Russell, Rizzo are OK after collision

Russell, Rizzo are OK after collision

CHICAGO -- First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Addison Russell survived a full-speed collision in the second inning of Saturday's 6-1 loss, and fortunately, there was no blood.

The Brewers had a runner at second and two outs in the second when Carlos Gomez lofted the ball to right. Both Rizzo and Russell gave chase, then crashed into each other and tumbled to the ground.

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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.

Cubs' bats quiet in loss to Brewers

Cubs' bats quiet in loss to Brewers

CHICAGO -- Mike Fiers struck out 12 batters over six innings, Ryan Braun smacked a two-run homer and Jean Segura had four hits, including an RBI triple, to lead the Brewers to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs on Saturday and even the series.

Fiers walked two in the first, but did not give up a hit until Chris Denorfia singled with one out in the fifth. He also served up Anthony Rizzo's solo homer with one out in the Chicago sixth. The 12 K's were a season high, and helped the Brewers notch their third road win in 11 games.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. 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.

Arrieta struggles with rhythm in loss to Brewers

Arrieta struggles with rhythm in loss to Brewers

CHICAGO -- Jake Arrieta had a tough time getting into a rhythm early on Saturday, and Ryan Braun made him pay.

The Cubs right-hander gave up a season-high four runs on seven hits over five innings, snapping a stretch of 15 consecutive quality starts at Wrigley Field dating to Sept. 25, 2013. That was all the Brewers needed to post a 6-1 win on Saturday and even the series.

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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.

Hammel, Cubs try to take rubber match from Brewers

Hammel, Cubs try to take rubber match from Brewers

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson will aim for a bounce-back outing while Cubs starter Jason Hammel seeks more of the same when the teams conclude a three-game series on Sunday at 1:20 p.m. CT

Hammel has 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings this season, including seven strikeouts over eight shutout innings against the Pirates in his most recent start. He's been just as good against the Brewers, compiling a 5-0 record with a 1.85 ERA in six career starts, including a pair of scoreless starts against Milwaukee last season.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fan attempts to catch foul ball with nachos

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Fan attempts to catch foul ball with nachos

Dear MLB fans:

We hope you catch lots and lots of foul balls. We especially hope you catch them in bizarre and interesting ways, so we can write about you and tell you how cool you are. We know you particularly like to catch balls in food. But for every miraculous culinary snag, there's, well, this. 

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Cubs' Soler to adjust 'mental mechanics' at leadoff

Cubs' Soler to adjust 'mental mechanics' at leadoff

CHICAGO -- For the first time this season, Jorge Soler was moved into the Cubs' leadoff spot. It's part of manager Joe Maddon's effort to get the rookie outfielder to adjust the mental part of his game and try to get back on track.

Soler, who has primarily hit second or third, was batting .171 (6-for-35) in his last nine games with 19 strikeouts in that stretch.

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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.

First Majors homer shows Russell he belongs

Cubs No. 2 prospect provides only offense in victory over Brewers

First Majors homer shows Russell he belongs

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave Addison Russell Wednesday off so the 21-year-old infielder could catch his breath, sit back and watch the game. The message Maddon was trying to convey was that Russell belongs here. On Friday, Russell proved it.

Russell hit his first Major League home run, connecting in his eighth game, to help the Cubs beat the Brewers, 1-0. The blast, which came off a 3-2 pitch from Wily Peralta leading off the third, landed in the left-field bleachers, still under construction, and was retrieved by a construction worker.

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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.

Lester's first Cubs win a 'big day'

After uneven start to season, lefty tosses seven scoreless against Crew

Lester's first Cubs win a 'big day'

CHICAGO -- David Ross could tell that Jon Lester had found his groove again on Friday. The left-hander's pitches were crisper, there was a little more velocity on his fastball and his curve was effective.

"I thought he was back to being the Jon that I know and the guy I'm used to, so that's good for the Cubs," said Ross, who was behind the plate for Lester's first win in a Cubs uniform, a 1-0 decision Friday over the Brewers.

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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.

