Despite his recent troubles with the Cubs, dont expect Sammy Sosa to go anywhere, based on this Oct. 11 quote from General Manager Jim Hendry:
I have not pursued any trade with Sammy. Until Sammy Sosa is not a Chicago Cub, he will be our right fielder.
Sosa has one year remaining on his mega contract with the team. Lets not diminish what the man has done for the organization and the city, Hendry said of Sosa, the first player in National League history to compile six 40-homer seasons and nine consecutive 100-RBI seasons.
Gone, however, is third base coach Wendell Kim, sometimes called Wavin Wendell for his aggressive baserunning decisions. All other coaches have been retained, and Gary Sarge Matthews and Gene Clines will switch jobs.
Matthews will be the first base coach and be responsible for outfielders and baserunning, while Clines will take over as the hitting coach. Clines said his No. 1 project is center fielder Corey Patterson, who whiffed 168 times, tying Sosa for the fourth-highest total in team history.
Hendry will interview candidates for the vacant third base coach job. One candidate to be considered is Triple-A Iowa manager Mike Quade.
Quade was manager of the Rockford Expos of the Class A Midwest League in 1989 (74-59) and 1990 (56-80). His 89 Rockford team was a playoff qualifier. His West Michigan team won the Midwest League championship in 1996.
The Evanston native was first base coach for the Oakland Athletics before being named to manage the Iowa Cubs. He was with Oakland three seasons after 15 years in the minor leagues, including 13 seasons as a manager. He compiled a 924-886 (.510) record as a manager in the Pirates, Expos, Phillies and Athletics organizations.
Also gone is TV broadcaster Chip Caray, who joins the Atlanta Braves telecasts next season to work with his father, Skip, and be closer to home. Chip joined the Cubs TV team in 1998 and was to work with his grandfather, Harry Caray. But Harry died in February 1998, and Chip was paired with Steve Stone.
Stone, 57, was unsure about his contract status for next season. I dont know anything about my status, Stone said. From an emotional standpoint, I would like to work the rest of my career with Chip.
WGN-TV holds an option for the 2005 season, he said. Stone was Harry Carays partner for 15 seasons, and returned to the booth in 2003 after a two-year absence.
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Hawks Get Pitcher: The Frontier League champion Rockford RiverHawks on Oct. 11 acquired pitcher Tim Hart from the North Shore Spirit of the Northeast League as the player to be named later in the Feb. 9 Nilson Teilon trade. Teilon, a former White Sox farmhand, never played for Rockford.
Hart, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound righty, is a resident of Middleboro, Mass. He turns 25 on Dec. 5 and has a one-year status in the Frontier League. Hart was 4-2 with a save and a 4.19 ERA in 26 appearances for the 2004 Spirit. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was nearly 2-to-1.
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Austin Goes to AA: Rich Austin of the Rockford RiverHawks has been signed by the Kansas City Royals to a Class AA contract for 2005, said the RiverHawks.
Kansas Citys Double-A affiliate is the Wichita Wranglers of the Texas League. Minor leaguers report to spring training in Arizona around March 1, but Austin said he likely will arrive early to get a head start.
The Royals purchased the rights to the Frontier League Most Valuable Player, effective after the season, during the league championship series. Austin led Rockford to the pennant, culminating in a three-game sweep of Evansville in the finals.
Austin hit a league-leading .359 with 15 home runs and 77 RBI, setting team records in each category. The veteran right fielder set single-season team records in four other categories. Austin, who turned 27 on Aug. 30, was in his final year of FL eligibility. Austin, whose rookie year was the teams last in Springfield, was the franchises longest-tenured player.
Austin is the second player this year and the sixth in the RiverHawks three seasons in Rockford to go on to affiliated baseball. The others are: Corner infielder Jayson Drobiak (2002, Yankees); pitcher Justin Olson (2003, Twins); pitcher Justin Dowdy (2003, Mariners; 2004, Angels); pitcher Jason Shelley, the 2003 Baseball America Independent League Player of the Year (2003, Brewers); pitcher Scott Sobkowiak (2003, Reds).
Drobiak, Olson and Dowdy currently are in high Class A baseball.
Austin also was named a first-team member of Baseball America magazines Independent League All-Star Team, the second straight year the RiverHawks have had a first-team representative. Shelley was a member and 2003 Independent League Player of the Year.