Petricka Continues To Impress At Kannapolis

Petricka Continues To Impress At Kannapolis

Friday April 15, 2011
Posted: 10:10 p.m.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
Jacob Petrickas early-season dominance of the South Atlantic League continued Friday night as he paced Kannapolis to a 5-3 victory over visiting Hickory.

Petricka 1-0, whom the Sox selected in the second round of last years draft, pitched five shutout innings. He fanned seven and scattered four hits and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings. Hes struck out 16 and walked only two in that stretch while looking more and more like hell be in Winston-Salem sooner rather than later.

Mike Blanke, a 14th-round pick from a year ago, had three hits two doubles an a triple to pace the Kannapolis attack. The Intimidators got on the board in the second, scoring three times with an error opening the door to the big inning.
Winston-Salem A
Kyle Sheltons two-run triple in the eighth inning lifted the Dash to 5-3 victory over Kinston in the home-opener at BB&T Ballpark.

The Dash had tied the score at 3-3 in the seventh when Shelton scored on a wild pitch. Shelton had reached first on an error after striking out. Ian Gac had a pair of hits, including his fourth homer of the season. Each of Gacs homers has either tied the score or given the Dash the lead. Jared Mitchell went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .185.

Ryan Kussmaul 2-0 picked up the win after a two-inning stint. Tyson Corley pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Birmingham AA
The Barons game against Chattanooga Friday evening was postponed due to rain. The two teams will play a pair of seven-inning games on Saturday beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Charlotte AAA
The Knights were rained out at Gwinnett County Friday night and no makeup date was set.
CUBSDaytona A
The Cubs lost their third straight game Friday night, dropping a 4-3 decision to Lakeland at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Brett Wallach took the loss, allowing four runs in 4 13 innings. He walked six and gave up three hits, including a homer. Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits for Daytona while Wellington Castillo added a pair.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs home-opener against Memphis was rained out Friday night at Principal Park. No makeup date has been scheduled yet. Prior to the rainout, Iowa added outfielder Brad Snyder to the roster. The slugger had been playing extended spring training while recovering from a hairline fracture of the rib. He hit .308 with 25 homers and 106 RBIs for Iowa last season and then appeared in 12 games as a September call-up with Chicago.
Peoria A
The Chiefs game against Wisconsin at Fox Cities Stadium was postponed due to the weather. The two teams will play a twinbill on Sunday beginning at 1:05.
Tennessee AA
The Smokies game against Montgomery Friday night was postponed because of rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. The first of the two seven-inning games will be played at 5:15 p.m.

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

Bears' makeover continues with salsa dancing ex-Giants WR Victor Cruz

Bears' makeover continues with salsa dancing ex-Giants WR Victor Cruz

The 2017 veteran makeover of the Bears’ wide-receiver position group continued on Thursday with the signing of former New York Giants wideout Victor Cruz to a one-year deal, a fourth move this offseason fitting an intriguing pattern in Bears roster construction.

Cruz “announced” the move on his Instagram account, declaring, “The Giants will forever be family,” Cruz wrote. “But for now, Bear down!!!” He becomes the fourth free-agent wide receiver signed by Bears and coming in with no fewer than four seasons of NFL experience.

The Bears have been about the business of shoring up their receiver group virtually since the 2016 season ended, adding depth in addition to filling in the vacancies created by Alshon Jeffery leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles via free agency, and the subsequent release of veteran Eddie Royal.

In their places, the Bears have added Cruz, Rueben Randle (Jan. 10), Markus Wheaton (Mar. 10) and Kendall Wright (Mar. 11), in addition to having Joshua Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Cameron Meredith, Deonte Thompson and Kevin White in place.

