Cubs

Cubs chairman Ricketts: 'It's surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom'

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Cubs chairman Ricketts: 'It's surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom'

MESA, Ariz. - Donald Trump has gone after seemingly everybody during his campaign and that extended to the Chicago Cubs and their owners earlier this week.

Trump Tweeted the Ricketts family had "a lot to hide" after discovering Marlene Ricketts gave $3 million to an anti-Trump campaign:

 

 

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred brushed aside Trump's Tweet later that day and got together with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts Tuesday in a prearranged meeting.

[RELATED - MLB commissioner Rob Manfred responds to Donald Trump tweet about Cubs owners]

As Tom Ricketts met with the media before the Cubs' first official workout Wednesday, Trump's Tweet naturally came up:

"It's a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom," Ricketts said. "The fact is, whether it's my mom or my dad on his Ending Spending stuff or my sister on marriage equality or my brothers and what they do or what we do with the team, we're pretty much an open book.

"We stand up for what we believe in. We support the causes that we think are important. That's what America should be. That's who we are."

Ending Spending is the Super Pac against President Obama that Joe Ricketts - Tom's father - donated to that caused a stir back in 2012.

When asked what Trump might have been referring to with what the Ricketts could be hiding, the Cubs chairman shrugged.

"Look, if we had something to hide, you guys [the Chicago media] would've found it by now, I'm sure," Ricketts said. "I have no idea."

Sources: Cubs will open 2020 season against Brewers at Wrigley Field

Sources: Cubs will open 2020 season against Brewers at Wrigley Field

For all the dramatic changes to the 2020 schedule, one thing won’t change: The Cubs still open against the Brewers.

Almost four months after the originally scheduled opener, the Cubs and Brewers open their seasons July 24 at Wrigley Field, sources say.

The Cubs and White Sox both open at home that day, with the Sox playing the Twins.

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The Cubs play three series each against NL Central opponents, hosting the Brewers and Cardinals twice each (one road series vs. each) and Reds and Pirates once each (with two trips to each).

The Cubs and Sox play a pair of three-game series.

The full 60-game schedules are to be released at 5 p.m. Monday.

 

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How the Cubs pitching staff prepared for a three-week Summer Camp

How the Cubs pitching staff prepared for a three-week Summer Camp

As the Cactus League shuttered its doors and Cubs players scattered across the country – some headed home, others stayed in Arizona —Tommy Hottovy stepped into uncharted territory.

Hottovy has been the Cubs pitching coach since December of 2018, so he’s guided his pitchers through offseasons before. But going from ramping up in Spring Training to not knowing when Major League Baseball would return? No one had a play book for that.

“Our philosophy was be over-ready and not try to play catchup,” starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood said. “So, luckily we were able to do that.”

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Fast forward to Sunday, Day 3 of Cubs Summer Camp. By the end of the holiday weekend, four of the Cubs’ five presumptive starters had thrown at least two innings in an intrasquad scrimmage and four relievers had also gotten time on the mound.

“It’s just a testament to the work those guys put in over the process,” Hottovy said.

During the shutdown, Hottovy held regular meetings with the pitchers via video conference. They bounced ideas off each other and discussed their overall approach.

“We had so many resources between Tommy, Rossy (manager David Ross), the whole coaching staff staying in touch with us the whole time,” right-hander Kyle Hendricks said. “And then other players. So, we really did it as a group.”

Out of those conversations, Hottovy learned that many of the pitchers wanted arm strength to be a focus during the break.

“Not just pitch-count wise,” Hottovy said, “but to feel that their arm was in the right throwing shape.”

So, he incorporated that into the pitchers’ throwing programs.

Each pitchers’ program was catered to the resources and facilities he had access to, as well as his own goals. But before ramping up for Summer Camp, most of the starting pitchers were throwing one bullpen session early in the week and a simulated game later in the week. As the season got closer, they added a second bullpen.

RELATED: Why Jon Lester hasn't yet thrown live batting practice in Cubs Summer Camp

“The reason I liked getting to those two bullpens,” Hottovy said, “was because now you kind of start simulating what it’s like to be on a five-game rotation.”

By the time they entered camp, many of the starting pitchers were already throwing multiple-inning simulation games. By Day 2 of camp, the Cubs were ready for a short intrasquad game. Hendricks threw three innings, and Yu Darvish threw two.

“Both of them had actually thrown more pitches in a simulated outing prior to coming here,” Hottovy said, “but we wanted to back that off a little bit, obviously knowing that the intensity was going to go up. They’re back on the field with players behind them facing more of our lineup, more of our hitters.”

On Sunday, the Cubs stretched an intrasquad out to five-innings. Chatwood and Alec Mills started, and Dan Winkler, Duane Underwood, Rex Brothers and James Norwood all pitched in relief.

“Everything’s based off pitching,” Ross said and then laughed. “We give the pitchers a hard time all the time; the pitchers kind of dictate how long the day’s going to go because these guys have got to get their pitch counts up.”

With less than three weeks until the season opener, Hottovy’s job still doesn’t return to normal. Instead of setting a schedule based on the order of the pitching rotation, he’s “front-loading” the starters. He also is preparing some relivers to throw extended innings.

“Right now, in my mind we have seven opening day starters,” he said, “…You can’t space them out too much in my opinion just because you can’t take that chance.”

 

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