Cubs

Whitenack Continues His Mastery In The Florida State League

Whitenack Continues His Mastery In The Florida State League

Friday April 22, 2011
Posted: 9:20 p.m.
CUBSDaytona A
When Robert Whitenack got bumped up to the Florida State League from Peoria late last season, he showed glimpses of what he could do for Daytona. He certainly pitched better in his seven starts for the Cubs than he had in nearly two dozen Midwest League starts, so much so that the parent club was excited to see how he would fare this spring.

Well, Whitenack hasnt disappointed with Fridays effort at Lakeland serving as his latest big outing. Daytona bested the Flying Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium and it was Whitenack that led the way in the 3-1 victory.

Whitenack 3-0 allowed a run on two hits over six innings, striking out seven. His ERA sits at 1.17 through four starts this year and in 11 outings for the Cubs since last summer he is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 62 23 innings. Jeff Lorick and Frabk Batista, who picked up his fourth save, closed out Lakeland and kept Whitenack undefeated.

Matt Cerdas two-run single in the seventh snapped a 1-1 tie. Junior Lake had three hits from the leadoff spot after going 3-for-14 there previously this season.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies took the rubber game of a five-game series at Carolina Friday night, earning a 5-4 victory at Five County Stadium.

Rebel Ridlings solo homer in the fifth inning provided the winning margin for Alberto Cabrera, who earned his second victory of the season. Cabrera allowed four runs on six hits over six innings but the bullpen was dominant with David Cales tossing a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

While Ridlings homer was the game winner and just one of his three hits, James Adduci also had a big game going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks to push his average to .405 through 14 games. Ryan Flaherty had a pair of hits, drove in a run and scored twice.
Iowa AAA
The Cubs banged out 13 hits in only six innings and captured a rain-shortened 7-2 victory over Albuquerque at Principal Park Friday night.

Tony Campana had four hits from the leadoff spot, sparking the first three hitters in the Iowa lineup to go 7-for-11. Brad Snyder had two hits and two RBIs while Lou Montanez had a hit and two RBIs. J.R. Mathes went the distance, scattering four hits and striking out two for the win.
Peoria A
The Chiefs game against Beloit at OBrien Field was rained out and will be made up on Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at noon. Cam Greathouse (0-0, 6.23) will start the opener for Peoria against Logan Darnell (0-1. 4.09). Graham Hicks (0-1, 0.90) will get the nod in the second game against Beloits Adrian Salcedo (0-1, 4.22).

WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
Kyle Sheltons RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Barons to a 3-2 victory over Mississippi Friday night at Regions Park.

Christian Colonel led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Greg Paiml. Ozzie Lewis beat out a bunt hit to put runners on first and second before Sheltons single up the middle put Birmingham in the lead. Andrew Garcias run-scoring single in the seventh knotted the score at 2-2.

Kyle Cofield 1-1 earned the win after throwing one-hit ball over 2 23 innings before Greg Infante picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Winston-Salem A
The Dash and Wilmington were postponed Friday due to weather and will make up the game Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. at BB&T Ballpark.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators and West Virginia were rained out Friday night. They will make up the game on Saturday as part of a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

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?

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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: