Trade likely in works for Emilio Bonifacio

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
11:39
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio treated Wednesday like it was a "normal day" despite the trade rumors swirling around him.

"Right now, there is nothing on," Bonifacio said after the Cubs' 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies. "I'm with the team [Thursday]."

Bonifacio was held out of the lineup in case a trade went down, as Cubs manager Rick Renteria said it was the "prudent" thing to do. Renteria sounded doubtful Bonifacio will be in the lineup or on the team by the end of Thursday.

"It’s out of my hands," Bonifacio said. "I’m just going to come to the field tomorrow."

An erroneous report that San Francisco Giants second baseman Dan Uggla was released on Wednesday night led to speculation Bonifacio could be headed west, but as of Wednesday afternoon there were at least four other teams interested in the versatile player. The Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and his old team, the Kansas City Royals, have reportedly shown interest.

Bonifacio was asked if he would be excited to go to a contending team.

"You want to be part of that, but right now, you're still part of the Cubs," he said.

His agent, Paul Kinzer, told him "maybe something is going on," Bonifacio said. The Cubs aren’t hiding the fact they wouldn’t mind moving the soon-to-be free agent.

The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.

Rapid Reaction: Rockies 6, Cubs 4 (F/10)

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
11:04
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs lost to the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Wednesday night. Here’s a quick look at the game.

How it happened: The Rockies scored twice in the 10th off reliever Wesley Wright, once on an RBI hit by Brandon Barnes and again on a wild pitch. Earlier, Luis Valbuena tied the game 4-4 with a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. Starlin Castro reached on an error by center fielder Drew Stubbs before Valbuena’s eighth home run of the year. The Rockies jumped on starter Travis Wood for three runs in the first two innings, as Justin Morneau, Charlie Culberson and Charlie Blackmon drove in runs. The Cubs scored their first run in the fifth as John Baker doubled home Ryan Sweeney. Colorado got that run back in the sixth, when Michael McKenry brought home Drew Stubbs with a double. The Cubs scored in the bottom of the inning, when Valbuena beat out an RBI infield hit. Wood lasted six innings in striking out a career-high 11 while employing a career-high 119 pitches. He gave up eight hits and two walks to go along with four runs.

What it means: At least Wood got through six innings, even if he needed a career high in pitches to do it. He’s still giving up too many hard-hit balls, as the Rockies earned every one of their runs off him. There were no cheapies. His ERA is 5.10 for the season. And though he got some swings and misses it was still a nonquality start.

With Emilio Bonifacio most likely on the move, the Cubs will lose some speed at the top of the lineup. The one-two punch of Bonifacio and Arismendy Alcantara created some excitement. Now it’s Alcantara’s chance to solidify the leadoff role going into next year. He had one hit in five at-bats.

It’s unclear if Wright’s rough 10th inning has any effect on his trade value. Wright has been effective most of this season.

Bonifacio sits: He didn’t start Wednesday’s game for the first time since returning from an oblique strain last week. He’s likely headed out of town before the non-waiver trade deadline on Thursday. Cubs manager Rick Renteria called it “prudent” not to start him until things “shake out.”

What’s next:The final contest of the four-game affair takes place on Thursday afternoon, when Jake Arrieta (5-2, 2.18) pitches for the Cubs at 1:20 p.m. CT. The Rockies have not named a starter for the game. The Cubs are up 2-1 in the series.

Rockies beat Cubs 6-4 in 10 innings

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:43
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Brandon Barnes hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th inning, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-4 on Wednesday night.

Colorado loaded the bases on two walks and Michael McKenry's third hit of the game before Barnes singled to left with one out against Wesley Wright (0-2). Drew Stubbs then scored on a wild pitch, helping the Rockies stop a three-game slide.

Rob Scahill (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for his second major league win and Adam Ottavino got three outs for his first career save. Scahill was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game, bolstering Colorado's bullpen after it used eight relievers in Tuesday night's 16-inning loss.


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Podcast: C John Baker describes relief win

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
8:03
PM CT
By paulyb
ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago's Jesse Rogers talks with Chicago Cubs catcher John Baker, who was the winning pitcher and scored the winning run in Tuesday's 16-inning marathon against the Colorado Rockies.

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Chris Rusin recalled, Blake Parker optioned

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
7:22
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have recalled left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin while optioning righty Blake Parker to Triple-A Iowa, the team announced Wednesday.

Rusin is needed as the Cubs bullpen is taxed after a 16-inning game on Tuesday, during which catcher John Baker got the win over the Colorado Rockies after throwing an inning in relief. Seven relievers combined to pitch 12 scoreless innings in the tilt, leaving the Cubs down several bullpen arms for Wednesday night’s game.

Parker threw two innings on Tuesday night in the victory. He’s been up and down with the Cubs several times already this season.

Rusin has appeared in two games for the Cubs this season and is 7-11 with a 3.76 ERA for Iowa.

