Volstad again pitches well for Cubs in win over SF
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—The sizzle of Carlos Zambrano finally fizzled in Chicago, and that caused the Cubs to try to find another starting pitcher.
Enter Chris Volstad, acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins in January for the more temperamental right-hander.
Volstad describes himself as a laid-back guy who digs time on the beach back home in Florida and likes to dig his cleats into the mound and let the ball fly. From early indications this spring, the 6-foot-8 Volstad is fitting in nicely with the Cubs.
On Tuesday, for the second time in as many spring starts, Volstad pitched three shutout innings and started a two-run inning by leading off the third with a single. The Cubs went on to hold off the San Francisco Giants 5-4.
"I felt good out there," Volstad said. "I was able to attack down in the zone, pound the strike zone, get ahead of guys and to let the sinker work for me."
Told that his demeanor appears to be the opposite of the man for whom he was traded, Volstad said, "Yeah, that's what I hear. I still can get upset if things don't go my way. When that happens, you still have to make pitches and move on as best you can."
The 25-year-old Volstad pitched a combined 499 2-3 innings over the last three seasons, going 26-35. He is working on refining a four-seam fastball with new Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and appears to be satisfied with his progress.
"Just continue to work and locate my pitches," Volstad said. "The infield did a great job for me today. If you can throw a quality pitch and get a ground ball, that's what you want."
Another new Cubs player, right fielder David DeJesus, did a good job with the bat and his arm.
DeJesus, who signed with Chicago as a free agent after spending the 2011 season with Oakland, doubled in the third to send Volstad to third, setting up a run-scoring groundout by Darwin Barney and an RBI single by Starlin Castro.
In the second, DeJesus hustled over toward the corner to retrieve the ball, spun and threw to second, holding Ryan Theriot to a single.
The Giants' pitching was not as effective. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner started and was inconsistent, giving up three runs on seven hits in four innings. Setup man Sergio Romo gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo in the seventh.
The Giants scored three times in the eighth and had the tying run at third with two outs in the ninth, but right-hander Alberto Cabrera got Gregor Blanco to fly out to end it.
"(Bumgarner) has been throwing the ball well, but he was a bit wild in the strike zone today, made too many mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy was a bit more upbeat when talking about center fielder Angel Pagan, who is expected to be the Giants' leadoff man after being acquired in a trade with the New York Mets for center fielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.
Pagan had a double and triple and drove in a run, and made a tumbling catch in left-center to rob Steve Clevenger of a hit in the second inning.
"He had a great game, swung the bat well. That's why he's the leadoff hitter. He can put the pressure on opposing teams," Bochy said.
Bochy said Pagan likely would not play over the next few days as he recovers from surgery to remove a wisdom tooth.
NOTES: Giants C Buster Posey caught four innings and likely will increase that six starting next week, Bochy said. Posey, with just five at-bats, is expected to be the DH against Cleveland on Wednesday. Bochy wants to get him about 50 at-bats by the end of the spring . ... Brandon Belt played right field against the Cubs, but Bochy said he likely would also try him in left, with Melky Cabrera moving to right.