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.
Charlie 21 min 57 sec ago (view)
I dub this, "The Billy Hamilton Game."
crunch 28 min 37 sec ago (view)
hamilton HR...add that to the "odd stuff in 2020" list...first since 2018.
crunch 32 min 34 sec ago (view)
it's important to remember that tommy h is both young and in great shape with no pre-existing conditions and got smacked down really hard with Covid according to his own account.
we had an outbreak at our lab, 3 out of 14 people (all symptomatic), and 1 has been out 5 weeks now because she can't shake extreme fatigue and brain fog...took her 3 weeks to stop the hacking cough and chest congestion. she's in her early 50s with no pre-exisiting conditions, non-smoker, not overweight...
crunch 38 min 41 sec ago (view)
same...especially after the first few weeks...
and in perfect 2020 manner, we also had cancelled games thanks to wildfire smoke and social justice protests to go with the pandemic cancellations.
Jackstraw 38 min 48 sec ago (view)
Sandbagging all season long. Very sly.
Cubster 52 min 14 sec ago (view)
Is it true that the Cubs are the only mlb team that did not have one test positive for COVID? Pitching coach Tommy H had it in the spring but no players.
Charlie 1 hour 17 min ago (view)
Kris Bryant is covering that inside corner the last two games. Love to see it.
champsummers 1 hour 38 min ago (view)
Honestly, the reasoning you outline is a bit beyond my limited cognitve wherewithal. But nevertheless, I am pleased to learn that we wont be squandering an option on him.
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 10 sec ago (view)
I dont believe it uses an option because he will be active on the seasons last day and won't ever end up getting technically optioned. If memory serves, the playoffs don't count as being "optioned" if you're not on the active roster
champsummers 2 hours 1 min ago (view)
Hmmm. Bringing up Marquez?
Doesn't that use up an option year?
Why would you want to waste an option year for one meaningless appearance in a meaningless game?
Cubster 2 hours 10 min ago (view)
honestly, I didn't think Mlb would make it through the 60 game schedule. 2020, scariest and weirdest year ever.
Cubster 2 hours 12 min ago (view)
Pregame radio: Marquez will see some action in today's game
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 57 min ago (view)
Brailyn Marquez replaces Patrick "Good Luck Charm" Wisdom on the roster!
Cubster 6 hours 12 min ago (view)
The opening two series for the Cubs will be in Houston. If they get farther next would in Arlington Including the WS.
Jackstraw 9 hours 57 min ago (view)
Thanks, AZ Phil
Craig A. 14 hours 42 min ago (view)
If the cardinals loose and the giants win, the cardinals will have to play and win on Monday to make the playoffs.