David Ross had a big game at the plate Friday. Ross went 3-for-4, his first three-hit game of the season. Ross scored two runs and smacked a three-run homer, No. 99 of his career, in the fifth inning. Ross is one dinger short of 100 home runs.
Defensively, Ross committed a rare throwing error that gave the Pirates a run and setup another.
Ross’ teammates have been counting down his home runs this season. Ross began the season four shy of 100 longballs for his career. With three already on the books, Ross needs one more to reach a personal goal that’s important to him but not more so than the team’s goals. The Cubs are ready to party when Ross hits No. 100 according to Carrie Muskat.
Jason Hammel told the beat writers that they are “gonna start having to talk to Theo Epstein into trying to grab another year out of him.” Hammel pointed out that if Ross continues to play at the level he has that he can only help the team and “can’t get too old for the game.”
His teammates do not want him to retire when the Cubs are done playing this season.
David Ross is batting .245/.348/.453 through 18 games with two doubles and three home runs. Ross has more homers and RBI than last season.
When Ross was approached by the beat writers after Friday’s game, several of his teammates shouted things in the background, including ‘what’s the going rate for starting catchers these days’ and ‘f—k retirement, let’s talk extension.’
According to multiple reports, when he was asked Friday why he’s hitting so well this season, Ross jokingly replied, “Because I’m awesome.”
Joe Maddon has maintained since day one of his Cubs’ tenure that what David Ross gives the team at the plate is extra, “icing on the cake.” It’s behind the plate that’s more important to Maddon when it comes to the veteran catcher.
Jorge Soler started Friday and responded to a rough day at the plate Wednesday that included going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the second game of the doubleheader. Soler put together good at bats and was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
The Cubs announced Friday that LHP Zac Rosscup had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Rosscup will not pick up a baseball for at least three months. With that timetable, it’s highly unlikely Rosscup will be able to pitch this season.
The Cubs placed Rosscup on the 60-day DL on Feb. 25 with left shoulder inflammation. The Cubs used the open spot on the 40-man roster to sign OF Dexter Fowler.
Rosscup appeared in 49 games last season, 33 at the big league level out of Joe Maddon’s bullpen. With the Cubs, Rosscup was 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 4.86 FIP (13 runs, 26 hits, 13 walks, 29 strikeouts, 46 2/3 innings).
The Cubs also announced Friday one of the power arms on the 40-man roster is done for the season.
RHP Andury Acevedo tore his ACL in his left knee and had season ending surgery to repair the ligament. Acevedo reported to Double-A Tennessee at the beginning of the year. Acevedo pitched in six games, all in relief. Acevedo allowed five runs, four earned, on three hits with nine walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
Acevedo suffered the injury hustling to first base trying to beat out a grounder to shortstop for an infield single on April 22. Reports from the park indicated he went down like he had been shot and was in considerable pain.
Miguel Montero completed his rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs. Montero could be assigned to another affiliate, but that seems very unlikely at this point. From all indications, Montero will be activated from the 15-day DL, as expected, before Saturday afternoon’s game against the Pirates.
With Jake Arrieta on the hill and Jeff Locke, who’s splits are about the same against lefties as they are against righties, Montero should be in the starting lineup.
Joe Maddon said Friday that he exchanged texts with Miggy and “he’s doing really well.” Maddon indicated it will be “any day now” that he is back with the team.
LHP Gerardo Concepcion made his Triple-A debut on Friday night. Concepcion entered the game in the in seventh inning with two on, no outs in relief of Ryan Williams with Iowa trailing 2-0. Concepcion struck out the three batters he faced in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Concepcion made 24 pitches, 16 for strikes, and retired all six batters he faced.
News and Notes
• Paul Sullivan reported as Theo Epstein tempers expectations, Cubs players intent on exceeding them.
• Shane Victorino is not giving up on baseball with the Iowa Cubs according to a report from the Des Moines Register.
• Theo Epstein as John Lackey’s back after screaming at Padres catcher according to Comcast SportsNet.
• ESPN Chicago explained why signing Jake Arrieta to a long-term deal is the right choice for the Cubs.
• Joe Maddon is not worried about Jason Heyward, according to Carrie Muskat. Heyward’s on-base percentage (.331) is more than 100 points higher than his batting average (.218). Maddon said that’s “elite status.”
• Matt Szczur is eligible to come off the DL on May 18. Szczur took some swings during BP on Friday according to Tony Andracki.
• With Jason Hammel completing 6 2/3 innings on Friday, Cubs starting pitchers have now gone five-plus innings in each of the first 34 games of the season. According to Christopher Kamka, this is only time the Cubs have accomplished that from at least 1913 to present (as far back as accurate records are kept). Cubs starting pitchers have a 2.26 ERA, 1.01 WHIP in 218 2/3 innings with a .209 opponents’ batting average and have allowed 162 hits with 200 strikeouts.
• The Pirates released RHP Daniel Bard on Friday.
• Jon Paul Morosi pointed out teams were interested in RHP Tyson Ross and RHP Andrew Cashner during the off-season. The Padres decided to keep both right-handers and not trade them. Cashner joined Ross on the 15-day DL on Friday with a right hamstring strain.
And last, but not least, with Friday’s victory over the Pirates, the Cubs improved to 14-2 against the NL Central with a 110-40 run differential.
This Day in Cubstory
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Jim Edmonds
2000 – Sammy Sosa collected five hit, Henry Rodriguez drove in seven runs and Eric Young stole five bases in a 16-15 loss to the Expos. Young’s five steals were the most in franchise history since 1881 when George Gore swiped seven bases.
1989 – In his first at bat with the Cubs, Lloyd McClendon hit a three-run homer in a 4-0 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field. The Cubs acquired McClendon in the previous off-season from the Reds.
1978 – Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in eight runs for the second time in his career at Dodger Stadium. Kingman delivered the game winner for the Cubs in the 15th inning, a three-run homer.
1967 – Cubs purchased Ted Savage from the Cardinals
1967 – Cardinals purchased Don Young from the Cubs
1966 – Cubs signed free agent Frank Thomas
1948 – Dave LaRoche, born
1947 – Dick Tidrow, born
1938 – Cubs purchased Eddie Mayo from the Boston Bees
1918 – Wimpy Quinn, born
1883 – The Quakers, known as the Phillies, beat the White Stockings, now known as the Cubs, at Lake Front Park in Chicago. The Quakers won the first game in franchise history with a 12-0 victory over the White Stockings. The Quakers began the season 0-8 and finished the season 17-81 in the eight-team National League.