Cubs Spring Training Notes

- Quade has named his Opening Day starter and it won't be Zambrano's 7th straight start which would have tied Ferguson Jenkins for the Cubs record. Instead it will be Ryan Dempster, followed by Z and then Matt Garza. Z will get the road opener start against the Brewers. Presumambly the last two spots are still open with Randy Wells and Carlos Silva likely occupying them with James Russell and Andrew Cashner on the outside looking in.

- The Jose Ceda deal is looking good.

- Some bright one in the Cubs office thought it would be wise to compare Starlin Castro to Derek Jeter on an outdoor billboard (eye roll). The Cubs.com article says Castro has been working on making the routine plays and his footwork over the offseason and you do have to like this bit of humility.

"I feel like I have to make the team like I did last year. There's no
pressure. I don't feel like I've made the team. I have to work hard
every day."

Which does offset this bit of information...

Soriano took Castro into his home last year and taught him the importance of being prepared for games.

I imagine that includes things like this:

which might explain why this happens sometimes:

Alright, that was a bit of a low blow, what do you think about that Fonzie?

To all the Dead Presidents...

Comments

Going for "zany" over "crazy" for an opening day starter this year. Bold move.

[edit]
Or maybe it's "krazy" over "crazy."

Carlos Silva has been taking a page out of Castro's workouts, practicing his forkwork on routine pies.

On Castro...

...What does he have to work on?

"Defense, and that's it," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "Every aspect of defense. I believe he's going to be a good offensive player. I know what we need from him defensively -- we need to be better up the middle and obviously he's a huge part of that.

I think Quade gets it. I still wish they would have found a veteran SS FA over the off season in case he pulls a Cedeno and decides to be terrible.

(shakes head)

Oh Come on, man! I mean really? Really?

No offense to you, E-Man, but I wonder hoe long this "really" phenomenon will last. I somewhat remove myself from pop culture, so these new fads take me by surprise. I have a feeling that "really" will fall even harder than the once famous "whazzup" campaign by Budweiser.

I dunno, dude. My generation was saying dude, like, dude, 40 years ago, dude, but, like, dude, I'll admit the girls weren't calling each other dude.

Dusty put a twist on "Dude" by spitting every time he said "Dude".

The Dude abides

It is pretty odd and amusing that chicks call each other "dudes" now, as you say, O&B.

I think the Really? phenomenon already ended. The SNL stuff got old a long, long time ago.

Castro? The third rail of Cubdom?

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 22 min 57 sec ago view
  • 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. 

    Arizona Phil 25 min 31 sec ago view
  • 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).  

    Arizona Phil 35 min 22 sec ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 6 hours 3 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 6 hours 4 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 15 hours 45 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 18 hours 43 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 18 hours 55 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 19 hours 4 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 19 hours 10 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 19 hours 28 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 20 hours 4 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 20 hours 22 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 20 hours 24 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 20 hours 42 min ago view