Cubs announce Hickey as new pitching coach

Veteran reunites with Maddon as other staff changes are made

Cubs announce Hickey as new pitching coach

CHICAGO -- The Cubs announced Jim Hickey as the pitching coach Tuesday and named Will Venable first-base coach, replacing Brandon Hyde, who is switching to the dugout to be manager Joe Maddon's bench coach.

The Cubs also announced they have hired Jim Benedict as special assistant to baseball operations.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Rivera helping bring Christmas to kids in PR

Cubs catcher, wife organize toy drive as island recovers from two hurricanes

Rivera helping bring Christmas to kids in PR

CHICAGO -- Cubs catcher Rene Rivera and his wife, Mariel Perez, know families are struggling to rebuild in their homeland of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and the couple wants to make sure children there get gifts this holiday season.

Rivera and his wife have joined forces with retailers Kmart and Sears to collect 25,000 toys during a toy drive in Miami, Chicago and Arizona, starting Monday. The Riveras will then go to Puerto Rico in mid-December to distribute the gifts.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs, Red Sox to close ST with pair of games

Clubs meet March 26-27 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.

Cubs, Red Sox to close ST with pair of games

CHICAGO -- The Cubs and Red Sox will close Spring Training with two exhibitions at the Red Sox's Spring Training home, JetBlue Park, in Fort Myers, Fla.

The games will be played March 26 at 6:05 p.m. ET/5:05 p.m. CT and March 27 at 1:05 p.m. ET/12:05 p.m. CT as the final tuneups before the regular season.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Wood, Zambrano named to first HOF ballot

Pitchers join slugger Sosa, who is eligible for sixth year

Wood, Zambrano named to first HOF ballot

CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood, who struck out 20 in one game his rookie season, and Carlos Zambrano, who threw a no-hitter in 2008, are among the first-time nominees on the Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday.

The Hall of Fame election announcement will be Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network. To gain election, nominees have to appear on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted by Baseball Writers' Association of America voters.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Top prospect De La Cruz put on 40-man roster

Alzolay, Bote also protected from Rule 5; Hannemann clears waivers, assigned to Triple-A

Top prospect De La Cruz put on 40-man roster

CHICAGO -- Ahead of Monday's 7 p.m. CT deadline to protect players from next month's Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs selected the contracts of right-handers Adbert Alzolay and Oscar De La Cruz plus infielder David Bote, and added them to their 40-man roster. Outfielder Jacob Hannemann also cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.

With the moves, the Cubs' 40-man roster is at 36. The Rule 5 Draft is Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Borkowski, former Cubs OF, dies at 91

Ohio native also played for Cubs, Reds in six-year career

Borkowski, former Cubs OF, dies at 91

Bob Borkowski, an outfielder who played six seasons for the Cubs, Reds and Dodgers from 1950-55, passed away at the age of 91 on Saturday.

Borkowski was born in Dayton, Ohio, on Jan. 27, 1926. At 24, he made his Major League debut April 22, 1950, for the Cubs. His best season came in 1953, when he slashed .269/.328/.406 with seven home runs in 94 games for the Reds.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burks grabs AFL opportunity, runs with it

Burks grabs AFL opportunity, runs with it

MESA, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League season ended Saturday, and it was a perfect opportunity for Cubs prospect Charcer Burks.

A ninth-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Burks played for the Mesa Solar Sox, who lost to Peoria in the AFL championship game, 8-2, on Saturday. In 18 games, Burks, 22, batted .236 with seven doubles, seven RBIs and two stolen bases. He injured his side on the first day, but was able to participate more later in the season.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Arrieta, Davis decline Cubs' qualifying offers

Chicago guaranteed Draft pick compensation if free agents sign elsewhere

Arrieta, Davis decline Cubs' qualifying offers

CHICAGO -- As expected, Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis both rejected the Cubs' qualifying offers on Thursday, although the team was expected to stay in contact with both pitchers' agents about a possible return.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Mark Bowman: Why I put Bryant 1st on my ballot

MLB.com's Braves beat reporter explains his ballot

Mark Bowman: Why I put Bryant 1st on my ballot

ATLANTA -- Moments after Giancarlo Stanton was named National League MVP and the individual ballots were released, my Twitter feed was flooded with a rash of opinions regarding my decision to give a first-place vote to last year's winner, Kris Bryant.

