Cubs

Thibodeau facing dilemma with Hamilton, Korver?

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Thibodeau facing dilemma with Hamilton, Korver?

Tom Thibodeau again stuck with Kyle Korver at shooting guard in the fourth quarter and extra session over starter Rip Hamilton -- though Hamilton did play an instrumental role at the beginning of the fourth quarter in Thursdays home win over Miami -- deferring to the reserve sharpshooters recent hot streak and it proved to be the right move, as Korver knocked down a big three-pointer late in the contest to help the Bulls survive.

Remarked the coach: He did it for us all last year, too. Hes a big fourth-quarter player. When he comes off those screens, hes great at creating separation. The bigs are doing a great job of setting the screens and Derricks doing a great job of delivering. If the second defenders there, Kyles a very unselfish player. Hell find the open man, so we can play off of that.

Korver himself said: Its a role that Ive been put to do for a long time and those are shots that I like to take. Ive teammates that look for me and Ive got a good little rhythm going on right now. just trying to be aggressive, take good shots -- I dont want to be out there, just jacking up whatever -- but Im hoping that teammates have confidence in me. Jo made a great play in the overtime, just hit me in the corner and just trying to be ready.

However, Thibodeau downplayed the fact that Hamilton -- who was animated in supporting his teammates against his former squad on the sidelines -- wasnt in the game during crunch time.

I thought Rip was terrific. Were going to see how it plays out. Each game, I think Rip does better and better. I thought he was in good rhythm. He had 13 points in 20 minutes tonight. Thats great productivity, so hes coming along about how I would expect, he said. For a guy whos missed as much as hes missed, actually hes playing better than I thought he would, so hes doing fine.

Recently, Thibodeau broke down his thought process with Hamilton.

Were just going to be patient with it. Slowly build it up, he explained. As long as hes playing well that tells you something. Usually, when theres a drop-off, the conditioning component is big. When youve missed the amount of time that hes missed and Derrick has missed, youre concerned about that. You have to get that up to speed.

Were actually very deep at the wing position. As a shooter its enough to be in rhythm, also. You have to strike that balance. We feel good about our wings. Kyle has played well all year. Ronnie has played well. Rip, when hes been healthy, has been terrific. Luol has been great all year and Jimmy Butler has done a good job for us, as well, Thibodeau continued. He has shown you what hes capable of. He had the 18-point quarter the other night. He had 20 points in 20 minutes. I think he can do that but its the efficiency you want him to play with and you want the team to function well on the floor. It gives us something else we can go to. When hes on the floor, he opens things up for people. Hes great moving without the ball, he gets transition baskets and with his catch-and-shoot game, he allows us to play off of that. Both he and Kyle get double-teamed every time theyre coming off a screen and they have the responsibility to make the right play. Rip has been around a long time. Hes seen all the different defenses. He knows where the holes are. Hes very unselfish.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

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AP

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 12th + 13th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

An off-day did nothing to slow down the 1998 National League MVP as Sosa collected his second straight 2-homer game May 27 of that season.

He went deep in the eighth and ninth innings of a Cubs' 10-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, driving in 3 runs. 

The first homer - off Darrin Winston - was an absolute blast, traveling an estimated 460 feet. The second shot was tame in comparison with only 400 feet as a recorded distance.

In a matter of two games, Sosa raised his season OPS from .930 to .988 and his slugging percentage from .521 to .577 thanks to a pair of 2-homer contests.

Fun fact: Doug Glanville - former Cubs outfielder and current NBC Sports Chicago analyst - was the Phillies leadoff hitter that day in 1998, collecting three hits and scoring a pair of runs.

Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis

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USA TODAY

Yu Darvish back on the DL for Cubs with triceps tendinitis

Yu Darvish now has more trips to the disabled list in a Cubs uniform than wins.

The Cubs place their 31-year-old right-handed pitcher on the DL Saturday evening with right triceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 23, so he may only have to miss one turn through the rotation.

In a corresponding move, Randy Rosario was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to provide Joe Maddon with another arm in the bullpen. Tyler Chatwood will start Sunday in Darvish's place.

Thanks to two off-days on the schedule last week, the Cubs should be fine with their rotation for a little while. Jon Lester could go on regular rest Monday, but the Cubs would need to make a decision for Tuesday given Kyle Hendricks just threw Friday afternoon.

That decision could mean Mike Montgomery moving from the bullpen to the rotation for a spot start, or it could be the promotion of top prospect Adbert Alzolay from Triple-A Iowa.

Either way, this is more bad news for Darvish, who has had a rough go of it since he signed a six-year, $126 million deal with the Cubs in February.

Between issues with the weather, the concern of arm cramps in his debut in Miami, leg cramps in Atlanta, a trip to the disabled list for the flu, trouble making it out of the fifth inning and now triceps tendinitis, it's been a forgettable two months for Darvish.

He is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 40 innings with the Cubs.

Over the course of 139 career starts, Darvish is 57-45 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings.