Cubs

Word on the Street: Pacers' Granger talking trash

Word on the Street: Pacers' Granger talking trash

Sunday, April 10, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Pacers' Granger talks trash

Danny Granger has is looking ahead to the Bulls-Pacers first-round playoff series, making a comment that will make him a marked man.

"Boston's a different monster," Granger told the Indianapolis Star. "They don't have the best record in the East, but they won championships. They know how to do it. They have four, five guys you have to worry about, from (Paul) Pierce, (Rajon) Rondo, (Kevin) Garnett and (Ray) Allen.

"Chicago, they go as Derrick Rose goes. If you make a concerted effort to stop Derrick Rose, you have a better chance to beat them." (chicagotribune.com)
Cubs sign veteran pitcher Ortiz

The Cubs have signed veteran right-hander Ramon Ortiz to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa.

Ortiz spent the 2010 season with three different organizations - the Dodgers, Mets and Rays - and finished with a 6.30 ERA over 16 major league appearances (two starts).

The 37-year-old will serve as starting rotation depth for the Cubs, who lost both Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells to injuries this past week.

Ortiz has a 4.93 career ERA and 1.42 career WHIP over 274 total appearances. He spent 2008 in Japan. (hardballtalk.com)

Yankees ink Silva to minor-league deal

According to SI's Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees signed Carlos Silva to a minor league deal Saturday.

The Yankees have been searching for starting pitching help all season and also have another former Cub Mark Prior in their minor leagues.

Silva was released by the Cubs just before the regular season started after the right-hander had some choice words to say about the organization. (Twitter--SI_JonHeyman)

Turco likely to change uniforms?

NHL free agency 2011 is not too far away. For goaltenders, there is a strong crop of high-profile free agents. According to the Bleacher Report, Marty Turco ranks on the top 11 goaltenders who are most likely to change uniforms.

Turco signed a one-year deal before this season, but quickly lost the job to rookie goalie Corey Crawford. And more and more, it's looking like Crawford is in the position of being the Blackhawks starter for a long time.

Turco is a free agent this summer, and could sign with a club that needs a starting goaltender. (Bleacher Report)

Manny Ramirez retiring

Major League Baseball has announced that Manny Ramirez has retired and that the announcement came after he was told of another issue with the drug treatment and prevention program.

Ramirez was 1 for 17 with the Tampa Bay Rays this season. In 24 games with the White Sox in 2010, Ramirez hit .261 with one home run and two RBIs. (hardballtalk.com)

Peyton Manning is a dad!

Congratulations are in order for Peyton Manning. The QB missed Wednesday morning's antitrust hearing because his wife Ashley gave birth to twins. Mom and the little boy and girl (Marshall Williams and Mosley Thompson) are all doing well. (Pro Football Talk)

Agreement reached for Detroit Pistons sale

Michigan native and billionaire financier Tom Gores has reached a deal to purchase the Detroit Pistions. After months of negotiations, the Pistons have confirmed the sale has been agreed to. The terms of the deal remain unknown, but it does include The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre.

We are pleased to welcome Tom Gores as the new owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment, owner Karen Davidson said in a statement. Just as my late husband, Bill Davidson, was the face of the Pistons, I am confident that Tom will bring the same energy, dedication and love to this organization. I look forward to seeing Tom follow in Bills footsteps, and carry on his legacy. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Kyle Ryan's emergence is coming at exactly the right time for Cubs

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AP

Kyle Ryan's emergence is coming at exactly the right time for Cubs

With the MLB trade deadline two weeks away, bullpen help figures to be on the Cubs' wish list.

But thanks in part to Kyle Ryan's emergence, the Cubs don't absolutely need that reliever to be left-handed (though it would probably be ideal).

The Cubs began the week with three southpaws in their bullpen, but at some point this weekend, Ryan may be the lone lefty remaining. Mike Montgomery was traded to the Royals late Monday night and with Carl Edwards Jr. progressing in his rehab (he threw again Tuesday), he might take Randy Rosario's spot in a couple days. 

The Cubs like Edwards against lefties and they also feel confident in Pedro Strop against either handed hitter when he's on. But Ryan has worked his way into Joe Maddon's Circle of Trust and is currently the only lefty residing there.

That's not to say the Cubs don't need another reliable southpaw in the 'pen, but Ryan looks like he's going to get some big outs for this team down the stretch.

"He's done a great job for us since he's been here," Jon Lester said of Ryan last month. "I don't think he gets enough credit for what he's been able to do."

Ryan impressed the Cubs with his work as a multi-inning reliever in Triple-A last season and turned heads again in camp this spring. Still, Rosario made the Opening Day roster over him, though Ryan got called up on the team's season-opening road trip and made his first appearance on April 6.

Since then, he's been a mainstay while Montgomery battled injury and ineffectiveness, Rosario and Tim Collins have bounced between Triple-A Iowa and Chicago and veteran Xavier Cedeno's time off the injured list was short-lived.

Ryan looked to be finding his way throughout his first month in the bullpen, but after his infamous "freeze" moment against the Marlins, he endured some struggles (7 runs allowed on 12 hits in 7 innings from May 8 through June 1).

He's righted the ship since then, permitting only 1 run over his last 17 appearances (14 innings) and lowering his season ERA to 3.21 to go along with a 1.31 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 33.2 innings.

A big part of that recent success can be tied to Ryan's increased improvement against left-handed hitters. 

Lefties hit .344 with a .405 on-base percentage off Ryan through June 5. But since then, Ryan has surrendered only 3 hits — all singles — and zero walks to the 19 left-handed hitters he's faced (.158 AVG).

He credits part of that turnaround to working on a changeup, which he thinks has helped lock in the "feel" of all his other pitches as well as his mechanics. 

As he works to add a new pitch to his repertoire, Ryan has leaned on Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy for assistance, while also picking the brains of veterans like Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks and Brad Brach who have all thrown changeups for quite a while.

But even with all that work, he still hasn't resorted to using the changeup much in games. The pitch is so foreign that it's still being picked up as a sinker, including on the Wrigley Field video board Sunday when he threw one in his inning of work.

"Eventually, I'm gonna find the changeup and it's gonna be a comfortable, confident pitch," Ryan said. "But I do think it's gotten me behind all the rest of my pitches and it's maybe a little bit better feel for everything. It's gonna stay where it is for a while. I'm gonna keep trying."

Ryan said one of the things he likes about the changeup is that it can eventually be a nice weapon because it "goes in the opposite direction" of all his other pitches.

We'll see if the new pitch can ever become a factor for the 27-year-old. But if it's helped lock in his other pitches, that's great news for the Cubs, especially as they look to fortify their bullpen this month.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The Yu Darvish 1st Wrigley win and post-ASG hot start podcast

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The Yu Darvish 1st Wrigley win and post-ASG hot start podcast

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki discuss Yu Darvish's 1st win at Wrigley, Cole Hamel's status, and Kris Bryant playing better than he did in his MVP season.

01:00     Darvish picking up 1st win at Wrigley

03:30     Cole Hamels injury update

05:00     Starting rotation after the All-Star break

06:00     Cubs defense looking sharp

07:30     How the Cubs will approach the weekend and the expected heat

09:30     Kris Bryant playing above his MVP level

12:00     How the NL Central stacks up

14:00     Upcoming road trip to San Francisco, Milwaukee and Saint Louis

16:00     Addition to Martin Maldonado

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

Cubs Talk Podcast

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