The Daily CCO: Anthony Rizzo Named NL Player of the Week and Cubs News and Notes

Anthony Rizzo had a very good weekend in Arizona. Rizzo went 5-for-11 in the three games with three home runs and was named National League Player of the Week on Monday.

Rizzo hit three longballs, two on Friday, and drove in four runs. And his 23 home runs on the season equaled a career-high in homers he set last year.

Anthony Rizzo is now tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the National League lead in homers and is tied for fourth in all of baseball in longballs behind Jose Abreu (29), Nelson Cruz (28) and Edwin Encarnacion (26).

Anthony Rizzo is the first Cubs position player to earn player of the week honors since Starlin Castro (Aug. 7, 2011).

Kyuji Fujikawa

The Cubs transferred Kyuji Fujikawa from Kane County to Iowa Monday to continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Fujikawa pitched the seventh inning of Monday’s game and allowed one run on two hits in one inning. Fujikawa did not walk or strikeout a batter and threw 13 pitches, nine for strikes.

PrintA timeframe on when the Cubs will active Kyuji Fujikawa from the 60-day DL has not been given.

Daniel Lewis

According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed non-drafted free agent RHP Daniel Lewis. The 23-year old right hander was pitching in the Cape Cod League.

Daniel Lewis did not pitch after high school instead he served in the military for four years. The report from Baseball America indicated Lewis hit 96 mph with his fastball in his third outing in the Cape, and the Cubs signed him soon after.

Daniel Lewis has a very interesting backstory that BA provided a link to … Lewis Thriving as Cotuit Pitcher After Spending Four Years in the Military.

Rusney Castillo

The Cubs are believed to be one of four teams that have expressed interest in Cuban OF Rusney Castillo. Castillo is scheduled to have a showcase July 26 at the University of Miami with representatives from all 30 teams expected to be in attendance.

Baseball America’s Ben Badler reported Monday that there is an “interesting twist” with Castillo. He will showcase his skills in the outfield as well as in the infield. Castillo has been compared to Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Kenny Lofton in centerfield. And whether or not he will be a starter or a fourth outfielder remains to be seen.

According to Badler, Castillo does not have much experience in the infield and played only 26 games at second base and seven games at third base in 2009-10.

Rusney Castillo is expected to sign soon after his showcase next week.

News and Notes

The Cubs have carried at least eight relievers on the active roster for a majority of the season in order to monitor the innings of the young relievers. And according to a report from the Sun-Times, Rick Renteria has to temper his inclination to rely too much on relievers.

As Theo Epstein bets on big bats, the Cubs believe in Bill Mueller according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Anthony Rizzo wants the young Cubs to step up according to a report from Mark Gonzales.

Minor News and Notes

Kane County announced Monday that RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua was promoted to High-A Daytona. Paniagua was 6-4 in 17 appearances, 14 starts, for the Cougars this season with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Paniagua gave up 71 hits, 36 walks and struck out 75 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Paniagua was the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June.

RHP Ben Wells was promoted from the Boise Hawks to Kane County to take Paniagua’s spot in the rotation.

Javier Baez went 1-for-4 on Monday night and extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Baez reached on an infield single in sixth on a pop up in the infield that fell in between three players. Baez started at second base for the fourth time in five games.

Jorge Soler was 2-for-3 Monday before being lifted in the sixth inning. Soler has reached base safely in each game since he returned from the DL and is hitting .417/.531/.833 in his last 10 games with a 1.365 OPS. Smokies manager Buddy Bailey addressed why Soler left the game early following the game. Bailey said in order for Soler to play Tuesday, he had to come out of the game at part of his program to keep him on the field and avoid future hamstring issues.

Cubs could face a big decision on Kyle Schwarber according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

OF Zeke DeVoss signed with the Oakland A’s and made his debut with the organization Monday night. DeVoss reached on a bunt single in his first at bat for the High-A Stockton Ports.

This Day In Cubstory

2013 – Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers for C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and a PTBNL. The Rangers sent Neil Ramirez to the Cubs as the PTBNL to complete the trade on Aug. 23

2012 – Ron Santo was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. And as a tribute to Santo, as the players took the field in St. Louis that afternoon, they clicked their heels for the Cubs great.

2006 – Cubs traded Scott Williamson to the Padres for Fabian Jimenez Angulo and Joel Santo

1997 – Greg Maddux and the Braves topped the Cubs 4-1. Maddux threw only 78 pitches in the complete game, the lowest pitch count in a complete game since Bob Tewksbury threw 76 in Cardinals win over the Reds on Aug. 29, 1990.

