Cubs braced for changes, but Sveum calls trade speculation absurd

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Cubs braced for changes, but Sveum calls trade speculation absurd

SAN FRANCISCO Cubs executives are hunkered down in their draft room, more than 2,100 miles away from the big-league club, bringing in players for workouts and interviews.

Theo Epsteins front office views next weeks amateur draft as the No. 1 priority. Those are three of the most critical days of the year for an organization that desperately needs an infusion of impact talent.

From there, Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer will pivot toward the July 31 trade deadline.

Dale Sveum didnt read the USA TODAY report that said everyone is available except Jeff Samardzija. But the Cubs manager certainly heard about the story that had the industry buzzing.

Its absurd for somebody to even write something like that, Sveum said Friday. But some of it might be warranted. Some of it (isnt) even close to anything that were ever going to do in this organization. You talk about ultimate skepticism (from the media). Thats what it is.

The piece written by well-connected national writer Bob Nightengale cited two anonymous high-ranking team officials saying All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro could be had for two impact prospects.

Epstein has already outlined his general operating philosophy: No one is untouchable, and every option has to be on the table. But the Cubs would have to be blown away to even consider dealing Castro or Matt Garza, a frontline starter whos proven in the postseason and the American League East.

Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.90 ERA through nine starts) also figures to draw interest from contenders looking for a rotation upgrade, and his no-trade rights are not seen as a huge obstacle.

It is a business and its the job we have to do, Sveum said. Its got nothing to do with what the media talks about and whos going to get traded and all that. Your job is just to come out here and prepare to do the best you can and win a baseball game. You dont have control over all that stuff.

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

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AP

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Preview: Cubs look to sweep Reds on CSN

White Sox scoreless streak hits 23 innings in loss to Indians

No clear options for Fred Hoiberg at point guard

Two days later, Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Stan Bowman 'completely, completely disappointed' with Blackhawks

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

Still in mourning, Isaiah Thomas dictates pace, delivers for Celtics

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May earned his first career hit on Saturday night when he singled up in the middle against Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, ending an 0-for-26 start to his major league career. That lengthy stretch without a hit put a weight on May's back heavier than a monkey, as the cliché usually goes.

Instead, that weight felt like America's favorite deceased silverback gorilla. 

"It was kind of like having Harambe on my back," May, a Cincinnati native, said. "I was in a chokehold because I couldn't breathe as well. Now that he's gone, hopefully I can have a lot of success and help this team win.

In all seriousness, May felt an extraordinary relief when he reached first base. He said first base coach Daryl Boston looked at him and said, "Finally," when he reached first base, and when he got back to the dugout, he was mobbed by his teammates and hugged by manager Rick Renteria.

Before anyone could congratulate him in the dugout, though, May let out a cathartic scream into his helmet.

"I was just like oh, man, I let loose a little bit," May said. "This locker room, every'one has kind of helped me out and brought me aside, and told me to just relax. It's a tough situation when you are trying to impress instead of going out there and having fun. Just kind of got to release all that tension built up."

May only had the opportunity to hit because left fielder Melky Cabrera injured his left wrist in the top of the seventh inning (X-Rays came back negative and Cabrera said he should be able to play Sunday). May didn't have much time to think about having to pinch hit for Cabrera, who was due to lead off the bottom of the seventh, which Renteria figured worked in his favor.

"When we hit for Melky, I was talking to (bench coach Joe McEwing), I said, 'He's not going to have anytime to think about it. He's going to get into the box and keep it probably as simple as possible,'" Renteria said. "I don't think he even had enough time to put his guard on his shin. He just got a pitch out over the middle of the plate and stayed within himself and just drove it up the middle, which was nice to see. Obviously very excited for him."

When May reached first base, he received a standing ovation from the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field, too, even with the White Sox well on their way to a 7-0 loss to the Indians. It's a moment May certainly won't forget anytime soon, especially now that he got Harambe off his back.

"I kind of soaked it all in," May said. "It was probably one of the most surreal, best experiences of my life."