Cubs

No trades yet, but Bowman remains ready to 'pull the trigger'

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No trades yet, but Bowman remains ready to 'pull the trigger'

PITTSBURGH The 2012 NHL Entry Draft had barely begun when the trades did, too, the blockbuster coming just a few minutes in when the host Penguins dealt Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes.

But other than that first wave, it was a pretty quiet trade night. The Blackhawks were one of those quiet teams. But general manager Stan Bowman expects the trades to pick up soon and his team could be making moves, too.

Bowman said nothing panned out as the Blackhawks wrapped up Day 1 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Friday. But just because nothing happened tonight didnt mean something couldnt happen soon.

There might be a misconception: unless youre trading draft picks, you dont have to get it done before the draft, Bowman said. We have a full compliment (of picks). Were still open to making moves, but that can happen at any point. I wouldnt rule anything in or out. Were willing to do something if it makes sense. If it does, well pull the trigger.

We didnt have to get done tonight, he said. We could easily do a trade on Monday.

Yes, theres still plenty of time for things to shake out. Theres about a week remaining until free agency, which begins on July 1, and then thats a whole new ballgame. And while the Blackhawks have a full roster, one that Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville said they feel fine moving forward with, shaking things up is probably in the Blackhawks best interests. A source said that defensemen Niklas Hjlmarsson was likely to be shopped.

Bowman wouldnt say what, specifically, he was looking for.

I wouldnt characterize it as one thing, he said. We have a lot of guys who are attractive to other teams. If we can get the right player, well do it.

The talk was still there on Friday. It will probably be there again on Saturday, and continue once all of the GMs leave Pittsburgh. Bowman said hell do whats necessary to improve the Blackhawks. The right deal could do that.

Were open to anything, Bowman said. You cant rule things out. Certain players you wont move. But you have to be able to listen. Opportunities are there but we have to see where it goes.

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

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Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

The Cubs continued their recent struggles, suffering their third straight loss to the Cincinnati Reds. 

But the game was not without it's fair share of drama. The matchup was a back-and-forth affair, up until the Reds blew the game wide-open in the bottom of the third inning. This included a grand slam by Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, the first home run of his career.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to the bullpen following Cincinnati's third inning explosion, and things did not get much better from there.

With the Cubs down six runs in the bottom of the eight inning, Maddon brought in catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. 

This was not new territory for Gimenez, who despite being a catcher, now has 10 MLB pitching appearances to his name. 

Down six runs, Gimenez didn't have a lot to lose. But he got careless with a four-seam fastball in the zone that Reds first basemen Joey Votto homered for his eighth of the year.

Gimenez had a career ERA of 8.00 before Saturday's appearance, and he certainly didn't do much to help lower that figure.

According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers: "Including one today, Cubs relievers have allowed 41.1 percent of inherited runners to score in June, sixth most in the NL." 

A tired bullpen is certainly cause for concern for the Cubs, who are locked into a battle in the NL Central with the Brewers and Cardinals. Maddon was surely hoping to keep his bullpen arms fresh with the move, seeing as the game was already out of reach. 

So yes, the game did end in a 11-2 win for the Reds. But with a grand-slam by a pitcher—on his first career HR no less—and four-seam fastballs from a catcher, Cubs baseball always keep things interesting. 

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.