Cubs

Strange reason why pitcher was ejected in DC

797290.jpg

Strange reason why pitcher was ejected in DC

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even without throwing a pitch, Tampa Bay's Joel Peralta left his mark on the game. The reliever was ejected in the Rays' 5-4 victory Tuesday night when Washington manager Davey Johnson asked the umpires to check Peralta's glove while the pitcher was warming up in the eighth inning. The check found "a significant amount of pine tar," according to crew chief Tim Tschida. The umpires carried the glove off the field and tossed Peralta. As the reliever walked off the field, he tipped his cap to the Nationals dugout. "Good for them," Peralta said. "They still lose the game." Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was clearly upset with the umpires on the field, and afterward he called Johnson "cowardly" for requesting the check of the reliever who pitched for the Nationals in 2010. "Insider trading, man. It's bush," Maddon said. "It's bogus. That's way too easy, right there." Peralta did not directly answer when asked if he intentionally added pine tar to the glove. "That's a glove that I use for batting practice every day," he said. "I'm every day playing catch with it, it's hot here -- that's all I'm going to say about it." Jake McGee filled in and pitched a perfect eighth for the Rays, and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth inning for his 20th save. "If somebody has been known to use a foreign substance on their glove or their hat, a nice hot night is the time to use it, so I asked them to check and obviously he had it," Johnson said. "It was a rumor that he liked a little pine tar." Maddon didn't deny there was pine tar on Peralta's glove, but he termed it a "common practice." "Joel is using pine tar and had pine tar in his glove," Maddon said. "I'm saying to suggest he's the only one that's doing it is inappropriate." After Peralta's ejection, Tschida told Maddon he could request a check of one Nationals player in reponse. In the top of the ninth, Maddon asked the umpires to check Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus, but no foreign substance was found. The ejection took the spotlight from David Price (9-4), who bounced back from his worst start of the season. He gave up four runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one. His last time out against the Mets, Price gave up seven runs in five innings. "It was big for me," Price said. "It was good for our confidence and it was good for my confidence as well." The only real blemish on Price's night were a pair of home runs. Ian Desmond hit his career-best 11th in the third and Michael Morse hit his first homer of the season -- a two-run shot in the sixth. It wasn't enough for the Nationals, who lost their fourth in a row, one shy of their season-long slide. Washington starter Chien-Ming Wang (2-3) struggled from the start. He gave up singles to the game's first three batters, with the third by B.J. Upton scoring the Rays' first run. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Morse grounded to third with two outs, but Carlos Pena at first base couldn't handle the bounced throw from Will Ryhmes and Ryan Zimmerman scored on the error. Tampa Bay broke the game open with four runs in the third, kicked off by Pena's two-run homer to center. With two outs and two on Elliot Johnson nearly outdid Pena, missing a homer to the left-center gap by about a foot. Instead, he ended up with a two-run triple. Wang was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up five runs on seven hits. Reliever Ross Detwiler -- who opened the year as the Nationals' fifth starter -- came on and retired the first nine batters he faced before hitting Pena on the elbow in the seventh. That was the only baserunner Detwiler allowed in 3 2-3 innings, striking out three. Tampa Bay hung on to win for the third time in four games, but after the game Maddon was more concerned about a possible stain on Peralta's reputation, and he believed the ejection would cause players on other teams to change their practices. "I promise you one thing," Maddon said, "you're going to see brand-new gloves throughout the major leagues starting tomorrow, with pitchers on every major league ball club." NOTES: Rays OF Matt Joyce left the game in the fifth inning with back tightness. ... Tampa Bay will place RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the 15-day DL and recall RHP Chris Archer from Triple-A Durham to start his major league debut Wednesday. ... The Rays recalled OF Rich Thompson from Durham. ... Nationals RHPs Henry Rodriguez (right index finger) and Cole Kimball (right shoulder) started rehab assignments Tuesday. Rodriguez pitched for Triple-A Syracuse, and Kimball's assignment was with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. ... The Nationals will make up their postponed June 1 rainout with the Braves as part of a day-night doubleheader on July 21.

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

MESA, Ariz. — The first thing Kyle Schwarber told his new hitting coach?

"His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.'"

The Cubs hired Chili Davis as the team's new hitting coach for myriad reasons. He's got a great track record from years working with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, and that .274/.360/.451 slash line during an illustrious 19-year big league career certainly helps.

But Davis' main immediate task in his new gig will be to help several of the Cubs' key hitters prove Schwarber's assessment correct.

Schwarber had a much-publicized tough go of things in 2017. After he set the world on fire with his rookie campaign in 2015 and returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury in time to be one of the Cubs' World Series heroes in 2016, he hit just .211 last season, getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa for a stint in the middle of the season. Schwarber still hit 30 home runs, but his 2017 campaign was seen as a failure by a lot of people.

Enter Davis, who now counts Schwarber as one of his most important pupils.

"He's a worker," Davis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Schwarbs, he knows he's a good player. His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.' He said last year was just a fluke year. He said, 'I've never failed in my life.' And he said, 'I'm going to get back to the player that I was.'

"I think he may have — and this is my thought, he didn't say this to me — I think it may have been, he had a big World Series, hit some homers, and I think he tried to focus on being more of a home run type guy as opposed to being a good hitter.

"His focus has changed. I had nothing to do with that, he came in here with that focus that he wants to be a good hitter first and let whatever happens happen. And he's worked on that. The main thing with Kyle is going to be is just maintaining focus."

The physically transformed Schwarber mentioned last week that he's established a good relationship with Davis, in no small part because Schwarber can relate to what Davis went through when he was a player. And to hear Davis tell it, it sounds like he's describing Schwarber's first three years as a big leaguer to a T.

"Telling him my story was important because it was similar," Davis said. "I was a catcher, got to big league camp, and I was thrown in the outfield. And I hated the outfield. ... But I took on the challenge. I made the adjustment, I had a nice first year, then my second year I started spiraling. I started spiraling down, and I remember one of my coaches saying, 'I'm going to have to throw you a parachute just so you can land softly.' I got sent down to Triple-A at the All-Star break for 15 days.

"When I got sent down, I was disappointed, but I was also really happy. I needed to get away from the big league pressure and kind of find myself again. I went home and refocused myself and thought to myself, 'I'm going to come back as Chili.' Because I tried to change, something changed about me the second year.

"And when I did that, I came back the next year and someone tried to change me and I said, 'Pump the breaks a little bit, let me fail my way, and then I'll come to you if I'm failing.' And they understood that, and I had a nice year, a big year and my career took off.

"I'm telling him, 'Hey, let last year go. It happened, it's in the past. Keep working hard, maintain your focus, and you'll be fine.'"

Getting Schwarber right isn't Davis' only task, of course. Despite the Cubs being one of the highest-scoring teams in baseball last season, they had plenty of guys go through subpar seasons. Jason Heyward still has yet to find his offensive game since coming to Chicago as a high-priced free agent. Ben Zobrist was bothered by a wrist injury last season and put up the worst numbers of his career. Addison Russell had trouble staying healthy, as well, and saw his numbers dip from what they were during the World Series season in 2016.

So Davis has plenty of charges to work with. But he likes what he's seen so far.

"They work," Davis said. "They come here to work. I had a group of guys in Boston that were the same last year, and it makes my job easier. They want to get better, they come out every day, they show up, they want to work. They're excited, and I'm excited to be around them.

And what have the Cubs found out about Davis? Just about everyone answers that question the same way: He likes to talk.

"I'm not going to stop talking," he said. "If I stop talking, something's wrong."

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

2-19_anisimov_kings_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: