious,’’ he said. ‘‘There are so many good baseball people that I know and respect that were not successful at third base. It’s a tough nut over there. Who else has got in-game decisions that [are as important to the outcome]?’’
The coaches could be selected through a vote of insiders, possibly managers, Quade said, as long as voters aren’t allowed to vote for their own third-base coach.
‘‘The quote [MLB uses to market the game] is, ‘The game matters,’ ’’ Quade said. ‘‘If it matters, it matters.’’
Andrew Cashner, who hasn’t pitched since the first week of the season because of a twice-hurt shoulder, started playing catch again Saturday and heads Tuesday to Mesa, Ariz., to start a more formal throwing program. He plans to return to the club in the bullpen this season.
◆ Lopez became a key, if quiet, part of a historic baseball moment over the weekend as Derek Jeter reached 3,000 hits Saturday. Lopez gave up 26 of those hits — third-most behind only the 32 of Tim Wakefield and 29 of Sidney Ponson. ‘‘I was telling some of the guys in here about that,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘I helped him a lot. I tried to change that, but the guy is good.’’