Fitch Parking

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. 

Andrew Cashner
Ryan Dempster
John Gaub
Tom Gorzelanny
Sean Marshall
Carlos Silva
Carlos Zambrano

Mitch Atkins
Casey Coleman
J. R. Mathes
Mike Parisi
David Patton
Jeff Stevens 

Justin Berg
Esmailin Caridad
Rafael Dolis
John Grabow
Carlos Marmol
Jeff Samardzija
Randy Wells

Thomas Diamond
Jeff Kennard
Marcos Mateo
Blake Parker
Vince Perkins
James Russell

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).


awesome as always Phil, thanks for the detail.

Excellent. Has Maddux taken on any "pet projects", AZPhil?

"I suspect Silva might end up spending much of the next two seasons on the 60-day DL."

Why not just cut him?

extra roster spot come playoffs...

Submitted by Stevens on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 2:29pm.
Excellent. Has Maddux taken on any "pet projects", AZPhil?


STEVENS: Not that I've noticed, but he probably will. Although I wonder if he will contuinue to wait for guys to approach him before he offers advice, or if he will take the initiative and approach them without being asked first.

BTW, I would LOVE to see Mad Dog be the Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator (not that he would necessarily want the job), with Mark Riggins moving up to be Cubs Pitching Coach. Riggins is a smart cookie.

Interesting idea about Riggins. Welcome to the Dump-LR club, Cousin, at any rate.

I just don't think Maddux will want to go near the minor leagues. He's no Sandberg. He may just want to get in line ahead of Randy Bush.

So Lou is a huge Kevin Millar fan. Wonderful. *eye roll*

milton bradley bad...carlos silva and kevin millar good.

2010 offseason here we come.

SEA gets a LF who can play RF in a pinch (i think ichiro's got that job down, imo)...we get a DL roster spot holder and a couple million in payroll flexibility over the next 2 years.

You have to take some liberties to distill the Milton Bradley experience down to:

SEA gets a LF who can play RF in a pinch

.... love you, crunch.

well, they do got a guy in RF named ichiro. that's what LF is about...nothing's changed about his arm this offseason.

they got a .350+ ob% guy with pop who can play both corners in milton.

we got one of the worst pitchers in the game and 2m bucks extra to spend on a 140m roster.


...which we quickly throw away on a fourth outfielder.

We also get a rest from all the whining about Bradley.

You must mean "about Bradley".

Dynamite post...Phil...thanks

So happy to be getting on-the-scene reports from Arizona Phil again!

I have to say I like the possibility of Tracy as a lefty off the bench. Of course, that assumes that the last two years were an aberration rather than a trend. But we're allowed to think like that in Februrary, right?


on the video at it showed what looked like some covered batting cages...did you notice if they built them as was rumored earlier in the offseason? or have these been there for awhile?

(around 1:35-2:00 on the video if it works for you)...

Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 3:48pm.

on the video at it showed what looked like some covered batting cages...did you notice if they built them as was rumored earlier in the offseason? or have these been there for awhile?


ROB G: These are the same covered batting cages they've had at Fitch Park since it was renovated in the mid-1990's. The Mesa City Council allocated funds (about $700K) to build a new batting cages complex at Fitch (to be used mainly by minor leaguers), but decided to wait to begin construction until the Cubs made a commitment to stay in Mesa.

I don't know why they're waiting now, though, unless Mesa thinks they still might lose the Cubs. But the Cubs are not going to be at Fitch Park past 2011 even if they remain in Mesa, so the $700K cage complex probably won't be used by the Cubs for more than a couple of seasons (and actually only one Spring Training), which never made much sense to me. That is, unless the City of Mesa is serious when they say they believe they can entice another MLB club to take the Cubs place at Fitch/HoHoKam in 2012.

Personally, I suspect offering the Cubs new Fitch Park batting cages was just an attempt by the Mesa City Council to show the Cubs that the city was serious about wanting the Cubs to stay in Mesa. They never really expected that the Cubs would ultimately require the cages to be built as a pre-requisite for the Cubs staying in Mesa long-term.

Kerry Wood's slipping out of the jacuzzi.

umpire ed motague retires...damn. 34 years.

warning to other readers that you probably don't want to click on that...

I'll be the number 2 to say that.

*high five*

That was nasty... damm...

Seriously, though, about Silva... what a waste of a human being.

for future reference feel free to delete stuff like that if it crosses a line you don't want crossed...or add a warning like you did.

i'll try to be less shitty in the future and a lot more clear about what i'm posting.

I wasn't going to click on it until you warned me not too.

and that's why you're too cool for school.


incredible texture to that photo


Jesus, what a fat-ass.

Carlos Silva was endorsed by Carl's Jr. in the offseason.

Breakdown on Zambrano's pitches with a focus on the cutter.

