The Daily CCO: Cubs Storylines Galore

Alfonso Soriano, Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild made their return to Wrigley Field. The Cubs honored one of the best players the game has ever seen. And it was the Cubs’ shortstop that presented Derek Jeter with a ‘2’ from the old scoreboard and ‘The Captain’ gave Starlin Castro a big compliment. And, oh yeah, the team’s off-season target was pitching for the Yankees against the player the Cubs signed after losing out on Masahiro Tanaka that has referred to himself as ‘Plan B.’

The Cubs beat the Yankees on a rainy, windy night at the old ballyard and handed Masahiro Tanaka his first loss in his last 43 professional starts dating back to August of 2012.

Jason Hammel and John Baker texted back and forth, according to multiple reports, on Monday, and talked about beating Tanaka and handing him his first loss of the season. And afterwards, Baker said the Cubs beat the Floyd Mayweather of baseball.

Following the game, Jason Hammel said his right hand “gradually got stiffer and sorer” as the game progressed after he took a comebacker off the bat of Brett Gardner on his pitching hand. Hammel stayed in when it looked like the Cubs were on the way to a bullpen night when Hammel’s first warm-up pitch sailed to the backstop. Hammel was able to find his grip and outpitched Tanaka while holding a very good Yankees lineup to one run.

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano received a warm reception in his return to Wrigley Field. There were no boos, but the crowd at Wrigley Field showed more appreciation to Derek Jeter than Soriano prior to their first at bats.

Soriano said all of the right things prior to the game, including the fact it would not bother him if he was booed in his return to Wrigley because he had been booed there before. Soriano admitted to the beat writers that when a team is not playing good and you are the face that team then the player will get booed. And Soriano handled the question with class when he was asked what his best memories are of Wrigley Field, Soriano said the fans.

According to the report from ESPN Chicago, “When I played here they focused on the contract, not the player. I just played every day with pain in my knee and tried to make the team better. They didn’t see that; they saw the contract.”

Alfonso Soriano hopes the Cubs can win soon and pointed out the fans need them to win.

News, Notes and Rumors

Pitchers took fielding practice (PFP) prior to Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field.

Kyuji Fujikawa pitched an inning on Tuesday in an extended Spring Training game. The Cubs have not announced when Fujikawa could start a rehab assignment or set a timetable for his return to the big leagues.

According to Mick Gillispie, Ryne Sandberg was named to the inaugural class of the Southern League Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Sandberg managed the Double-A Tennessee Smokies in 2009.

Entering play Tuesday, the Cubs led the National League in most pitches per plate appearance (3.94).

Mike Olt grew up in New Haven, Connecticut and he used to skip school to go to Yankee Stadium.

And Mike Olt is learning at the big league level. Olt drove in three runs on Tuesday night without a ball leaving the yard. Olt is tied with Starlin Castro for the team lead in RBI (23) in 69 less at bats (Castro 173, Olt 104).

During Tuesday night’s game, Jon Heyman tweeted the Yankees probably do not have the prospects to acquire Jeff Samardzija but they may want to take a look at Jason Hammel. And Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs and Yankees could work out another trade this summer, if the Yankees can offer the Cubs what the front office is looking for in return for either Samardzija or Hammel.

The Cubs have struggled against right-handed pitchers this season … 26th in the baseball versus RHP with a .225/.290/.351 slash line, prior to Tuesday’s game.

Minor News and Notes

Javier Baez went 2-for-4 on Tuesday night with a pair of doubles. Baez has hit safely in each of his last five games. Baez’s last three hits have been doubles.

Kyle Hendricks missed Tuesday night’s start with an ankle sprain according to a report from Randy Wehofer. Carlos Pimentel filled in for Hendricks on Tuesday. Hendricks is not expected to miss his next turn in the rotation.

The I-Cubs added RHP Frank Batista to the active roster Tuesday. Batista took the place of the Marcos Mateo. Iowa placed Mateo on the DL prior to Monday’s game against Round Rock.

LHP Rob Zastryzny returned to the mound on Tuesday for the first time since taking a line drive off his left forearm on May 8. Zastryzny tossed two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts.

The Daytona Cubs announced four roster moves on Wednesday morning. RHP Zach Cates was placed on the 7-Day DL. RHP Jose Rosario was assigned to the Boise Hawks. LHP Tyler Ihrig and RHP Trevor Graham were added to the D-Cubs roster from extended Spring Training.

This Day In Cubstory

2011 – Marlon Byrd was beaned by Alfredo Aceves at Fenway Park

2010 – Cubs signed RHP Bobby Howry

1999 – Cubs acquired Rick Aguilera and Scott Downs from the Twins for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan

1991 – Don Zimmer is fired by the Cubs and replaced by Jim Essian

1968 – Billy Williams set a new record for outfielders in consecutive games played. Williams played in his 659th straight game in a day the Cubs climbed over .500 for the first time that year with a 6-5 victory over the Phillies

1955 – Warren Hacker lost a no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning in Milwaukee when he gave up a home run to George Crowe

1907 – After the Cubs beat the Giants 3-0 at the Polo Grounds in New York, players had to form a protective ring around umpires Hank O’Day and Bob Emslie. Pinkerton guards had to fire shots in the air in order to try to get the unruly crowd that had spilled onto the field to disperse. John McGraw egged on the crowd.

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne