Cubs Pitchers Stretch Out at Fitch Park
Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Andy Sonnanstine, Trey McNutt, Lendy Castillo, Marcos Mateo, Trever Miller, and Rodrigo Lopez threw "live" BP at cool & blustery Fitch Park today, before a sparse crowd under partly cloudy skies.
Wells, T. Wood, Sonnanstine, McNutt, and Lopez threw 45 pitches each, while L. Castillo, Mateo, and Miller threw 30 pitches a piece.
This is somewhat of a change from past years, as the pitchers who are prepping as starters are throwing more pitches per outing earlier than before. I can't remember the last time I saw any pitcher throw 45 pitches in a pre-Cactus League "live" BP session at Fitch.
Lopez has (apparently) been tabbed to start the Cactus League opener versus the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park on Sunday, and it appears he has a reasonable shot to win the 12th man slot (long reliever/spot starter/garbage man) on the pitching staff. Lopez isn't Cy Young, but he does have the proverbial "rubber" arm and doesn't really need a lot of extra side-work to stay stretched out enough to be able to give his team four passably-decent innings (five tops) when needed.
Best performance at the plate today in "live" BP was by Junior Lake, who hit a couple of balls off the outfield fence, and Josh Vitters peppered Rule 5 draft pick Lendy Castillo's offerings with line-drives back through the box. Otherwise, there were no dingers, as the pitchers appeared to be mostly ahead of the hitters.
1B Anthony Rizzo (acquired from the Padres during the off-season) took some extra ground balls at 1st base after BP. He is a hard worker and the coaches really seem to like him a lot.
Steve Clevenger, battling Welington Castillo and Jason Jaramillo for the back-up catcher job, had an extensive work-out at 3B with the "B" team on Field #2 prior to the "live" BP session. Clevenger played SS in college and was moved to 2B after signing with the Cubs in 2006, before being converted to catcher at Instructs post-2006. Clevenger still has work to do to make himself a major league backstop, but he has the knowledge and aptitude to play anywhere in the infield in a pinch. He's gotten a bit bottom-heavy over the years and he has little range, but having a left-hand hitting back-up catcher who can play other positions in an emergency is a definite plus.
Clevenger has a short stroke that allows him to hit "cold" off the bench without needing a lot of regular playing time to stay ready, and he also is an excellent bunter. He might not have been an Academic All-American (he transferred to Chipola JC after being declared academically ineligible at the U. of Texas), but he has a high "Baseball IQ" and probably will be a manager someday. He understands the fundamentals of the game very well. (The Cubs minor league coaches LOVE Clevenger).
With Geovany Soto unable to do much while rehabbing a groin injury, the Cubs have brought 2010 3rd round draft pick Micah Gibbs (LSU) down to Fitch Park from Minor League Mini-Camp at HoHoKam as a 6th catcher. (See kids? It pays to report early!). Gibbs is probably the best receiver in the organization (albeit with just an average arm), but he has struggled offensively over his first two seasons in pro ball. However, the switch-hitting Gibbs showed tremendous improvement (and an outstanding eye) at the plate at Instructs post-2011, and should be the #1 catcher at Daytona in 2012.
The new regime has demonstrated little patience with mistakes and poor play so far at Fitch Park. Several coaches have stopped work-outs mid-stream to provide a "teaching moment" when a player's performance is not up to par. The players all seem to be enthusiastic and loose, but there is zero tolerance for f*ck ups. And that's kind of refreshing.
crunch 11 min 14 sec ago (view)
bryant was supposedly gonna be in the lineup but he has left ring finger and wrist hurties.
Charlie 26 min 40 sec ago (view)
I really think they could play .500 from here and would take the division.
But leave room for at least a week long slump due to bullpen implosion.
Cubster 30 min ago (view)
Don't get too giddy but...
One Quarter of the schedule is complete.
Pace is for a 48-12 record which when extrapolated to 162 games is about 130 win season.
Is it all downhill from here?
Cardinals at White Sox game tomorrow is possibly canceled per Sun-Times reporting that Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the postponement.
Eric S 56 min 3 sec ago (view)
Brewers Game 1: KB (LF), Rizzo, Javy, Willson (DH), Happ, Bote (3B), Souza (RF), Nico, Caratini, Darvish
Eric S 17 hours 46 min ago (view)
Reds just lost in tough fashion to the Royals. Down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, one out and rap into a 5-4-3 dp to end it.
crunch 18 hours 20 min ago (view)
no kimbrel...but another decent jeffress outing
Cubster 18 hours 27 min ago (view)
Fly the W.
Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 17 min ago (view)
So we keep Phegley ostensibly to get Caratini into lineup as DH and have a different backup C so we don't get caught in the exact situation we knowingly and avoidably put ourselves in tonight?
crunch 19 hours 34 min ago (view)
this game is now "bryant watch"...also will 4 runs be enough for kimbrel? gotta imagine he's due to get work even if it's not a save situation.
crunch 19 hours 57 min ago (view)
early returns on that bomb to LF are looking good.
Charlie 20 hours 3 min ago (view)
That one looked like it got all bone. Here's hoping it didn't go full Todd Hollandsworth.
Eric S 21 hours 27 min ago (view)
Cubs did both Dietrich and the Rangers a solid
Wouldn't be a season without the Cubs and Rangers having some form of transaction
crunch 22 hours 28 min ago (view)
called up and in the lineup for TEX tonight. hell of a few days for him.
Eric S 1 day 20 min ago (view)
Cleveland Game 2: KB (LF), Rizzo, Javy, Willson, Happ, JHey, Bote (3B), Caratini (DH), Kipnis
Schwarber was in initial lineup but removed due to a knee contusion - I imagine a result of the hard breaking ball which popped him in the knee last night.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Rea has been a very nice surprise so far. Hopefully he can keep it up this year and going forward. We have a few more years of team control.
Eric S 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
Rea bringing the heat 94-96 - and retires the heart of the Indians lineup in order. He's looked impressive in his two appearances.