Friday, May 11, 2007

Cubs add Ramirez to shore up offense

With both J.J. Putz and Joe Nathan pitching very effectively in the season, reliever Jonathan Papelbon had only pitched 5.2 innings during the Cubs' first 34 games.

Thus, Papelbon was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for infielder Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez is expected to take over full time at third base with infielder Hank Blalock expecting to split time with the struggling Chris Shelton at first base. Shelton is hitting just .210 on the year with 2 homeruns in 119 at-bats.

In a corresponding roster move, the team optioned infielder Justin Leone and outfielder Luis Montanez to Iowa (AAA) and recalled pitcher Eddy Rodriguez and infielder Martin Prado.

Ramirez joins the team having hit .257 with 5 homers and 22 RBI's with Arizona.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Scott's fifth hit is walk-off

Already 4-for-4 on the day, Luke Scott stepped up in the bottom of the ninth inning with two runs already in and the go-ahead run on second base. Scott ripped a 1-0 pitch in the right-center field gap to win the game and collect his fifth hit of the day.

The Cubs move to 18-14 with the win.

Mark Buehrle turned in another quality start for the Cubs, going 6.1 innings and allowing just six hits and two earned runs before giving way to the bullpen. However, Pittsburgh's Joe Mays was able to match Buehrle pitch-by-pitch, throwing seven quality innings of his own.

With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth inning, Kevin Youkilis thought he had put the Pirates up for good with a two-run homerun off of Cubs' reliever Matt Thornton, but Chicago was able to rally back in the bottom of the inning and give Thornton the win (1-0).

Dmitri Young led off the home half of the ninth by reaching base on an error and Chris Barnwell had doubled to put the tying runs in scoring position. Chris Burke later tied the game with a double of his own before scoring on Scott's hit.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

After 15 days, Burke returns

Chris Burke has returned from the disabled list after missing fifteen days due to a finger injury. The Cubs were 5-8 during that stretch.

Burke was filling in for the injured Carl Crawford who has been out since April 10 with a fractured eye socket. He is expected to miss at least another five weeks.

During Burke's absence, William Veneable and Delwyn Young were getting the majority of the playing time in left field with Luke Scott as the full-time center fielder. Now, Scott will shift back to left field and allow Burke to play center field, however manager Piniella is looking to give Scott a few days off coming up.

To make room for Burke on the roster, infielder Pablo Ozuna was optioned back to Iowa (AAA).

The Cubs are currently 17-13 and lead the Houston Astros by 1 game in the NL Central.