Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

June 2008 Archives

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Cubs and Giants are on an interesting collision course. The Cubs have lost six straight on the road and the Giants have lost 14 of 17 at home, where they host the North Siders for the next four games, beginning tonight.

Just as manager Lou Piniella warned weeks ago about the current stretch being critical for the Cubs, the Cardinals had their own rough stretch — and handled things much better.

The Brewers are happy to have interleague play come to a close.

Maybe a little turbulence is just what the Astros needed.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central on a Cubs-Sox Saturday in Chicago.

Mark Mulder will work out of the Cardinals’ bullpen when he comes off the disabled list tonight. Just as Mulder arrives, closer Jason Isringhausen appears headed back to the DL.

The Metrodome continues to be a house of horrors for the Brewers. The Brewers figure to activate reliever Eric Gagne from the disabled list in the next few days but with the solid work by Salomon Torres, they are in no rush.

Meanwhile, as the Bay Bridge rivalry plays out in Oakland this weekend, the Giants are taking exception to a local advertisement that takes a shot at them.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols insists he will return to the lineup today, after spending 15 days on the disabled list because of a strained left calf.
Meanwhile, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa benched his most productive hitter, Ryan Ludwick. ‘‘It just looks like he's mentally whipped,’’ La Russa said before the Cards fell to the Tigers Wednesday.

The story involving Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon attacking general manager Ed Wade is one of the strangest this season. During a clubhouse dining room confrontation, Chacon threw Wade to the ground, drawing a suspension that could last the rest of the season. One Astros beat writer knew trouble was brewing in the clubhouse.

A sore hand could be the cause of a mini slump for Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun.

The Pirates made a low-risk move that could pay off, acquiring hard-throwing right-hander Denny Bautista from the Tigers.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Here is a bizarre story that broke tonight involving Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon and general manager Ed Wade. Chacon threw Wade to the ground, drawing a suspension.

Thanks to interleague play, the Cardinals could ease slugger Albert Pujols into the lineup as the designated hitter when he is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday. Meanwhile, Mark Mulder has been bothered by back spasms and will be examined in Detroit before the game against the Tigers tonight.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is upset by the way his team’s fans are voting for the All-Star Game, mostly steamed that catcher Yadier Molina is a distant fourth behind Cubs rookie Geovany Soto. ‘‘What happened to the great St. Louis Cardinal fans?’’ La Russa asks. ‘‘They can't get Yadier 1 or 2 in there? They let the Cubs beat them?’’

After getting off to a 9-1 start with a 2.59 ERA, Brewers ace Ben Sheets says he plans to test the free-agent market. It’s clear Sheets is steamed the Brewers haven’t talked contract up to this point. Meanwhile, Salomon Torres continues to slam the door as the Brewers’ closer, despite his first white-knuckle ninth inning.

The soap opera involving Reds slugger Adam Dunn and Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi is far from over.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

In a series that holds a lot of interest in Chicago, the Cardinals take a 21-16 road record into Detroit, where they face the hot Tigers in a rematch of the 2006 World Series. Joe Straus shows how the Cards have thrived despite an expanded disabled list.

For Cubs fans waiting for Brewers ace Ben Sheets to break down, the wait will continue. He tossed a complete game against the Braves, retiring the final 16 batters.

Despite the recent resurgence of ace Roy Oswalt, the Astros’ rotation has been a mess.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

If things go well tonight in a tuneup at Class AAA, Mark Mulder is expected to rejoin the Cardinals’ rotation in time for a start Saturday against the Royals. And if you think a 13-inning loss to the Red Sox was deflating for the Cards, think again.

As Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Michael Hunt points out, the Brewers won for 15th time in 21 games Sunday, just to remind the Cubs they’re there, and attracting 3 million fans is suddenly realistic.

Astros closer Jose Valverde asked manager Cecil Cooper for a rest recently, leading to a blown save when veteran Doug Brocail was pressed into ninth-inning duty.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central during a Cubs-Sox Sunday in Chicago.

It’s looking more and more likely that Albert Pujols will bounce back from his left calf strain sooner than expected. The latest report has him coming off the disalbed list Thursday, the first day he is eligible to return. The bad news for the banged-up Cardinals: Shortstop Cesar Izturis will go on the disabled list today.

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows us how a team can go 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and still win. The Brewers activated speedy second baseman Rickie Weeks from the disabled list and he is expected to return to the lineup today.

Former White Sox left-hander Damaso Marte seemed like a safe bet to be dealt before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, but now the Pirates might just hold on to the reliable reliever.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central, during a Cubs-Sox Saturday in Chicago.

In a rematch of the 2004 World Series, the Cardinals finally prevailed against the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. Manager Tony La Russa is easing Yadier Molina back into the Cards’ lineup. Meanwhile, always insightful St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz offers his keys to improving the Cardinals.

