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59 players are at MLB Spring Training 

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full) 
19 players are MLB Spring Training NON-ROSTER INVITEES (NRI) 

Last updated 2-6-2024
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 22
Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Michael Arias
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Jose Cuas
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge
* Bailey Horn
* Shota Imanaga
Caleb Kilian
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Julian Merryweather
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski 
* Jordan Wicks

NRI PITCHERS: 11 
Colten Brewer 
Chris Clarke 
Carl Edwards Jr 
* Edwin Escobar 
* Richard Lovelady 
Sam McWilliams 
* Thomas Pannone 
Ethan Roberts 
Cam Sanders 
Riley Thompson 
* Brad Wieck 

CATCHERS: 2
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

NRI CATCHERS: 4  
Jorge Alfaro 
Pablo Aliendo
Joe Hudson 
* Bryce Windham

INFIELDERS: 9
* Michael Busch 
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

NRI INFIELDERS: 3 
David Bote 
Matt Shaw 
Chase Strumpf 

OUTFIELDERS: 7
Kevin Alcantara
Alexander Canario
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

NRI OUTFIELDERS: 1 
* Owen Caissie  
 



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The Opposable, Not Disposable Thumb

 

Little Jack Horner

Sat in the corner, eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum...

Just to take our minds off the train wreck that the 2010 season has become, I'm going to tangent into just what made Aramis Ramirez so miserable this year. His left thumb injury (diagnosed as a deep bone bruise) may or not have been related to his season long slump or it just may have prevented him from coming out of it as the weather warmed up. He's been 'missing', even when present for most of 2010 which is somewhat different than his absence last season, starting on May 9th, 2009 from what happened at a similar point in the season, when he dislocated his left shoulder diving for a ball on May 8th in Milwaukee.

From a Gordon Wittenmeyer, Sun-Times article:

Ramirez, mired in a two-month slump, first hurt the hand on a swing-and-miss May 9 in Cincinnati. When it got worse two weeks later, the Cubs considered putting him on the DL, ''but I didn't want to do it because I thought I was good enough to play,'' said Ramirez, who got a cortisone shot instead. Manipulating his bat handle to take pressure off the top of the left hand also didn't work because it was uncomfortable, he said.

''This is the right time to do it. This is the right thing to do,'' he said.

He'll be eligible to return June 23 in Seattle, but a return then is anything but certain considering the down time that'll require before he is even allowed to resume normal baseball activities.

Supposedly, his injury was a deep bone bruise. I have not read any reports about an injured ligament. He has tried to play through the soreness but his thumb kept getting re-traumatized from his attempts at hitting. He didn't want to go on the DL until it was clear he couldn't shake the injury.

This does remind me of the way the Cubs handled Soriano's knee problems last year. Supposedly Soriano's knee was injured around April 22nd but he/they kept playing him with an injury that wasn't dramatic enough to take him out of the lineup. It took months of underperformance compared to his career stats (.241/.303/.423/.726 vs. .278/.327/ .511/.838) to  finally acknowledge it was his knee that was the problem. Maybe they learned something, since it took only a month of struggling with this Ramirez injury before he hit the DL vs. Soriano's 4 month struggle. I believe that some of these situations develop because a team can not put a player on the DL unless he agrees or the team gets the medical staff to document that it's not medically advisable for a player to be on the field. Hockey-like warrior mentality doesn't seem to work in modern baseball, at least not as far as the Cubs are concerned.

The opposable thumb may have been, regarding humanity, the single most important evolutionary development.

When the hands developed dexterity advantages, that freed the front limbs from four limb gait. The opposable thumb literally gripped the development of tools, hence civilization and...dare I ultimately conclude, Baseball.

An animal species is said to have opposable thumbs if the thumb is capable of bending in such a way that it can touch all the other digits on the hand. Most species do not have opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs are a signature feature of the primate family, and played a large role in the ancient humans' invention and use of tools.

Thumb anatomy is unique when using comparative anatomy to the other fingers and certainly the human big toe. The thumb can be rotated (opposed) from around 50 degrees at rest to as much as 110 degrees of rotation when in a position of opposition against the other digits.

There are unique sets of muscles and tendons (abductor, adductor, flexor, opponens and interosseus of the thumb) that accomplish thumb opposition. This is a complex of movements that include what is called pronation, radial deviation and adduction/abduction and specific muscles match the individual movements required. The bones at the base of the thumb (first metacarpal, trapezoid and trapezium and proximal to them, the carpal navicular/scaphoid bone) have developed to accomplish this opposible movement and the type of joint is called a sellar joint.

Thumb functions include pinch and grasp but the rotation that opposition creates makes it possible to make grip have advanced functionality. There are three types of pinch grips, key (digit side by side, as in holding a key), tip (the end of the digit, where opposition is possible) and palmar pinch (thumbless grasp).Two aspects of grip help hold a baseball bat, span grip and power grip.

