Searching for answers, Ian Stewart goes on DL


Searching for answers, Ian Stewart goes on DL

Searching for answers, Ian Stewart will visit the Cleveland Clinic and see another specialist about the left wrist injury thats been nagging him since last August.

The Cubs third baseman landed on the disabled list on Thursday, and didnt know if surgery would be an option. He hopes another medical opinion will reveal something different and clarify what happens next by early next week.

In a way, you almost kind of hope that there is something there, Stewart said, because it has lingered for about a year and nothings ever really come up.

It was just always there in the back of my mind that theres something not right, even though nothing showed up on the MRI or the X-rays. That was the frustrating part, because I still feel it there bothering me.

The Cubs called up infielder Luis Valbuena from Triple-A Iowa, and also activated catcher Welington Castillo from the disabled list while designating catcher Koyie Hill for assignment.

Stewart described a tingling sensation, and having trouble with his swing on inside pitches. He said nerve tests came back negative last season when he played for the Colorado Rockies.

The Cubs did a medical background check when they acquired Stewart in the Tyler Colvin-DJ LeMahieu deal last winter. They thought he could be the power hitter who generated 43 homers combined in 2009 and 2010.

The wrist probably doesnt explain everything, but Stewart admitted it has impacted his performance. Hes batting .201 with five homers and has played in 55 of the teams first 62 games.

Manager Dale Sveum has pointed out the bombs Stewart hits in batting practice, but the player didnt see the parallel: The guys throwing 50 mph and you really have a lot more control over your swing.

I was just trying to battle through it, Stewart said. It just got to the point where I wasnt going to be able to go out there and really produce and help out the team. There was no sense in really being out there if its hurt and not getting any better.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

Carmen DeFalco (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel. Anthony Rizzo returns to the Cubs after an emotional weekend home while Tom Ricketts expects another World Series parade. Plus Hall of Famer Andre Dawson joins Kap to talk about his Cubs reunion and how the current crop unsigned free agents compares to his experiences with collusion. 

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best


Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”


“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.