Cubs

Quade a 'non-stop ball of energy' at Cubs camp

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Quade a 'non-stop ball of energy' at Cubs camp

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011Posted: 1:06 p.m.

By David Kaplan
CSNChicago.com

The latest from Cubs camp for Thursday, and Friday February 24, 25...

Thursday

Mesa, AZ: Today the entire team spent a considerable amount of time working on base running with first base coach Bobby Dernier teaching and instructing the entire team on what is expected of them.

Camp is run in stations and with no time wasted moving from field to field. Pitchers I saw on the mound today included Randy Wells and Jeff Samardizija who are both hoping to make the team after very disappointing 2010 campaigns. Samardizija is showing excellent velocity while Wells looks trim and very eager to put last season behind him.

Baseball Tonight has their Baseball 2011 bus here today with Tim Kurkjian and John Kruk and they interviewed Ryan Dempster, Mike Quade, and Marlon Byrd as they preview the Cubs. Dempster did a spot on impersonation of Chris Farleys Matt Foley character that was so good that it will probably go viral...

Aramis Ramirez looked great in a live BP session as he ripped line drive after line drive. Also, looking good was Tyler Colvin...

Manager Mike Quade was right in the middle of a base running drill and was nearly smoked by a line drive that came right back through the box. Quade was on the pitchers mound teaching and deftly snagged the shot with his glove, drawing a large cheer from the fans in attendance at Fitch Park...

Quade also announced the scheduled pitchers for the first four exhibition games:

Sunday: Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza

Mon: Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner

Tuesday: Ryan Dempster, Todd Wellemeyer, and Casey Coleman

Wednesday: Carlos Silva, James Russell

Friday

Today is moving day for the Cubs as they officially end the Fitch Park portion of camp and move over to Ho Ho Kam Stadium with Cactus League play opening on Sunday when the Cubs play the Oakland As. The locker rooms are filled with boxes as the clubhouse staff led by the incomparable Tom Otis Hellman and Gary Stark are packing up the stuff they just unpacked a few weeks ago and moving it just a mile away to the stadium where the Cubs play their spring training home games. Having to move in the middle of camp just further demonstrates the need for a new spring training facility. The people who run the current facilities are extremely dedicated and very nice but the Cubs have extremely outdated facilities compared to the rest of the teams in the Cactus League.

Lots of work in the batting cages again today as all of the players seem to really be buying into Rudy Jaramillo and his philosophy. In fact, one player said to me that upon his arrival in camp last week, Aramis Ramirez went to Jaramillo and asked to work with him to make sure he gets off to a great start. Thats a far cry from a year ago when he and Derrek Lee went about their work themselves despite being mired in terrible slumps.

Just watched a GREAT teaching moment this morning as Mike Quade stopped a contact drill (where the Cubs have men on first and third and have the runner on third going home on contact) to instruct top prospect Brett Jackson who was the base runner on third. Jackson tried to score when he clearly had no chance on a ball hit right back to the pitcher. Quade stopped the drill to instruct Jackson and told me this after he finished his teaching moment.

I had to tell him that the base runner on third has the responsibility on a hard hit ball that he cannot score on to get caught in a rundown long enough to allow the man on first to get to second. That makes the best out of a bad situation because the man on third will be tagged out. He was hustling on the play but I have to make sure he understands the correct way to run that play. We saw great energy from Quade and it is great to see him stressing fundamentals to this degree.

Again, I cannot stress to you enough the energy that is evident in camp. Long time baseball writer Tim Kurkjian told me yesterday that he has visited all of the camps in Arizona and the energy at Cubs camp was something he hadnt seen in a long time. That is all a tribute to Mike Quade who is a non-stop ball of energy from the moment he arrives at camp, which is around 6 a.m. until well into the evening.

Tune in for a live report from Cubs spring training today on CTL at 5:30 and on SportsNet Central at 6:30, 10:00 and midnight

David Kaplan is the host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet. Follow him on Twitter @thekapman.

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

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USA TODAY

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

Suffice to say Kris Bryant is budding with anticipation for becoming a father.

Bryant and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child — a baby boy due in April. During Friday night’s Cubs-Padres broadcast, the third baseman shared his excitement for fatherhood with reporter Taylor McGregor

“I think this is really what I’ve been put on this Earth to do, is be a dad,” Bryant said, laughing. “Obviously I play baseball pretty good, but I’m just so excited [for] this new journey with my wife and my family. Honestly, I think this is going to be one of the best years of my life.”

Bryant’s son is due shortly after Opening Day, but the Cubs will play two spring training games in Las Vegas — Bryant’s hometown — on March 7-8. He told McGregor one of Jessica’s last doctor’s appointments is around the same time, so Bryant will get one last visit in before Baby Bryant is born.

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How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

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AP

How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

Adam Greenberg’s baseball career was cut short by a scary head injury 15 years ago. But with the help of Dusty Baker, he found the motivation to transition to his post-baseball life.

Greenberg made his MLB debut with the Cubs on July 9, 2005, and Baker called upon the then 24-year-old to pinch-hit in the ninth inning against the Marlins. On the first pitch Greenberg saw in the big leagues, Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit him in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball.

Greenberg was concussed from the incident, suffered from vertigo and vision problems, and battled depression. The Cubs released him in 2006 and he caught on with the Royals and later the Dodgers in 2007 — which is when Baker reappears in the story. From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

A couple of years following the incident, in 2007, Baker got a letter from a fan requesting a baseball card be signed. In the letter, the person told Baker that Greenberg had been released by the Royals and his baseball career was in jeopardy. Baker tracked down Greenberg and left him the voice mail that served as his motivation for a post-baseball life.

“It was so genuine and from the heart,” Greenberg said. “It put me in tears the first time, but it was the motivation and inspiration I needed to get up and keep going. And since then, he’s been somebody that’s been near and dear to me."

It's unfortunate Greenberg couldn’t experience a long big-league career, but Baker inspired him and helped him move forward post-baseball. According to McTaggart, Greenberg started a nutrition company and sold it 10 years later. He also ran for state senate in Connecticut in 2019 and is currently a baseball analyst for the ACC Network.

Greenberg’s career effectively ended moments after it began, but 2005 wasn’t the last time he stepped in a big-league batters’ box. In 2012, fans started an online petition to get him one last at-bat — and his career came full circle. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract on Oct. 2, 2012, and he pinch-hit that same day against the Mets.

Greenberg struck out on three pitches, but Baker’s voicemail left a mark on his life. Seeing him enjoy success outside of baseball is as heartwarming as it gets.