The Daily CCO: Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are All-Stars

The National League and American League square off in the 85th All-Star Game Tuesday night at Target Field. And the Cubs’ two young infielders will be in the Senior Circuit’s dugout.

Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo took part in media day and were on the field Monday night for the Home Run Derby. Both players rebounded nicely from down seasons and deserve to be part of the All-Star Game.

Starlin Castro will take part in his third All-Star Game, and he just turned 24 in February. Depending on how Mike Matheny decides to play his reserves, Castro could be the first Cubs player to appear in an All-Star Game since 2012 when he was the Cubs lone representative in the game.

Anthony Rizzo is taking part in his first Midsummer Classic. Rizzo took a big step forward last week in Cincinnati to becoming the leader of the team. Rizzo said Monday that he and Aroldis Chapman put Thursday’s incident behind them.

PrintAnd depending on how Matheny’s uses pinch-hitters and his reserves, Castro and Rizzo could be hitting three-four in the NL lineup late in the game. Troy Tulowitzki is hitting third and Paul Goldschmidt is hitting fourth in the starting line-up for the National League.

The Cubs technically have three representatives in the Midsummer Classic. Jeff Samardzija pitched his way onto the NL squad in a Cubs uniform, but two days before the All-Star Game rosters were announced, he was traded to Oakland. Samardzija will be introduced with the National League team and he will wear a NL jersey during introductions. Samardzija will spend the game in the AL dugout and is not allowed to pitch.

C.J. Edwards, Justin Steele, and Carson Sands

C.J. Edwards announced on his Twitter account early Tuesday morning that he will be back on the mound on July 23. It appears Edwards will pitch in a game for the AZL Cubs that day. The Cubs have not made an announcement or provided an update on Edwards.

Justin Steele, the Cubs fifth round pick in last month’s draft, made his professional debut Monday night. And according to reports from the park, he was pretty good. Steele struck out the side with a fastball that was in the 92 mph range with an effective curveball in the 73-74 mph range.

Carson Sands made his second appearance with the AZL Cubs and retired the side in order with two strikeouts. A report from the park indicated Sands’ fastball was in the 91-92 mph range and he featured an effective change-up and curveball.

Kyuji Fujikawa

Kyuji Fujikawa pitched in his fourth game for the AZL Cubs on Monday night. Fujikawa struck out a batter in a scoreless inning of work. Fujikawa has pitched one inning per outing and he’s given up one hit and walked one batter while striking out five.

Kyuji Fujikawa officially began his rehab assignment on July 6 and, by rule, he can be on a rehab assignment for 30 days before he has to be activated or agree to extend his rehab assignment.

The Cubs have not announced when the team expects Fujikawa to progress to another affiliate in the system.

News and Notes

The Yankees parted ways with Alfonso Soriano Monday. Soriano was released after the Yankees designated him for assignment on July 6. Alfonso Soriano is now a free agent and can sign with any team.

The Diamondbacks announced Monday that Trevor Cahill is back with the big league team and he will start the first game after the break against the Cubs. The pitching match-ups for the three games after the All-Star Game are: Edwin Jackson vs. Trevor Cahill (Friday), Travis Wood vs. Wade Miley (Saturday) and Jake Arrieta vs. Josh Collmenter (Sunday).

Take a minute and just watch …

This Day In Cubstory

1997 – Cubs traded Frank Castillo to the Rockies for Matt Pool

1988 – Cubs released Jim Sundberg

1986 – Cubs released Steve Lake

1984 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and Chuck Rainey to the Athletics for a PTBNL. Oakland sent Davey Lopes to the Cubs on Aug. 31, 1984 to complete the trade. Cubs sent Damon Farmer to Oakland on March 18, 1985 to complete Cubs end of the trade.

1975 – Bill Madlock singled in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and gave the NL a 6-3 victory over the AL in the All-Star Game at Milwaukee’s County Stadium

1960 – Cubs traded Earl Averill and cash ($30-35,000) to the Brewers for Al Heist

1945 – Cubs swept the Giants 5-3, and 7-2, behind Hank Wyse and Hy Vandenberg in front of 43,803 fans at Wrigley Field

1942 – Cubs relief pitcher Hi Bothorn whirled toward the Dodgers dugout and fired a ball at manager Leo Durocher’s head during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field. Lou Novikoff and Jimmie Foxx homered for the Cubs, but the Dodgers won 10-5. Ex-Cubs Billy Herman homered and Kirby Higbe picked up the win. Another former Cubs pitcher, Hugh Casey pitched in relief.

1932 – Cubs purchased Frank Demaree from Sacramento (PCL)

1923 – Barney Friberg hit a grand slam in the 10th inning to beat the Giants 9-5. The win gave Grover Alexander a 29028 record against the Giants.

