Notes: Baker deals with miscues

Notes: Baker deals with miscues

ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he talked to Jerry Hairston, Ronny Cedeno and Todd Walker about mental mistakes made during Monday's game, and imposed fines. But there seems to be no explanation for the gaffes.

"A lot of these guys come from other organizations where certain things are stressed differently," Baker said Tuesday. "We have to teach as we go more than any other time. My teams have always been fundamentally sound, but I was at a place for a long time where you could instill these things from the time they're young. Fundamentals are always my thing.

"You can stress, but guys still have to react and do it on command," Baker said. "You practice these things and practice them. Fundamentals is one of the things lacking, period, in baseball. Half of these things you should know, and should've learned, a long time ago via the Minor Leagues, high school, college, winter ball, instructional league.

"A lot of these things you shouldn't have to stress at the big-league level. That's what big leagues mean."

When Baker played, there was more of a fear factor involved. The competition for jobs was keen and players felt if they goofed up, someone would replace them.

"I've got a fine system," Baker said. "Short of that, you're weakening yourself and the team if you take this guy or that guy out of the lineup."

Hairston and Walker were both in the Cubs lineup on Tuesday.

Is the problem a lack of concentration?

"It's a combination of concentration and expecting the unexpected, and thinking along with your manager, thinking about the situation in the game," Baker said.

Don't think Baker shrugged off the mistakes.

"You think I just let it pass? I don't let anything pass," he said. "I can't tell you what I tell them. I call them in. Sometimes I call them in my office the day after, like I did today.

"If you want to play on my team, I like players who have the ability to learn and be taught and to retain what you're teaching them," he said. "We go over signs every day. I talk to guys on every team and there are a whole bunch of teams who have the same problem. All we can do is keep teaching, keep stressing and keep fighting. Some of the guys who are missing signs are the same guys who were missing signs before."

Roster moves: The Cubs added catcher Geovany Soto and left-handed pitcher John Koronka from the Triple-A Iowa roster on Tuesday. That's the last of their Minor League callups.

Soto hit .253 with 14 doubles, four homers and 39 RBIs in 91 games for Iowa. This was his first season at the Triple-A level.

"It was a very good learning experience," Soto said. "Just being around the veteran guys -- I had a chance to play with Trenidad Hubbard and Darren Oliver. It helped just talking to [Oliver] and knowing how he likes a catcher to set up, and what he likes in counts and trying to learn more about the game."

Soto knows the young pitchers now on the big-league roster -- and sees a bright future.

"These guys have a lot of talent -- Rich Hill, [Sergio] Mitre, John Koronka," he said. "They're just good athletes."

Koronka is making his third stint with the big-league team. He was 9-11 with a 4.24 ERA at Iowa, and struck out 96 over 136 innings.

This is Soto's first callup and he was excited, calling his wife and parents.

"My dad, he went nuts," Soto said. "He was hoping I got called up this year but when I actually told him, he went nuts. He said, 'You're not going to sleep today.' I said, 'You're not going to sleep.'"

Extra bases: Mark Prior has a slight strain in his leg that needs to be monitored, but it's not serious, Baker said. "It's a slight leg thing," Baker said. ... Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon's dismissal on Tuesday did not surprise Baker. "Being that long on a team that's not playing well and not being re-signed, I'm sure it crossed his mind [that he'd be fired]," Baker said. "It's part of the game. This is one year where fewer managers have been fired than before because so many teams are still in it." ... Iowa manager Mike Quade also was called up to help with the big-league team.

Last dance: The Cubs played their first game at Busch Stadium on May 24, 1966. The lineup that day included Adolfo Phillips in center, Glenn Beckert at second, Billy Williams in right, Ron Santo at third, Ernie Banks at first, Randy Hundley catching, Byron Browne in left, Don Kessinger at short and Bill Hands on the mound.

Beckert went 2-for-3 with one RBI in the Cubs' 2-0 win. Hands and Ted Abernathy combined on the five-hit shutout. A crowd of 15,790 was on hand.

Here's a scoring summary:

Cubs 6th: Beckert doubled to left. Williams was hit by a pitch. Santo flew out to center with Beckert advancing to third. Banks hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Beckert, with Williams advancing to second. Hundley grounded out, short to first.

Cubs 7th: Browne doubled to center. Kessinger reached on a fielder's choice on a sacrifice bunt, Browne was safe at third. Hands reached on a fielder's choice, Browne was thrown out at home (third to the catcher) with Kessinger advancing to second. Phillips popped to the pitcher. Beckert singled to left, scoring Kessinger, with Hands advancing to second. Williams grounded out, first base unassisted.

Some other Busch Stadium trivia: The largest crowd for a Cubs game here was 53,415 on July 30, 1994, while the smallest was 6,307 on Sept. 8, 1980. ... The longest game was 13 innings, done seven times, most recently Sept. 7, 2002. ... The Cubs have not thrown a shutout at Busch since June 23, 1997, which was a 3-0 Cubs win. The Cards have shut out the Cubs six times since the Cubs last shut out the Cards at Busch.

Ryne Sandberg holds the Cubs' all-time marks at Busch for games (117), at-bats (434), runs (60), hits (109), total bases (174), doubles (22), RBIs (59) and stolen bases (16). Sammy Sosa hit the most home runs (19) at Busch. And the Cubs pitcher with the most wins against the Cards at Busch is Fergie Jenkins, with eight. Rick Sutcliffe won seven and Greg Maddux six. Bob Forsch beat the Cubs 15 times at Busch while the Cubs beat Bob Gibson seven times here.

Minor matters: Congratulations to Double-A West Tenn, which ended its regular season with a 5-2 win over Mobile and clinched the second-half championship with a 39-31 record. The Diamond Jaxx will begin a best-of-five series against Carolina on Wednesday. Jae-Kuk Ryu gave up one run on seven hits over seven innings and struck out six in the regular-season finale.

Grady Little, the Cubs catching instructor and former Red Sox manager, had subbed for West Tenn manager Bobby Dickerson so he could deal with family matters in Laurel, Miss., which was hit by Hurricane Katrina. But Dickerson will return to manage the Diamond Jaxx in the playoffs.

Triple-A Iowa lost its season finale, 8-3, to New Orleans. Anderson Tavares gave up four runs on seven hits over three innings. Ben Grieve was 3-for-4 with two doubles.

Angel Guzman gave up two runs on six hits over three innings and struck out four in Class A Peoria's 8-6 win over South Bend. Ryan Harvey went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI. Class A Boise beat Spokane, 9-6. Brandon Taylor and Davy Gregg each had two hits.

On deck: The Cubs will play their last game at old Busch Stadium on Wednesday. Maddux and Mark Mulder will square off for the second time this season. Maddux went the distance and got the win the last time they met on Aug. 14.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.