There has been plenty of frustration on the fans’ side of things in regard to the delays with the Wrigley Field renovations, but the players are also unhappy. According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said yesterday that he’s “sick of” hearing undelivered promises from the Cubs and would like to see some action.
“I’ve only been here a few years and guys before me have heard it before – changes were going to happen,” Rizzo said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Obviously, it’s not my job to do it. Obviously, we all want it. But when guys are promised that things are going to happen and they don’t happen, they’re not happy about it.
“Now it’s just kind of: ‘OK, when it gets done, it gets done.’ We’re not going to have our hopes up for anything.”
“We’ll have all the top-notch stuff and the new clubhouse is going to be the best in the game,” Rizzo said. “I know we’re going to do everything first-class, because that’s the way the organization is. It’s just that we’re kind of sick of hearing it’s going to be done. We just want to see it get done.”
Former Cub and now Padre pitcher Andrew Cashner recently referred to Wrigley Field a “dump,” which was a harsh way of saying that the facilities are super-outdated for the players. Of course, this isn’t particularly surprising given that the stadium opened in 1914. While the original plans called for the Cubs to have a bigger and more modern clubhouse by Opening Day this year, the new target date is 2016.
Rizzo is owed $41 million from the Cubs through 2019, so there’s a good chance he’ll eventually see some action to go along with the promises. Maybe. Someday.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.