Tag:Jeff Samardzija
Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Honorary All-Grudzielanek team

Mark Grudzielanek played in 1,802 games over the course of 15 major-league seasons. He appeared in uniform for six different teams, making the NLCS twice -- once with the Cubs and once with the Cardinals. He hit .289 with over 2,000 hits and 946 runs scored. He earned one Gold Glove and made the All-Star team once. He was a good guy who always played hard and was generally liked by teammates. Basically, Grudzielanek had a quality major-league career, but won't be showing up on any all-time lists.

That is, unless you are looking squarely at that stupendous last name.

So, in light of his retirement announcement Wednesday, it only seems fitting to put together an All-Star team of the best names in baseball. We're looking for who will carry the torch on with Grudz's departure, so it's current players only. No real criteria, other than that the name just has to sound interesting or be really hard to spell -- or both. This is completely subjective, so there's definite room for argument.

Without further ado, here is the 25-man roster (we also listed all names we considered).

CATCHER: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox. And here's the team captain. There's no better name in baseball. Backup: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Also considered: Francisco Cervelli, Yankees; Taylor Teagarden, Rangers.

FIRST BASE: Pablo Sandoval, Giants. Bonus points for having an awesome nickname. Backup: Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Also considered: Justin Smoak, Mariners

SECOND BASE: Chone Figgins, Mariners. Real slim pickings here. Nearly every name for a second basemen is bland or common. We'll go with Figgins because "Chone" is pronounced "Sean" or "Shaun" or "Shawn." Also considered: Robinson Cano, Yankees; Dan Uggla, Braves.

THIRD BASE: Kevin Kouzmanoff, A's. Also considered: Placido Polanco, Phillies.

SHORTSTOP:
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies. Alliteration gets him the nod here. Backup: Yuniesky Betancourt. Also considered: Marco Scutaro, Red Sox; Ryan Theriot, Cardinals.

LEFT FIELD: Scott Podsednik, Blue Jays. Also considered: Chris Coghlan, Marlins; Chris Denorfia, Padres; Ryan Langerhans, Mariners.

CENTER FIELD: Coco Crisp, A's. Another no-brainer. Second easiest pick on here after Saltalamacchia. Backup: Colby Rasmus, Cardinals. Also considered: Nyjer Morgan, Nationals; Rajai Davis, Blue Jays; Cameron Maybin, Padres; Denard Span, Twins; Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies.

RIGHT FIELD: Brennan Boesch, Tigers. Tough call here, but I'm a sucker for the alliteration. Plus, that's just a smooth combo. Props to his parents. Also considered: Jeff Francoeur, Royals; Nate Schierholtz, Giants; Nick Markakis, Orioles.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Milton Bradley, Mariners. Personal feelings aside, this was another obvious one.

STARTING ROTATION: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Max Scherzer, Tigers; Brian Matusz, Orioles; Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays; Justin Duchscherer, Orioles. CC gets the nod due to his first name being Carsten. Oh, and for losing the periods to his initials. The other four are pretty obvious with those last names. Grudz is surely proud. Also considered: Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Madison Bumgarner, Giants; Gio Gonzalez, A's; Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals.

BULLPEN: Octavio Dotel, Blue Jays; Jeff Samardzija, Cubs; Fu-Te Ni, Tigers; Boof Bonser, Mets; Burke Badenhop, Marlins. All pretty obvious great names here, and I especially love "The Hopper," as the Marlins' announcers call Badenhop. Also considered: Brian Duensing, Twins; Joba Chamberlain, Yankees; Jeremy Affeldt, Giants; Jason Isringhausen, Mets.

SETUP: David Aardsma, Mariners. Based mostly on the fact that if you listed every major league player of all-time alphabetically, only Aardsma would come before the great Hank Aaron.

CLOSER: J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks. C'mon. He uses a double initial and his last name looks like an insult (though it's actually pronounced "puts," not "putts," for those in the dark).

MANAGER: Mike Scioscia, Angels. Maybe it's all mental at this point, but spelling that thing correctly still trips me up. Give me Grudzielanek any day. Also considered: Mike Quade, Cubs; Ned Yost, Royals; Manny Acta, Indians.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Silva confident in rotation spot

Carlos Silva
Well, there's one thing off Mike Quade's plate this spring. Carlos Silva has decided he's in the Cubs rotation.