The Brewers’ strong pitching and clutch hitting vanished against the Orioles. A sore toe is keeping center fielder Mike Cameron out of the Brewers’ lineup.

Elsewhere in the NL, contracts talks between the Diamondbacks and ace Brandon Webb are off again — and could stay that way until the offseason.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Looks like the Cubs aren’t alone when it comes to suffering their first three-game sweep of the season. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz says the Cardinals need an energy boost.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi apologizes today for his ill-advised remarks ripping Reds slugger Adam Dunn. Interesting war of words.

Manager Ned Yost has officially eliminated the interim tag before Salomon Torres’ title. Now, he is simply the Brewers’ closer.

The Astros’ Lance Berkman appears ready to return to first base.

Check back later for updates.

Lou vents after Rays sweep

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Cubs Manager Lou Piniella, stretched and strained by home and professional obligations throughout a three-game sweep at the hands of his former Tampa Bay Rays team in St. Petersburg, left Florida glad to be heading back to Wrigley – but clearly in no mood for the standard media circus of carousel, regurgitation of issues that have already been addressed for days on the road.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Disptatch details just how much the Cardinals miss Albert Pujols.

It looks as if the Brewers’ bullpen will move a step closer to being at full strength. Meanwhile, Brewers slugger Prince Fielder is staying mum on reports he owes $400,000 in back taxes.

Indications are the Reds’ youth movement will continue with the expected promotion of 22-year-old right-hander Daryl Thompson.

Elsewhere around the NL, here’s a fowl story on one fan’s reaction to the Mets’ firing of manager Willie Randolph.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Just Corey being Corey? As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay points out, Corey Patterson went 1-for-5, stranded four runners — and sounded OK with it after the Reds’ latest loss. ‘‘I thought I had good at-bats,’’ Patterson said. ‘‘You can't worry about results.’’ Can’t worry about results?

The Milwauke Journal Sentinel’s Michael Hunt asks a valid question: Is it time for Brewers manager Ned Yost to be canned? Meanwhile, the Brewers’ Prince Fielder reportedly owes $400,000 in back taxes.

It’s official, the Cardinals will skip right-hander Todd Wellemeyer’s scheduled start Thursday.

Check back later for updates.

Matt Murton is back with the Cubs.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has a concussion but has left the hospital. Now the Cardinals must decide whether to make another roster move. Meanwhile, Ryan Ludwick, who was the Cardinals’ main power source before Albert Pujols’ injury, has spent his career proving his critics wrong.

The Brewers’ Bill Hall, once a fan-favorite, is working hard to win back the fans in Milwaukee.

Former Oriole Miguel Tejada makes his first trip back to Baltimore tonight when the Astros open a three-game series at Camden Yards.

Pirates right fielder Xavier Nady might be headed to the disabled list because of a shoulder problem, but he is expected to rejoin his teammates tonight in Chicago, where the Bucs open a series against the White Sox.

Check back later for updates.


KEYWORD

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Cardinals are continuing to take a wait-and-see approach with right-hander Todd Wellemeyer. The Cards’ immediate concern is the status of catcher Yadier Molina.

Brewers manager Ned Yost is hoping to have shortstop J.J. Hardy back in his starting lineup by Tuesday.

Astros manager Cecil Cooper blasts his team after being swept by the Yankees.

Check back later for updates.


BY GORDON WITTENMYER

Hard to believe we had to go out of the country to find him, but with still half a season of road games left, we feel confident in honoring Toronto’s Doug Hobbs as the 2008 Sun-Times Cubs Blog Worst Official Scorer in Baseball.

Or at least the most egregious home-team butt-kisser we’ve seen.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy will undergo a series of tests today to see what is causing the pain in his shoulder.

Veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte returns to Houston for the first time as a visitor when the Yankees face the Astros tonight.

On the eve of the second anniversary of his last pitch in the big leagues, former Cub Matt Clement will make a rehab start tonight for the Cardinals’ Class AA affilliate in Springfield.

Check back later for updates.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

As the Cubs prepare for the next several weeks without Alfonso Soriano, the Cardinals are planning for their own extended period without slugger Albert Pujols. Meanwhile, the Cards expect closer Jason Isringhausen back in their bullpen by Friday.

Young Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto now leads the NL in two categories he would prefer to avoid — walks and home runs — after a bad outing against the Cards.

Corey Hart is enjoying being the new man atop the Brewers’ lineup. Meanwhile, reliever David Riske is making strides in his rehab.

Check back later for updates.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

Albert Pujols’ latest injury causes a major concern for the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Joel Pineiro is headed back to Tony La Russa’s rotation.

The question in Cincinnati is whether shortstop is a cursed position for the Reds after Jerry Hairston went on the disabled list.

The Brewers unveiled their lineup minus leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks. Plus, here’s how the Brewers are performing in the clutch. It hasn’t been pretty.

