Inbox: Lee's injury issues
Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers Cubs fans' questions
Derrek Lee, the Fontenot-Theriot combo, details on the Cubs-Cardinals makeup game, and more are in this week's Inbox. Send your questions about the Cubs and please include your full name and hometown.
Are the Cubs concerned about Derrek Lee? I don't think he's a viable hitter in the No. 3 spot. He seems to hit into a ton of double plays and does not hit for much power anymore. Does this have to do with his wrist injury from a few years back and is it time to give Micah Hoffpauir a chance since he is younger and a lefty?
-- Ryan H., Vincennes, Ind.
For the zillionth time, Lee's wrist injury is not an issue. What could be a problem, though, is the bulging disc in his back, which forced him out of Sunday's game in St. Louis. It sidelined him for about a week in May 2007 and again a few days last year. With Lee, Milton Bradley, and Aramis Ramirez out with injuries, Lou Piniella has had to juggle his lineup and, right now, Kosuke Fukudome is the hot bat and doing well in the three-hole. How about a 3-4-5 combo of Fukudome-Ramirez-Bradley followed by Lee? All I know is that Piniella has been scribbling lots of possibilities, and the only thing set is Alfonso Soriano at leadoff and the pitcher batting ninth.
As an LSU alum and a longtime Cubs fan, I'm thrilled to see the double-play combination of Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot. I was curious to know if any other MLB teams had members of a College World Series championship team on their Opening Day rosters?
-- Checo C., Murphysboro, Ill.
Other teams have had two players from CWS teams, but so far no research has shown any other team with a middle-infield combo. Third baseman Tom Satriano and first baseman Dan Ardel played for the California Angels on Sept. 27, 1961; both had played together on the USC 1961 College World Series team. First baseman Ron Fairly and third baseman John Werhas played together on the '64 Dodgers and were teammates on USC's 1958 national title team. Theriot and Fontenot won the CWS crown in 2000 with the Tigers.
When are they making up the St. Louis game that was postponed on April 19?
-- Craig B., Grandview, Ill.
Anyone who had tickets for the game between the Cubs and Cardinals, which was postponed because of rain, can use those tickets for the makeup game to be played July 12 at 12:05 p.m. CT. All tickets for the postponed game will be honored at the gates for the early game on July 12, which is the first of a day-night doubleheader. There is no need for fans to exchange tickets. However, if you are unable to attend the July 12 makeup game, you may request a refund by sending your tickets to the Wrigley Field ticket office at 1060 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL, 60613, or by visiting the Wrigley Field ticket windows during business hours.
All refunds must be requested before May 31. The Cubs will announce an on-sale date for refunded tickets shortly after May 31. The makeup game scheduled for July 12 at 12:05 p.m. is now part of a day-night, separate admission doubleheader. The regularly scheduled game will follow at 7:05 p.m. CT. The tickets from Sunday's game will not be honored for the night game.
Have a question about the Cubs?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Ryan Dempster has an unusual habit of flicking his glove hand before he delivers the ball. Is this just a nervous habit? When did he develop this? I can think of no other Major League pitcher who does this.
-- Thomas C., Franklin, Ind.
Dempster actually started it last year as a timing device and a way to hide his grip.
Mitch Williams wore No. 99 while on the Phillies. What number was the highest number worn by a Cubs pitcher? What was the lowest? I've seen Mike Hampton wear No. 11, which seems low for a pitcher.
-- Scott J., San Antonio
The highest number for a Cubs pitcher was No. 96, worn by Bill Voiselle in 1950. The highest by a Cubs player was No. 99, which Todd Hundley wore in 2001. I believe Charley Root, who won 201 games for the Cubs, has the lowest number for a pitcher at No. 12, which he wore in 1932. He pitched for the team from 1926-41, but '32 was the first year the Cubs began wearing numbers on their jerseys. The first No. 1 for the team was infielder Woody English.
Has anyone asked Greg Maddux if he will enter the Hall of Fame as a Cub, Brave or what? I was Greg's English teacher at Valley High School in Las Vegas.
-- Ken Z., Las Vegas, Nev.
It's not up to the player, it's up to the Hall of Fame.
Where does Aramis Ramirez rank among all-time walk-off home run leaders? I heard that his homer on April 18 put him ahead of Manny Ramirez as the all-time leader. Is this true?
-- Adrian S., Chicago
Aramis has four, Manny has three.
My girlfriend asked me if there has ever been a pitcher who could throw with both arms. I had no idea and was hoping you might be able to settle this for us.
-- Clayton L., Eau Claire, Wis.
Tony Mullane, who pitched in the 1880s and '90s, wore no glove and would face the batter with both hands on the ball before throwing it. Greg Harris used both arms when he pitched one inning of scoreless relief for the Montreal Expos on Sept. 28, 1995, against the Cincinnati Reds. He faced four batters -- two as a right-hander, two as a lefty. There is a switch-throwing pitcher in the Yankees' Minor League system now, Pat Venditte Jr. He did so for Creighton's baseball team in 2006 and wore a glove that had two thumb holes and four finger holes. Venditte would have to declare which way he was going to pitch before each batter stepped into the box. If he was facing a switch-hitter, one of the Creighton coaches would signal to Venditte which arm to use, based on scouting reports. He was drafted by the New York Yankees and, last year, posted an 0.83 ERA in 30 games. This season Venditte is pitching for Class A Charleston and is listed as a right-hander.
Every time Fukudome gets on first base, Matt Sinatro is seemingly telling him all sorts of information. How much English does Fukudome speak? Or, did Sinatro learn Japanese?
-- Joel Y., Chicago
Fukudome knows enough English to understand Sinatro, who says he's not fluent in Japanese.
Micah Hoffpauir homered off Micah Owings on April 21. Just wondering how many times a Micah has homered off a Micah in Major League history?
-- Courtney W., Quincy, Ill.
That was believed to be the first time.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.