Bonifacio held out of Cubs lineup

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
5:44
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio has been held out of the lineup Wednesday in anticipation of a possible trade.

“With all this stuff that’s going on we found it prudent to hold off to see how it shakes out,” manager Rick Renteria said before the Cubs played the Colorado Rockies.

Bonifacio, 29, is likely to be traded after proving he’s healthy since coming back from an oblique strain earlier this month. He’s hitting .400 in eight games since missing time from June 13 to July 20.

Sources familiar with the situation say there are no less than five teams interested in the versatile Bonifacio. Seattle, San Francisco and Baltimore are among teams reportedly interested.

After playing second base and center field most of the season, Bonifacio has started at third base in the first two games of the series this week against the Rockies. He’s hitting .279 with two home runs and 18 RBIs overall. He had four hits -- including a game tying home run -- in a 16-inning, 4-3 Cubs win on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Bonifacio said. “I can’t worry about that stuff.”

Renteria said he wasn’t “anticipating” a deal but reiterated they would let things “shake out” while keeping Bonifacio on the bench. The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday at 3 pm CT.

Cubs acquire lefty Felix Doubront

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
2:48
PM CT
[+] EnlargeFelix Doubront
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesA struggling Felix Doubront recently had requested a trade out of Boston.

BOSTON -- The Red Sox on Wednesday traded left-hander pitcher Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.

The Red Sox will get a low-level prospect after the Rule 5 draft for Doubront, a source told ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers.

Doubront struggled with the Red Sox this year, going 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA in 10 starts before being moved to the bullpen June 24. In seven games as a reliever, Doubront's numbers were even worse -- 11 earned runs surrendered on 15 hits in nine innings pitched.

The majority of that damage came on Monday night -- Doubront's last outing in a Red Sox uniform -- as the 26-year-old allowed six runs on six hits while only recording two outs. To observers Doubront seemed disinterested on the mound, perhaps a result of his reportedly expressed desire to return to the team's starting rotation days earlier.

"I don't know that two nights ago triggered a trade," manager John Farrell said Wednesday. "I don't think any trade just happens overnight."


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Nate Schierholtz isn't trade chip anymore

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
8:00
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- It wasn’t supposed to happen this way for Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz.

Coming off a career year -– and entering his free-agency season -– Schierholtz either was going to parlay another good six months into a multiyear deal or at least be traded to a contender by this Thursday’s trade deadline. Now, neither is likely.

“Why waste my time worrying?” Schierholtz said Tuesday before taking the field against the Colorado Rockies. “Obviously this year hasn’t worked out how it could have. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

[+] EnlargeSchierholtz
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastNate Schierholtz believes his .201 batting average is a result of "trying to do more than last year."
Schierholtz was a sure-thing trade chip for the Cubs when the season started. He’s a left-handed bat about to go to free agency for the first time in his career. The Cubs have no need for a 30-year-old outfielder with those credentials.

But then the season started and nothing went right.

“I started tinkering with my swing,” he said. “Trying too hard. Trying to do more than last year. I put too much pressure on myself. It was a big learning experience."

His batting average hovered just above .200 for most of the season, and is down to .198 after an 0-for-7 game on Tuesday. His power, which produced a career-high 21 home runs in 2013, has been nearly nonexistent. He has six home runs this season.

“Was trying to make up for a month every day,” Schierholtz said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes. It went downhill. Just working to get back to how I felt last year. That’s been my goal.”

Schierholtz could still be moved, of course. A team would have to hope a change of scenery makes the difference or hope for a return to 2013 form somehow.

He’ll inevitably be put through waivers next month, as well. A team could get him for nothing at that point.

“In spite of the nonproduction he still gives you as good an at-bat as he can,” said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. “We’ll just keep allowing him to have opportunities to play, and we’ll see if he can find his way out of this little rut.”

Schierholtz isn’t sure how he got to this point and, frankly, he’d rather forget about most of it. It’s been that bad.

“Maybe a combination of things, but a slow start didn’t help,” he said. “It is what it is; can’t wear out thinking about it. But I think I’ve learned from it.

“I’ve moved on from all that. Too much thinking sometimes.”

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Rockies 3, (F/16)

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
1:56
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 in 16 innings on Tuesday night. Here’s a quick look at a long game:

How it happened: Starlin Castro drove home catcher-turned-relief pitcher John Baker with a sacrifice fly in the 16th to end the longest game in the histories of the Cubs and Rockies. Baker pitched the 16th inning to earn the win after the Cubs used eight pitchers, including starter Edwin Jackson, who lasted just four innings. Jackson labored through a 35-pitch first inning as Nolan Arenado and Justin Morneau had RBI doubles that produced three runs. The Cubs got one back in the bottom of the inning as Rizzo drove in Emilio Bonifacio, who had doubled. Three innings later, Bonifacio tied the game with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot. It stayed 3-3 all the way until the 16th inning.

Jackson lasted just four inning, throwing 105 pitches. He walked three while giving up six hits and three runs.

