10/04/2003 3:20 PM ET
Notes: Little relief for Farnsworth
Farnsworth injured, status questionable for Game 5
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth jammed his right knee in the ground and his status is questionable for Game 5 of the NL Division Series.
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Farnsworth was hurt in the eighth inning Saturday fielding pinch-hitter Robert Fick's leadoff bunt. Farnsworth was able to throw Fick out at first -- more on that later -- but had to leave the game.
Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas said Farnsworth had some swelling and soreness and would receive treatment on the plane ride to Atlanta and all day Sunday before Game 5, which was scheduled for 7 p.m. CT start at Turner Field. Farnsworth did feel "a little numbness" below his knee, Tumbas said.
Cubs first baseman Eric Karros suffered a sprained forearm muscle in a collision with Fick at first on the same play.
"I thought I hyperextended it," Karros said of his elbow. "That's a first baseman's worst nightmare to get your arm caught with a runner. Cliff Floyd had it done early in his career and ripped everything apart. I've been fortunate to not have that type of injury at all."
Floyd suffered a fractured and dislocated left wrist in a collision with Todd Hundley at first in 1995. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said some of his players were upset at Fick's play.
"They're upset about it. They said it wasn't a good play," Baker said. "Whenever a first baseman gets hurt like that, it's a very vulnerable situation. It wasn't a very clean play right there. That was poor judgement."
"I think he tried to grab the ball out of Eric's glove, which is a little bit of a violation of the rules," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I know there wasn't an attempt to hurt Eric but that's a good way to hurt somebody probably."
Karros said he'd never had anyone do that to him before, at least "not on a baseball field, no."
"Obviously, he's trying to find a way to get on base, which is what we're all trying to do," Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger said, "but you have to carry yourself with a little class."
Aches and pains: Cubs second baseman Mark Grudzielank was in the lineup for Saturday's Game 4 of the NLDS but was playing with a sore right shoulder. He went 1-for-4 and drew a walk.
Grudzielanek hurt his shoulder when he made a diving catch of Rafael Furcal's ball with one out in the third inning Friday. The second baseman actually landed on his elbow and jammed his shoulder. On Saturday, he stopped throwing during warmups but did hit in batting practice.
Food for thought: Baker's strong suits include his ability to talk to the players and feed them, too.
"As far as a communicator, I've never been around a manager even close to what Dusty does," said Cubs pitcher Matt Clement, who started Game 4. "It's all positive. It's belief. You'll hear him say 'Believe' many times.
"You know the guy -- you guys have talked to him all year and how much bad does he say about anybody's players?" Clement said. "Players respect him for that and they follow the positive energy he puts out. You take it on the field and when you're in the dugout.
"I have had so much fun getting to play for him this year. When you come in, you know how great of a manager and reputation he has but you don't see it until you've been around a couple months and see how positive he is and what a great person he is."
Baker has been able to push all the right buttons with Kenny Lofton, who is with Baker in the postseason for the second consecutive year.
"Dusty understands me and he understands how to get the job done," Lofton said. "He's done it before. We all have confidence in Dusty in what he has to do and he has confidence in us. It's a two-way street. He understands us, and we understand him. He keeps it simple. The game is the game and you can't make it harder than what it already is."
The Cubs skipper, who brought his toothpicks and jazz CDs to Chicago when he left San Francisco after 10 seasons, tries to downplay his involvement with the team.
"They know I'm the boss. I know I'm the boss," Baker said Saturday. "When the time comes and I have to exert that authority, everyone knows I'm capable and willing to do it.
"I try to let them play ball and treat them as men and let them enjoy themselves but we have to work and get the job done," he said.
Baker often brings unique food into the clubhouse, including any fish that he may have caught.
"That's more of an investment in energy, not really being a good guy," Baker said. "Our society is so much based on fast food. I mean, how many people cook three meals at home?
"It's just a matter of an investment of energy," he continued. "Whatever it costs, it doesn't matter as long as it helps win the ballgame."
Head to head: The Florida Marlins and San Francisco Giants were competing in the other NL Division Series. This year, the Cubs went 4-2 against both teams.
The Cubs took two of three against the Marlins at Wrigley Field July 8-10, including a complete-game victory by Kerry Wood on July 9. Chicago opened the second half at Florida with a 6-0 loss. Baker had a team meeting after the game, and the Cubs won the next two. Wood posted another complete-game win in Miami.
Against the Giants, the Cubs took two out of three, including a 5-1, 10-inning win, at Pacific Bell Park at the end of April. On July 29-31, the Giants came to Wrigley. The Cubs again took two out of three, including a complete-game victory by Clement on July 29.
Big fish: Clement pitched for the Marlins in 2001 and went 9-10. Told there were 60,000 fans at Pro Player Stadium for the NLDS, he laughed.
"That would be about 50,000 to 55,000 more than when I was there," he said.
But Clement is not surprised by the Marlins' success.
"When they started getting rid of players, I guess you didn't know which way management was going to go," he said. "You have to give them credit. Regardless of what intent they had, it worked out and I'm not surprised because there's a lot of talent there.
"It was a fun team to play for because we were young and hungry," he continued. "There was a lot of talent and a fun group of guys to watch play. It doesn't surprise me also that the fans are there. From the history of the last time they were in the playoffs, the place was sold out and it was like a raucous football atmosphere."
Guest of honor: Michael Jordan stopped by the Cubs clubhouse after Game 3 to say hello. Baker said he met the NBA great during the Arizona Fall League, when Jordan was considering playing baseball.
"I gave him one of my hitting books," Baker said. "I don't know if he read it or not."
Wood got Jordan to autograph a basketball.
"It was good to see him in there supporting us," Wood said.
Jordan is one of several celebrities showing up at Cubs games. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a regular these days, as is actor John Cusack.
"It's that time of year," Wood said. "You come to the ballpark and you never know who you're going to see."
Jordan is welcome any time.
"He has pretty much free rein in anybody's clubhouse," Baker said.
Flashback: The last time the Cubs won a postseason series was 1908 when they defeated Detroit, 4-1, to win the World Series. Yep, it's been that long. The key pitchers were Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown and Orval Overall, who threw a three-hit shutout in Game 5. That Cubs team boasted the famous infield combo of Tinker to Evers to Chance.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.