Some simply asked for an explanation, others suggested I have a brain scan and one guy wondered if I evaluated highlights of the 2016 season before voting.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Arrieta's big-game pedigree could pay dividends

Agent discusses 2015 NL Cy Young winner, Hosmer, Martinez at GM Meetings

Arrieta's big-game pedigree could pay dividends

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta's regular-season record helped him become one of the premier starters in baseball over the past three seasons, and his postseason success could also be appealing to clubs interested in the right-hander.

That was among the points made by Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, in an extended session with a group of reporters at the annual General Manager meetings. Boras also addressed the status of first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder J.D. Martinez, two other high-profile free agents he represents.

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Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Success impacts price for season ticket holders

Cubs' 2017 has resulted in 'incredible demand'

Success impacts price for season ticket holders

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' success in 2017 will result in some pricing changes for '18 season ticket holders, who received an email Thursday detailing the renewal process.

Cale Vennum, vice president of ticketing, said the success has resulted in an "incredible demand" for Cubs tickets at Wrigley Field. The Cubs repeated as National League Central champions this season, and they reached the NL Championship Series for the third consecutive year.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Hoyer discusses options at GM Meetings

Cubs assessing market as they address rotation, bullpen

Hoyer discusses options at GM Meetings

Could John Lackey return to the Cubs? General manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday they'll talk to Lackey, who apparently isn't done after 15 seasons and wants to keep pitching.

Speaking to the media at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., Hoyer said he hasn't spoken to Lackey, 39, directly but has heard that the right-hander isn't ready to ride off into the sunset.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Duensings raise pediatric cancer awareness

Lefty's foundation to hold fundraising event in Omaha

Duensings raise pediatric cancer awareness

Brian Duensing and his wife Lisa have four healthy children, but they know that's not true for some families. On Friday, the Duensings and their foundation will host the 2017 Superhero Gala to benefit Sammy's Superheroes Foundation in its battle against childhood cancer.

The event, which will be at the Tiburon Golf Club in Omaha, Neb., will include Major League players Justin Morneau, Alex Gordon and Jake Diekman. Duensing, who pitched last season with the Cubs and is now a free agent, is a Nebaska native, as are Gordon and Diekman.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cobb wouldn't mind Maddon, Hickey reunion

Cubs potential landing spot if righty rejects Rays' qualifying offer

Cobb wouldn't mind Maddon, Hickey reunion

CHICAGO -- It's no secret the Cubs are in the market to acquire more pitching, and Alex Cobb apparently would like to be considered as an option.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Arrieta's son has some serious baseball skills

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Arrieta's son has some serious baseball skills

The offseason doesn't necessarily mean there are breaks. And while spending time with their families during the downtime is important, ballplayers are still finding ways to incorporate baseball into their daily activities. This was especially true when it came to the Arrieta family.

Recently, Brittany Arrieta, wife of free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta, took to social media to show off some of their son Cooper's baseball skills.

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Rizzo named Marvin Miller Man of the Year

Rizzo named Marvin Miller Man of the Year

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo received the prestigious Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award from the Major League Baseball Players Association, presented during the Players Choice Awards on Wednesday.

The award is named for the founding executive director of the modern MLBPA and is given to the player who most inspires through his contributions on the field and in the community. Rizzo, the Giants' Buster Posey and the Yankees' David Robertson were finalists.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs move Hyde from 1B to bench coach

Cubs move Hyde from 1B to bench coach

CHICAGO -- Brandon Hyde will return to the Cubs' dugout in 2018, switching from first-base coach to manager Joe Maddon's bench coach.

Hyde, 44, joined the Cubs' organization in 2012 as the Minor League field coordinator and was added to the big league coaching staff as the bench coach for manager Rick Renteria in 2014. In '15, Maddon took over as Cubs manager and added Dave Martinez as bench coach and Hyde was reassigned to first-base coach.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Heyward wins 5th NL Gold Glove Award

Heyward wins 5th NL Gold Glove Award

CHICAGO -- Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward won his fifth Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award on Tuesday.

Heyward, who also won the award in 2012 and from '14-16, is the second outfielder in Cubs franchise history to win multiple Gold Gloves, joining two-time winner Andre Dawson (1987 and '88). Bob Dernier is the only other Cubs outfielder to win the award, doing so in '84.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs will have free-agent holes to fill

Cubs will have free-agent holes to fill

CHICAGO -- It will be a busy offseason for the Cubs, who not only have some holes in the roster to fill but also spots on manager Joe Maddon's coaching staff.

