8/14/2014 7:27 P.M. ET
Wright assists family, friends of Chicago LLWS team
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Wesley Wright didn't play Little League growing up in Montgomery, Ala., but the Cubs reliever did play what was called Dixie Ball. He remembers his parents driving him to games and tournaments all over the state.
Which is why Wright didn't hesitate to chip in money to help parents and friends of the Jackie Robinson West players go to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.
Wright, 29, joined the Rockies' LaTroy Hawkins, the Braves' B.J. and Justin Upton and the Tigers' Torii Hunter in donating money to cover travel expenses for many of the families.
"I felt that the kids worked so hard to get to that moment, the people they deserve to share it with is their family and friends," Wright said Thursday. "It was an easy sell for me. I'm glad they'll have their mom and dad and brothers and sisters there to cheer them on."
The Chicago Little League team will be the Great Lakes representative in the Little League World Series, which gets underway Thursday.
"They sent a 'thank you' video to us and some of the guys," Wright said. "It was pretty cool. I'm glad to be able to help. Hopefully they enjoy their time in Williamsport. Even if they don't win a game, I just hope they have a good time and it's lasting memories."
Wright said he was happy to see the community and the city rally in support of the team.
"It's a good thing for the community to see these young guys -- and in some cases girls -- playing ball and being a motivational tool on national TV for the rest of the kids back home to see they can do something positive," Wright said. "I think it's a great story overall. I'm sure that part of the city is excited and hoping they'll bring home a title."
Cubs players showed their support before Thursday's game by wearing T-shirts that said, "Cubs (heart) JRW."
Wright was in the weight room at Wrigley Field when the Jackie Robinson West team rallied to beat Indiana and advance to the World Series in the regional final. Rob Bufford, whose son, Cameron, hit a grand slam in that game, told the Chicago Tribune that if it weren't for last-minute donations from the pro players, they would have to watch the games from Chicago.
"It brought back a lot of memories for myself," Wright said of watching the kids.
Turner turns in flawless Cubs debut at Wrigley
CHICAGO -- Jacob Turner made the most of his Cubs debut.
The right-hander, acquired Aug. 8 from the Marlins for two Minor League pitchers, retired all seven batters he faced in the Cubs' 6-2 loss to the Brewers on Thursday. Turner, 23, entered with two outs in the fifth and two on, and got Mark Reynolds to fly out to left to end the inning.
"It'd been a while since I threw in a game," Turner said. "I was just excited to get out there and get my feet back underneath me."
He had not pitched since Aug. 3, when he started for the Marlins against the Reds and gave up five runs over four innings. Turner has thrown a few bullpens with Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio offering pointers.
"I know the type of pitcher I am, the type of pitcher I can be," Turner said. "It's just a matter of consistency, and that's what I said Day 1, and that's still the case. You have to go out there every day and be consistent. That's what great pitchers do."
Whether Turner will get a start has not been determined.
"It was good to get him out there to see him," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "I think it's very promising, quite frankly."
Starlin's 13-game hit streak a promising sign
CHICAGO -- Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro singled with two outs in the fourth inning against the Brewers on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, one shy of his career high.
Castro now has 10 hitting streaks of 10 or more games, including two career-high 14-game stretches.
It's an encouraging sign for Castro, who had some struggles. Cubs manager Rick Renteria said the shortstop was trying to generate power and drive the ball, and he wasn't concentrating on hitting the ball to center or right. Castro batted .296 in June, but followed that with a .221 July.
The key, Renteria said, is minimizing the peaks and valleys.
Castillo appreciates umps' aid with Rule 7.13
CHICAGO -- Welington Castillo said umpires have helped him with subtle reminders regarding new Rule 7.13 as to where he can stand at the plate, but the Cubs catcher is still a little vague on the restrictions.
The rule states that "a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate)." It came into play Wednesday during the seventh inning of the White Sox's game against the Giants, which resulted in manager Robin Ventura getting ejected.
"When the play happens, you worry about getting the ball and tagging the guy," Castillo said Thursday. "You never see where you're going to stand on the plate. You're just in front of the plate. Some umpires tell me before [the pitch], 'Hey, give me the line.' Before stuff happens, you have to anticipate what's going to happen and they say 'Hey, just give me the line.'"
Castillo said he often just reacts, but he does appreciate the umpire's reminders.
"As a catcher, you never think about it, you just react to [the play]," he said.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria said the rule has accomplished reducing the number of collisions at home plate. He also knows how there can be some confusion. Of course, he can turn to his brother for help.
"My brother is an attorney, and says there's the spirit of the law and the letter of the law," Renteria said. "The letter of the law says if he's in front of the plate without the ball, that the runner shall be granted home plate. The spirit of the law was intended to eliminate injury to the catcher by baserunners going outside the lane and attacking the catcher. I'm sure there will be a happy medium somewhere in the future."
Did Renteria win many arguments with his brother?
"Not very many," he said.
• Tsuyoshi Wada did not have a good Spring Training, giving up nine runs on 14 hits over 9 2/3 innings. But the left-hander won his second straight decision Wednesday and has given up seven runs over 25 1/3 innings in his last four starts for a 2.49 ERA.
"This isn't a kid," Renteria said of the 33-year-old Wada. "He's a young man who has pitched effectively. He's gone out in his last few outings and shown everybody he's capable of getting big league hitters out and commanding the zone. That's what he went down to the Minor Leagues to work on."
• Anthony Rizzo has 11 first-pitch home runs, most in the Major Leagues. The Orioles' Nelson Cruz is second, with nine.
• Javier Baez is the first Cubs player to hit four home runs and have seven RBIs through his first nine career games since Carmelo Martinez did so in 1983.
• Mark Zagunis, the Cubs' third-round pick in the June First-Year Player Draft, was promoted from short-season Boise to Class A Kane County. In 41 games at Boise, Zagunis was batting .299 with two home runs and 27 RBIs. He was named to the Northwest League All-Star team.
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.