Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena making a case to stay with Cubs
By Gordon Wittenmyer firstname.lastname@example.org September 7, 2011 11:40PM
Reds baserunner Edgar Renteria is tagged out at the plate by Cubs catcher Koyie Hill as he tried to score from third base on a fly ball off the bat of Yonder Alonso to end the seventh inning as the Chicago Cubs take on the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday September 7, 2011 at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 9, 2011 12:50PM
Surrounded by a lot of kids in the clubhouse and even more uncertainty out of it, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have made it clear they want to stay in Chicago, but neither has a clue whether he’ll have any say in the matter.
The Cubs haven’t even hired the guy they’ll need to talk to about it.
So for now they’ll settle for talking with their results over the last few weeks of the season.
‘‘What I do on the field is going to be the answer to that,’’ Ramirez said recently.
Even more recently, he drove in two go-ahead runs with a double in the sixth Wednesday night, and — after the Cincinnati Reds came back to tie the game — Pena added the clinching three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Reds 6-3 and earn a series victory.
Ramirez leads the club with 87 RBI; Pena leads with 26 homers.
‘‘I keep saying I wish the season was longer — more days, more hours in a day — because sometimes it feels like you’re counting down, and I don’t like that feeling,’’ said Pena, who was spared a trade to the New York Yankees last month because the Cubs want to leave the option open for the yet-to-be-hired GM to keep Pena.
Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Ryan Dempster, who went a fifth straight start without a win despite pitching into the seventh, is in the bring-back-Pena camp.
‘‘He’s just unbelievable over [at first]. He does a great job,’’ Dempster said. ‘‘Not just what he does with the bat, but what he does with the glove. And the energy he brings every day. He’s been a huge contributor for us and a great teammate. I’m glad he’s having success. I’m glad he hit that ball tonight.’’
Barney baby break
Second baseman Darwin Barney left the team for the birth of his second child and was expected to rejoin the team for Friday’s series opener against the Mets in New York.
‘‘It’s maybe just what the doctor ordered — a break [Wednesday] and a day off [Thursday],’’ manager Mike Quade said.
Barney is 1-for-his-last-20, with his average dipping to a season-low .275.
Pena, who entered the day with the majors’ worst average (.135) against left-handed pitchers (minimum 100 plate appearances), hit his bleacher-clearing homer off lefty Bill Bray — against whom he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his career.
‘‘I’ve been feeling a little bit more comfortable as the year’s gone on against lefties and put in a lot of work in the cage,’’ said Pena, who has seven homers among his 15 hits off lefties this year. ‘‘I’ve still got a long way to go.’’
Starlin Castro’s two singles gave him a National League-leading 182 hits and extended to 21 his streak of consecutive games reaching base.