07/13/12 2:40 PM ET
Sveum confident break won't cool hot streak
By Cash Kruth / MLB.com
The Cubs, 33-52 and in fourth place in the National League Central, entered Friday's series opener against the D-backs 9-4 in their last 13 games. It is the best 13-game stretch for Chicago since the Cubs posted the same mark from August 3-16 of last season.
The difference, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, is consistency. Rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo has entrenched himself in the three-hole to help solidify the lineup, while the entire pitching staff has been solid.
Sveum said he didn't think the break would cool off the Cubs' momentum, saying returning to the park gets players' adrenaline going, similar to Spring Training. The Cubs' recent success also is why Sveum said he didn't have any team meetings prior to the beginning of the second half.
"Especially if the team's playing well, you don't want to put anything in anybody's head, because you might say something stupid," Sveum said. "You stay away from that stuff as much as you possibly can, especially if a team's playing well and going into the second half on a good note, too."
Cubs sign second-round pick Underwood
CHICAGO -- The Cubs have signed their second-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Georgia high school right-hander Duane Underwood.
A source told MLB.com that Underwood received $1,050,000, which is above the pick's slot recommendation of $769,600. The Cubs have not confirmed that figure.
Underwood, who turns 18 a week from Friday, will report to Rookie Level Mesa.
Underwood was 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA for Pope High School in Marietta, Ga., this past season, striking out 75 and walking 34 in 50 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander struck out 15 in 6 1/3 innings on March 9 against Lassiter.
The Cubs have signed each of their first 20 picks and 29 players overall. They completed a deal with the No. 6 overall pick of the Draft, outfielder Albert Almora, on Wednesday.
Stewart has surgery, season likely over
CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart underwent left wrist surgery on Tuesday.
Stewart likely is done for the season, but the Cubs said they will have a better idea of his status in August.
Stewart, acquired from the Rockies for Tyler Colvin this offseason, hit .201 with five home runs in 55 games for the Cubs this season.
Santo to be honored prior to Hall of Fame induction
CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced a series of events this month to celebrate Ron Santo's Hall of Fame induction, capped by "Ron Santo Day" on July 27, the club's first home game after Santo's induction.
The Cubs will honor Santo with a pregame ceremony featuring members of his family. The first 10,000 fans will receive a commemorative Ron Santo Hall of Fame Plaque, courtesy of PNC Bank, while commemorative memorabilia will be available for purchase. There also will be an honorary design in the outfield grass for that afternoon's game against the Cardinals.
"Ron Santo embodied what it meant to be a Chicago Cub. This franchise couldn't be prouder as he is enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and we're honored he will forever represent the Chicago Cubs in Cooperstown," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "Our family looks forward to celebrating this well-deserved accomplishment with Cubs fans worldwide."
In addition to Ron Santo Day, the Cubs will host the Cubs Corner Luncheon on Tuesday at Wildfire Chicago, which will feature a panel of Ran Santo Jr., former teammate and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins and Cubs WGN Radio broadcaster Pat Hughes, reflecting on Santo's Hall of Fame induction. Guests will receive an autographed photo of a panelist and lunch. On-site registration begins at 11 a.m. CT, lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the live broadcast will be from noon-1 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity, and are available at www.cubs.com/cubscorner.
Fans who make the trip to Cooperstown are invited to the Cubs Fan Fest in the lawn-tented section of Cooperstown's Fenimore Art Museum from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET on July 21. There will be a live question-and-answer session, a video of memorable Santo moments, music, food and drinks.
Fans remaining in Chicago are invited to a viewing part of the induction ceremony at the Captain Morgan Club adjacent to Wrigley Field beginning at 11 a.m. CT on July 22.
Trade chatter won't be distraction
CHICAGO -- It's trading season in Major League Baseball.
With a little more than two weeks to go until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Cubs will certainly be involved in numerous rumors. But manager Dale Sveum said he didn't think they would impact his club, which closed the first half by winning nine of its last 13 games.
"I don't think it ever impacts wins or losses," Sveum said. "I think once these guys cross the line in batting practice, none of that stuff comes into play. Off the field, it's something that's there and it's been there a long time. You have to deal with it."
Regardless of the amount of talk, Sveum says his players just need to focus on what they control and remember it's part of the game.
"I've been on teams where there's a little bit [of rumors] or a lot, and then all of sudden it gets down to the Trade Deadline and, wow, nothing happens," Sveum said. "You're going to have the medium, the garage sale, [or] nobody gets traded. It's part of the game and it's that time of the year. The rumors fly and things happen."