Cubs

Sveum: Marmol, Fujikawa can work together in bullpen

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Sveum: Marmol, Fujikawa can work together in bullpen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Dale Sveum was hunting for quail in Arizona when Robin Yount lost sight of his buddy about 50 yards up on a hill. The Hall of Famer shot the bird and drilled the Cubs managers right ear.
There was blood, but Sveum didnt need any stitches. He shrugged it off, like this sort of thing happens all the time. His ability to maintain equilibrium and laugh at the absurdity might be his greatest strength as a manager so far. You need that on the North Side.
The Cubs lost 101 games last season, including 38 after leading and 14 in the last at-bat. They went 15-27 in one-run games and 14-18 in two-run decisions. Theyre probably going to leave Nashville, Tenn., without making any huge moves this week.
To begin making up the difference in smaller ways, the Cubs think Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa could work together in the back end of their bullpen.
The Cubs planned to meet with Marmols agent, Paul Kinzer, on Tuesday night at the Gaylord Opryland. General manager Jed Hoyer had already spoken with Kinzer since a trade to the Los Angeles Angels collapsed last month, and team president Theo Epstein has also reached out to Marmol.
We see Carlos as our closer, Hoyer said.
Sveum gave another strong vote of confidence for Marmol while welcoming another potential option for late-game situations. Sveum has watched video of Fujikawa and said the Japanese closer could pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.
Hes got that kind of stuff, Sveum said. That ability to do things with three and four different pitches just doesnt come around very often. He can setup. He can close, do anything he wants with the baseball. Hes got four quality pitches and can add and subtract with his fastball. (He) can get left-handers out, so he can pitch in any kind of situation.
Fujikawas two-year, 9.5 million deal is pending a physical and reportedly contains options for 2015. The Cubs could allow Fujikawa to acclimate to a new culture and let Marmol feel the heat at Wrigley Field.
If Carlos is on the team, he will be our closer, and I anticipate Carlos being here, Hoyer said. Anyone can be traded at any time. But as we put together our 2013 team, were certainly expecting him to be our closer.

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

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USA TODAY

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.

Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.

MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.

For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.

The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.

The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.

But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.

If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.

Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.

Rounding out the infield with Addison Russell at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.

Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.

Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 32nd homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa victimized the Tigers pitching staff again on the next night, taking Brian Moehler deep in the 7th inning for a 400-foot solo blast.

The homer tied the game at 3, but the Cubs blew the lead in the bottom of the 7th when the Terrys (Adams and Mulholland) gave up 3 runs. The Cubs wound up losing 6-4.

The Cubs were putting together a really nice season in 1998 that ended with a trip to October. They entered the series with the Tigers with a 42-34 record, yet lost both games to a Detroit team that entered the series with a 28-45 record. The Tigers finished the season 65-94; the Cubs finished 90-73.

Fun fact: Luis Gonzalez was the Tigers left fielder and No. 5 hitter for both games of the series. He spent part of the 1995 season and all of '96 on Chicago's North Side. 1998 was his only year in Detroit before he moved on to Arizona, where he hit 57 homers in 2001 and helped the Diamondbacks to a World Series championship with that famous broken-bat single in Game 7.

Fun fact  No. 2: Remember Pedro Valdes? He only had a cup of coffee with the Cubs (9 games in 1996 and 14 in '98), but started in left field on June 25, 1998. He walked and went 0-for-1 before being removed from the game for a pinch-hitter (Jose Hernandez).