On The Farm: Another Day, Another Big Game For Clevenger

On The Farm: Another Day, Another Big Game For Clevenger

Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010
Posted: 7:30 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBSTennessee AA
Steve Clevenger continued his one-man assault against Mississippi on Sunday, leading Tennessee to an 11-2 victory at Smokies Park.

Clevenger had a homer and four RBIs after hitting a homer and driving in five on Saturday. He has nine hits in his last nine at-bats against the Braves. Marwin Gonzalez added four hits and a pair of RBIs while Matt Spencer had a homer and two runs batted in.

Rafael Dolis 4-3 allowed a run in five innings while striking out five.

The Smokies lost an arm and added an arm as well on Sunday, bidding adieu to RHP Chris Carpenter, who heads to Triple-A Iowa, while welcoming fellow RHP Trey McNutt from Class-A Daytona. Carpenter, a third-round pick in 2008, leaves with an 8-6 record and a 3.16 ERA. He fanned 100 batters.

McNutt, meanwhile, represents yet another mound success story for the Cubs this season. Hes 10-0 with a 1.97 ERA while splitting time between Peoria of the Midwest League and Daytona. Hes fanned 119 in just over 100 innings and will join Chris Archer, whom he replaced at Daytona when Archer was promoted to Tennessee in June, as the Smokies zero in on a Southern League title.

Chicago RHP Esmailin Caridad also joined the Smokies as he works his way back from an elbow strain.
Iowa AAA
Jay Jacksons streaky season continued Sunday afternoon as Iowa upended Nashville, 3-2, at Principal Park. The I-Cubs, who own the best record in the Pacific Coast League, are a season-high 20 games over .500.

Jackson 10-8 snapped a two-start losing streak after throwing five solid innings. Hes been winning in long streaks this year and losing in much shorter ones thanks in part to efforts like Sundays. He allowed only two runs on six hits and struck out six before a trio of relievers kept the Sounds from making any noise. Jeff Stevens pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.

The Cubs scored twice in the fifth inning, equaling the two runs Nashville put up in the top of the frame, to take a 3-2 lead. Matt Camp tied the score with an RBI double before the winning run scored on a Ty Wright double play.

In other action, Daytona and Brevard County were postponed and will play a doubleheader on Monday beginning at 5:05 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Peoria dropped a 4-2 decision at Clinton's Alliant Energy Field. Maolin De Leon allowed a trio of fourth-inning runs and suffered the loss. Hak-Ju Lee, Jae-Hoon Ha and Justin Bour each had a pair of hits. The loss pushed the Chiefs 2.5 games out of a wild-card spot in the Midwest League playoff picture. Vancouver edged Boise, 4-3. Peirre LaPage had a pair of hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak to five games.
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
The Dash held off a furious late charge by Potomac and earned a 9-8 victory at Pfitzner Stadium.

Potomac scored four times in the eighth and once more in the ninth before the game ended on a play at the plate. Jose Lozada was attempting to score on a pitch that got by catcher Jason Bour. He retrieved the ball and fired to pitcher Tyson Corley, who applied the tag for the final out, giving the hurler his eighth save.

Terry Doyle 6-8 gave up a run in five innings to pick up his first victory since July 8. He had been 0-5 in seven starts since. Seth Loman had three hits, including a homer, and two RBIs for the Dash.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators swept a doubleheader at Greensboro Sunday afternoon and once again they benefited from some strong starting pitching. Andre Rienzo pitched a complete game in the opener as Kannapolis earned a 5-0 victory.

It was Rienzos fourth consecutive victory and seventh in nine starts. He allowed only three hits and struck out nine in the seven-inning affair, lowering his ERA to a season-low 3.90. He has a 1.41 ERA in his last eight starts, a stretch of 51 innings.

Ian Gac had three hits, including one of Kannapoliss three home runs. Nick Ciolli had a homer and two RBIs while Trayce Thompson had two hits, including a solo homer.

The bats took over in the nightcap, a 9-5 victory. Thompson had another homer and drove in three while had a hit and picked up two more RBIs. Matt Hopps 2-10 picked up his first victory since May 27.
Birmingham AA
Johnnie Lowe continued his hot streak for the Barons as they defeated visiting Huntsville, 5-1, Sunday evening.

Lowe 6-4 won for the second time in three starts after allowing a run on two hits in six innings. He has a 2.20 ERA in his last three starts. Deunte Heath preserved the victory with three shutout innings. Both pitchers fanned six. Dale Mollenhauer had three RBis for the Barons.
Great Falls Rookie
The Voyagers exploded for eight first-inning runs and then held on for a 12-10 victory at Ogden.

Andy Wilkins and Mike Early each had two hits and two RBIs while Mike Blanke added a pair of hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Despite allowing three runs in 1 13 innings, Rene Garcia picked up his first win of the season.

