Powell: Miguel Montero Becomes U.S. Citizen; Cubs News and Notes

Miguel Montero (Kristin Decker/WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

One of the lone bright spots in a rain-delayed blowout at Wrigley came prior to the fourth inning. The videoboard in left showed Cubs catcher Miguel Montero in the dugout throwing his fists in the air, as the board acknowledged the 33-year-old becoming a U.S. Citizen on Monday. It drew one of the loudest cheers of the night.

“It was great. I really appreciate it,” Montero said after their 10-2 loss to the Phillies. “I know (the fans) are happy for me and my family. I’m so blessed in my career and life. Those are times you can go back and appreciate how blessed you were.”

It was a long day, and a long night for Montero who didn’t get to bed until around 5 a.m., then had to get up for the 9 a.m. test. He passed, earned his citizenship, got his passport and then went straight to Wrigley.

“I’m excited because I have what I’ve been looking for, for the last eight months,” Montero said. “It was a pretty exciting moment for my family and (me).”

There’s no question it’s a tight-knit team, so naturally his teammates helped him study for the U.S. history exam.

“You know the guys here helped me a lot.” He then joked: “I always practiced the test with them to see if they’re capable of passing the test or not. And I will tell you probably half of this team would not be capable of doing it.”

So, who did the best on the practice tests? “I think KB and Kyle Hendricks.”

No surprise there.

Montero then said he saw former Cubs pitcher, and Canada native, Ryan Dempster at Wrigley and joked, “Get out of my country.”

NEWS and NOTES

Monday’s loss marked yet another first inning meltdown from a Cubs starting pitcher. According to Chris Kamka of CSN Chicago, the Cubs have allowed 32 first inning runs this season. Starter Brett Anderson gave added four to that total in Monday’s loss.

“It’s very frustrating while it’s last,” manager Joe Maddon said Monday. “There’s not a whole lot you can do except stay with the routine and stay with the process, which I will, and it will come back.”

It was Anderson’s worst outing of the year. He gave up seven earned runs in 1 1/3 of work.

“I think I’m averaging three or four innings a start, which is embarrassing from my perspective,” Anderson said. The lefty has a 6.23 ERA.

In Anderson’s defense, he did have to pitch under the worst conditions of anyone Monday with the rain falling hardest in the top of the first:

SCHWARBER

You may be worried about Kyle Schwarber’s recent struggles at the plate, but Joe Maddon isn’t. He says he’s keeping the slugger in the leadoff spot.

“I like him there, and he’s gonna stay there. Again, I always look at on-base over batting average. I don’t think he’s a .200 hitter. I think he’s much better than a .200 hitter.”

I think we can all agree on that. Right now, Schwarber is batting .196, but has drawn 16 walks to bring his OBP to .322. Remember, the 24-year-old has played just 96 games.

He’ll be just fine at the plate.

MISERABLE NIGHT AT WRIGLEY

It was cold. It was rainy. It was windy. There was a long delay. And it was a blowout. Here’s what Wrigley Field looked like just before the final pitch.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720