Cubs Get 2008 Season Started at Fitch Park
With security understandably tight (well, there was one off-duty Mesa cop in the players parking lot), the Cubs had their first "official" work-out of the 2008 season under mostly cloudy skies (around 60 degrees, with a wind chill of about 59) this morning at Mesa's Fitch Park, as Pitchers & Catchers and eight position player "early birds" took the field. It was a smaller crowd than usual for the first day (maybe about 40 or 50 fans), but at least nobody got arrested.
As usual, the pitchers were broken up into four groups, and rotated from Field #2 (PFP - practice covering first base) to Field #3 (pick-off practice) to the pit (side-throwing), under the eagle-eye supervision of coaches Larry Rothschild and Lester Strode and ST instructors Mark Riggins, Mike Mason, and Dennis Lewallyn.
Angel Guzman (who is rehabbing from TJ elbow surgery) definitely did not participate, and I don't recall seeing Sean Gallagher with any of the groups, either, although I might have missed him.
Meanwhile, the catchers were working hard out on Field #4 with Matt Sinatro and Minor League Catching Coordinator Casey Kopitzke.
This group included:
J. D. Closser
Corey Miller (bullpen cacher)
Edgar Tovar (bullpen catcher)
While the pitchers were out on Fields #2 & #3 and the catchers were doing their thing on Field #4, the position players who arrived early were on Field #1 taking BP. Coaches Gerald Perry, Alan Trammell, Mike Quade, Von Joshua, Dave Keller, Bobby Dickerson, Carmelo Martinez, Bobby Dernier, and Billy Williams were out on the field with the players, taking turns throwing BP for about 10 minutes each.
This group of eight players (taking BP in groups of four) included:
Daryle Ward (looking almost thin?!)
After the position players finished their BP and the pitchers completed their work-out, the catchers moved to Fields #1 and #2 and took BP.
For those of you who might be interested in such things, there have been several uniform number changes for 2008 (in bold), and here is the current Cubs Spring Training Roster (with uniform numbers), as least as things stand right now (and certainly subject to change).
1 - Kosuke Fukudome, OF
2 - Ryan Theriot, INF
3 - Alan Trammell, COACH (was #6)
4 - Eric Patterson, IF-OF (was #3)
5 - Ronny Cedeno, INF
6 - NOT ASSIGNED AT THIS TIME
7 - Mark DeRosa, INF
8 - Mike Quade, COACH
9 - Jake Fox, C
10 - RETIRED (Ron Santo)
11 - Ivan DeJesus, COACH (was #59)
12 - Alfonso Soriano, OF
13 - NOT ASSIGNED AT THIS TIME
14 - RETIRED (Ernie Banks)
15 - Andres Torres, OF
16 - Aramis Ramirez, INF
17 - Mike Fontenot, INF
18 - Geovany Soto, C (was #58)
19 - Matt Murton, OF
20 - Felix Pie, OF
21 - Jason Marquis, RHP
22 - Kevin Hart, RHP (was #55)
23 - RETIRED (Ryne Sandberg)
24 - Henry Blanco, C
25 - Derrek Lee, 1B
26 - Billy Williams, ST INSTRUCTOR
27 - Sam Fuld, OF (was #57)
28 - Gerald Perry, COACH
29 - J. D. Closser, C
30 - Ted Lilly, LHP
31 - NOT ASSIGNED AT THIS TIME
32 - Jon Lieber, RHP
33 - Daryle Ward, 1B-OF (was #32)
34 - Kerry Wood, RHP
35 - Lester Strode, COACH
36 - Sean Gallagher, RHP
37 - Angel Guzman, RHP
38 - Carlos Zambrano, RHP
39 - Matt Sinatro, COACH
40 - Larry Rothschild, COACH
41 - Lou Piniella, MGR
42 - RETIRED (MLB-wide - Jackie Robinson)
43 - Michael Wuertz, RHP
44 - Chad Fox, RHP
45 - Sean Marshall, LHP
46 - Ryan Dempster, RHP
47 - Scott Eyre, LHP
48 - Neal Cotts, LHP
49 - Carlos Marmol, RHP
50 - Jeff Samardzija, RHP
51 - Juan Mateo, RHP
52 - Tim Lahey, RHP
53 - Rich Hill, LHP
54 - Shingo Takatsu, RHP
55 - Koyie Hill, C
56 - Billy Petrick, RHP
57 - Andres Blanco, INF
58 - Jose Ascanio, RHP
59 - Adam Harben, RHP
60 - Les Walrond, LHP
61 - Mike Smith, RHP
62 - Bob Howry, RHP
63 - Carmen Pignatiello, LHP
64 - Casey McGehee, C-3B
65 - Luis Figueroa, INF
66 - Tyler Colvin, OF
67 - Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
68 - Josh Kroeger, OF
69 - NOT ASSIGNED (this number is NEVER assigned!)
70 - Geoffrey Jones, LHP
71 - Esmailin Caridad, RHP
72 - Welington Castillo, C
73 - Bobby Scales, IF-OF
74 - Josh Donaldson, C
75 - Pat Listach, ST INSTRUCTOR (AAA manager)
76 - Jose Ceda, RHP
77 - Dave Bialas, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Field Coordinator)
78 - Edward Campusano, LHP
79 - NOT ASSIGNED AT THIS TIME
80 - Carmelo Martinez, ST INSTRUCTOR (Latin American Field Coordinator)
81 - Bobby Dernier, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Outfield & Base-running Coordinator)
82 - Von Joshua, ST INSTRUCTOR (AAA Hitting Instructor)
83 - Buddy Bailey, ST INSTRUCTOR (AA Manager)
84 - Bobby Dickerson, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Infield & Bunting Coordinator)
85 - Mark Riggins, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Pitching Coordinator)
86 - Mike Mason, ST INSTRUCTOR (AAA Pitching Coach)
87 - Dave Keller, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
88 - Casey Kopitzke, ST INSTRUCTOR (Minor League Catching Coordinator)
89 - Dennis Lewallyn, ST INSTRUCTOR (AA Pitching Coach)
90-97 NOT ASSIGNED AT THIS TIME
98 - Edgar Tovar, BULLPEN CATCHER
99 - Corey Miller, BULLPEN CATCHER
Position players do not have to report until next week.
Players do not start to receive their salaries until the start of the regular season, so every player in big league camp---whether it be Alfonso Soriano or Welington Castillo---gets paid the same, which amounts to about $1,000 per week (adding the MLB Spring Training allowance, housing allowance, and per diem together).
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.