No retreat: Garza won't back down after loss

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No retreat: Garza won't back down after loss

Friday, April 15, 2011
Posted: 10:08 p.m. Updated: 11:57 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

DENVER The anger and the defiance had disappeared by the time Matt Garza stood up in front of his locker. His voice was steady and measured as he looked from here to the end of September.

Its gonna turn I know it is, Garza said late Friday night. I know its a long season. (I have to) keep going out there, keep throwing, keep battling. Thats all I can do. I cant look for some secret answer.

Garzas heart and his fast-twitch muscles urge him to be a power pitcher. Its part of his identity. The Cubs want him to improve his soft game and find a way to finesse hitters, without robbing him of the aggressiveness that made him so successful in the past.

Everyone might have found a balance at Coors Field, but Garza was sabotaged by one bad inning in a 5-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 30,285 fans.

The 11-2 Rockies baseballs first team to reach double-digit victories are on a seven-game winning streak. For the Cubs (6-7) to get on a roll like that, they will need their frontline pitchers to play up to expectations.

Garza didnt back down and felt like he mixed around his 119 pitches well, but at this point their big offseason get is 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA.

He just keeps competing, manager Mike Quade said. As long as hes making pitches with that mindset hell be fine. It hasnt been a great start for him and he knows that. But hes still working and I still believe hes going to a hell of a pitcher (in) this rotation.

Garza will need to learn the National Leagues hitters, and adjust to playing in a new city and a bigger market, but insists that will not faze him. Whats overlooked in the trade from Tampa Bay is that Garza went from one of the games best defensive teams in 2010 to one of its worst.

This game pivoted with the bases loaded in the second inning. Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta launched an 86 mph slider that soared over Marlon Byrds head and just beyond his glove in center.

Catch-22, Byrd said. You want to play deep, but at the same time (if) he hits a ground ball up the middle, I dont throw the guy out and two runs score. (I) just want to get a better jump next time.

Byrd was playing shallow, and his teammates think of him as a Gold Glove outfielder for the angles he takes and the reads he makes. Starlin Castro took Byrds relay throw and didnt seem to gather himself.

Castro fired toward third base to try to get Iannetta, but the ball sailed into the dugout as the Cubs fell behind 4-0 on a bases-clearing triple.

Garza didnt give in and look for an easy out, which is why the Cubs arent worried. He left after six innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. Its not all on him.

The Cubs offense didnt get any sort of bounce playing at Coors Field. In the three games Garza has started, the Cubs have scored four runs combined, and zero in his last two outings.

Hes a bulldog, Byrd said. He goes out there and gives us a chance. He kept us in the game and thats where the offense needs to come through and have his back. (We) need to step up for him.

Garza didnt blame his offense or his defense. He gave no excuses about the thin mountain air. He looked inward.

Its frustrating, but you just got to stay positive and keep working (and) know that grind is going to pay off, Garza said. Ive been through droughts like this. Keep going right at it head-first, thats about all I can do.

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

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

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AP

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces for Cubs’ offseason puzzle

Tyson Ross could be one of the final pieces of the offseason puzzle as the Cubs try to defend their World Series title while still planning for the future.

The Cubs left this week’s winter meetings in Maryland still involved in the Ross talks, sources said, monitoring an intriguing pitcher they had targeted before the 2015 trade deadline.

The San Diego Padres didn’t really buy or sell during that pennant race and made another curious decision last week when they didn’t offer Ross a contract for 2017. MLB Trade Rumors projected Ross would have made $9.6 million during his final year in the arbitration system.

After issues involving his right shoulder wiped out almost his entire season, Ross underwent surgery in October to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

Ross was San Diego’s Opening Day starter during a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t pitch again, clouding a future that once had him looking like a trade-deadline chip and one of the best pitchers in the free-agent class after the 2017 season.

That’s when Jake Arrieta will be looking for his megadeal and John Lackey might be in retirement and Jon Lester will be turning 34. That’s why the Cubs are so focused on pitching this winter and trying to balance out an organization tilted toward hitters.

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Kyle Hendricks proved he will be a pitcher to build around – and the Cubs believe Mike Montgomery can evolve from a swingman into a fifth starter and maybe something far more valuable – but depth is a real issue.

Ross made 30-plus starts in 2014 and 2015, when he earned an All-Star selection and accounted for almost 400 innings combined. He will turn 30 in April and is seen as a positive force within the clubhouse. He has a 6-foot-6 frame, a second-round-pick pedigree and a Cal-Berkeley education.

Reports have already linked the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates to Ross and not completely ruled out a return to San Diego. During an offseason where the free-agent market is essentially devoid of reliable frontline starters, there could be sticker shock, even with a rehabbing pitcher.

Trading for Wade Davis meant the Cubs were out of the bidding for Greg Holland, another All-Star closer who helped turn the Kansas City Royals into World Series champions. Holland spent this year recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but he will still be in position to capitalize after Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman and eventually Kenley Jansen reset the market for closers.

With Ross, the Cubs will have to get a better sense of the medical picture and the price for all that upside.

Beyond a winning culture, the Cubs can sell the pitching infrastructure that helped turn Arrieta into a Cy Young Award winner and transform Hendricks into an ERA leader and keep the rotation remarkably healthy.

“Those really talented pitchers are going to be in demand, even those that are coming off an injury,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said this week at National Harbor. “We’ll stay engaged on some of those guys, but they’ll have to be just the right talent.

“We’ll have to feel good about the medical and the return to play. And the fit on the club would have to be right, too. But the true elite guys have a real market, even if they’re coming off down seasons.”

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

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USA TODAY

Cubs' MVP Kris Bryant signs multi-year extension with Adidas

Kris Bryant just keeps on winning in 2016.

Two months after leading the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, Bryant signed a multi-year extension with Adidas.

"It's a phenomenal time to be partnered with Adidas with all the energy and momentum that the brand has right now," Bryant said via a press release. "Adidas embraced me as part of the family from the start."

Bryant was named National League MVP after hitting .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs. He hit .308 with three homers and 8 RBIs in the postseason.

Bryant first signed with Adidas in 2014 after the Cubs made him the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.