There are many common injuries around the thumb. A bone bruise is just what the term sounds like, it's not a fracture but the injury to the bone involves damaged bone cells without structural disruption. A fracture implies there is a definable structural crack/disruption that bridges one of the bones of the thumb (first metacarpal, proximal and distal phalanx). There are many fracture patterns and if a fracture involves an adjacent joint (CMC, MCP or IP joints), it usually is a more serious problem. If an X-Ray shows a fracture, an MRI isn't often needed but when the X-Ray is normal an MRI can be very helpful. Nowadays, MRI imaging can see signal changes in a bone and adjacent soft tissues (ligaments, joint capsule and tendons) that indicate there is damage to the bone and/or soft tissues. Even a bone bruise sets off a healing reaction until the bone structure returns to normal, essentially a "fracture-lite", but still painful and can last many weeks. Other significant thumb injuries involve soft tissue damage. One well known injury is called Gamekeepers Thumb. It involves a torn or stretched ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpal-phalangeal joint or MCP joint (at the base of the web space, the thumb equivalent of the Tommy John elbow injury). This can be treated conservatively unless the ligament is fully torn or significantly stretched so that the thumb pinch activities become painful. There are surgical repair/reconstruction options when that situation is diagnosed (watch out if you are squeemish, this link is a surgical video).

So when one compares small joint/bone injuries to big joints, Aramis Ramirez has got them covered. If his thumb becomes a lingering problem, the sellar joint of his thumb just might be a major cause of the Cubs entering a seller market.

Comments

"The opposable thumb may have been, regarding humanity, the single most important evolutionary development." That was one thing that pissed me off about the movie District 9. The aliens had claws. How the hell do you build stuff if you have claws? Even if they found a way, I bet they were lousy baseball players.

@CarrieMuskat: #Cubs lineup Sun nite is 2b riot, rf colvin, cf byrd, 1b lee, lf sori, 3b tracy, c hill, ss castro, p lilly

CarrieMuskat: #Cubs manager Lou Piniella says time is right to have Tyler Colvin play and "we want to see this kid in the lineup more." ...who is "we", Lou and Stoney?

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

That maybe true Rob, but come on, let me get this straight. Steve Stone comes out and BLASTS Lou for not playing Colvin. Lou blasts right back, essentially saying Stoney has no idea what he's talking about because he's never managed. Lou then proceeds THE NEXT DAY to start Colvin and talk about how Colvin is going to see some more pt because he's earned it.... Somewhere Steve Stone is laughing to himself, and I don't blame him.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

Not in your wildest dreams. That said, I too am beginning to believe it's time. I tell you what though, I'd just as soon see Lee, Sori and Fuk gone in July and dust off my 'Wait Till Next Year' T-shirt...(and actually, throw in Z while I'm rebuilding, I'm sick of head cases). Actually trying to think about the Lou thing for a minute. IF the Rickettses are such huge fans of the game, they no doubt have seen and heard the unwritten rule about managers, that if you fire one sometime mid-season the team often goes on a miraculous tear. That'd also be a lot quicker and easier (although more expensive) than trading the guys I listed above (if that'd even be possible, which it may not). Makes me wonder just how safe Lou's job may (or may not) be right now....... (Does anyone have Eric Wedge's number? Or does Ryno take over mid season? They don't go with Trammel, do they??)

Recent comments

  • George Altman (view)

    Cody Bellinger  - 3/$80 with opt outs each year. Now, LFG!!

    Per Jeff Passan

  • crunch (view)

    ump's zone almost all game was really small.

    nice to see b.davis do something decent.  him, stumpf, and bote hit homers.  bote generally owns spring before settling into his role as a highly paid minor leaguer.

  • crunch (view)

    smyly didn't look great in the 1st, but the ump was squeezing the zone a bit too tight.  some of those called balls should have been strikes.

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    Phil, is CJ healthy enough to have a shot at the opening day roster?

  • Dolorous Jon Lester (view)

    Agreed crunch. I feel like the team could have taken themselves from “has a chance at the division” to “definite division favorite.”

  • crunch (view)

    yeah, i like the team.

    my main complaint isn't that they won't be competitive, rather that they could be even more competitive given their resources.  there's still time to add on, and they have 10s of millions to do it without going past their self-imposed limitations.  whether these limitations should exist or be way more flexible is up for debate, but we have what the owners give the front office to work with.

    some of the sites doing wins predictions have CHC at or just below STL for taking the NL Central.

    it's also nice knowing if some of the kids expected to break with the team don't work out, there's a good amount of kids near-MLB ready to hedge some of the failures...a few non-roster vets, too (peralta/d.smith/cj edwards).  no guarantees, but it's nice to have around.

    i feel good about 2024 even without additions, but i'm still expecting an addition until the "Boras 4" are off the market.

    if the cubs we see today are the cubs we get going into opening day, i will be disappointed, but i still think they got a shot at the playoffs.

