We Have Baseball (Almost)!

I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:

Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:

ss Theriot

3b Cedeno

rf Fukudome

1b Lee

lf Murton

c Soto

2b Cintron

cf Pie

p Dempster

DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.

Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.

From Arizona Phil:

The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.

There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.

The position players were broken up into two groups, with the "A" Squad taking its infield practice, BP, and base-running drills on DWP (main field), with the "B" Squad doing the same evolutions on the back field.

This was not "live" BP, but rather "traditional" BP (coaches throwing BP fastballs from in front of the pitchers mound, the kind of pre-game BP teams take during the regular season).

More...

The best pure power performances were by Matt Murton (who hit 'em off the scoreboard, over the scoreboard, and into the lower 40) and Derrek Lee (who hit about a half dozen moon shots).

Kosuke Fukudome also had a nice BP session, hitting ropes all over the field followed at the end by about four or five home runs yanked over the RF fence. Fukudome has had no trouble looking good in "traditional" BP, but he struggled in the "live" BP sessions (with pitchers throwing full speed fastballs, breaking balls, and change-ups) last week at Fitch Park.

Carlos Zambrano took BP with the "A" Squad position players on Dwight Patterson Field, and hit a couple over the fence while batting left-handed, but struggled hitting right-handed.

Again, this was NOT "live" BP, so all that can be gleaned from it is a hitter's power, bat speed, hitting mechanics, etc.

I wasn't able to watch both work-outs at the same time, so I don't know if anybody had an exceptional BP performance on the back field.

SQUAD "A":

GROUP 1 BP

Kosuke Fukudome (raked 'em all over the yard)

Sam Fuld

Koyie Hill

Derrek Lee

Matt Murton (showed tremendous power and bat speed--can N.L. get the DH for 2008?)

 

GROUP 2 BP

Felix Pie

Aramis Ramirez (poor BP outing)

Alfonso Soriano (hit the ball very well)

Geovany Soto (also hit the ball hard, but no HR)

 

GROUP 3 BP

Henry Blanco

Eric Patterson

Ryan Theriot

Carlos Zambrano

 

Daryle Ward participated in fielding practice and baserunning drills, but did not hit, while Zambrano hit but did not participate in fielding practice or baserunning drills

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  • I doesn't know what your talking about.

    Sonicwind75 51 sec ago view
  • Maybe it's to get him some game action. He's only pitched for the Cubs once in the last 10 days. I don't really care much about him going down since he's sucked when up here.

    I really want Rivero to be called up.

    chitownmvp01 5 min 59 sec ago view
  • CHITOWNMVP01: It is indeed odd that the Cubs did not just wait one more day to recall LaStella.

    As far as Spencer Patton is concerned...

    Arizona Phil 14 min 38 sec ago view
  • Why didn't they wait until tomorrow to call up TLS? Don't they have to wait 10 days to bring Patton back up now?

    chitownmvp01 35 min 38 sec ago view
  • Cubs assigned to Mesa Solar Sox (AFL):

    Victor Caratini, C
    James Farris, RHRP
    Ian Happ, 2B-OF
    Eloy Jimenez, OF
    Ryan McNeil, RHRP
    Steve Perakslis, RHRP
    Duane Underwood Jr, RHSP

    Brian Lawrence, Pitching Coach

    Jimenez, Happ, Caratini and Underwood are among the Cubs Top 10 Prospects, and playing in the AFL should help speed their development.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Outstanding.

    Jackstraw 1 hour 21 min ago view
  • So presuming he remains on the MLB Active List for the balance of the MLB regular season, Tommy LaStella will be at 2+102 MLB Service Time at the end of the season, far short of what he would have needed to accrue to have a chance at "Super Two" status post-2016. (Even if he had remained on the MLB Active List for the entire season and finished at 2+124 MLB Service Time, he still would have only been "on the bubble" for possible "Super Two" status post-2016).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 57 min ago view
  • I don't know about the defensive part of the equation, the fact all the Cubs pitchers are so ahead of their FIP makes me think it's a lot more defense than anything special Hendricks is doing.

    Rob G. 2 hours 1 min ago view
  • Thanks, jacos! I love a good Alice Cooper group performance video -- especially when it corresponds with a shrinking, division-clinching magic number!

    JoePepitone 2 hours 1 min ago view
  • TLS up and playing second today. Spencer Patton to Iowa to make room.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 35 min ago view
  • Yeah that article describes what I said in my other post about WAR. BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is a better predictor of future performance.

    I also get what you mean by FIP being independent of luck but my point is all the soft contact Hendricks gives up negates a lot of that luck and defense aspect. In other words I believe he could pitch in front of any defense and have similar #s because for the most part he isn't giving up the screaming liners or hard hit liners to the gap.

    johann 2 hours 39 min ago view
  • Down on the farm:

    "Dealin'" Cease with another good outing for Eugene. Last 4 outings: 16IP, 1ER 29K. But, 10BB. Throw strikes, kid.

    Candelario is killing it at Iowa after struggling at AA: .320/.406/.941 in 241AB. At age 22. Where the heck to put him next year?

    billybucks 3 hours 42 min ago view
  • SF now only 1 game ahead of the Cards for home field in the WC game.

    billybucks 3 hours 53 min ago view
  • For a start:

    "lets" should be "let's".

    billybucks 3 hours 54 min ago view
  • FYI: Here's a good link explaining the differences in pitching WAR between Fangraphs and Basebell Reference.

    http://www.crawfishboxes.com/2012/8/28/3273844/which-war-works-best-pitc...

    Rob G. 4 hours 44 min ago view
  • ERA is just FIP with defense and luck. That being said if Hendricks gets his ERA under 2.00, he may have a legit shot.

    That all being said I was looking at Fangraphs WAR and I should have been looking at Basebell Reference WAR because more voters use that. My bad and happy to admit my mistake unlike some people around here that shall not be named (just kidding CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!)

    Rob G. 4 hours 48 min ago view