Cruz, whose trademark Salsa dance to celebrate touchdowns has been an NFL staple over his six seasons with the Giants, for whom he started 53 of 70 career games after signing with the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts in 2010. Cruz has caught 303 career passes for 4,549 yards and 25 touchdowns, earning a Super Bowl ring with the Giants and earning selection to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

Cruz has not played a full 16-game season since 2012, when he caught a career-best 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed all of 2015 after rehabbing from a torn patellar tendon in the 2014 season and then suffering a calf injury that eventually required surgery. The Giants released Cruz in early February this year.

Joe Maddon explains how Cubs young players can handle trade rumors

Joe Maddon explains how Cubs young players can handle trade rumors

Two weeks ago, it seemed Ian Happ was at the top of the list of Cubs potential trade bait.

Now, there are some circles of the fanbase that would rather see Javy Baez or Kyle Schwarber traded than Ian Happ.

Roughly two-and-a-half hours before Eddie Butler started for the Cubs in the series finale with the San Francisco Giants Thursday afternoon, the conversation with Joe Maddon turned to the neverending search for pitching and how young players can handle being a part of trade rumors.

"I think a lot of times when people are mentioned in a trade, sometimes it's perceived that they're not going well, people want to push them to the front of the line," Maddon said. "All of a sudden, [Baez is] going well, so I expect him to go to the back of the line relatively soon."

After a stretch where he went 1-for-18 from May 10-17, Baez entered play Thursday with eight hits in his last 13 at-bats, including two homers and eight RBI. He's raised his OPS 104 points in the process to .798.

[RELATED - Another reminder that Javier Baez is a game-changer — not trade bait — for Cubs]

Happ, meanwhile posted a 1.240 OPS in his first eight games in The Show, including seven extra-base hits (four doubles, two homers and a triple). 

Schwarber's batting average hasn't climbed over .200 since the last day of April.

Of course, part of the discussion with all three is the positional versatility — Baez and Happ can play all over the field while Schwarber is a left fielder and rare catcher.

"Another part of the trade narrative is based on depth, obviously," Maddon said. "So if you have other pieces like that, then you promote somebody within that group. I think Javy's gonna be in that position for a bit regardless — no intent on our part.

"However, he's still going to be mentioned in those moments because of what I just said — he's gonna go good or bad. And when he's going great, you're never gonna trade him. But right now, he's playing really well. That was a good game he had [Wednesday]. He's in the .270s now [average], better at-bats, he's not chasing pitches, the defense is obviously showing up.

"I just think the nature of our team, the young guys, you're gonna hear that. If you're gonna attempt to get pitching, you're gonna hear the typical names mentioned. And just from our players' perspective, I just would hope they won't take it to heart too often.

"But if they hear it enough and they're asked about that question often enough, of course it's gonna leave a mark. But [Baez] is impactful. Listen, none of these guys that you like aren't even nearly as good as they're gonna be in a couple years. Just be patient."

The Cubs are always going to be searching for pitching as their farm system has had much more success producing young hitters than arms.

The Cubs are still looking for some consistency from the fifth starter spot this season and looking further down the road, both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are only under contract through 2017. As of right now, only Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are penciled into the Cubs' 2018 rotation.

Of course, given the surplus of quality, young position players, the Cubs could deal from a position of strength to acquire impact, controllable pitching.

But it's hard to see them ever trading Baez or Schwarber — who are both in the midst of their first full season in the big leagues and will forever be entrenched in Cubs lore with their postseason heroics last fall.

Baez is also particularly important for his impact in the field, as an elite defender at three infield spots and the Cubs' only depth at the shortstop position after Addison Russell.

In Thursday's lineup, Maddon gave Russell a day off and inserted Baez at shortstop, a move that gives the Cubs manager peace of mind from a defensive standpoint — "It's a beautiful thing."

There's no way Happ will keep hitting like he has in his first two weeks in the majors, but his performance after only 91 minor-league games above Class-A ball could serve as a showcase for other teams looking at trade options from the Cubs system.

"I can't emphasize enough—- if you like our kids, just wait a little bit," Maddon said. "Continue to fertilize them, nurture them and they're gonna keep getting better."