Check back later for updates.

On Junior Achievement

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The cleanest 600th home run since 1971 was hit in South Florida Monday night. Having covered Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime in Seattle in the late 1990s, that’s the lasting impression I’ll take out of seeing from afar what should have been heralded as a more historic accomplishment – muddled and confused as it has been by the era in which it occurred.

Forget the injuries that might have prevented Griffey from bearing down on 700 or 800 home runs by now. The bigger shame is that in the wake of Bonds’ tainted record and Sosa’s tainted 600 – both of which came last season – the few true greats from the Steroid Era who appear to have played the game without becoming drug cheats get a diminished place in their time than they rightly deserve.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

The Cardinals finally announced that pitcher Adam Wainwright is headed to the disabled list.

The Astros are still trying to figure out why they have been inconsistent.

Another blow for the Brewers: They put speedy second baseman Rickie Weeks. In this same item, GM Doug Melvin denies that the Brewers have interest in Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts.

Check back later for updates.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

With his rotation dinged up, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is expected to turn to rookie Kyle McClellan. Have to wonder if the Cardinals will consider taking on veteran Sidney Ponson, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers despite a 4-1 record and 3.88 ERA.

Brewers closer Salomon Torres continues to impress in his new role, getting the final five outs to beat the Rockies. Meanwhile, center fielder Mike Cameron is not adjusting well to his new role — coming off the bench.

The Astros fell back to .500 after a sloppy game against the Cardinals.

Check back later for updates.


Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

New Cardinals ace Todd Wellemeyer has been bothered by a sore right elbow and is expected to skip his next start. Meanwhile, in this same notebook, Mark Mulder continues to make progress in his rehab.

Brewers manager Ned Yost insists he still has faith in setup man Guillermo Mota, despite evidence to the contrary.

After the Rangers cut loose troubled pitcher Sidney Ponson, who had been pitching well but was a distraction off the field, there is speculation in Houston the veteran could land in the Astros’ rotation.

Check back later for updates.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

Ailing Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols passes a key test.

Suddenly, things seem to be looking up for the Brewers, writes Michael Hunt. They open a weekend series tonight against the Rockies.

Homer Bailey’s 2008 debut was a personal success, even if his Reds didn’t offer any support.

Check back later for updates.

Key month, big save for Wood

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A year ago this month, Ryan Dempster was closing games for a Cubs team on the way to the playoffs, and Kerry Wood was on the comeback trail again, eying a return to the active roster that came with about two months to go.

``What a difference a year makes,’’ manager Lou Piniella said after Wood finished what Dempster started Thursday night in the Cubs’ thrill-ride 5-4 win over the Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

In fact, what a difference a month makes for Wood.

Cubs draft Cashner

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The Cubs took right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner with the 19th selection today.

Here’s a quick glance at what’s happening around the National League Central.

The Brewers were celebrating after going 8-1 during a homestand that featured visits from teams with winning records. How about this: The Diamondbacks are now 3-9 vs. the Central.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols once again is being slowed by a calf strain.

Corey Patterson’s stay at Class AAA didn’t last long enough for the Reds’ taste, but they had to summon the struggling former Cub back early.

Check back later for updates.

Balk Full O' Nuts

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To err is human, but to balk for two straight nights is almost unheard of. Especially the way Ted Lilly got charged with one in the seventh inning Wednesday night.

After a leadoff walk to Michael Barrett in a one-run game, Lilly threw to first baseman Derrek Lee, who was cheating in off the bag, anticipating a bunt from pitcher Greg Maddux.

Balk!

Here’s a quick glance for what’s happening around the National League Central.

The Reds’ road woes continue in Philadelphia.

Former Cub Matt Clement finally made a professional appearance as a member of the Cardinals’ organization.

Brewers manager Ned Yost is liking Salomon Torres as his closer.

Check back later for updates.

On poor starts, F-bombs and Cub wins

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The lip-reading version of the conversation was almost as loud as the in-person version must have been.

``I told him he had to throw strikes. If not I had to get somebody else in the ballgame,’’ manager Lou Piniella said of tonight’s fourth-inning talk on the mound with Jason Marquis that ended with something like, ``And you better [expletive] do it.’’

Here’s a quick glance for what’s happening around the National League Central.

The Milwaukee Brewers keep rolling, but Bill Hall’s agent says his client wants to be traded.


St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is gushing about former Cubs shortstop Cesar Izturis.

The slumping Houston Astros are seeking ways to score more runs.

Check back later for updates.

Here are the latest updates on what is happening elsewhere in the National League Central.

St. Louis Cardinals pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Chris Carpenter are making progress in their rehabs.

The suddenly young Cincinnati Reds have penciled in Homer Bailey to start Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Milwaukee Brewers went back to their A team tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks.


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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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