This is good stuff TRN.

Yeah it is, but I mistrust the spotting of the pitches. If you count arm slots, Z probably throws 20 different pitches.

made my head spin...

also don't necessarily trust Pitch F/x on some of their pitch identities...but assuming all that is accurate.

the charts from the catcher's point of view? doesn't the cutter move inside on lefties, so what's the point of reference on the vertical line? release point? middle of the plate?

wouldn't it have been easier to break out the slash lines against each pitch and swing and miss rates than whatever rv100 and rv100e? I'm sure the math is all wonderful and I read the explanation, but it sure would have made it a lot easier to understand.

i was kinda shocked he threw that many cutters, myself...doesn't seem like it should be that much to me.

To go with his new attitude, Zambrano said he plans to ditch the cut fastball from his repertoire. He hasn't displayed enough control of it to keep throwing it regularly so he decided to go back to what made him successful in the past.

Now if you told me Joe West was retiring, I would throw a party.

Don't get me started on "umpires".


Thanks again, sir!

So, can we expect to see Soto attempting stolen bases this year, PHIL? lol

Seriously, can you notice better footwork or more zip on his throws due to the weight loss?

And, do you still feel that Castillo still has the "arm" edge on Gio?

Submitted by The E-Man on Fri, 02/19/2010 - 7:38pm.

Thanks again, sir!

So, can we expect to see Soto attempting stolen bases this year, PHIL? lol

Seriously, can you notice better footwork or more zip on his throws due to the weight loss?

And, do you still feel that Castillo still has the "arm" edge on Gio?


E-MAN: I haven't seen Soto make any throws in anger yet (that is, to try and catch a base-runner trying to steal a base). We'll probably have to wait for Cactus League games to see how he looks.

As for Welington Castillo, he absolutely has the #1 best arm among catchers in the Cubs organization (44% CS in 2009). His big problem is that he still needs work on his receiving, although he showed improvement in 2009 (cut his PB in half). He needs to show more improvement in 2010, though. But he's only 22. I can tell you that Castillo is better than Soto was at that age.

Sounds like terrible news for Micah Hoffpauir, especially with LaHair showing off power too.

Jaramillo spending time on Blanco's hitting lends a little more credence (along with AZ Phil's comments in the previous thread) to the theory that Blanco still has some offensive upside beyond being a .250/.300/.320 guy. What OBP would he have to manage to equal Theriot's overall value? .330? .340? (Guess that depends a bit on what Theriot hits.)

Too early to start believing that Soto will return to his .280/.360 20+ HR form?

cj wilson (TEX) is being a little outspoken this spring...

"It's no secret I don't think I should be limited to the set-up role. I have too many weapons," said Wilson. "Here is the reality. It is real simple. There are not very many guys that have the stuff that I do that would be willing to sign here if they were free agents. There is no experienced pitcher that has my stuff that would sign here, historically."

...way to say you really really really really want to be that 5th starter, dude.

theriot lost arb. case

I guess the Keystone Cops baserunning video did the trick.

Now, lets see if that $800K burns a hole in Hendry's pocket for a difference maker like Chan Ho Park.

his agent's stupid fault...

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Clayton Richard is absolutely, positively NOT a free-agent. He is under club control through the 2016 season. 

  • Haren was 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA with the Cubs. Seems like he worked out just as expected.

  • Did they ever say or who the PTBNL or cash decision on Rodney was or who was the PTBNL in the Austin Jackson deal was yet? Neither was worth whatever they gave up. Cahill and Richard were the only two good "deadline" deals they made. Hunter (given Lake was the odd man out by far and taking up a roster spot) and Haren weren't worth it.

  • says he is, site says he's a Cub, great cooperation between the 2 sites, weird

  • The drafting of Shea at #1 was a sign of things to come -- an undersized white linebacker who's not particularly fast; lets make him an NFL defensive end! Just idiotic. When the best thing you can say about your #1 pick is that he has a "high motor", that's a problem...that's what you should say about late-round picks.

  • Not AZ PHIL but after being DFA'd by the Cubs (after they got him from the Pirates in the "I get a chance in the Majors clause"), the Cubs re-signed him for the remainder of the season. I do not believe service time is an issue for him, so he is eligible to opt for Major League Free Agency - which he is doing and the Cubs or someone else will sign him to an MLB deal. AZ PHIL please correct this if you see fit - but that is the most current info that I'm aware of.

  • To also be fair to Emery, wtf do you draft Shea McLellin as a #1, Jonathan Bostic in the same draft, let Peppers go in lieu of signing Jared Shit-Head, Brandon Hardin, Evan Rodriguez, Isiah Frey, on and on...

    I will give him credit for Kyle Long - who is like my favorite player (what does THAT say about the team - but he did throw in the 90's as a former pitcher), and Jeffrey.

  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)