"Yesterday, someone asked me, 'Are the fourth and fifth spots still open?'" Silva told reporters Tuesday. "For them, it's open. For whoever is competing, it's open. For me, there's only one spot open because I am one of the starters. They think like that, not me."

Silva can be commended for using the power of positive thinking, but it's not quite that simple. Behind the set trio of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano, there is a lot that could happen. Silva is in a mix with Randy Wells, Jeff Zamardzija, Casey Coleman and Andrew Cashner.

Silva, brought in last winter from Seattle in an exchange of bad contracts that sent out Milton Bradley, stunned everyone with a big start, going 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA in the first half of the season. The second half was derailed by a heart issue and an elbow problem.

Quade said nobody has earned anything yet, including Silva.

"His experience speaks for itself and his start last year was fantastic," Quade told MLB.com, "but there are a few guarantees in this game and I'm not sure the back end of this rotation has got anybody guaranteed anything. He does have the experience. I expect him to be a prominent consideration. We'll see."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Cubs looking to fill rotation from within

James Russell Left-hander James Russell will compete for a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, manager Mike Quade told the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan .

Russell was 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA in 57 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs as a rookie in 2010. He struck out 42 in 49 innings, while walking 11 and allowing 55 hits. He gave up 11 home runs, two for every nine innings pitched.

"I don't get too worked up early on, because, bang, all of a sudden you blink and things change," Quade said. "All of a sudden you've got two additions [in Matt Garza and Kerry Wood] who have specific roles and have earned them, and now it puts the kids and a lot of the other people in flux. The idea that you can never have enough pitching is huge. We'll see how the back end looks as it shakes out."

Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are already pencilled in for the team's rotation, with Russell, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Samardzija battling for the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Cubs talking trades for starters

The Cubs are looking for pitching -- not only talking to the Rays about Matt Garza, but also talking about swapping left-handed starter Tom Gorzelanny for right-handed starter Armando Galarraga, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes .

The Cubs have Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells at the top of their rotation. The team still has Carlos Silva under control, but his status remains murky, leaving a competition between Gorzelanny, Casey Coleman and Jeff Samardzija for the last two spots of the rotation.

The team has reportedly talked to representatives for Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 19, 2010 6:51 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Maple bats to become a hot topic again

Tyler Colvin For the last couple of years, the subject of shattered bats has been  a topic the media has found interesting, if not anyone else.

Sunday's events in South Florida may change that.

Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin is currently at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with a tube in his chest keeping his lung from collapsing after he was hit by part of Welington Castillo's bat. Colvin is being treated for pneumothorax, a puncture of the chest cavity, which allowed air into the chest wall with the potential of a collapsed lung. He will remain hospitalized for two-to-three days and won't play again this season, Cubs manager Mike Quade told reporters.

Castillo told the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan he didn't know what was going on at first, but once he realized what happened, he was having trouble keeping it out of his mind.

"I feel really bad about it," Castillo said. "It's wasn't on purpose, but he's my teammate."

Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was on deck when Colvin scored.

"I thought he was fine, I thought we were just joking around," Samardzija said. "I saw  little something on his shirt and said, 'Hey man, you should probably get inside.'"

Marlins catcher Mike Rivera said it looked like Colvin "was being stabbed."

Pirates hitting coach Don Long was hit in the face by a broken bat two years ago. After Sunday's events, he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 's Rob Biertempfel , "I got hit in the face. [Colvin] got hit in the chest. I mean, what's it going to take?"

Long was hit by Nate McLouth's shattered bat made of maple.

Wellington Castillo Quade even said he was surprised it hadn't happened sooner, noting maple bats.

The Associated Press' story notes Castillo was using a maple bat.

The conventional wisdom is that maple bats tend to shatter more when they break than bats made of ash. Even if the maple bats don't break as often, the theory goes, when they do break, they're more dangerous.

MLB reduced the number of maple bat suppliers authorized to have ether goods used in the big leagues before the 2009 season and made some changes in the minor leagues before this season. More changes could be on the way if Castillo was indeed using a maple bat.

UPDATE: Castillo told MLB.com that he's used maple bats his "whole life."

