Cubs Spring Training

Josh Vitters homered, singled, walked, and knocked-in three runs, and Ryan Flaherty singled twice, doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, helping to lead the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs, Angels, Mets, Phillies, and Pirates) to a 15-1 drubbing of the Peoria Saguaros (Padres, Rays, Reds, Twins, and White Sox) in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa. Vitters slugged his dinger (a two-run blast) over the 390-foot sign in left-center, and also made several fine defensive plays at 3B during the course of the game. 

Sergio Burruel smacked a bases-loaded triple to put the Cubs on the board, and Blair Springfield reached base four times on two singles, a double, and a walk, drove-in two runs, and scored two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the AZL Rangers in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.


The Cubs moved their Spring Training operations a half-mile north up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning.


Seven Cubs pitchers continued their preparation for Cactus League play at Fitch Park this morning.


Ten Cubs pitchers threw their second "live" BP session at Fitch Park today.


Twelve Cubs pitchers (essentially the "B" team -- Mitch Atkins, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Jeff Kennard, Marcos Mateo, J. R. Mathes, Mike Parisi, Blake Parker, David Patton, Vince Perkins, James Russell, and Jeff Stevens) threw their first "live" BP session (25 pitches) at Fitch Park yesterday (six on Field #2 and six on Field #3), and 14 more pitchers (essentially the "A" team) threw their first "live" BP today.


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.


I believe today is the first official workout and we're starting to get some much needed Cubs news in our morphine drips.

- Muskat says Ted Lilly was playing catch yesterday and says his shoulder feels strong. Lilly thinks he can be ready by Opening Day. The quotes from Paul Sullivan though are a bit more tempered.


"I expect to be ahead of schedule," Lilly said. "I think the real test, first, is when you get on a mound and start throwing downhill off a slope, and then when you get into a game situation and really try to dial it up. That's when you find out how healthy you really are."

- Some of the early birds among the position players include Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin and Andres Blanco.

- Greg Maddux is in camp. Don't get too excited that he'll ever take over pitching coach duties from Larry Rothschild though.

Now entering his ninth season with the Cubs, Rothschild has coached under three managers and will be around as long as Hendry is here.

Rumors have also been that Maddux would want a higher profile gig than pitching coach when he does decide to return full time to the game.

- Z was taking grounders at shortstop today. As one Cubs blogger noted, Z has out OPS'd Theriot over the last two years. Watch your back little man.

From "Boys of Spring"...

Naturally, Z is working on his hitting.

There's some more pics of John Grabow, Randy Wells and Sean Marshall as well if you follow the above link.

The Fox TV News affiliate in Phoenix has the infamous "source close to" the Ricketts (an executive apparently) saying the Cubs are likely to stay in Mesa. Apparently Bud Selig has even put in a word to the Cubs that he'd like them to stay there and I'm sure that will carry some weight with the new owners who appear to be the kind that don't want to rock the MLB boat.

Good news for those of us who prefer Mesa and who have Arizona Phil writing at their Cubs blog. Thanks to navigator for the link tip.

Of course it doesn't mean the drama is over, as the Cubs said they would pick a site to exclusively negotiate with first.  So if this is true, Mesa and Arizona still need to come up with the funding for all the new facilities that were promised

 


UPDATED: Kaplan and Co. are chiming in as well saying a Monday vote by the Mesa city council to approve funding is the last hurdle.

UPDATE #2: Here's the plan unveiled by Mesa today.

  • 15,000 seat stadium
  • city would own stadium and training facilities
  • Cubs agree to take over maintainence of facilities in exchange for advertising rights in stadium including naming rights of stadium
  • overall cost is in the $84M range and should be approved by city council on Monday
  • site yet to be determined
  • The Mesa city manager warns that even if funding is approved, Cubs have yet to formally agree to anything.

- The Hardball Times has put up their top 10 Cubs' Prospects:

  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Brett Jackson
  4. Jay Jackson
  5. Hak-Ju Lee
  6. Kyler Burke
  7. Andrew Cashner
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Chris Carpenter
  10. Ryan Flaherty

Archer's not a name you see on a lot of Top 10 or even Top 20 lists so far.

The Cubs are going to have a full house in Mesa this spring, inviting 19 non-roster players to camp. To the list:

Pitchers:

LHP: J.R. Mathes, James Russell

RHP: Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Jeff Kennard and Vince Perkins

Catchers: Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli and Chris Robinson.

Infielders: Darwin Barney, Matt Camp, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, Bobby Scales and Josh Vitters

Outfielders: Brett Jackson and Brad Snyder

I started to keep track of past non-roster invitees at Wiklifield as well and if anyone can help fill in the gaps, it would be much appreciated, even if it's just a link.

In other news, Ted Lilly has already begun throwing after an offseason shoulder scope and Foxsports says the Cubs have shown interest in Kiko Calero, but are worried about his shoulder.

- The Ricketts family are the new official owners of the Chicago Cubs and will have a press conference on Friday. Maybe they'll bring a new GM with them.

 "My family and I are thrilled that this day has finally come and
we thank Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball owners for
approving our ownership," said Tom Ricketts. "Now we will go to work
building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly
deserve.  

- It's hard to tell how much is Chris DeLuca taking educated guesses or basing his column off some sources, but he seems to expect much of the same for the next two years with Ricketts in charge. Certainly don't expect a big jump in payroll (he throws out $143M) and Hendry isn't getting a blank check to rid himself of the Bradley mess.

Strange times in the news business—I figured there would be all sorts of coverage about the new Yankee Stadium, where the Cubs will conclude their Spring Training schedule tonight and Saturday afternoon. But no, not a peep, not a detail anywhere. It's like no one is paying attention to the first-ever Major League game in that billion dollar edifice. For all anyone would know, the Yanks are still going to be playing in the old park across the street.

Seriously...

Andres Blanco looped a single over the third-baseman's head to score Reed Johnson from second with one out in the bottom of the 9th, as the Cubs squandered an early 7-1 lead only to come back and defeat the Cleveland Indians 9-8 before a sparse crowd on Spring Training "getaway day" at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in Mesa.  

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