Chili Davis and Jim Hickey join Maddon as the new hitting and pitching coaches, respectively. Dave Martinez, who had been at Maddon's side since 2008 as his bench coach, was named manager of the Nationals.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Heyward's glove makes him a trade fit for SF

Sources say Cubs could use top defender to fortify pitching staff

Heyward's glove makes him a trade fit for SF

With Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis exploring free agency, it's no secret that the Cubs are looking for rotation and bullpen help. And if they are looking to overhaul their roster via trade -- as opposed to free agency -- the Giants appear to be a solid match.

San Francisco is coming of a disappointing season and is eager to improve its outfield defense, and Jason Heyward -- who just won his fifth Gold Glove Award -- could certainly help in that regard. Sources indicate that the Cubs would be willing to move Heyward if they can get pitching in return, and the Giants could offer closer Mark Melancon and/or starter Jeff Samardzija.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey may not be ready to hang up cleats

Veteran right-hander said to be looking to continue career

Lackey may not be ready to hang up cleats

CHICAGO -- Maybe John Lackey isn't ready to ride off into the sunset.

According to both MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Lackey is not retiring and wants to pitch in 2018.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Scout who drafted Halladay shares '95 report

Wilken tried to connect with late pitcher the day before crash

Scout who drafted Halladay shares '95 report

On Monday, Arizona Diamondbacks scout Tim Wilken stopped by a high school baseball field near Clearwater, Fla. He wanted to give the Calvary Christian pitching coach Roy Halladay a copy of the scouting report from 1995 when Wilken, then with the Blue Jays, first saw the right-handed pitcher Toronto would draft in the first round two months later.

Halladay wasn't at the game. On Tuesday, Wilken and the rest of the baseball world were shocked by the news that Halladay had died at the age of 40 when the ICON A5 plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs add right-handers Mazzoni, Carasiti

Martin outrighted to Triple-A; 40-man roster at 34

Cubs add right-handers Mazzoni, Carasiti

CHICAGO -- The Cubs continued to stock up on pitching on Monday by claiming right-hander Cory Mazzoni off waivers from the Padres and selecting the contract of right-hander Matt Carasiti from Triple-A Iowa. They assigned outfielder Leonys Martin outright to Triple-A.

With the moves, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 34.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs prospect Alzolay has ace potential

No. 3 in system, right-hander getting close to big leagues

Cubs prospect Alzolay has ace potential

MESA, Ariz. -- Adbert Alzolay didn't pick up a baseball until he was 6 years old, when his grandfather introduced him to the game. Now 22, the Venezuelan right-hander is someone the Cubs are keeping an eye on.

Ranked No. 3 among Cubs prospects by MLBPipeline.com, Alzolay was pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He went 7-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 15 starts at Class A Myrtle Beach last season and posted a 3.03 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Tennessee.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Fall Stars wrap: How top prospects performed

Fall Stars wrap: How top prospects performed

Below is a recap of each player's performance from the 12th edition of the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, a 4-2 win for the East division.

Among the highly regarded players in this year's exhibition were 10 players on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs have questions to answer in offseason

Cubs have questions to answer in offseason

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were the first defending World Series champs to both win their division the next season and reach 90 wins since the 2009 Phillies. They were also the first defending champs to make the postseason since the '12 Cardinals. But the Cubs weren't able to repeat -- something that hasn't been done since the Yankees did from 1998-2000.

What's next for the Cubs? There already have been changes in manager Joe Maddon's coaching staff. Here are three questions to ponder now that the Dodgers and Astros are done battling in this year's World Series:

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs claim lefty reliever Rosario from Twins

Cubs claim lefty reliever Rosario from Twins

CHICAGO -- The Cubs claimed left-handed pitcher Randy Rosario off waivers from the Twins on Friday. With the move, the Cubs' 40-man roster is now at 33.

Rosario, 23, combined to go 1-0 with one save and a 3.84 ERA in 34 relief appearances between Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga. He struck out 48 batters and walked 23 over 61 innings. With Chattanooga, he limited left-handed hitters to a .169 batting average against.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.