Cubs

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ryne Sandberg talks Cubs teams of past and present

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ryne Sandberg talks Cubs teams of past and present

Former Cub and Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg joins Luke Stuckmeyer on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast. Luke and Ryno discuss:

00:29 - Ryne talks about looking forward to the 2019 season.

01:29 - Sandberg on what changed for him as a player after his MVP season in 1984.

02:53 - Ryne talks about lineup consistency and how much the game has changed for players on a day-by-day basis since he was a player.

05:21 - Sandberg on being the highest paid player in baseball back in 1992, and how it affected his approach to the game.

07:01 - Ryne talks about Lee Smith being inducted to the Hall of Fame, some favorite memories of playing with Smith, and the importance of the bullpen in today's game.

08:39 - Sandberg on the impact assistant coaches can have on a big league team. Coaches were more hands-off when Ryne played, as opposed to the more involved role they tend to take with current players.

11:15 - Ryne talks about the 1984 team, and what the feeling was like leading up to that historic Cubs season.

13:04 -Sandberg remembers the Sutcliffe trade with the Indians in June of 1984.

14:44 - Ryne remembers "The Sandberg Game" from June 23, 1984. Even down to wind conditions and what type of pitches he saw from Bruce Sutter in the 9th and 10th innings.

17:28 - Sandberg on the impact "The Sandberg Game" had on the 1984 Cubs - and the franchise overall. Ryno also recalls the first time he noticed fans on rooftops across the street from Wrigley Field.

19:01 - Ryne talks about the talent on the current Cubs team, specifically Anthony Rizzo.

20:42 - Sandberg on the "unsung heroes" of the 1984 Cubs. Specifically Gary Matthews. Ryne credits "Sarge" with changing his career more than any other teammate.

21:54 - Ryne recalls the atmosphere and fans around Wrigley Field following the Cubs 13-0, game 1 win in the 1984 NLCS vs. San Diego.

22:34 - Sandberg on the difficulty of losing the NLCS to the Padres in 1984. He says it took him weeks to get over the shock that the '84 Cubs would not play in the World Series.

23:38 - Ryne remembers back to the very first Cubs Convention in 1986. Minus-20 degree wind chill and all.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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NL Central could get even tougher as Brewers enter talks with Craig Kimbrel

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USA TODAY

NL Central could get even tougher as Brewers enter talks with Craig Kimbrel

According to a tweet from MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, the Milwaukee Brewers are in the midst of making a big addition to their already dangerous bullpen.

In 2018, Kimbrel posted a 2.74 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 42 saves in 47 opportunities. His five wins in ‘18 were also tied for his career-high in a season.

If he officially signs with the Brewers, Kimbrel would join Josh Hader in the pen, who just finished the ‘18 season with 143 strikeouts and the NL Reliever of the Year award.

Kimbrel would also be joining Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress, all of whom posed big problems for the Cubs at one point or another.

The news of Kimbrel and the Brewers being in talks, combined with the recent news that new catcher Yasmani Grandal’s contract is structured in a way that will allow him to test the market again in 2020, shows that Milwaukee is extremely serious about trying to repeat as back-to-back NL Central champions.

With just over two weeks until the first Cubs-Brewers regular season game of 2019, it certainly appears that winning the NL Central is going to be an arduous task for the North Siders.

Yu Darvish leaves spring start early with blister

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USA TODAY

Yu Darvish leaves spring start early with blister

Yu Darvish Comeback SZN is off to an inauspicious start, but things could've been a lot worse.

With Opening Day just over a week away, Darvish was removed early from his spring start Tuesday afternoon.

Before Darvish could finish his fifth inning of work, Cubs training staff, manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy came out to the mound to investigate the pitcher's hand.

It turned out to simply be a blister issue on the ring finger of his pitching hand:

Cubs nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief. Blisters can be tricky, but that would obviously be a better outcome than anything related to the bone bruise or elbow surgery Darvish had over the winter.

There's also good news in that Darvish doesn't plan on peeing on the blister, despite his teammates' suggestions:

The 32-year-old came to Cubs camp this spring looking like a totally different pitcher after the stress of last season. He was in good health and able to let it go freely on the mound while also conducting media sessions in English and seeming more at ease off the field.

After signing a 6-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs last February, Darvish managed to pitch only 40 innings across 8 starts before hitting the disabled list Memorial Day weekend with what was initially ruled as a triceps injury.

Darvish has 14 strikeouts in 12 innings this spring.

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