Russell's first homer enough for Lester's first win

Russell's first homer enough for Lester's first win

CHICAGO -- If you thought Addison Russell would homer before Kris Bryant, you were right.

Russell, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, connected on his first big league homer in the third inning Friday afternoon to give Jon Lester all the support he needed in a 1-0 victory over the Brewers.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Never a reason to worry about Lester

Cubs lefty dealt with some bad luck before scoreless start vs. Brewers

Never a reason to worry about Lester

CHICAGO -- Sure, the ERA looks a little bloated, to find a kindly way to ask, "What the heck is wrong with this guy?''

We recognize that everyone likes to have something silly to freak out about. But come on, Cub fans, were you really worried about Jon Lester?

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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.

Manfred talks pace of play, ASG at Wrigley

Commissioner says he appreciates feedback from players about new rules

Manfred talks pace of play, ASG at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday he's encouraged by the feedback regarding changes made to improve the pace of play, and he has encouraged players to offer suggestions.

Manfred, who was at Wrigley Field to meet with the Cubs and the Brewers, said they've received input from players that have resulted in a few changes. For example, players who violate the pace of play rules are not fined if their game takes two hours, 45 minutes or less.

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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.

Addison Russell goes deep for first time in career

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Addison Russell goes deep for first time in career

Being a Cubs fan for the last few years has been something of a waiting game. While GM Theo Epstein was off collecting an armada of young talent and generally being a wizard, the actual team on the field kept losing games, and so the North Side was forced to bide their time salivating over what the future might hold. (Hint: so, so many home runs.)

Slowly but surely, though, all that promise has begun translating to real, actual MLB things, and it is glorious. Today's milestone: Addison Russell, shortstop of the future and uber-prospect extraordinaire, launched his first Major League home run this afternoon, depositing what will surely be the first of many baseballs into the Wrigley bleachers and lifting Chicago to a 1-0 win over the Brewers:

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Inbox: Are the Cubs down on Castillo?

Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat answers fans' queries on the North Siders

Inbox: Are the Cubs down on Castillo?

Why have the Cubs seemingly given up on Welington Castillo? He's a great catcher who can throw and hit. I've heard that he doesn't frame pitches well enough. That's irrelevant considering they signed a 40-year-old catcher who can't throw or hit and his sole purpose was to catch Jon Lester, who is struggling.
-- Trevor K., Omaha, Neb.

If the Cubs had given up on Castillo, he wouldn't be on the roster. And if David Ross wasn't with the Cubs, Castillo might be catching twice a week rather than once. Miguel Montero has had the biggest impact among the three catchers -- I haven't heard pitchers gush about a catcher in a long time the way they talk about Miggy.

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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.

Win streak ends with off night for bats, Hendricks

Win streak ends with off night for bats, Hendricks

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed one unearned run in six innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a much-needed two-run triple to lead the Pirates to an 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Pittsburgh held a one-run edge before tacking on four runs in the sixth, all coming with two outs. Jordy Mercer knocked an RBI single before McCutchen drilled a triple to center field, a hit that might have left the yard if not for the winds blowing in from the north that made the game-time temperature of 39 degrees feel like 32.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rough start of little concern to Hendricks, Maddon

Rough start of little concern to Hendricks, Maddon

CHICAGO -- Young right-hander Kyle Hendricks continues to work himself back into the pound-the-zone strike-thrower he asserted himself as last season.

It's just taking a little longer than he and the club would like.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torres heating up for Cubs at Class A

Chicago's No. 6 prospect goes 4-for-5 to raise average to .352, hitting .538 in past eight games

Torres heating up for Cubs at Class A

Add Class A West Michigan to the list of teams that have tried and failed to stop Cubs No. 6 prospect Gleyber Torres. The South Bend shortstop went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI on Thursday afternoon, and is 15-for-28 (.538) over his past eight games.

Torres, who turned 18 in December, was effective last season (.297/.386/.440) after Chicago signed him, but his play has already impressed in a big way this year. The Venezuelan is now hitting .352/.446/.423 in 20 games, and has displayed fleet feet on the basepaths -- he stole his seventh bag of the season on Thursday.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB: Cubs didn't tamper in Maddon hiring

MLB: Cubs didn't tamper in Maddon hiring

CHICAGO -- The Cubs were cleared on Wednesday of tampering charges in connection with the hiring of manager Joe Maddon.

