Cubs Inch Closer to Cactus League Opening Day

It was another day of "live" BP in Mesa, with ten Cubs pitchers throwing 30 pitches each to groups of Cubs position players this morning at Fitch Park.  

Jeff Samardzija threw the ball well again today, as his hard sinker was getting a ton of ground balls. Cubs #1 pitching prospect Trey McNutt appeared a bit nervous and struggled with his control, at one point getting admonished by veteran catcher Geovany Soto (who had to move around quite a bit behind the plate while catching McNutt's offerings).

All of the Cubs players participated in pre-BP fielding drills today, and all of the position players got to take "live" BP except Max Ramirez, who did get to hit with his group (M. Ramirez, Clevenger, and Robinson) on Field #2 (with a coach throwing) after the "live" BP session had concluded.


Todd Wellemeyer
Andrew Cashner
Jay Jackson
Thomas Diamond
Kyle Smit

Chris Robinson (Wellemeyer & Cashner)
Steve Clevenger (J. Jackson & Diamond)
Koyie Hill (Smit)

GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Wellemeyer & Cashner)
Matt Camp
Brett Jackson
Marquez Smith
Geovany Soto

GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs J. Jackson & Diamond)
Kosuke Fukudome
Bryan Lahair
Lou Montanez
Fernando Perez
Chris Robinson
Brad Snyder

Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Steve Clevenger
Augie Ojeda


Randy Wells
Jeff Samardzija
Chris Carpenter
Jeff Stevens
Trey McNutt

Welington Castillo (Wells & Samardzija)
Max Ramirez (Carpenter & Stevens)
Geovany Soto (McNutt)

GROUP 1 HITTERS (vs Wells & Samardzija)
Marlon Byrd
Tyler Colvin
Koyie Hill
Aramis Ramirez
Alfonso Soriano

GROUP 2 HITTERS (vs Carpenter & Stevens)
Welington Castillo
Reed Johnson
Bobby Scales
Josh Vitters

Jim Adduci
Starlin Castro
Blake DeWitt
Scott Moore
Carlos Pena

It was sunny and cool today, but weather predictions for this weekend are not good, with rain & strong winds expected on Saturday (when the Cubs are scheduled to have a work-out at HoHoKam Park), and then cold temperatures (around 50) for Cactus League Opening Day on Sunday, before a warm-up into the 70's next week.


I would love 50 degree weather right now.

With Samardjiza's contract as it is we all better get used to him being in the bullpen to start the year. We can't just waste a five year investment in a guy by letting him walk with 3 million before the season starts.

RH Relievers:
Marmol, Wood, Cashner, Samardjiza [that's a lot of heat, but command?]
LH Relievers:
Marshall, Grabow, Maine or Russell

Starters: Demp, Z, Garza, Silva, Wells (1 option left) or Russell.

I don't see management letting Silva walk with 6 million by waiving him, either. He'll be on the 25 man (maybe relief) if Hendry can't trade him.

Coleman, Jackson, Wellemeyer, Looper are optioned or released. Guys like Looper and Wellemeyer could be in the Swing man role instead of a 3rd lefty like Maine. Maybe they get added to the 40 man and put on the DL to work out in Mesa or Iowa and wait for an injury or slow start.

Might as well trot Silva out as a starter in April. He was our best pitcher early last season. If he gets hurt, bring up Coleman.

I may have to argue with the basic premise that it makes more sense to pitch a guy with an ERA of 6 because he's getting paid $3 million, than it does to release him and pay someon $400K to have an ERA of 4.5, but you're probably right in that he makes the roster.

Fair point.

Samardjiza did have his best stretch in the majors when he first came up in the pen (even though he started in the minors to get more reps) and just threw as hard as he could because that's all he could do.

Let him try and go back to that. I have never understood the need to make him a starter, then change to reliever, then back to starter concept. There are players in baseball that make more than 3 million a year to do just one thing. Take Grabow for example: he sits on his ass in Mesa for five months, makes 4.5 million.