  • Charlie (view)

    My takeaway from the first Spring Training game of the year: It's really refreshing to have a slew of exciting young players in a season that should not be a total punt at the MLB level. It's been a while. 

  • crunch (view)

    cease has a 8m deal and 2 years of club control.  he wouldn't be cheap.

    dunno if the rumored talent given up is worth it, but if the wsox want a return on cease there's no time like now considering the very low 2024 price tag.

    the cheap price incentive for a full year vs. mid-season addition seems like a wash in potential return.

    wicks could immediately slot in as a starter on most teams.  also, the cubs already have a couple of solid lefty starters slotted in for at least the next 4 years.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Mully and Haugh Chicago Radio says that folks within Cubs front office now believe a Belli ddeal will get done. Also, White Sox wanted to see Wicks, Mervis and Vazquez today for a possible Cease deal. 

    That can't be real. But, the Sox have been overpricing Cease.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Most of you have probably seen the game, but for anyone who might have missed it here are the Cubs pitcher reports from Friday's Cubs - White Sox game at Sloan Park... 

    JORDAN WICKS
    FB: 91-93 
    CT: 88-90 
    SL: 80-81 
    CH: 78-83 
    COMMENT: Threw 1.2 IP (40 pitches - 23 strikes - six swing & miss) and mixed-up his pitches well... FB velo went down a tick in his second inning of work... looked a bit fatigued in second inning... allowed two hits and no walks and struck out one... gave up an oppo-field line drive solo HR to a AA RH hitter on a 92 MPH FB... should have easily finished off second inning but made careless error on weak tap in front of mound on his 24th pitch of the inning with catcher running and then made another error trying to grip the ball to make a throw to 1st (only one error was charged of course)... he just looked gassed as he walked off the field...  

    HUNTER BIGGE
    FB: 95-98 
    CH: 87-88 
    SL: 81 
    COMMENT: Faced one batter (strikeout looking) to finish second inning... 8 pitches (5 strikes - no swing & miss)... showed high velo FB but couldn't command secondaries... has had shoulder issues off & on in minors... throws with infielder-type short-arm motion "out of his ear" (he was a two-way player -- 3B/RHP -- in college)...
       
    CALEB KILIAN:
    FB: 96-99
    CH: 84-86
    SL: 81-82 
    COMMENT: Threw two very efficient innings... dominant outing... needed only 24 pitches (16 strikes - six swing & miss)... 6 up / 6 down (K-swing on 98 FB, 4-3 GO on 98 FB, 5-3 GO on SL, 6-3 GO on 97 FB,  K-swing on 99 FB, and F-8 on SL)... held high FB velo in both innings (he was consistently sitting on 98 in both innings and he hit 99 once in each inning) and looked like he could have gone longer...  

    RICHARD LOVELADY
    FB: 89-92
    SL: 81-84 
    COMMENT: Your run of the mill generic FB/SL lefty reliever... had an easy 13-pitch (8 strikes) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both swinging) on low 90's FB and a weak pop fly to CF...  

    JOSE CUAS
    FB: 92-94 
    SL: 81-83 
    COMMENT: Threw a scoreless inning (20 pitches - 15 strikes - four swing & miss, two on FB and two on SL)... although he did strike out two -- both swinging -- and threw 75% strikes, he had some difficulty putting hitters away (eight foul balls among his 20 pitches)... allowed an infield single that probably would have been a 6-3 GO if an MLB player was playing SS (Jefferson Rojas did not play the ball aggressively and he was a half-step too late with his "casual" throw to 1st base)... 

    THOMAS PANNONE
    FB: 84-85 
    CH: 82 
    CV: 70-73 
    COMMENT: Soft-tossing lefty who throws a LOT of mid-80's cutters and a very slow CV... 13-pitch (10 strike) 1-2-3 inning with one K (looking) on a cutter... got three swing & miss, all on cutters...  

    BAILEY HORN
    FB: 92-95 
    SL: 85 
    CV: 78-79 
    COMMENT: Threw an 11-pitch (8 strikes - two swing & miss) 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (both looking)... broke three bats and induced some weak contact foul balls and a pathetic "mushy" pop fly(?) infield out that wasn't exactly a line drive and wasn't exactly a pop up either...    

    PORTER HODGE
    FB: 94-95 
    CT: 90-92 
    SL: 82-85 
    COMMENT: Threw a 21-pitch scoreless inning to finish off the game... surrendered a walk and a single but also induced a game-ending 6-4-3 DP... one strikeout (swinging) and that was his only swing & miss... he looked a bit uncomfortable on the mound (he seemed kind of hyper while warming up in the pen, too) and had major command issues with FB (threw only 8 strikes out of his 17 FB and went to ball three count on three of the four hitters he faced)... he would appear to be nowhere near ready for MLB and maybe not ready for AAA (yet) either...