3/30 Tracy ready to go
In the end, it was Chad Tracy’s ability to play third, the fact he bats left-handed and that he’s an experienced pinch-hitter that swayed the Cubs.
“You never know what to think,” said Tracy, who found out he made the Cubs’ 25-man roster before Tuesday’s game. ”Your nerves are a little high, a little on edge. Now, hopefully, I can settle down.”
Tracy has been in the Diamondbacks’ system until this year and was a non-roster invitee in the Cubs’ camp.
“I’ve never been in this situation before,” he said about trying to win a spot on the Opening Day roster. “As a kid, you’re doing the whole big league camp thing and you don’t expect to make the team. There’s expectations as you progress in your career. It’s a little different. I wasn’t used to these emotions and getting stressed.”
How would he assess his spring?
“I’m not going to say it went really well,” said Tracy, who was batting .243. “I had some good at-bats, some bad at-bats. I proved I could play third base again which is one of the reasons I’m still around here now. Hopefully, they have faith I can play either corner and help the team.”
Tracy has primarily played third this spring but will start at first on Wednesday in Maryvale in one of the Cubs’ split squad games. A career .302 pinch-hitter, Tracy does have experience coming off the bench.
“I’m not going to act like I know the secrets to pinch hitting,” Tracy said. “There is something to having the experience and to have seen some of the guys coming out of the bullpen in the National League. I’ve said it all along, it’s one of the toughest jobs in the big leagues. The biggest thing is being prepared and knowing what these guys do. The key is being aggressive and going up there and finding your pitch early enough to where he can’t get to his stuff where he can get you out. You have to battle. You try not to let him get you before you get him.”
The Cubs broke camp last year without a legitimate backup at third and it hurt them when Aramis Ramirez missed two months because of a separated shoulder. Ramirez has played 11 games this spring. He’s been slowed by a sore right tricep, although he did start on Tuesday.
– Carrie Muskat