Cubs

Word on the Street: Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

Word on the Street: Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

A day after multiple reports linked the Cubs as one of the top teams chasing after All Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox are looking to be the victors of the sweepstakes for the slugger's services. On Saturday, the Padres agreed in principle to trade Gonzalez to Boston for a few high-caliber prospects. Gonzalez was reportedly in Beantown Saturday for a physical. The trade is not official yet, but sources indicate it could be complete by the time the winter meetings start on Monday. (Chicago Tribune)

Cardinals acquire Berkman

The St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs' most hated division rival, improved their lineup Saturday by signing free agent Lance Berkman to a one-year deal. The veteran has spent much of the past couple of years as a first basemandesignated hitter, but is returning to his initial position of outfield for St. Louis, as one of the game's best (Albert Pujols) plays 1B for the Cardinals.

Berkman will play left field next season and spell Pujols at first. He is a career .296 hitter with 327 home runs and 1,099 RBIs in 1,629 games. (USAToday)

Crawford back in the net for Blackhawks Sunday

After a one-game reprieve, goalie Corey Crawford is slated to head back into the starting lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks when they take on the Calgary Flames Sunday evening. Crawford is in the midst of a four-game winnings streak, but coach Joel Quenneville went with Marty Turco in the net Friday night, a game the Hawks lost 3-0. (CSNChicago.com)

Medical examiner investigates death at Soldier Field
Last Sunday, the Bears pulled off a big victory over the high-flying Philadelphia Eagles, but there was more than just celebration going on at Soldier Field. There was also mourning for 23-year-old Stuart Haverty, a Woodstock resident who fell to his death at the stadium during the game.

The Cook County medical examiner's office investigated the incident and ruled it to be accidental. Haverty also was found to have been killed after sustaining multiple injuries in the fall, according to the report. (New York Injury News)

Will Illinois football be left out to dry?
Following an uninspired 25-23 loss to Fresno State Friday night, the 6-6 University of Illinois football team may miss out on the Texas Bowl. Northwestern is 7-5, but Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune still feels the Illini are the better choice for the Dec. 29 bowl game. (Chicago Tribune)

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

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USA TODAY

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

Is Cubs manager Joe Maddon taking the heat and covering for Wade Davis while the All-Star closer deals with atypical soreness in his right arm?

“No, no,” Maddon said Tuesday when asked if Davis felt anything unusual that lingered into the National League Championship Series after last week’s all-out effort eliminated the Washington Nationals from the divisional round.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven bullpen battle without Davis throwing a single pitch, the backlash from Cubs fans, Twitter and the national media again putting Maddon on the defensive, the year after he got second-guessed for pushing Aroldis Chapman so hard during the World Series.

This NLCS truly is a bizarro world, with Maddon comparing the Buster Posey Rule to the Chicago soda tax, getting so little benefit of the doubt – the Cubs really did beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 – and working the baseball term “dry-hump” into one answer during Monday’s Wrigley Field press conference.

Maddon said he would have to check first with Davis – who would have almost five full days in between relief appearances – if the Cubs need a four- or five-out save in Game 3.

“Nevertheless, I always check,” Maddon said. “I can’t just assume that.”

Maddon’s Game 2 calculus on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium – sticking with lefty reliever Brian Duensing in a 1-1 game to start the ninth inning and then bringing in John Lackey to serve up the walk-off, three-run homer to Justin Turner – made you wonder if Davis was still dragging after ending Washington’s season and traveling on the overnight cross-country flight that got diverted to New Mexico for about five hours when Jose Quintana’s wife experienced a panic attack.

“I think he just got mentally exhausted,” Maddon said. “Physically, 44 pitches, he hasn’t done that in a while. But also the seven outs and what it meant and the plane ride itself, sitting on the tarmac, there was a lot of non-rest going on right there, so it was harder to recover.

“So, no, he was fine for the last game, but we set up the parameters before the game.”

Maddon is sticking with his story, that he would only deploy Davis in a save situation and not use him for one out against Turner (1.115 career postseason OPS) or have him totally warm up without the guarantee of getting him into the game.

“To put Wade in that position would be wrong on my part,” Maddon said. “We had already talked about the circumstances, so my loyalty there lies with Wade, or my decision-making lies with Wade, nobody else.

“That was a heavy day for him (in Washington). Going into the last game in L.A., like I talked about, we talked about one inning only, and not to get up and not put him in the game.

“If you get him up and sit him down, then you have no idea what it’s going to look like. My responsibility is to him, also, and to the players, so I told him that before the game, so I had to stick with our decision.”

Before finalizing the Jorge Soler trade at the winter meetings, the Kansas City Royals took the unusual step of allowing the Cubs to meet with Davis at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley and go through a physical exam. The Cubs wanted reassurances after Davis spent parts of last season on the disabled list with a forearm strain and a flexor strain.

The Cubs wondered if “dry-humping” had contributed to those injuries, and tried to stay conservative with Davis during his free-agent year, watching him convert his first 32 save chances and using him for three-plus outs only three times during the regular season, all in mid-to-late September.

“If you look at the numbers this year, I thought going into the playoffs his usage has been really good,” Maddon said. “Minimal, in a sense. We didn’t get him up hardly at all where we didn’t utilize him.

“He just wasn’t set up for it the other day. So honestly, I think he’s in really good shape right now, actually. I don’t think he could have gone those seven outs the other day if he had been overly dried up during the course of the season. He felt good. But that was above and beyond, and that wasn’t part of the game plan the other night.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

Sports Talk Live is on location at the Brickhouse Tavern at Wrigley Field to get you set for Game 3 of the NLCS. David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Jesse Rogers (ESPNChicago.com) and Bob Nightengale (USA Today) join Kap on the panel. 

Plus, Ben Zobrist and Curtis Granderson drop by to talk about the big matchup.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: