Coleman hopes to make a lasting impression

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Coleman hopes to make a lasting impression

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011Posted: 2:00 a.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney
SAN DIEGO Casey Coleman hopes to be better for the experience, though everyone knows chances like this dont come around very often.

The Cubs viewed Coleman as the ideal insurance policy to stash at Triple-A Iowa. They didnt give him many innings during spring training, and certainly didnt foresee two starting pitchers getting injured during the first week of the season.

Nothing, it seems, has gone according to plan this year. It ended for Coleman on Monday night inside spacious PETCO Park, where the Cubs lost to the San Diego Padres 2-0 while you were following the Ozzie GuillenWhite Sox drama on the South Side.

The Cubs could have a completely new management team evaluating Coleman this winter. He didnt exactly build off his 2010 finish 4-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts late last season but then again you could say the same thing about the entire organization.

Once Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner went on the disabled list, the Cubs had to go out and sign Doug Davis off the street (and release him several weeks later) and acquire Rodrigo Lopez from Atlantas Triple-A affiliate.

Coleman is only 24 years old. His father and grandfather both pitched in the big leagues. With the poise, intelligence and athleticism hes shown at times, he should stay in the picture. But he didnt nail down a big-league job this season.

Coleman cruised through five shutout innings on Monday and then broke up Mat Latos no-hitter by tripling in the sixth. He was winded when he gave up a home run to Will Venable and two doubles in the bottom half of the inning.

Its been a long year, said Coleman, who was charged with two runs in 5.2 innings. I didnt handle it the right way. I went in the dugout, rested a little bit. But as soon as I got on the mound, I didnt settle myself down. I got a little dizzy out there. (You) got to slow yourself down.

In an up-and-down season, Coleman had four separate stints with the big-league club and went 5-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A Iowa. He flashed signs of potential, shutting down the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field and beating the Milwaukee Brewers in September. His final line reads 3-9 with a 6.40 ERA.

Just a learning experience, Coleman said. It definitely gives me more confidence going into spring training next year.

Last August, Coleman earned his first major-league victory on the same night Mike Quade got his first win as a major-league manager. For the moment, Quade is the longest-tenured manager in Chicago, and all the heat will be on the South Side.

I know its been rough over there, Quade said. Thats a whole different world that I have no interest in getting involved in. We got enough stuff to deal with over here.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Carl Edwards Jr. couldn't dream up a better pitcher to try to emulate than Mariano Rivera.

Not for a young right-hander who is still getting used to being a reliever with a cutter as his bread and butter pitch.

After picking up his first career save late in 2016, Edwards mentioned how he has been watching video of Rivera. At the Cubs Convention earlier this month, Edwards name-dropped Rivera again in response to a fan question and went into more detail with exactly what he's aiming to accomplish by watching Rivera tape.

Let's be clear: Mariano Rivera is inimitable. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent and there almost assuredly will never be a better closer in Major League Baseball.

But Edwards knows that. 

"He's great. He's a Hall of Famer," Edwards said. "He goes out there like he has the world in the palm of his hand. He's very competitive; I've never seen him back down. That's one [takeaway] for myself — I'm gonna go out and never back down.

"I don't really get into trying to be like him. I just look more into how he goes about his business. That's something that I can control — how I go about my business."

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Cubs coach Mike Borzello was there with Rivera in 1997 when the now-legendary cutter was born.

It's not fair to compare Edwards' cutter to one of the greatest pitches ever, but his version is pretty nasty in its own right:

The Cubs are still searching for long-term answers in the rotation, but don't have any intentions of moving Edwards back to a role as a starter.

Like Edwards, Rivera began his career as a starting pitcher coming up through the Yankees system. But Edwards actually has a leg up on baseball's all time saves leader: Edwards' first save came in his age 24 season while Rivera didn't tally his first save until age 26 in New York.

Edwards also struck out 13 batters per nine innings in 2016 while Rivera never posted eye-popping whiff totals (a career 8.2 K/9 rate).

As Edwards gets set for what he and the Cubs hope will be his first full season in the big leagues in 2017, his maturation will be important in an age of baseball where relief pitchers have never been more valued.

Rivera pitched in the playoffs nearly every year, routinely working more than one inning and posting ridiculous postseason numbers: 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP and 42 saves while taking home the World Series MVP in 1999 and ALCS MVP in 2003.

The Cubs hope Edwards will be pitching in the postseason on a regular basis, too.

For now, the 25-year-old is still reveling in the glory following the 2016 Cubs championship.

He served as honorary drummer at the Carolina Panthers game in November.

"That was pretty amazing. That's a highlight of my offseason," Edwards said.

He grew up as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan despite being a South Carolina native, but Edwards said he did get a pair of Cam Newton cleats to wear for 2017 when he and Cubs teammates like Addison Russell or Matt Szczur throw the football around in the outfield to get loose.

Edwards was also blown away by the reception from Cubs fans at the Convention — "This is my third year and every year as been better" — but still hasn't fully wrapped his mind around the ending of the 108-year drought.

"Everything happened so quick," he said. "Hopefully in the next couple weeks when I have a break, I can sit down and soak it all in."

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).