Cubs pick up an outfield piece in Schierholtz

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Cubs pick up an outfield piece in Schierholtz

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Working from the same blueprint, the Cubs found another player looking for an opportunity and a short-term commitment.

Nate Schierholtz has agreed to a one-year deal worth 2.25 million, an industry source confirmed Wednesday night, putting the outfield picture into sharper focus. The Cubs can put Schierholtz in right, shift David DeJesus to center and leave Alfonso Soriano in left (while listening to trade offers).

The Cubs declined to comment on the deal, which is pending a physical, and they may not be done adding pieces to their outfield. Either way, this maintains flexibility as they wait for the next wave, possibly Brett Jackson at some point in 2013.

While rumors float around the Opryland Hotel forget about Ryan Dempster the Cubs had zero appetite for a megadeal at the winter meetings.

Schierholtz fits the profile, because hes a left-handed bat and on the right side of 30 (29 years old next season). He won a World Series ring with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 before being shipped to the Philadelphia Phillies at last seasons trade deadline in the Hunter Pence deal.

Schierholtz is a career .270 hitter, with 24 homers in almost 1,400 plate appearances. He also has a reputation for being a good defender.

Another value signing wont generate much buzz, but this front office has made its priorities clear. That agenda means Dempster almost certainly wont be returning to the North Side.

That was viewed as an extreme long shot even weeks before the Cubs signed two starting pitchers to one-year deals (Scott Baker and Scott Feldman). Once Zack Greinke sets the market, Dempster will be in position to command a big multi-year contract. With this front office in talent-acquisition mode and refusing to give out no-trade clauses, the reunion suggested by an online report makes little sense. Insiders quickly shot down the rumors.

The Cubs arent going to cause sticker shock. Theyre shopping for players like Schierholtz.

When everyone in the lobby is shocked by the size or length of a deal, general manager Jed Hoyer said, often times that deal happens because a team feels like thats an absolutely necessary piece to put him over the top. (That) urgency percentage or that capping piece right now thats not the case (for us).

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

CSN's Cubs Pregame and Postgame host David Kaplan and analyst David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Cubs' bats are finally coming around. 

On the back of Anthony Rizzo, who hit three homers this weekend, the North Siders took two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds and have been winners of four out of five overall. 

The offense will attempt to stay in their groove against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Cubs at Wrigley during the teams' last meeting. 

Luckily for Chicago's pitching staff, Starling Marte won't be anchoring the Pirates' order. The outfielder is serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

After Pittsburgh, Joe Maddon's club hits Fenway Park for what should be a wild three-game set against the Red Sox. 

Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus break down the upcoming matchups in the video above. 

 

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

CINCINNATI — With his high leg kick and below-the-radar breaking balls, Bronson Arroyo showed the Cubs a little old-style pitching. Who needs to throw 90 mph to beat the World Series champions?

The 40-year-old righty gave his best performance yet in his long comeback from elbow problems, pitching three-hit ball over six innings on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory . Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept `em guessing with his minimalist pitches.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a tough pitcher to face. Obviously he's throwing below hitting speed right now."

Arroyo (2-2) needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery. The Reds gave him what amounted to a final chance this spring, and he's back to fooling `em with his unusual repertoire. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat.

"I don't want to say I had pinpoint control, but I was throwing the breaking ball down and out where it was almost impossible to hit," Arroyo said. "They knew where I was going, but I still had enough late movement to surprise them."

Arroyo allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer - his third of the series - and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014.

"This was the first time he looked like the Bronson of his first time through here," manager Bryan Price said, referring to Arroyo's 2006-13 stay in Cincinnati.

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Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.

Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.

Despite the loss, the defending champs took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati - the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.

"I have nothing to complain about," manager Joe Maddon said.

Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games - matching his career high - with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.

The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.