Baseball tonight- Cubs Preview

Saw Pena and Colvin getting reps at first

Pena spent week in Dallas with Rudy in December(hit .205 vs RHP in 2010)

Aram came in looking for help this year, according to Kurkijan his source said "last year Aram would not listen to anyone." Completely "different guy"

Kurkijan saw Z in weight room at 6:45 am

Players like Quade's "enthusiasm".

Dempster does Farley's Matt Foley the motivational speaker.
Not very good, kruk an kurkijan laugh like they being tickled by an ostrich feather

Dempster does Farley's Matt Foley the motivational speaker.

Exhibit A for prosecuting Dempster as Dusty's mystery pooper. That Foley bit requires lots of bending and abdominal tension. A deuce is a natural expectation.

from the department of "well, yeah...duh"

"Quade plans to bat Castro second"

also, aram to hit cleanup

Pena third?

who f'n knows...

soto will probably end up trying to get 70rbis hitting 7th/8th...byrd/pena probably 3rd or 5th...soriano 6th...


9 days til the first televised cubs spring game (Sat, March 5th)...bring it on...

Silva weighing down the rotation

he beat his projection by over 1.00era point last year, so he should be up there with dumpster...cheer up. =p

It's like ESPN intentionally hires people who aren't very bright. Why not go with a 1-man rotation?

it's just retarded as hell marcel projections...take 3 years, weigh the most recent, throw in an age factor, pretend it matters.

this year their hitter projections have 5 guys even hitting 30+ homers, and the top at 34...only 54 hitting 20+ homers...

...and we thought 2010 was the year of the pitcher. =p

Adam Wainwright, Era: 2.98 Ip: 198

Whoops. Sure, you can call it 'unforeseen circumstances' or whatever, but a lot of times these unforeseen circumstances make all the difference. It doesn't mean you can't plan for them, it just means projections are kind of stupid.

marcel is one of the worst out's even worse with hitters and doesn't take in account discounting injury years even if the player is healthy again with nothing lingering.

i beat up on projection stats a lot, but this one has outlived it's usefulness...and could probably use an update on how much they handicap players who are 30+ years old. we live in the nutrition, supplements, and weight room era since the 90s at the very least.

hardball times loves pushing this crap projection method...meh...


here's the formula...which has lucked itself into being close with other projection systems over the years. some take this to mean marcel is decent. i take another view of the whole thing and it has nothing to do with "decent"

I'm confused, so they're saying the 5th starter is not as good as the rest of the rotation?

Incidently, I think Pujols should play all of the infield positions because he's much better than all the other guys.

that, and having guys throw 250-300ip a year is worth the 2 extra wins he calculates it would result in.

awesome. that's why you don't let random bloggers write for espn. =p

my god...this place is a nuthouse.

what's in the water in the STL blog-o-sphere?

i don't even know where to brain absolutely shut down once i hit the "david freese playing SS" part...there's an absolute lack of realizing human beings playing baseball produce these numbers, for a start.

I spent the first 18 yrs of my life in downstate Illinois in the heart of Cardinals territory. To say their collective fan base is the biggest group of 'mouth-breathers' this side of Alpha Centauri would be to say the Grand Canyon is a pretty big ditch.

My Dad taught me to root for two teams - the Cubs and whoever is playing the Cardinals. To this day I wish their fans, the Cardinals, and their city the worst life has to offer. To know a Cardinals' fan is to hate them.

Their city already has the worst life has to offer. Just ask some of the former residents who keep on fleeing it in droves (Pop. 856,796 in 1950, 319,294 in 2010).

"According to CQ Press's "Cities Crime Rankings 2010," St. Louis city was rated the "most dangerous city in America," overtaking Camden, New Jersey."

