Cy Young

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

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USA TODAY

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

In Theo Epstein's end of season press conference on Friday he said that any coach Joe Maddon wants back will return in 2018.

Evidently, there's one coach Maddon didn't want back.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Cubs have fired longtime pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Bosio served as the Cubs pitching coach from 2012-17. He was the team's pitching coach under former managers' Dale Sveum (2012-13) and Rick Renteria (2014), and was retained when Maddon was hired as manager of the Cubs in 2015.

Bosio, who is one of the most respected pitching coaches in baseball, was instrumental in the career resurgence of Jake Arrieta who captured the Cy Young award in 2015, and the development of 27-year-old starter Kyle Hendricks (MLB's ERA leader in 2016).

One reason that could've led to Bosio's firing was the pitching staff's control issues during both the regular season and postseason, which Epstein mentioned during Friday's press conference. The Cubs issued the fifth-most walks (554) in the National League during the regular season and the highest total (53) during the postseason.

As the Cubs hit the market for a new pitching coach, Nightengale mentioned that one name that could be on the radar is former Tampa Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who parted ways with the organization following the 2017 season.

Hickey served as Maddon's pitching coach in Tampa Bay from 2006-2014.

Why Max Scherzer is confident he's in good enough shape to throw 100 pitches in Game 3

Why Max Scherzer is confident he's in good enough shape to throw 100 pitches in Game 3

Max Scherzer needed to reach a threshold to feel confident he could pitch deep into Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday afternoon.

Despite suffering a right hamstring tweak in his final regular season start on Sept. 30, the Washington Nationals pitcher said Sunday that he’d previously felt good enough to be able to pitch earlier in the series. It was simply a matter of how long he could go.

But after Sunday’s throwing session at Wrigley Field, Scherzer said a modified workout program consisting of endurance exercises has him feeling so good that he’s already considered the possibility of pitching in Game 5 if needed.

“I’m very confident as soon as I toe the rubber that, hey, I’m going to be good on pitch one,” Scherzer said. “It’s how long can I go without re-injuring this.

“That’s where we’ve done everything we can to make sure that I can throw 100 pitches and not have this happen. When I get on the mound (Monday), I’m fully anticipating being able throw 100 pitches.”

“I’m feeling a lot better. I feel strong.”

Scherzer’s confidence about his readiness doesn’t stop at Monday’s critical matchup against Cubs starter Jose Quintana. The five-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner said that part of the decision-making process included the possibility about returning in a potential Game 5 relief effort.

[MORE: Jose Quintana has a plan to combat excitement in postseason debut

Rather than push to pitch in Game 2 on Saturday, Scherzer talked to the Nationals training staff about the benefit of a Game 3 appearance. Moving to a Game 3 start allowed for two more days of building up strength. It also still affords him enough time to recuperate in case the Game 5 scenario arose.

“It was a process of going through every scenario and weight the risk versus the reward,” Scherzer said. “We kind of ran down every scenario of what a five-game series looks like and tried to make the best decision possible for the club.”

Scherzer said he and the Nationals training staff identified the weak part of his hamstring and worked to strengthen it. A portion of Scherzer’s recovery program included running distance, pole-to-pole and sprints.

In spite of the pitcher’s confidence, manager Dusty Baker said he’ll keep a close eye on Scherzer.

“I’m going to be looking for any difference or change of arm angles or if he winces or whatever,” Baker said. “We just have to keep an eye on him and you don’t want him to favor that and end up hurting his arm or something. You know, his career is primary to any of this.”

Scherzer identified his hamstring as an “ailment” instead of an injury. He’s had several minor bumps and bruises in what he described as a frustrating season. Still, he’s worked his way into a confident spot. If that weren’t enough, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman provided a little more motivation with their late-inning thunder on Saturday night.

“That was a crazy eighth inning for us,” Scherzer said. “Guys had a little bounce in their step today.”

For now at least, Cubs and Jake Arrieta breathing sigh of relief after hamstring injury

For now at least, Cubs and Jake Arrieta breathing sigh of relief after hamstring injury

PITTSBURGH — A Cubs team that has withstood a wave of injuries and surged back into first place just watched Jake Arrieta walk off the field, clearly in pain and looking for answers.

Could this have been Arrieta’s final start in a Cubs uniform? It’s way too early to assume the worst, or definitively say that the Cubs are in the clear. But walking into PNC Park’s visiting clubhouse after a 12-0 Labor Day loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, it felt like the defending World Series champs were breathing a sigh of relief.

“As of now, I don’t foresee it being much of an issue,” Arrieta said, standing at his locker and explaining what he believes is a cramping issue and not a serious hamstring injury. “It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s going to be OK.”

Arrieta felt a grabbing sensation while throwing his 51st and final pitch, hopping up and down, grabbing his right leg and bending over in discomfort with one out in the third inning. The Pirates already led 3-0 as a group of Cubs personnel huddled around the mound, observing Arrieta as he stretched and tried to simulate his throwing motion.

Arrieta wound up and started his unique delivery before a grimace instantly formed on his face and he realized he needed to shut it down. The training staff worked on the back of his right leg during the game and a Pittsburgh doctor examined a pitcher who said he’s never dealt with hamstring problems before in his career.

The Cubs will reevaluate the situation on Tuesday morning and decide if Arrieta needs to get an MRI.

“Everything looks OK,” Arrieta said. “It’s kind of a foreign feeling. But, yeah, I think it could have been a lot worse. No pop or anything like that, so that’s a good sign.”

The stakes are extremely high for the Cubs and one of the best pitchers on this winter’s free-agent market, a Boras Corp. client who will use his big-game experience and track record of durability to make the case for a nine-figure megadeal.

Arrieta has already proven that he can carry a team during his 2015 Cy Young Award campaign, and he beat the Cleveland Indians twice on the road during last year’s World Series. His performance as the National League’s pitcher of the month – 4-1 with a 1.21 ERA in six starts – helped fuel an August where the Cubs spent every day in first place.

The Cubs have already stretched out lefty swingman Mike Montgomery in a temporary six-man rotation. But Arrieta says he expects to make his next start, which would put him in play for this weekend’s showdown against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.

“Based on how I feel right now, I would think so,” Arrieta said.

It was still jarring to see a player known for his supreme confidence and fitness/strength-training regimen walk off the field with an athletic trainer and disappear into the dugout. This is someone manager Joe Maddon once compared to a male Jane Fonda.

“We’re just going to wait and see how it plays out,” Maddon said. “Even when he was apparently hurting a little bit, he was still going through all the stuff and looked good. Stuff I can’t do on my best day, he’s like putting his nose on his knees.

“I’m thinking: ‘OK, it might be a cramp.’ So maybe it was a cramp. We’ll find out more tomorrow and the next day.”

Arrieta didn’t feel any pain building up and wouldn’t connect the dots from his injury to the two home runs he allowed, with Josh Bell driving a ball into the right-field deck and Max Moroff clearing those seats with one that didn’t splash into the Allegheny River.

But a Cubs team that just reincorporated a $155 million ace (Jon Lester) – and is still waiting for an All-Star shortstop (Addison Russell) and a frontline catcher (Willson Contreras) to come off the disabled list – didn’t lose any ground to the second-place Brewers (3.5 games back) or realize their worst fears with Arrieta.

“We’ll deal with it,” Arrieta said. “We’ll manage it. We’ll get through it. Like I said, I don’t foresee it being a serious deal. But we’ll see how I feel in the morning.”