Cubs

Word on the Street: Harry Caray statue vandalized

Word on the Street: Harry Caray statue vandalized

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Harry Caray statue defaced

The statue of legendary announcer Harry Caray outside of Wrigley Field was found defaced Sunday with white spray paint graffiti on the base. Nobody is quite sure when the graffiti first appeared nor what the vandal was aiming to say. The first word "Sox" is very readble, but another not-quite-intelligible word appears underneath.

Cubs officials said they learned about the vandalism just before 5:30 p.m. and the team responded by removing most of the white spray paint. (Chicago Tribune)
Sox-Yankees trade looming?

With Andy Pettitte's retirement announcement this week, the New York Yankees are suddenly searching for some starting pitching help. While guys like the Indians' Fausto Carmona are on the block, could the Yanks be more interested in what the White Sox have to offer?

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune believes it could very well be possible and even went so far as to indicate the Sox dealing John Danks in a massive, high-profile trade. (Chicago Tribune)

Singletary next in line as Bears coach?

Legendary Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, the captain of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning defense, may be back on the sidelines for his old team, but in a completely different capacity. After Singletary was relieved of his post as the San Francisco 49ers head coach earlier this season, the outspoken former player took a job as the linebackers coach with the Minnesota Vikings alongside Leslie Frazier, another former Bear from that 1985 squad.

However, Singletary said he feels weird coaching against the Bears in the same division and if a situation ever presented itself in Chicago, he wouldn't dismiss it. (Chicago Tribune)

Urlacher received same shot as Cutler

It has been reported recently that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher received the same shot of Toradol as quarterback Jay Cutler did to play in the NFC Championship game. Urlacher was suffering from a sprained wrist and a few other minor injuries, but is still upset that people continue to question Cutler's injury or toughness.

Safety Chris Harris also reportedly took a shot to help alleviate pain from a hip injury. (ProFootballTalk.com)

Melo will only sign extension with Knicks

The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes have created much buzz in the NBA this season, with reports of the superstar forward potentially being traded to such teams as the Bulls and the New Jersey Nets. But, it's the New York Knicks that really look to be in the best shape for the services of Melo, as Anthony's agent told teams he was only interested in signing a contract extension with the Knicks. (ProBasketballTalk.com)
Pistons deactivate with Rip Hamilton

The Detroit Pistons have done away with shooting guard Richard Hamilton, deactivating the former star. The move is not permanent, but with rumors circulating all season that Detroit was looking to trade Hamilton, it appears he may have played his last game in a Pistons uniform. (ProBasketballTalk.com)

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What's up with Jon Lester?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: What's up with Jon Lester?

David Haugh, Hub Arkush and Ben Finfer join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Cubs had chances but fall to the Phillies after Jon Lester gets roughed up again. Is anybody worried?

4:00 - It's Kap's daily call for the Cubs management to sign Craig Kimbrel.

8:00 - The White Sox look for a split. Do they need to try to compete in the division or just focus on developing their future stars?

13:00 - The Bears' Top 100 players list is out. The guys debate if Brian Urlacher is too low and if "The Fridge" should have cracked the list.

20:00 - Drake's shoulder rub is dominating the Eastern Conference Finals. The guys weigh in on the touchy subject.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

Is Ian Happ nearing a return to Chicago?

In a surprise move at the end of spring training, the Cubs sent the 24-year-old switch-hitter down to the minor leagues to work on his swing and try to cut down on strikeouts.

Happ's numbers in Iowa don't jump off the page at you (.240/.362/.422), but it looks like he may be turning a corner of late. He homered Monday night then went 4-for-4 with another homer, 2 doubles and 5 RBI in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday.

That's obviously a very small sample size, however, and even including that, Happ is still struggling to make consistent contact. He has struck out 14 times in 25 at-bats over his last 8 games. 

His overall strikeout percentage on the season is 25.9 percent — a major improvement on the 36.1 percent mark he struggled through in the big leagues last year. But Happ had never struck out more than 23.6 percent of the time in a season coming up through the minor leagues, so that number is still higher than the Cubs would like to see.

"If [the mini hot streak] were sustained, you'd have to really start listening," Joe Maddon said. "I'm following him via video, watching the at-bats. I'm doing that almost daily with him. I know prior to that, he had still had some problems with strikeouts. 

"And then hit a home run the other day and that seems like that's led to this other home run. That would be primarily a call on the front office and the minor-league part [on when to call him up], but I will watch the video. The home run I saw, I liked. I thought he had much better balance on the entire swing."

Obviously the Cubs aren't going to overreact to a couple games and deem Happ ready to return to the big leagues based off a handful of at-bats.

But there's also a solid case to be made that he could help the club in Chicago right now.

Despite a hot start to the season, the Cubs' role players have really fallen off the last few weeks and much of the offensive damage has come from the big boppers (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Willson Contreras) recently.

There's no indication Ben Zobrist is coming back anytime soon, as Maddon said Thursday morning he hasn't spoken to the veteran in a couple days. 

David Bote and Jason Heyward have looked better this week, but they were struggling for the first couple weeks of May. 

Daniel Descalso has really been scuffling, hitting .097 with only 1 extra-base hit in May and his defense at second base has been below average.

Then there's Mark Zagunis, who isn't doing much of anything for the Cubs — literally. He hasn't started a game since April 26 and hasn't seen even one inning in the outfield since then, either, serving exclusively as a pinch-hitter for the last month.

So if the Cubs decide soon that Happ is ready to return to the big leagues, they have a simple decision on the roster spot and right now, there might be an avenue to a decent amount of playing time either at second base or the outfield.

Happ may not be the best or most experienced defender at second base, but he's seen some time there in the minors this season (59.2 innings) and he can also play either of the corner infield spots and all three outfield positions.

But would it be prudent for the Cubs to call up Happ if they don't even have room for him to play every day? That could throw a wrench in his development, which is clearly something the organization has been committed to.

Albert Almora Jr. is still easily the best centerfielder on the roster and has been great offensively for the last month, so it's not like he's done anything to deserve falling back into a platoon with Happ in center like they shared for much of 2018.

"It's hard. You would want to [call him up only if there's ample time to play him]," Maddon said. "But if you could morph him in and there's a platoon that's worthwhile, you could do that, also.

"But part of him being [in the minors] right now on a consistent basis is to get these kind of at-bats to get this all worked out and you would not want to lose that, either. But when he were to come back, being that he could hit left-handed obviously permits us to do other things."

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