7/27/2013 9:15 P.M. ET
Missing Soriano, Rizzo looks to get rolling
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the departure of Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs are in need of someone to pick up the slack and drive in runs. Anthony Rizzo is the obvious one, but he's just trying to get back on track at the plate.
"It's more trying to get to where I want to be," Rizzo said Saturday. "It's not doing any more, it's just putting good swings on the ball, which I've been doing, but I haven't been getting it to fall."
Entering Saturday, Rizzo was batting .177 (14-for-79) in his last 21 games with two home runs and 10 RBIs.
What will be tough is returning to Wrigley Field and not having Soriano lockered next to him. Soriano was traded to the Yankees on Friday for Class A pitcher Corey Black.
"I can't even tell you how much I miss Sori," Rizzo said. "When we do get things rolling, I'll never forget to give him credit."
It's not just about hitting, either.
"It's the way that every day, coming to the field, he's happy," Rizzo said. "I never met anyone who genuinely loves the game as much as he does. He's made all the money and he's played for 13, 15 years and he genuinely loves playing baseball. He's a good person, a good friend."
Samardzija, Sveum shrug off trade rumblings
SAN FRANCISCO -- Players were razzing Jeff Samardzija on Saturday about being the latest Cubs pitcher to be highlighted in trade rumors, which manager Dale Sveum tried to squash.
According to FOX Sports' and MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are listening to offers for Samardzija, 28, although the asking price would be high. The right-hander, who has a 3.94 ERA in 21 starts, has two arbitration years remaining.
"I don't think that's going to happen," Sveum said about dealing Samardzija. "We have control of a guy for 2 1/2 more years. I think somebody had to throw something out there and was bored and put some silly rumor out there."
Samardzija didn't have any inside information.
"We're in the position where we do what we're told and go where we're supposed to go," Samardzija said. "Obviously, we know when we pitch. I don't have a no-trade clause or anything like that, but I know I'm still protected and under control for a couple more years. It's out of my hands, out of my control."
When Samardzija was drafted in 2006, he signed a five-year, $10 million deal. He had a no-trade clause in that deal and didn't realize it's value at first.
"When I had it and I got to the big leagues and got a feel of what was going on and got a feel for the business side of things, it was an excellent thing to have," he said. "It allowed me to get situated in the big leagues, know I wasn't going anywhere, and it put us and the front office on the same page. I knew personally that I was going to be there, no matter what, and I was going to make it work.
"It also shows your commitment to the team and the city and that you want to be here through and through and that you're committed to this team."
His original contract included club option years for 2012 and '13, and the Cubs declined his option for 2012 and renewed his contract that year at $2.64 million. This year was his first arbitration year, and he avoided arbitration and signed a one-year, $2.64 million deal.
It's not about the money, he said.
"I don't put any importance on money anyways," he said. "Your numbers in baseball speak for themselves. That's what makes your money, that's what does everything. ... However you perform is how you get paid.
"Money isn't driving what I do. Competition and competing is driving what I do and winning is driving what I do. That's what it's all about."
• Dioner Navarro seemed a good candidate to fill the fourth spot in the Cubs' lineup Saturday against southpaw Madison Bumgarner.
Navarro was 17-for-33 (.515) against left-handed pitching. Sveum is mixing and matching in that spot in the lineup following Soriano's departure via trade.
"[Navarro's] numbers against left-handed pitching are as good as anybody," Sveum said.
• The Cubs traded right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, 29, who was pitching at Triple-A Iowa, to the Giants. Moscoso compiled a 3.38 ERA and 1.094 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) with the Athletics in 2011. He was claimed on waivers three times over the winter, ultimately by the Cubs. In 17 starts at Iowa, he was 7-5 with a 3.93 ERA.
• Kris Bryant, the Cubs' first-round Draft pick, hit his first professional home run Friday, one day after going 0-for-5 and striking out five times.
"It felt great to get it out of the way. That first one, no matter what level, is the hardest," Bryant told Boise, Idaho, media after Friday's game. "My parents were here, home debut -- that was pretty fun."
The second player taken overall in this year's Draft, Bryant hit 31 home runs in his final season for the University of San Diego.
"It can only get better from here, and that [first] game might wind up the worst I ever have, so maybe I can look back at it and have a good laugh," he said of the five whiffs.
• Shawon Dunston Jr. was batting .328 at Class A Boise and had more walks (18) than strikeouts (15) in 33 games. That's the opposite of what his father, former Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston, would do. In his 18-year career, Shawon Sr. struck out 1,000 times and drew 203 walks. Dunston now is a coach on the Giants staff. What gives?
"First, he hits left-handed," said Dunston. "The patience is from my wife."
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.