Cubs’ Aramis Ramirez keeps trade talk going with latest homer
By Toni Ginnetti firstname.lastname@example.org July 16, 2011 8:52PM
All eyes are on Aramis Ramirez — again — after his three-run homer off Javier Vazquez in the sixth inning Saturday at Wrigley Field. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
Updated: October 29, 2011 12:35AM
Since June 24, third baseman Aramis Ramirez has been the Cubs’ main run producer, hitting .367 (29-for-79) with 11 home runs, 21 RBI and 21 runs scored. His three-run homer Saturday off Javier Vazquez, his 16th homer of the season, accounted for the only Cubs runs in a 13-3 loss to the Florida Marlins.
‘‘Nobody on our team except Ramirez has been hot [recently],’’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano said.
Ramirez, the subject of trade speculation in part because of his hitting and because he faces a contract option year, is surprised the Cubs have played so poorly.
‘‘Actually, yes, because I don’t think we’re as bad as we’ve been playing,’’ he said. ‘‘When you have starters like we have in Zambrano and Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, those three are good.’’
But Ramirez shuns the notion of ‘‘bad luck.’’
‘‘You go out and work and play hard and create your own luck,’’ he said.
Eight is enough
Darwin Barney has batted in the second, seventh and eighth spots in the order, but eighth may become his more permanent position. The rookie second baseman has batted there in the last nine games and has hit .345 (10-for-29) with three runs scored and five RBI.
‘‘He’s such a scrappy little guy,’’ manager Mike Quade said. ‘‘He’s done very well down there helping us turn the lineup. That’s huge. And in talking to him about it, it’s helped his patience [at the plate]. I think it’s done a lot for his development right now, and it’s helped us.’’
Carpenter sent down
Chris Carpenter remains a major player in the Cubs’ plans after posting a 2.79 ERA in 10 relief appearances. The right-hander was sent back to Class AAA Iowa on Saturday when Zambrano was activated from the disabled list.
‘‘He did a great job and there’s nothing but positives, but he needs the work,’’ Quade said.
Carpenter was used as a long relief man. That role now falls to R amon Ortiz, who relieved Zambrano on Saturday. With Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall acting as closers until Carlos Mar mol returns, Quade said Jeff Samardzija, John Grabow and James Russell will move into late-inning roles.
‘‘From the standpoint of giving Marmol a break, we’re in pretty good shape,’’ Quade said.
Former Cub Andre Dawson, a special assistant in the Marlins’ front office since 2000 but ever-loved at Wrigley Field, threw out a ceremonial first pitch Saturday and sang ‘‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’’ in the seventh inning.
The Hall of Fame outfielder, who was elected to Cooperstown last year, returns there next weekend for the induction of the 2011 class, which includes Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar and executive Pat Gillick.
Of minor interest
Class AAA center fielder Brett Jackson went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, a run scored and a stolen base in Iowa’s 7-1 victory over Oklahoma City on Friday and is hitting .300.