1916 – Cubs purchased Chuck Wortman from Kansas City (American Association) for $8,000 plus two PTBNL

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Theboardrider

    Great news on CJ! Been waiting to hear that.

    Sounds like Steele and Sands are mowing guys down in Arizona. Hopefully they can get placed in Boise soon.

    Tom how long will the guys havig success in Arizona stay there? For example Torres and Jimenez? Sounds like they are consistently performin in Arizona. Will they move up soon?

    • Tom U

      No. With the exception of some of the draftees that are a bit more mature, they will spend their time in Arizona developing. Patience.

      • Cubs_8

        I’m the most patient guy I know. My friends and family would agree. No one is more patient than a Cubs fan, so excuse us when we start to feel the tide turning and we get a bit excited.

        I don’t comment very often, although I visit the site many times each day. Theboardrider exhibits the optimism and enthusiasm that I have buried within myself the past few seasons, and I wish more people like him left their comments on the site.

        • Theboardrider

          Thank you Cubs! That’s really nice to say and I’m glad you appreciate it. I know some people are rubbed the wrong way by it and I try not to let it big me but sometimes it does. I try to be a nice guy and all but I can the carries away and drug into arguments. I respect everyone’s opinions and am glad every single person that posts here does. And I’m coming to realize that in most things you can’t change anybody’s mind. I do try to be open minded though.

          It’s nice to know someone out there reads this stuff and enjoys it. I get a kick out of the articles and really enjoy the interaction in here for the most part.

          • GaryLeeT

            I like the differing opinions, attitudes and points view. Please don’t take this the wrong way, because I read your comments too, but if they all looked like yours, I would not bother reading the comment section.

          • Theboardrider

            So I guess I hope you’re saying that you enjoy differing opinions?

          • GaryLeeT

            And challenges that ask you to reveal how that opinion was formulated. BTW, that’s a euphemistic “you”

          • Theboardrider

            Lol! Yeah I was on a tear Sunday. I woke up and saw all these “facts,” presented that I personally disagreed with so I wanted some clarification 😉

        • Denver Mike

          There’s nothing wrong with optimism and excitement, it’s certainly more refreshing than much of the negativity that some fans exude! I do think that sometimes the optimism gets a little excessive though, and when we are talking about to starting to fast-track 17 year old kids through the system it sounds a little silly.

          Without putting words in his mouth, I suspect what Tom is getting at is that these guys have a lot to prove before they even enter the conversation for a promotion. Edwards hasn’t even pitched 21 innings this year, and his endurance is a big question mark due to his small frame, so he really needs to prove he can hold up over the course of a full season so the FO can decide if he is going to be a starter or reliever before we start thinking about moving him anywhere. Steele/Sands are both 18 and have pitched a combined 3 innings in professional ball, Jimenez/Torres are both 17 and are hitting no better than .240 in less than 100 combined AB in Rookie Ball. None of these kids are even close to a promotion, which is why it is important to be patient.

          • Tom U

            Thank you Mike and great to hear from you Cubs 8.

            Being a frequent visitor to the CCO, I’m sure that you know that I try not to portray myself as an “expert”, but more of an educator. I provide information and let people make up their own minds. When asked, I will give my opinion.

            I, too, have been a patient Cubs fan for nearly 50 years. I am glad you are excited about the future for the team, It has been great fun in covering the minors this season.

            The response I gave to Board had to do with the development of those young players. They have all shown remarkable ability in performing well at their present level, as most players their age would not even be there. They still have a lot to learn, both in baseball terms and in life. Making sure they have a solid foundation is key if we are going to be able to enjoy them as players.

            I apologize if my comments sounded terse. I am not always at liberty to make comments during the day, an when I can they are usually short.

            Look forward to many more comments from you, Cubs 8!

          • Theboardrider

            I didn’t really mean anything about fast tracking Torres and Jimenez. I suppose I don’t totally understand how it works way down at those levels. I thought that Arizona Rookie Ball was more temporary than anything. It seems like a lot of guys play there for about a week and move on. I have thought it was more a place to onboard new players or guys returning from injury, make sure they are in good physical an mental shape and then send them on to Boise or elsewhere. I don’t think I ever made much distinction, perhaps because of locale, between Arizona Rookie Leage and Extended Spring Training. I didn’t realize guys would stay there for a half season or more.

            And Edwards at this point I believe has to stay healthy for an extended period of time before he can even go to AAA. I had hoped for a late 2015 call-up but with this injury setback I wouldn’t imagine seeing a glimpse of him before 2016 at earliest.

          • Denver Mike

            Honestly, I don’t know that much about the deep lower levels of the minors either. Up until this rebuild of the system, I never had much reason to. I have to admit, that while the struggles of the ML team have been hard to watch, watching the young players come up through the system has been a lot of fun.

