Word on the Street: Bosh backs Rose, backs off Asik

Word on the Street: Bosh backs Rose, backs off Asik

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Bosh backs Rose, backs off Asik

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh had some strong words for the Bulls' young center Omer Asik the last time the two teams played on Jan. 15. The Bulls won that game 99-96, but Bosh was forced to sit out the fourth quarter after rolling his ankle in a loose-ball scramble with Asik.

After the game, Bosh was critical of Asik. During Thursday morning's shootaround, however, Bosh backed off his criticism.
"I never watched the tape until about two weeks ago. After I watched the tape, I was like, 'Ok, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.'"Bosh had even better things to say about Derrick Rose, calling him - not his teammate LeBron James - the league MVP.
"LeBron has won the last two," Bosh said. "He is my teammate. But Derrick has had a phenomenal season. Looking at their record and how improved they are as a team and how much improved he is as a player, I think it's close. But I think I would give it to Derrick if I were a voter." (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Wainwright out for the season
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who was reported yesterday to have suffered an elbow injury, will be out for the entire 2011 season. He will undergo Tommy John surgery, which has a usual recovery time of 12-18 months. His loss creates a significant hole in the Cardinals' rotation. (Hardball TalkNBC Sports)Ex-Bull Hinrich traded to AtlantaFormer-Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich is headed to Atlanta. Hinrich and teammate Hilton Armstrong were traded to Atlanta by the Wizards on Wednesday night in exchange for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Mo Evans, and a 2011 first-round draft pick.
Hinrich, 30, was a the Bulls' first-round pick in 2003 and is considered a tough, hard nosed player by many around the league. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)Anthony's debut highest rated Knicks game since JordanCarmelo Anthony's debut with the New York Knicks on Wednesday night was must-see TV. Wednesday's game was the highest rated regular-season game at Madison Square Garden since Michael Jordan's infamous "double nickel" game 16 years ago in which Jordan dropped 55 points on the Knicks.The Knicks say the game generated a 6.75 household rating, nearly doubling their previous high this season of 3.61 when the Celtics visited on Dec. 15 (The Canadian Press)
NFL, Union making 'some progress'According to the federal mediator overseeing talks between the NFL and the players' union, the two sides have made "some progress" over their seven consecutive days of face-to-face meetings. However, the mediator said that "very strong differences remain."
"Just continue talking, man -- that's what we're doing," Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday said as he got into a car. "I think ownership -- everybody -- needs to know that we're all committed to it and committed to getting something done." (ChicagoBreakingSports)Schaumburg Flyers evictedThe Schaumburg Flyers minor-league baseball team is being evicted from Alexian Field for owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and fees. This news leaves a major hole in their minor league schedule and begins to raise questions about fielding a new hometown team.The team has been ordered by a Cook County Circuit Judge to vacate the field by March 6, leaving the city of Schaumburg free to negotiate with other teams. (chicagotribune.com)
Canadiens acquire ex-Hawk SopelThe Montreal Canadiens acquired former-Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel and forward Nigel Dawes from the Thrashers for Ben Maxwell and a fourth-round pick. Sopel is expected to help bolster the Canadiens penalty kill and also adds size to a small blue line.
Sopel was one of the players that fell victim to the Blackhawks offseason purge to get their roster under salary cap after winning the Stanley Cup Championship. (Sporting News)Ryan denies using racial slur with DuersonFormer Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan denied accusations that he used a racial epithet with the late Dave Duerson. Duerson, in an interview last November, said that upon first meeting the former Bears coach, Ryan told him he would not be with the team long and used a racial slur.
Ryan's responded Thursday. "I never used that word," he said. "It's not in my vocabulary." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Who is Victor Caratini? Breaking down the Cubs' new catcher

Who is Victor Caratini? Breaking down the Cubs' new catcher

Miguel Montero is out and Victor Caratini is in.

The Cubs made a shakeup at catcher Wednesday and will have to forge the last half of the 2017 season without the presence of veteran Montero, who has 1,149 MLB games under his belt and was hitting .286 with an .805 OPS this year.

But Montero talked his way out of town and Caratini is the immediate choice for a replacement behind starting backstop Willson Contreras.

[Where it all went wrong with Miguel Montero and the Cubs]

Caratini is a 23-year-old switch-hitter whom the Cubs acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2014 as part of the Emilio Bonifacio/James Russell deadline deal. The Braves initially selected Caratini in the second round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Miami-Dade College.