Just showing teams that had the biggest dropoff from their top 4 starters to their 5th and then using that to make a loose point about going back to a 4-man rotation, something that has been a topic for about the last 7 years or so.... At least in the blogosphere. Although I think a few teams threatened to consider it over the years.

nolan ryan harps on it every few years...he also harps on bullpen being used too much, too. he hates the specialist reliever.

nolan ryan doesn't get that not everyone is nolan ryan, though.

there's some "nolans" out there that we'll never get to see thanks to modern pitching management and the fact a pitcher costs a zillion bucks if they can manage 200ip a year and stay healthy while producing a sub-4.00 era.

the last remaining place these days that pitchers tend to be used like they're disposable is high school. some highschool coaches out there do stuff that would make arm-protection-nuts go crazy with anger.

Ted Williams the manager could not understand why everyone on his team could not hit over .300.

800 wrist bands for tix today.
Magic "#1937

500 wrist bands last year.

Geez... write-up in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch basically saying Pujols is a bad Christian for being so greedy.

I'm Christian and that's just f'ing appalling.

Open the books up on that church and let's see how pious they are being.

that's just not religious, but that is looooooow.

let's at least judge him by his actions and choices beyond his paycheck...

the article contains a point/counter-point, but i'm a little shocked it even needs to be written. he does a lot more than many players with his personal life and his money than a lot of guys out there.

...i'll just stay away from his political views...which i wish he'd stay away from...

My theological counter-point: bullshit.

Thank you, seminary, for training me for this day.

Re: Pujols and his Christianity: Wow. Imagine -- using religion to try to shame someone else into doing what you want them to do. What a novel idea.

edit: Oh, and +1 to The Joe.

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  • vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.

    while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.

    crunch 5 hours 49 min ago view
  • Carl Jr.! Very nice!

    Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.

    billybucks 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.

    ...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.

    crunch 6 hours 56 min ago view
  • I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.

    johann 8 hours 3 sec ago view
  • 2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.

    Cubster 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • welcome back fowler.

    crunch 10 hours 2 min ago view
  • More slow news...

    Did Davey Martinez have to bring the shotgun?

    Cubster 10 hours 24 min ago view
  • glad to see almora going to AAA to get work.

    .265/.291/.422 through 86PA...2hr, 7 doubles.

    i don't expect too much of an improvement when he's taking over CF next year, but the team doesn't really need him right now as much as they need him to get regular work (imo).

    crunch 12 hours 21 min ago view
  • CHITOWNMVP01: The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) has had one slot open since 7/6 (when RHRP Joel Peralta was Designated for Assignment). 

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 51 min ago view
  • The problem with the September roster is all of the pitching changes. They should find a way to limit pitchers to twelve except for extra inning games. More pinch hitters or pinch runners do little to slow the game down and are more fun than endless calls to the bullpen. I also think the fans get cheated when they use position players to pitch because employed a half dozen pitchers with righty-lefty switches. Having as few as four positions players on the bench to start a game also leads to some pretty ugly defensive substitutions.

    Non Roster Invitee 13 hours 2 min ago view
  • CHITOWNMVP01: Joe Nathan's 30-day Article XIX-C minor league rehab assignment expires tomorrow, but he doesn't have to be reinstated from the 60-day DL tomorrow. 

    Arizona Phil 13 hours 6 min ago view
  • Also, I think 40 man roster should be full, not at 39, unless I counted wrong. I'm in a hurry to leave the house.

    chitownmvp01 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • Dexter Fowler is back! "You go, we go!"

    He's being activated for tonight's game. Almora down and Montgomery replaces Patton.

    Also, doesn't Nathan have to be activated tomorrow? Pitchers aren't allowed to spend more than 30 days of rehab and he was sent to rehab assignment on June 23rd. Tomorrow is July 23rd.

    chitownmvp01 13 hours 17 min ago view
  • Yeah, last night was a bummer. I clicked on the espn Gamecast just in time to see the 5-2 score change to 5-5.

    Their next 10 are Dodgers, Mets and Marlins.

    billybucks 16 hours 57 sec ago view
  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 41 min ago view
  • Cubster 16 hours 45 min ago view