            From what I can gather of rookie ball is that it is almost a holding and conditioning level for new, young players. I think one of the big reasons this FO and owner wanted the complex in Mesa was to have a state-of-the art facility where they could work on thinks with younger players, and watch them more closely. I don’t know if there are roster limits, or even how many games they play.

            I’m sure there is much more to it, but that’s about what I’ve gathered.

          • Theboardrider

            That’s about what I thought. Which again, was shy I figured since it looked like Torres And Jimenez were squaring up te ball an hitting pretty aonsistentky they may move up. But it’s true at tier age an being from a foreign country they will need more help assimilating on as off the ball field. I imagine they have more administration in Arizona than at other levels and can share more of the burden for helping them with administrators and other help and not put it all on coaches.

          • Theboardrider

            My ignorance have me an article idea. Tom would you ever have interest in breakin down each potential level of the Cubs minor league system? From Ext. spring training to AAA? Kind of what ages, what skill levels and the focus of coaching at each? Where a player, on average, would need to be before typically advancing to the next level? Maybe even some examples of guys that went through quickly an what they had mastered at that time that allowed them to advance? I’ve always been curious about guys like Andruw Jones and for that matter Castro that skyrocket through the minors and hit MLB at 19 or 20. What did they figure out so well, besides natural talent that others didn’t?

            I’m sure some of the other posters would have no interest and understand it all much better than I, but a detailed description of each and it’s relativity to the others would be cool for some of us I’m sure.

          • triple

            Oh man that is a great idea Board!!! Of course, it hinges on Tom and having to spend the time reporting on it all. I could see this as a great piece for the off-season while news is slow though. It’s funny because since I began reading the CCO, I’ve already learned so much about how a professional baseball organization works from Neil and Tom’s insights that they share here, and many of the posters too.

          • Theboardrider

            That is absokutely true! I’m with you and Mike. I knew there was a AAA team in Iowa and that’s about it. Now thanks to a combination of his site and the farm system build up and so much interest in guys not yet in the majors, I know a lot more about every aspect of this franchise. Reminds me how grateful I am for CCO, Neil, Tom and th rest of the contributors. Those of us that follow this site daily are much more plugged in than average fans that don’t have some special connection or insight. Also we have some really knowledgable posters on here that I learn a lot from. Even some of the guys I disagree with the most I learn from. I’m amaze at how many if us follow so many stats,etc.

            Yeah is love to have a write up on this. Really help us understand the whole system. It would give more perspective to all the farm reports, etc. I know Tom is slammed so we may have to wait. However since it isn’t necessarily timely, Tom you could write a little here and there until it’s done. Maybe a level of the system each week or something?

          • Cubs_8

            Tom, I know you weren’t putting Board down. I’ve read plenty of your articles and comments, and I know that you are receptive to everyone’s opinion.

            I started the post above as a tongue-in-cheek response to the “patience” remark, because hey, ya gotta be patient to root for the Cubs. But I think I came off as a bit defensive with the rest of it.

            I agree with Gary, I’d stop reading the comments too, if they were all one-sided. I definitely enjoy the debate. Debate is a cornerstone of baseball fandom. But I am turned off by the bickering.

            Ok, let’s get back to talking baseball!

            I used to really look forward to the All-Star game as a kid. I would get out my baseball cards for each player and lay them out on the floor in their starting lineup positions. Lately, however, I can’t wait until the break is over so we can get back to Cubbie baseball. Even when they’re losing.

            This past year, I have been following the minor leaguers (the ones that intrigue me) more than at any other point in my life. This site is a HUGE factor in that change. I’ve learned much from this site and it has changed how I follow the team.

          • Tom U

            Thank you Cubs 8, and I am glad to be able to provide you with all the information on the minors.

            Thanks also for bringing us back to the day when baseball cards were somethings to be played around with and enjoyed. I remember one year it seemed like I had about 100 Mickey Rivers cards!

          • Neil

            Thank you for your kind words today. I am glad you commented. I hope you continue.

          • Theboardrider

            I used to love the all-star game! I went to it in Aan Diego at Jack Murohy Stadium back in the day. W took a park and ride his and got cutoff by President G. H. W. Bush’s motorcade an ended up getting out and walking like 2 mikes. Never forget walking up to the stadium an I heard “at 2nd base, Ryne Sandberg!” Was so excited.

            Speakin of Sandberg and All-Star games I’ll never forget the year it was at Wrigley and Sandberg won the HR Derby! That was special and I was over the moon wih that outcome.

          • paulcatanese

            Once the reconstruction of Wrigley is complete, I think you may once again see an All Star game there. Hang in there.