[+] EnlargeJohn Baker
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastCatcher -- and relief pitcher -- John Baker scored the winning run in the 16th.
What it means: Jackson is doing the Cubs no favors by throwing so many pitches in so few innings. Little did he know his bullpen would have to throw 12 innings, but his team needs him to spare its taxed relievers. However, in start after start he continues to let them down. And his fielders can’t like his slow pace, either. Though it was “only” three runs, the outing seemed a lot worse due to the high pitch count.

Bonifacio is playing his way out of town as he has gotten hot at the right time for the Cubs. He was a triple shy of the cycle, collecting four hits while raising his batting average to .400 since his return from an oblique injury. Barring a strange twist, Bonifacio should be moved before Thursday’s 3 p.m. CT trade deadline.

Baker pitches: Catcher John Baker became the first position player to pitch in a game for the Cubs since August 2012 when Joe Mather threw against the Milwaukee Brewers. He induced a popup, then walked a hitter before inducing a double-play grounder. Then he came to the plate, walked and scored the winning run a few moments later.

Longest game: It was the Cubs' longest game in franchise history, the 6 hours, 27 minutes surpassing the 6:10 played on Aug. 17, 1982.

What’s next: Game 3 of the series takes place on Wednesday night when Travis Wood (7-9, 5.06) takes on Brett Anderson (1-3, 3.24).
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CHICAGO -- Catcher John Baker scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning after pitching a scoreless top half, and the Chicago Cubs overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Baker scored on Starlin Castro's fly to end game that lasted 6 hours, 27 minute, a record for longest game by time for both teams.

Chicago used seven relievers before Baker (1-0) became the first Cubs position player to take the mound since Aug. 27, 2012, when Joe Mather faced Milwaukee.

The Rockies also used all seven relievers in their bullpen, then turned to Tyler Matzek, a starter in the 16th.

Matzek (2-5) walked Baker to lead off the inning. Baker advanced to second on a sacrifice, then third on Anthony Rizzo's bloop single before scoring.


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Cubs will be 'active' at deadline

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
7:15
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Saying he's "envious" of buyers in the trade market as the Thursday deadline approaches, Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer says he thinks his team will be active and believes the market will start to move Wednesday.

"Tomorrow is moving day," Hoyer said before Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Rockies. "Things will get a lot more serious as we move into tomorrow. People are somewhat reluctant on the last day. You get too close to the deadline you can cut short your medical process and things like that. I just feel like tomorrow is the day, as we get to tomorrow evening is when a lot of people hone in on the deals they want to make."

Hoyer likened it to finding a "dance partner" and says he believes the Cubs should find one before Thursday's non-waiver deadline.

"I expect to be active," Hoyer said. "We're having a lot of conversations."

Those conversations involve infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, among others, according to a source familiar with the Cubs' situation. Hoyer said there would undoubtedly be more urgency for the Cubs if they hadn't already traded pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel earlier this month. Now it's about maxing out on some smaller deals.

"Free-agent markets are pretty thin now and you can trade a guy under club control, and unless you have a prospect that can do that same job, all that means is you're right back on the market this winter trying to find the same skill set," Hoyer said. "We're certainly aware of that and the price of the guys that are under club control certainly reflects that."

In other words, players such as Chris Coghlan, Justin Ruggiano, Luis Valbuena, Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta aren't in a group that the Cubs benefit highly from moving. Nate Schierholtz, Bonifacio and pitcher Carlos Villanueva are scheduled to become free agents after this season, so moving them makes plenty of sense. Left-handed relievers are always wanted commodities near the trade deadline, so Wesley Wright and James Russell could actually bring the Cubs back some prospects.

"People try to find a dance partner on the 30th and 31st [of July]," Hoyer said.

The Cubs found their partner in Oakland when the Athletics traded prospect Addison Russell for Samardzija and Hammel earlier this month, but that doesn't mean the Cubs are done dancing. Hoyer wouldn't mind it being the last time they're sellers.

"[Cubs president Theo Epstein] and I spent all those years in Boston always trying to buy," Hoyer said of he and the Cubs' current team president. "Some years we were active and some years we weren't, but we were always in that deal flow on that other side. That's the side you want to be on."

Edwards back to Tennessee

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
7:05
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards should be making his next start for Double-A Tennessee after completing a long rehab in Arizona, according to general manage Jed Hoyer.

Edwards has been out since late April because of shoulder soreness after making only four starts this season. He has been pitching for the Cubs' rookie team in Mesa where he threw 3 2/3 innings Monday.

"He was a little wild early but overall good stuff," Hoyer said. "He was up to 94 mph."

Edwards was the centerpiece of a five-player deal that sent Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers last July. He had two MRI exams on his right shoulder, in April and then later in the summer, showing no structural damage.

"He looked free and easy," Hoyer said. "He's excited to get back out there."

Edwards threw a total of 5 2/3 innings in Arizona giving up one earned run.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .285
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .907
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOT. Wood 108