Cubs Spring Training

Nate Spears and Brad Snyder smacked home runs, but it wasn't enough, as the Sacramento River Cats (the Oakland A's AAA affiliate) scratched out a 10-5 victory over the Iowa Cubs this afternnon at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.

Torii Hunter crushed a lead-off first-pitch home run to ignite a seven-run 4th inning, propelling the Angels to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in Mesa, as the Cubs set an all-time single-season Cactus League attendance record. (It probably helped that the 2009 Cactus League season was extended by a week and a few extra home games to accomodate the WBC).   

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The Angels show up in Mesa today sending prospect Nick Adenhart to the mound -  Sean Marshall will go for the Cubs. Here is the lineup according to Muskat:

LF Alfonso Soriano, CF Kosuke Fukudome, 1B Lee, RF Micah Hoffpauir, 3B
Aramis Ramirez, 2B Mike Fontenot, C Geovany Soto, SS Ryan Theriot, P
Sean Marshall.

Other than Hoffpauir in there for Bradley, it's pretty much what we should expect to see on Opening Day.

On the rumor mill, Paul Sullivan says that Chad Fox will head down to Iowa after the Cubs vs. Yankees series which leaves Patton, Gaudin, Guzman and Samardzija for the final two spots in the bullpen. Sullivan says a trade would have to go down by Wednesday and it looks like the Cubs are trying to move Gaudin or Guzman. Also, Lou said, "There will either be a trade, an option.... anything but (putting one of them through) waivers."

The Cubs trimmed their roster by two more today, releasing Gabor Bako and LHP Mike Stanton. Congrats to Koyie Hill and his bionic hand. The roster now stands at 28 and the position players and bench are set for Opening Day. The spring roster with just a week left in camp.

CATCHERS - Soto, Hill

INFIELDERS - Lee, Theriot, Miles, Fontenot, Ramirez, Hoffpauir

OUTFIELDERS - Soriano, Fukudome, Johnson, Bradley, Gathright

STARTING PITCHING: Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden, Marshall

RELIEF PITCHING:  Gregg, Marmol, Heilman, Vizcaino, Cotts, Gaudin, Patton, Guzman, Fox, Samardzija

 

I think the first 5 bullpen spots are locked down, leaving Gaudin, Patton, Guzman, Fox and Samardzija for the final two spots and I don't see why they'd keep Samardzija in the majors with the relatively poor spring he has had and the fact that he has options left. And it's quite possible that Rich Harden will see the disabled list to start the season and the Cubs will then just have to move one of the four left  - Gaudin, Patton, Guzman or Fox (Large cartoon blinking arrow pointing at Chad Gaudin's name).

 

Mark DeRosa drove in four runs with two long home runs and a sacrifice fly and scored another run after reaching base on a double, as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Cubs 7-5 before 13,097 fans at sunny and breezy Dwight Patterson Field at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

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Muskat reports the Cubs have optioned Kevin Hart and Randy Wells to Triple A. Outfielders Brad Snyder (who was already outrighted off the 40-man roster) and So Taguchi have been assigned to minor league camp, along with infielders Estaban German and Andres Blanco and catcher Mark Johnson. That gives Joey Gathright the final bench spot with just the decision between Paul Bako and Koyie Hill left for the backup catching duties.

A list of the final 30 players left in camp after the jump.

Gordon Wittenmyer "tweets" that Kevin Gregg has been named the Cubs closer to start the season. While everyone that owns Carlos Marmol in their fantasy league throws their mouse across the room, it's probably the best move for the Cubs...for now. A few blown saves by Gregg and I doubt that Lou will hesitate to flip roles.

The Indians roll into Mesa today with Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood in tow and here's the Cubs' lineup from Muskrat.

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley,
3B Aramis Ramirez, 2B Mike Fontenot, C Geovany Soto, CF Joey Gathright
and P Ted Lilly.

Cubs Manager Lou Pniella generally prefers to delegate pitching matters to his pitching coach (that would be Larry Rothschild), but one aspect of the pitching staff Uncle Lou believes he understands is how to get his bullpen ready for Opening Day.

And a big part of this preparation is Piniella's belief that each of his relievers need to throw on back-to-back days once or twice during the last ten days of Spring Training, and each reliever needs to throw two innings one time, too.   

That's where Minor League Spring Training games can really come in handy. 

While Ryan Dempster, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells, and Kevin Hart made the two-hour bus trip to Tucson to pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field, Kevin Gregg, Chad Fox, and Luis Vizcaino took the 20-minute van ride to the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix (a former WWII POW Camp) to get their work in versus the Oakland A's AAA squad in a minor league game.      

The Cubs scored seven runs in the bottom of the 1st, and cruised to a 9-4 victory over the White Sox this afternoon at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa, in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 13,327, a game that I'm sure many of you watched on WGN-TV.

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Last week, Arizona Phil offered a thoughtful, reasoned analysis of the Cubs' threats to vacate their spring training home in Mesa, absent major improvements at Fitch Park. In the meantime, with in-laws living in Vero Beach and no baseball to watch out at Dodgertown during my family's annual spring visit to Florida, I have been thinking about what a swell replacement the tradition-rich Cubs would be for the tradition-rich Dodgers, who began training in Vero way back in 1949. The Dodgers are currently enjoying their first spring training out west, at the Camelback Ranch complex in Arizona Phil territory.

Author Charles Fountain, who recently wrote a book about the history of Major League spring training, took up the Cubs to Vero Beach question in a column published in a local paper on Friday. He writes that the notion of the Cubs moving into Dodgertown is beyond a longshot. Beyond even a long, long, longshot.

Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs and reached base four times on two singles and two wallks, Milton Bradley had three hits including a double and a solo home run, and Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a double and a sacrifice fly, leading the Cubs to a hard-fought 9-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies this afternoon in front of a record Ho Ho Kam Park crowd of 13,298.

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Colorado strolls into Mesa today with lefty Franklin Morales to start and Lou trots out what might be the regular lineup versus lefties to start the season.

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley,
3B Aramis Ramirez, CF Reed Johnson, C Geovany Soto, 2B Aaron Miles, P
Chad Gaudin.

Also, Sam Fuld and Jake Fox have been sent to minor league camp and there should be more roster cuts later today.

UPDATE: As suggested, there were more cuts...Jose Ascanio will join Fuld and Fox in Triple A for the time being, with pitcher Jason Waddell and INF Bobby Scales being assigned to minor league camp. That leaves 37 left in camp. Also, Richie Robnett was outrighted to Triple A, which now leaves two spots open on the Cubs 40-man roster.

Alfonso Soriano ripped a two-out two-run single to cap a three-run 7th, and Carlos Zambrano threw six innings of one-run ball, leading he Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in Cactus League action before 13,002 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at Ho Ho Kam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.

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Jake Fox had three hits and drove in five runs with a two-run double and a three-run homer, Milton Bradley drove in three runs with a two-run home run and an RBI single, Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs with a solo HR and an RBI single, and Sean Marshall started the game and pitched five strong innings (getting ten ground balls), as the Cubs drubbed the White Sox 13-2 in Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon

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I know many of you probably watched today's game on WGN, but for those of you who didn't, or for those of you who did but weren't paying attention....

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