Bulls

Dale Sveum understands Kerry Woods frustration

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Dale Sveum understands Kerry Woods frustration

Dale Sveum would pull his motorcycle into Miller Park long before the Milwaukee Brewers showed up for work. He earned a reputation as a coach who wouldnt overlook any detail while charting plays and breaking down video.

But the Cubs manager wasnt going to overanalyze what surprised everyone Tuesday night Kerry Wood tossing his glove and hat into the Wrigley Field seats.

No, I missed that whole thing, Sveum said Wednesday.

Do you care that Wood showed his frustration that way?

Do I care? Of course I care, Sveum said. I dont condone it or wish it to happen all the time. But we all know in this game that theres frustration that happens and sometimes we regret things that we do, thats for sure. Were not perfect human beings. But, yeah, I missed the whole thing, so I didnt see any of that.

Wood snapped when a reporter asked about the glove Irrelevant, dude, and why the (bleep) would you even bring that up? and ended the postgame interview.

Wood insists that his right shoulder feels good. He essentially wrote off the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Wood said he didnt want to give in to the cleanup hitter, so he walked Brian McCann. He pointed out that Dan Ugglas go-ahead, two-run single went past the defensive shift.

When things are going bad, Wood said, you dont get breaks.

The Cubs finally admitted last month that Woods shoulder has been bothering him off and on since the beginning of spring training.

The veteran reliever, who will turn 35 next month, hasnt pitched in back-to-back games yet. He has a 14.54 ERA after giving up four runs in his two innings since coming off the disabled list.

This isnt what anyone envisioned when the one-year deal was announced last January at the Cubs Convention.

Its just a matter of getting comfortable and getting in a rhythm, Sveum said. The bottom line is throwing strikes and being able to use your fastball and getting back in counts. And then you still got to be able to use the breaking ball. There are a lot of things to work on, but sometimes it just takes a few times out on the mound.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan was joined by Ben Finfer, David Haugh and Mark Lazerus to discuss the Bulls not tanking well and the Blackhawks tanking too well.

Plus, Alshon Jeffery is heading to the Super Bowl while the Bears stay home. And is the hot stove league about to heat up with Yu Darvish?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

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AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.