In other action, Clint Sammons solo homer sparked a two-run 10th inning and gave Gwinnett a 10-8 victory over Charlotte at Knights Stadium. The loss snapped Charlottes winning streak at three games. Greg Aquino took the loss. Dayan Viciedo had three hits, including a pair of homers, and three RBIs. Stefan Gartrell had two hits, including a homer, and three RBIs. ... Johnson City downed Bristol, 3-1, in Appalachian League play. The Sox managed only four hits. Kevin Rath took the loss, allowing all three runs in two innings. Matt Heidenreich started and tossed six shutout innings. he's got a 0.67 ERA in his last four starts.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

MESA, Ariz. – On an October night where you could literally feel Wrigley Field shaking, Brett Anderson fired off a message on his personal Twitter account: "Real classy cubs fans throwing beer in the Dodgers family section. Stay classy f------ idiots."
 
The Cubs had just clinched their first National League pennant since the year World War II ended, beating Clayton Kershaw and playing as close to a perfect game as they had all season. Anderson kept up the entertaining commentary during the World Series, previewing Game 7 – "We can all agree that we're happy it's not Joe West behind the plate tomorrow" – and tweaking his future manager: "Aroldis (Chapman) might puke on the mound from exhaustion." 
 
In another generation, a veteran pitcher might walk into a new clubhouse and wonder about any awkwardness with a hitter he once drilled with a fastball or some bad blood from a bench-clearing brawl. But overall today's players share the same agents, work out together in the same warm-weather offseason spots and understand the transient nature of this business. When pregame batting practice is filled with fist bumps, bro hugs and small talk between opponents, it becomes trying to remember what you said on social media. 
 
"I'm kind of a sarcastic ass on Twitter," Anderson said Monday. "I kind of sit back and observe. I'm not a huge talker in person. But I can kind of show some of my personality and candor on some of those things.
 
"You look at stuff (when) you get to a new team. I'm like: ‘Wow, man, did I say anything about anybody that's going to piss them off?' But I think the only thing I said about the players is that Kyle (Hendricks) looks like he could have some Oreos and milk after pitching in the World Series. 
 
"But that's kind of the guy he is. Just the calmness that he shows is something that we can all try to strive for."
 
Anderson essentially broke the news of his signing – or at least tipped off the media to look for confirmations – with a "Wheels up to Chicago" tweet in late January. The Cubs guaranteed $3.5 million for the chance to compete against Mike Montgomery and see which lefty can grab the fifth-starter job. Anderson could max out with $6.5 million more in incentives if he makes 29 starts this season. 
 
After undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back last March, Anderson made three starts and didn't earn a spot on the NLCS roster.  
 
"I obviously wasn't in the stands," Anderson said. "Supposedly from what I was told – it could be a different story – but there was just some beers thrown on where the families were. I'm going to stick to my family and my side.  
 
"I wasn't calling out the whole stadium. (It wasn't): ‘Screw you, Cubs fans.' It was just the specific (incident) – whoever threw the beers on the family section. Everybody has their fans that are kind of rowdy and unruly.

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"That just happened to be a situation. But you like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans. In the playoffs, it seemed like ‘The Black Hole' for the Raiders games.
 
"You have your bad seeds in every fan base. When people are rowdy and cheering on their team and have one too many beers, the next thing you know, you're throwing them.
 
"Just visiting (Wrigley), it's a fun crowd, because it's such an intimate setting and you feel like they're right on top of you and it's so loud." 
 
Imagine the matchup nightmare the Dodgers could've been if their pitching staff hadn't been so top-heavy and manager Dave Roberts could've confidently gone to someone other than Kershaw, Rich Hill or closer Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers had made Anderson the qualifying offer after a solid 2015 season – 10-9, 3.69 ERA, 180-plus innings, a 66.7 groundball percentage – and he grabbed the $15.8 million guarantee. 
 
Anderson turned around and did the knock-on-wood motion at his locker, saying he felt good after completing a bullpen session with catcher Willson Contreras at the Sloan Park complex. Anderson is a Tommy John survivor who's also gone on the disabled list for a stress fracture in his right foot, a broken left index finger and a separate surgery on his lower back.
 
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Anderson said. "When I'm healthy and able to go out there and do my work, I feel like I'm a pretty good pitcher. I don't think I've ever been able to put everything as a whole together in one season. I've had some good spots – and some good seasons here and there – but hopefully I can put it all together and have a healthy season and do my part."
 
The Cubs are such a draw that Shane Victorino signed a minor-league deal here last year – even with more than $65 million in career earnings and even after a fan dumped a beer on him while he tried to catch a flyball at Wrigley Field in 2009.   
 
Anderson wanted to play for a winner and understood the organization's pitching infrastructure. He saw his pitching style as a match for the unit that led the majors in defensive efficiency last year. He was even intrigued by Camp Maddon and the wacky stunts in Mesa.  
 
"It's obviously an uber-talented group," Anderson said. "(It's also) seeing the fun that they're having. I'm more on the calm and cerebral side, but I think doing some of the things that these guys have in store for me will hopefully open me up a little bit and break me out of my shell. 
 
"'Uncomfortable' is a good word, especially for me. You don't want to get complacent. You don't want to get used to rehab. You want to go out there and do new things and try new things and meet new people and have new experiences. All things considered, the Cubs offered the best mix of everything."