Pilgrims Progress at Fitch Park
The off-season is (thankfully!) over and it's time to play baseball again at Fitch Park.
The pitchers & catchers reported last weekend, and a lot of the position players have now arrived, too.
At this point, morning workouts are consisting of half of the pitchers throwing "bullpen" sessions in the ten-mound bullpen each day, Pitchers Fielding Practice (known as "PFP") on Fields #1, #2, and #3, Pitchers Bunting Practice on Field #5 (the half-field infield), catchers fielding practice on Field #5 and catchers early batting practice (before the pitchers throw in the ten-pen) on Field #4, "traditional" BP for the remaining position players (with coaches throwing soft-toss from in front of the mound) on Fields #1 & #2, and then infield & outfield fielding practice for the position players.
Despite the new regime's anticipated increased emphasis on order, discipline, and accountability, everybody seems pretty loose. The workouts are fairly spirited, and the players and coaches all seem to be very positive about their various activities.
FWIW, I think the most-impressive hitter so far in the BP sessions has been Dave Sappelt, the outfielder acquired from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal. Sappelt is only 5'9, but he really packs a wallop with a short RH stroke with HR power and plus bat speed. I suspect Sappelt will probably start the season at AAA Iowa, but he looks to be (at the very least) the Cubs eventual "4th OF."
Here is the up-to-the-minute Cubs Spring Training Roster with uniform numbers. In addition to the previously-reported uniform number changes that were made during the off-season (Matt Garza switching from #17 to #22, Jeff Baker switching from #28 to #3, Tony Campana switching from #41 to #1, etc), there were also a couple of last-minute number switches/assignments (Alfredo Amezaga switched from #48 to #99, and recently-acquired INF Adrian Cardenas was assigned #45 - Sean Marshall's old number).
1 Tony Campana, OF
2 Ian Stewart, 3B
3 Jeff Baker, IF-OF
4 Pat Listach, 3rd Base Coach
5 Reed Johnson, OF
6 Bryan LaHair, 1B
7 Rudy Jaramillo, Hitting Coach
8 Jamie Quirk, Bench Coach
9 David DeJesus, RF
11 Blake DeWitt, INF
12 Alfonso Soriano, OF
13 Starlin Castro, SS
15 Darwin Barney, INF
16 Joe Mather, OF
17 Dave Sappelt, OF
18 Geovany Soto, C
19 Rodrigo Lopez, RHSP
20 Matt Tolbert, INF
21 Andy Sonnanstine, RHSP
22 Matt Garza, RHSP
24 Marlon Byrd, CF
25 Chris Bosio, Pitching Coach
26 Billy Williams, Spring Training Instructor
27 Casey Coleman, RHSP
28 Paul Maholm, LHSP
29 Jeff Samardzija, RHRP
30 Travis Wood, LHSP
32 Chris Volstad, RHSP
33 Dave Sveum, Manager
34 Kerry Wood, RHRP
35 Lester Strode, Bullpen Coach
36 Randy Wells, RHSP
38 Jason Jaramillo, C
39 Dave McKay, 1st Base Coach
40 James Russell, LHRP
41 Bobby Scales, INF
43 Trever Miller, LHRP
44 Anthony Rizzo, 1B
45 Adrian Cardenas, INF
46 Ryan Dempster, RHSP
47 Blake Lalli, C
49 Carlos Marmol, RHRP
50 Esmailin Caridad, RHRP
51 Steve Clevenger, C
52 Lendy Castillo, RHRP
53 Welington Castillo, C
54 John Gaub, LHRP
55 Edgar Gonzalez, INF
56 Casey Weathers, RHRP
57 Scott Maine, LHRP
58 Mike Borzello, Catching Coach/Bullpen Catcher
59 Brett Jackson, OF
60 Manny Corpas, RHRP
61 Josh Vitters, INF
62 Marcos Mateo, RHRP
63 Jim Adduci, OF
64 Franklin Font, Infield Coach
65 Jay Jackson, RHSP
66 Rafael Dolis, RHRP
67 Blake Parker, RHRP
68 Jeff Beliveau, LHRP
70 Dae-Eun Rhee, RHSP
71 Trey McNutt, RHSP
72 Matt Szczur, OF
73 Junior Lake, INF
74 Marco Carrillo, RHRP
75 Jonathon Mota, INF
76 Alberto Cabrera, RHSP
77 Dave Bialas, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Manager)
78 Michael Brenly, C
79 Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
80 Carmelo Martinez, Spring Training Instructor (Dominican Academy Coordinator)
81 Brian Harper, Spring Training Instructor (Daytona Manager)
82 James Rowson, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
83 Brandon Hyde, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Field Coordinator)
84 Dave Keller, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Hitting Coach)
85 Mariano Duncan, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Hitting Coach)
86 Mike Mason, Spring Training Instructor (Iowa Pitching Coach)
87 Lee Tinsley, Spring Traiuning Instructor (Minor League Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator)
88 Chris Rusin, LHSP
89 Dennis Lewallyn, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Pitching Coordinator)
90 Jeff Fassero, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Pitching Coach)
91 Marty Pevey, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Catching Coordinator)
92 Tom Beyers, Spring Training Instructor (Assistant Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
93 Bill Dancy, Spring Training Instructor (Minor League Infield/Bunting Coordinator)
94 Buddy Bailey, Spring Training Instructor (Tennessee Manager)
95 Andy Lane, Bullpen Catcher
99 Alfredo Amezaga, IF-OF
Rick Sutcliffe, Spring Training Instructor
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.