1986 – Cubs fired ballgirl Marla Collins when it was discovered she posed for Playboy. The Cubs won the game that day 6-4 behind Ed Lynch

1975 – Cubs traded Eddie Solomon to the Cardinals for Ken Crosby

1968 – Glenn Beckert hit safely in the 27th consecutive game. Beckert went 2-for-5 in a Cubs 7-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco

1965 – Ed Bailey his a Grand Slam and drove in eight runs in a Cubs 10-6 victory over the Phillies at Wrigley Field

1956 – Scott Sanderson, born

1956 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Moe Drabowsky

1947 – Cliff Johnson, born

1916 – Cubs purchased Fritz Mollwitz from the Reds

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  • Patrick_Schaefer

    In the Mark Gonzales report link above it says the Mariners are looking for shortstop help but have also continued to keep an eye on Cubs OF Junior lake since spring training.
    I wonder if the Mariners are interested in moving Lake back to SS.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Good point. How good was Junior viewed defensively at SS? I don’t have any memory of it. If he’s more comfortable at SS, it could help his bat by playing a position where he doesn’t have to think as much. He certainly seems athletic enough and has the length to cover SS.

      • daverj

        He was very poor defensively at SS. I could see him playing there on rare occasion for a team, but I don’t think any team would look at him as an everyday SS.

        • Patrick_Schaefer

          He had the range and ability just a lot of errors he still has the ability but needs a lot of work defensively.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        He had range and ability but a lot of errors needed a lot of work defensively.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Great article about Mueller and his effect. Love the quote from the NL exec regarding Rizzo that said “he looks locked in, ready to pounce, with almost no holes in his swing.”

    I can imagine the effect watching that 30 for 30, about the Red Sox first title run, had on the group of players in the clubhouse. Looking up and seeing Bill Mueller and knowing he’s now the guy coaching you. Had to really give them respect for him. Sounds like he’s pushing the right buttons. To me, he’s perfect. He wasn’t the greatest hitter, but he worked his butt off and turned himself into a batting champion. The most gifted guys usually don’t make the best coaches. Mueller is perfect, IMO.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Good to hear the attitude of the players in the Gonzales article. They get what’s going on and are excited about where the franchise is. There doesn’t seem to be any moping or excessive frustration. I’m sure people will say that of course they will say that in public, but I don’t think there is any reason to doubt the sincerity. Everyone in baseball sees what’s going on. Price, Lester, executives. Everyone seems to realize this franchise is poised. Even the doubters here, despite not being happy with everything, realize that we’re close now.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Sharma’s article about Schwarber makes the point I’ve tried to make about his timeline. That because of the chance that the team will be very competitive in 2016, his rise through the minors may be accelerated, possibly at the same rate as Bryant or faster. If he stays in LF and continues to hit well, then if we are pushing for playoffs in 2016 they may go ahead and bring him up if they feel he’s a difference maker. I think that right now, if we were in a playoff push, we’d already see Bryant and maybe Baez in Chicago. But since we’re not, they’re being more patient.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Schwarber get time as a catcher. But they also have Zagunis and still Castillo. If he could come up in 2016 as a LF then I’m tempted to say forget him catching and let’s get him up. Also catching can hurt a guys hitting somewhat and with his bat being as special as it is. We may want to sacrifice a lesser hitter to the rigors of behind the plate. It’s a tough call. Glad it’s not mine to make.

    • daverj

      I agree that if Schwarber keeps it up and the Cubs are competitive in 2016, he may be up in June 2016.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        The more competitive a team is the faster prospects will be pushed if they are viewed as someone who can help the MLB team. When you’re going to lose 90 games why not let them develop more and hold back the clock? But when a guy like Schwarber could be the extra piece that pushes us through the playoffs then bring him up.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      Soler, Alcantara, Almora, Schwaber, McKinney, and possibility of Bryant all being in the outfield.

      Someone is getting traded for pitching / catching soon I think

      • DWalker

        or one or two won’t make it. Some of those have a long ways to go. Alcantara can play as a super utility, which is always good to have. I wouldn’t worry too much just yet about where everyone will play.

    • Henry

      I would like to see Schwarber be able to be used as a catcher on occasion or as an option late in games. back in the seventies teams would always have 3 catchers on their 25 man roster. Pitching staffs were only 10 deep. Now that pitching staffs are 11 to 12 deep there is no room for a third catcher. As a result most teams rarely use their backup catcher in a game. Having Schwarber being serviceable at the catching position would give the team flexibilty going forward. Let him continue catching in the minors.

  • John_CC

    That is a great article about Mueller, thanks for the link Neil. If anyone hasn’t read it, do: http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/theo-bets-big-bats-cubs-believe-bill-mueller

    Does anyone still wish the Cubs had given up on Rizzo, seeing him as weak bottom of the order, one way hitter? Jose Abreu has nothing on Rizzo!

  • SuzyS

    Neil, Thanks for the link on Daniel Lewis, “a man among boys”. He’s exactly the type of guy one loves to root for…even if it’s a long shot.