As expected the Rays activated David Price from the disabled list after the reigning Cy Young winner missed the past six weeks with a strained triceps. Price, who struggled with a 5.24 ERA in nine starts before the DL stint, will rejoin the rotation tonight against the Astros. He made a pair of minor-league rehab…
Cubs fans aren't the only ones living and dying with every pitch.
John Williamson - a pitcher for the Cubs' Class-A affiliate in South Bend - created a rap about the big-league club and it's pretty incredible:
Here's an excerpt of that rap, posted by Darnell McDonald, the Cubs' mental skills program coordinator:
"'Bout to win 100 games,
J-Hey 'bout to make a play,
Lester get the K,
We feelin' fresh today,
Got the 'dub' yesterday.
New team with the World Series attitude.
Road to the 'ship: That's the World Series avenue.
I'm feelin' like the baddest dude,
Fowler on the bases,
Yeah, we winnin' pennant races,
That's the Wrigley renovation."
Killin' it, dude.
This isn't new for Williamson, the Cubs' 23rd-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
The left-handed pitcher is actually a rapper, too, by the name of Swilson (formerly J Willy).
His album hit iTunes and Spotify in February.
Check out some of his stuff on his YouTube page.
Here's to more Cubs raps as the year goes on, Swilson.
Jacub Panasiuk (DE), Lake Park
Panasiuk (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) recently announced that he will make his college choice on June 14.
"I decided that I'm going to make my college choice on June 14th," Panasiuk said. "That's my birthday and I'm just getting closer to wrapping things up. June 14th also happens to be my birthday and I just feel like that's the right time to make my decision."
Panasiuk, along with East St. Louis junior wide receiver Jeff Thomas (5-foot-10, 170 pounds), remain the only uncommitted players in the Rivals.com Early Spring Top 20 Class of 2017 State of Illinois rankings. Panasiuk discussed what factors will help land his services.
"Over the past two years of going on visits everywhere and talking to coaches, I've realized that facilities and all the fancy stuff doesn't really matter," Panasiuk said. "Every school will end up having the same things. It will be how comfortable I am with the coaching staff at the school. I think having a close relationship with the coaches is a key factor in all of this."
Panasiuk, the older brother of Mike Panasiuk who signed with Michigan State, has offers from the Spartans along with several other Big Ten schools. Panasiuk added that he will narrow down his list of favorite schools "very soon."
Joe Spivak (DT), Montini Catholic
Spivak (6-foot-1, 292 pounds) added his second offer this week from South Dakota State. Spivak, who's father Joe played for Illinois State back in the 80's, also landed his first offer from his dad's alma matter. So is it safe to assume that the younger Spivak is a "lock" for Illinois State?
"A lot of people think that I'm a done deal for Illinois State," Spivak said. "I love Illinois State but honestly I'm looking at all of my options for now. I'm just not in a big hurry and I want to see how my recruiting shakes out."
Spivak has drawn recruiting looks from Northwestern, Miami of Ohio, Air Force, North Dakota State and Ball State, along with several Ivy League schools.
Charlie Schmidt (OG), Libertyville
Schmidt (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) was able to add his first offer late last week from Iowa State.
"I was pretty surprised," Schmidt said. "I talked to one of the assistant coaches on Thursday and they offered me the following day."
The sophomore offensive guard also has a serious connection to the Cyclones.
"My teammate Tyler Jost just committed to Iowa State. Also Coach (John) Kuceyeski is from Libertyville so we have a pretty good connection to Iowa State at our school. I know that they have good coaches and a good tradition at Iowa State The Iowa State coaches want me to come out and visit. I don't have anything set just yet but I'll get out to visit them soon."
Schmidt has also drawn recruiting interest so far this spring from Michigan State, Central Michigan and Illinois State.
Marist head coach Pat Dunne has been putting in some serious time with college coaches this spring. Marist is already touring three DI recruits in junior linebacker Micah Awodiran, junior offensive guard Bill Kuduk (Central Michigan) and junior defensive back Robert Topps and you can now add junior defensive tackle Elijah Teague (6-foot-3, 292 pounds) to the FBS recruit listing as Teague was able to add his first offer from Iowa State.
"Iowa State was able to see me work out at school and they offered me a few days later," Teague said. "I don't know too much about the school but I do have family that lives in Carroll, Iowa which is like 30 to 45 minutes away from Ames. I've been to Ames before and I've seen the school and it looks nice. The Iowa State coaches want me to come out to visit and I'll try to get out to visit them this summer."
PITTSBURGH – Next? The Cubs just dominated a Pittsburgh Pirates team that’s won 280 games and made three playoff appearances across the last three seasons, showing they’re so much more than a good-looking team on paper and baseball’s goofiest clubhouse.
Joe Maddon’s “Minimalist Zany” road trip ended with Wednesday afternoon’s 6-2 win at PNC Park, the Cubs finishing off the three-game sweep before changing into the leopard pants, plaid coats and Stars and Stripes outfits required for the flight back home to Chicago and a showdown against the Washington Nationals.
The Cubs spent close to $290 million on free agents after beating the Pirates in last year’s National League wild-card game, budgeting for the natural improvement from their young players and the experience gained during that playoff run.
The Cubs outscored Pittsburgh 20-5 during what was supposed to be three tension-filled games, bumping their run differential to plus-93 for the season. Did the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals do enough to keep up in the Central? Is this really the game’s toughest division? Still see you in October?
The Cubs are getting contributions from all over their roster. Ben Zobrist – who took over right field while Jason Heyward rested his sore right wrist – blasted a three-run homer off Juan Nicasio in the third inning. Javier Baez went 3-for-5 with two RBI and put on a defensive clinic during this series. If not for Jake Arrieta’s historic run and Cy Young Award encore performance, more people would be talking about Jon Lester’s fast start, improving to 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA after 5.2 scoreless innings.
At 20-6, the Cubs have the best record in baseball, a six-game lead over the Pirates in the division and a four-game series against the Nationals that begins Thursday night at Wrigley Field. Maybe that will create some buzz.
It means the return of Dusty Baker – no manager has pushed the Cubs farther or closer to the World Series since 1945 – and side-by-side comparisons of Boras Corp. clients Max Scherzer ($210 million guaranteed) and Arrieta (the meter is still running).
Plus the friendly rivalry between Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, the league’s reigning MVP and Rookie of the Year who grew up together in Las Vegas playing with and against each other.
And Jonathan Papelbon, the eccentric closer the Cubs tried to trade for last summer before the Nationals flexed their financial muscle (only to watch it sabotage their clubhouse without the buffer zone of ex-Boston Red Sox players the Cubs could have created).
“It’s just so much fun to play good teams,” Maddon said. “You get them on the field and then you look out there from the dugout: How do we stack up? What does this thing feel like? You look on TV, you read different things, but you got to actually see it.”
The rest of the baseball world is just beginning to see what this sleeping-giant franchise could become.