Major League Baseball issued a statement saying it had concluded its tampering investigation regarding Maddon's departure from the Rays and his subsequent hiring as manager of the Cubs. MLB said the investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on tampering.

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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.

For Maddon and Cubs, every win a cause for celebration

For Maddon and Cubs, every win a cause for celebration

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant didn't expect disco balls, smoke and bright lights after games in the big leagues, but that's what happens in the Cubs' clubhouse after a win.

"Every time we win, it's like we won a World Series," Bryant said on Wednesday. "There's disco balls and smoke everywhere -- it's a lot of fun. It's something I've wanted to be a part of."

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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.

Rizzo, Castro, Bryant headline Cubs on All-Star ballot

Rizzo, Castro, Bryant headline Cubs on All-Star ballot

CHICAGO -- Could Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro be named to the National League All-Star team again for a second consecutive year? Will Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan be picked for the first time? And what about top prospect Kris Bryant -- is he All-Star-worthy?

The Cubs have eight players on the All-Star ballot, released on Wednesday. The list includes Rizzo and Castro, who both made the NL team last year, plus Bryant, Fowler, Coghlan, Miguel Montero, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler.

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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.

Wood, Fowler help Cubs secure series win vs. Pirates

Wood, Fowler help Cubs secure series win vs. Pirates

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are off and running.

Dexter Fowler had three hits and two RBIs to back Travis Wood and lead the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates on Tuesday night, when Chicago scored all six of its runs with two outs.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. 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.

Maddon: Cubs picking right moments to run

Maddon: Cubs picking right moments to run

CHICAGO -- When Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo are on base together, Fowler knows the Cubs' first baseman is going to push him to run.

"I tell Dex all the time, 'Go, so I can get an easy one,'" Rizzo said.

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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.

Attacking strike zone key to Wood's success vs. Bucs

Attacking strike zone key to Wood's success vs. Bucs

CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, Travis Wood picked up his first career win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field, struck out a season-high nine batters, and didn't walk anyone. It was a good night, not only for the lefty, but for the Cubs.

"That's why you can be 12-7 now," manager Joe Maddon said of his team after the 6-2 win. "You can't do it without really good pitching and, of course, the bullpen. When your starting pitchers go deep in the game, all of a sudden, your bullpen gets better. It's an easy equation."

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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.

Ricketts apologizes for comment on Network show

CHICAGO -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts apologized Tuesday for using an offensive term during an interview on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk."

Ricketts was asked to recommend an odd job for show host Kevin Millar at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs' owner suggested scoreboard operator, asking Millar if he could wear a certain type of T-shirt because "it's pretty hot up there."

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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.

Denorfia's ailing hamstring allows Lake to get start

Denorfia's ailing hamstring allows Lake to get start

CHICAGO -- Junior Lake got his first start Tuesday night for the Cubs because outfielder Chris Denorfia isn't 100 percent healthy after dealing with a sore left hamstring.

"Denorfia is still not 100 percent with his leg, so I don't want to push him right now," manager Joe Maddon said of his lineup against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke.

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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.

Hammel commands Pirates' attention

Allows four hits over eight shutout innings

Hammel commands Pirates' attention

CHICAGO -- Jason Hammel made Miguel Montero's job easy, and that's just what the Cubs needed.

Hammel threw eight shutout innings, holding the Pirates to four hits, in a 4-0 victory Monday night at Wrigley Field.

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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.

Hammel works 8 scoreless in win over Pirates

Hammel works 8 scoreless in win over Pirates

CHICAGO -- Rookie Kris Bryant smacked a two-run single and Anthony Rizzo drove in two runs to back Jason Hammel and lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory Monday night over the Pirates at chilly Wrigley Field.

Hammel held the Pirates to four hits over eight innings, the longest outing by a Cubs starter this year, and struck out a season-high seven. He has walked one and struck out 23 in his four starts this season.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. 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.