04/24/2013 12:20 AM ET
Cubs look for Rizzo to improve non-power numbers
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Anthony Rizzo ranks among the National League leaders in home runs and RBIs, but the Cubs wouldn't mind seeing some other numbers improve.
"I think a lot of times people look at the 'one' in front of his batting average and think he's struggling," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said of Rizzo, who entered Tuesday's game batting .191. "Offensively, I don't have issues with him at all. ... Certainly, you want him to get more hits with runners in scoring position and more line drives. Those hits will come. It's 18 games in."
Rizzo has six home runs and 14 RBIs, and is one home run shy of the team mark for most by a left-handed hitter in the month of April. Hall of Famer Billy Williams and Henry Rodriguez each hit seven in April, doing so in 1970 and 2000, respectively.
Rizzo's did hit seven home runs and drove in 17 runs last July. What does manager Dale Sveum want to see?
"Just be Anthony Rizzo," Sveum said. "He came up last year and was worried about RBIs more than home runs. I think he's a little too animated in his approach right now, meaning a lot of movement going on, a lot of indecision instead of perfecting one thing and knowing that's going to work. We just want him to be Anthony Rizzo."
That means a little better play on the field, too, Hoyer said.
"I think with 'Riz,' he's a young player but he can tighten up his game as well," Hoyer said. "He's got great hands, a great arm. There's no reason this guy isn't a Gold Glove quality first baseman. He's made too many mistakes for a guy with that potential. Some of that is youth and some of that needs to change.
"He's a big part of our future. He's not immune from some of the mistakes we've been making. We need to get to the bottom of why he's making those mistakes."
Garza scratched from rehab start due to arm soreness
CINCINNATI -- Cubs pitcher Matt Garza was scratched from his Minor League rehab start, scheduled for Wednesday, because of some soreness in his right arm, which general manager Jed Hoyer said was similar to the "dead arm phase" many pitchers go through in Spring Training.
Garza has been trying to come back from a strained left lat sustained Feb. 17 during a live batting practice session in Spring Training. He did not pitch in any spring games, and threw two innings in a simulated game on Friday at Miller Park. The right-hander was scheduled to pitch Wednesday for Double-A Tennessee, but he will now be shut down and then throw a bullpen.
"It's all muscular, nothing structural," Hoyer said Tuesday. "We'll give him a couple days, throw a bullpen and get him right back on schedule."
Hoyer said Garza did not bounce back quickly after his last bullpen, which was Sunday in Milwaukee with the Cubs.
"We're certainly hopeful it's a dead arm [thing]," Hoyer said. "It's a muscle and forearm and biceps, kind of a dead arm period thing. We're hopeful he takes a couple days, throws a bullpen and gets back out there."
The good news, as far as the Cubs are concerned, is that Garza's problems have nothing to do with his right elbow, which shut him down last July.
Schierholtz explains interference on Hannahan's triple
CINCINNATI -- If you look closely at a replay of Jack Hannahan's triple in the Reds' seventh inning Monday, you'll see that a fan reached over from the right-field bleachers just as Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz was leaping for the ball.
"I went up for it and I just felt a hand hit my glove," Schierholtz said Tuesday. "By then, I crashed the wall and didn't catch it. I knew a fan had reached over, or I'd clipped a fan -- I didn't know, it's hard to tell when you're only focusing on the ball. Then I went back and watched the replay."
The video from the Cubs' crew shows a fan in white interfering with the ball.
"His glove definitely ran into the guy's hand as he was getting ready to catch the ball," manager Dale Sveum said.
The tying run scored on Hannahan's hit, and the Cubs would eventually lose, 5-4, in 13 innings. It's too late now, but what's protocol?
"In that case, I think [the umpires] wouldn't give me the call anyways just because it wasn't a routine play," Schierholtz said. "It was going to be a tough play whether the fan reached over or not. It's one of those things that's annoying as a player. You think you have a chance to make a good play and save a run, and a fan reaches up."
Closer role up in the air despite Marmol's success
CINCINNATI -- Carlos Marmol has six consecutive scoreless outings since he was removed from the closer's role, but manager Dale Sveum said the right-hander isn't ready to get his job back yet.
"He's pitched really well," Sveum said of Marmol. "He's throwing his slider, his slider is breaking. I'm not going to change anything right now."
Who's the Cubs closer? Right now, it will be determined by matchups. Kyuji Fujikawa took over for Marmol, but he then had to go on the disabled list because of a strained right forearm.
"When he comes back, we'll find out how he's throwing, and maybe we have a closer by that time," Sveum said. "If not, [Fujikawa] will obviously pitch late in the game."
Fujikawa stayed in Chicago to do his rehab work, and was throwing from about 120 feet on flat ground.
The Cubs are 3-for-8 in save situations, and five different pitchers each have a blown save (Marmol, Fujikawa, Michael Bowden, James Russell and Shawn Camp).
• Third baseman Ian Stewart went 1-for-3 with two RBIs on Monday in the sixth game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa. Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush was watching Stewart's game to see how he's progressing from a sore left quad, which he sustained in February.
"When he's ready to help us, we'll bring him up," Hoyer said.
• Infielder Alberto Gonzalez, who was designated for assignment on April 19, has cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Iowa. Gonzalez made the Opening Day roster and subbed at second base while Darwin Barney was on the disabled list.
• Cubs' Summer Camps will return beginning the week of June 24. There will be six one-week sessions to run through Aug. 5 in Lake Forest, Riverside, Palatine, Niles, Naperville and Evanston. The camps are available to boys and girls between the ages of 5-13.
Each camper will receive a full Cubs uniform, and get on-field skill development and professional instruction. Campers also get the opportunity to take a guided tour of Wrigley Field and either meet with a member of the current team or take a photo inside the clubhouse, depending on the schedule.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.