As most of you know, Cubs pitchers and catchers have reported to Fitch Park, and a number of infielders and outfielders are also in camp.
The pitchers are presently working in four groups, with the four groups rotating periodically from the batting cage, to the ten pac (pitch and catch), to Field #2 for PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice), and to Field #3 for pick-off drills. A loud blaring horn alerts the pitchers when it's time to move to another location.
J. R. Mathes
Jeff Gray (strained groin), Angel Guzman (knee surgery rehab), and Ted Lilly (shoulder surgery rehab and a sore knee) did not participate in drills today.
And Carlos Silva is hopelessly out of shape, barely able to move, although he is participating in PFP & pick-off drills. I suspect Silva might end up spending much of the next two seasons on the 60-day DL.
The seven catchers in camp (Geovany Soto, Welington Castillo, Koyie Hill, Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli, and Chris Robinson) spend most of their morning catching pitchers throwing in the ten pac pit (six or seven pitchers throw simultaneously), and then after the pitchers have completed their work, the catchers break up into two groups and take BP (with coaches throwing) on Field #3 (Soto, K. Hill, W. Castillo, and Chirinos) and Field #2 (Clevenger Lalli, and Robinson). So far, Geovany Soto has been the Star of Camp, hitting a number of balls out onto 8th Street in BP. He also has lost a lot of weight and looks to be in great shape
Meanwhile, the non-catcher position players who have arrived take BP and fielding practice on Field #1. Non-Roster Invitee 1B-OF Bryan Lahair (ex-SEA) has been wowing Fitch Park onlookers with prodigious BP power demonstrations, and NRI 1B-3B Chad Tracy (ex-AZ) looks to finally be 100% healthy after battling knee problems (including microfracture surgery) the last couple of years. Tracy has been taking lots of grounders at both 1B and 3B and shows good mobility. (Tracy is also one of the best pinch-hitters in baseball). New hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has been spending a lot of time working with "pet project" Andres Blanco.
In addition to the big league coaching staff in camp, a number of minor league managers and coaches and Spring Training instructors are also present, including Special Instructor Billy Williams, Special Instructor Greg Maddux, Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas, Latin American Field Coordinator Carmelo Martinez, Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dave Keller, Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins, Minor League Infield & Bunting Instructor Franklin Font, Minor League Outfield & Baserunning Instructor Bobby Dernier, Minor League Catching Instructor Marty Pevey, Iowa Manager Ryne Sandberg, Iowa Pitching Coach Mike Mason, Iowa Hitting Coach Von Joshua, Tennessee Manager Bill Dancy, Tennessee Pitching Coach Dennis Lewallyn, Tennessee hitting coach Tom Beyers, and Fitch Park Rehab Pitching Coach Brad Kelley.
And veteran SK Wyverns (KBO - South Korea) reliever Woong-Chun Cho is a Special Guest Spring Training Instructor at Fitch Park. (The Cubs might be checking him out to see if they want to hire him as a full-time minor league coach, since the Cubs have signed a lot of the best young players out of South Korea the past couple of years).
Also, note that there has been one late Spring Training number change, as NRI 1B-OF Kevin Millar has been assigned #15, bumping Bobby Scales to #19. Otherwise the Spring Training numbers remain the same as they have been for the past few weeks (see right side-bar).
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.
CHARLIE: The Cubs did the same thing with LHSP Eric Jokisch last month, and it has nothing to do with needing the player's 40-man roster slot.
The hope is that another MLB club will claim the player, so that you aren't on the hook for any termination pay (which you would be if you release him) AND you pick up $20,000 from the claiming team, all for a guy you don't want going forward anyway.
Moosetacos, I like it. All I can think of is a bearded lumberjack dude operating a Mexican style taco truck with a Canadian accent.
How strange is this for May? Is it insignificant, or does it suggest some sort of trade might be in the works?
The Cubs have sent LHRP C. J. Riefenhauser outright to Iowa.
Cubs MLB 40-man roster now stands at 37 (three slots open).
yow...the a.gordon/m.moustakas collision now makes the schwarb collision look minor in scope.
gordon broke his wrist, expected to miss 4+ weeks...and today moosetacos has been diagnosed with a torn ACL. fun times in KC.
dodgers calling up julio urias for tommorow's game. neat.
fernando-mania might have a new heir...dude is 19 (turns 20 in august) and he's got a legit argument for being MLB-ready.
Tony LaRussa, still an idiot
Happ was the #9 pick last year, and he moved from OF to 2B in the same offseason that Castro was traded.
Gleyber also in the picture at second.