The Puerto Rican native has mostly played catcher (297 games) in his minor-league career, but has also seen time at first base (76 games) and third base (57 games). 

Caratini got his first taste of big-league spring training action this season, impressing with a .379 average and 1.175 OPS in 16 games (29 at-bats).

He is enjoying the best offensive season of his career in Triple-A Iowa, hitting .343 with a .384 on-base percentage and .923 OPS.

Caratini has already set a career high with eight home runs while clubbing 20 doubles and driving in 54 runs in 68 games. He also has only 40 strikeouts in 245 at-bats.

The Cubs named Caratini the organization's minor league player of the month in May after he drove in 17 runs in 24 games while hitting .366 with a .573 slugging percentage.

Caratini also should help the Cubs running game — an area where Montero was 0-for-31 in throwing out baserunners. Caratini has nabbed 28 percent of would-be basestealers in Iowa, a mark that is directly even with the MLB average.

Contreras is throwing out 34 percent of would-be basestealers in 2017.

Caratini figures to be the short-term answer for the Cubs at catcher given the organzation doesn't have many other options. Kyle Schwarber has not been a viable option behind the plate after recovering from major knee surgery that sapped almost his entire 2016 season. Taylor Davis — a 27-year-old catcher/infielder — is currently on the disabled list and has yet to make his MLB debut.

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

Where it all went wrong for Cubs and Miguel Montero

WASHINGTON – The Cubs swiftly reacted to Miguel Montero’s jaw-dropping criticism of Jake Arrieta, dumping the veteran catcher the day after the Washington Nationals ran wild with seven stolen bases and exposed some of the issues within the visiting clubhouse.

You could read the writing on the wall Wednesday morning when Anthony Rizzo’s comments on his weekly WMVP-AM 1000 appearance went viral. An All-Star first baseman who is tight with management and picky about when he decides to speak up called out Montero as a “selfish player.”

In designating Montero for assignment – a source confirmed catcher Victor Caratini will also be promoted from Triple-A Iowa – the Cubs will have to eat roughly half of his $14 million salary in the final year of his contract. 

Montero’s biggest sin is that he no longer produces like the two-time All-Star he had been with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he developed a reputation for blunt honesty and a willingness to mentor young players. The Cubs wanted that edge when they traded for Montero at the 2014 winter meetings, part of a dramatic makeover that included signing ace pitcher Jon Lester to a $155 million megadeal.

Montero’s goofy “#WeAreGood” hashtag on Twitter became a symbol for a rising franchise and a loose team that didn’t care about the weight of history. 

But where Montero could be the spokesman in Arizona and wear the target on his back, a backup catcher can’t torch a Cy Young Award winner and the team’s running-game strategy when he is 0-for-31 and Contreras is throwing guys out 34 percent of the time.     

Montero welcomed Contreras and Kyle Schwarber to the big leagues, generously trying to help with their learning curve, even as they kept taking his playing time. Montero didn’t exactly have the same reaction to David Ross becoming a media darling and a crossover celebrity.

[RELATED: Miguel Montero sends classy goodbye to Cubs players and fans]

Montero already put himself in jeopardy in the immediate World Series aftermath, ripping manager Joe Maddon in a radio interview on the same day as the championship parade and Grant Park rally.  

Montero couldn’t help himself, even after delivering a pinch-hit grand slam against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, and driving in what turned out to be the winning run in the 10th inning against the Cleveland Indians in a World Series Game 7.

Montero wouldn’t bite his tongue late Tuesday night after a sloppy, frustrating 6-1 loss at Nationals Park. With a 39-38 record, several key players on the disabled list and a clubhouse far more complex than Maddon’s Woodstock visions, the Cubs are in crisis mode.   

“It really sucks because the stolen bases go on me,” Montero said. “When you really look at it, the pitcher doesn’t give me any time. It’s just like: ‘Yeah, OK, Miggy can’t throw nobody out.’ Yeah, but my pitchers don’t hold anybody on. It’s tough, because it doesn’t matter how much work I put in.

“If I don’t get a chance to throw, that’s the reason why they were running left and right today, because they know he was slow to the plate. Simple as that. It’s a shame that it’s my fault because I didn’t throw anybody out.”