At least one teammate, Jeff Baker, said he doesn't like maple bats because of the way they can shatter.

"That's the danger of a maple bat," Baker said. "I saw an umpire get slashed on the neck in Kansas City. It's just not worth it to me to use that kind of bat. I don't want that on my conscience."

Umpire Brian O'Nora suffered a concussion and a cut on his forehead after part of Miguel Oliva's broken bat hit him in the head in a game in 2008.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 5:54 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Cubs' 2011 rotation up in air

Carlos Silva The Cubs expect to enter 2011 with Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster atop the rotation, but past that is anyone's guess.

Current starters Carlos Silva (pictured), Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny stand a good chance of locking up the final three spots but will receive competition from Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, Andrew Cashner and Chris Archer, reports the Chicago Tribune .

Silva will be entering the final year of a contract that pays out $6 million from the Cubs coffers (and $5.5 million from Seattle) and pitched impressively before being sidelined with heart problems. In 21 starts, Silva has a 4.22 ERA and should have no trouble locking down a spot.

Wells followed up an impressive rookie season with a less-impressive but still solid 4.46 ERA over 30 starts as a 27-year-old. Wells has pitched better than his ERA, so should also find the going easy to retain his rotation spot.

When it comes to Gorzelanny, things are less simple. The lefty has a 3.90 ERA in 21 starts and six relief appearances, but questions remain if his future is in the rotation or bullpen.

It's possible one of the assorted candidates could overtake Gorzelanny.

Samardzija is out of options for 2011 so will need to stick on the big-league team. He split the season between starting and relieving in Triple-A and is struggling to find his footing in the majors. It's not likely Chicago will hand him a rotation spot, so look for the former Fighting Irish wide receiver to kick the season off in the bullpen.

Coleman, at 22, probably is ticketed for the Triple-A rotation. He posted a 4.07 ERA in 117 1/3 innings over 20 starts at the level in 2010 and has a 5.11 mark through 37 innings. He demonstrates zero aptitude for whiffing batters and doesn't have strong command.

Archer was the organization's minor league player of the year, splitting the year between advanced-Class A and Double-A as a starter. He totaled a 2.34 mark in 27 starts and one relief appearances, striking out 149 and walking 65 in 142 1/3 innings. The 21-year-old has electric stuff and could make a big case in spring training but it's hard to imagine the Cubs rushing him to the bigs.

That leaves Cashner, who is unsure of his future role with the Cubs. The 23-year-old earned a promotion to the majors by being near-unhittable in the minors early on. He has a 5.37 mark in the bigs over 47 relief appearances and has shown the stuff to be a top-tier setupman.

"I don't know if I'll be getting ready as a starter or a reliever," he told the Tribune . "And I don't care. Pitching is pitching, As long as I get to do a little hunting this winter, I'm happy."

The Cubs could elect to move Cashner back to the rotation and evaluate him in spring training. That's completely fine with the righty.

"I said three weeks ago I have six weeks to make the team, and that's what I'm going to do," the 2008 first-rounder said. "Showcase that I can pitch here and worry about next year during spring training ."

It's more likely you see the current starting five open 2011 still in the rotation, but the stable of young pitching on the way up means things may be changing in the next few years. Silva and Dempster's deals are done after 2011 while Zambrano follows the year after.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 12, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Silva scratched, could be done

Carlos Silva
Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva, roughed up last week in his return from a stint on the disabled list with a heart issue, has been scratched from his scheduled Monday start with an elbow strain.

Silva missed more than a month after he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and underwent a minor surgical procedure. He made only two rehab starts and might have been rushed back when the Cubs needed a replacement for the injured Tom Gorzelanny. The Astros scored six times against him in five innings last Tuesday.

Silva was one of the surprise stories of the early season, winning his first eight starts in Chicago after being traded for Milton Bradley in a bad-contract swap. Silva is 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA on the season, and even if he never throws another pitch, the Cubs still are the unquestioned victors in that trade.

The Cubs are out of contention, have 19 games left and a clubhouse full of callups they can put on the mound. There's no reason to risk anything with Silva, so it would be no surprise for them to shut him down.

Jeff Samardzija, who went 11-3 at Triple-A this season, will take Silva's start Monday in St. Louis.

-- David Andriesen

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com