12/9 Cubs notebook
Camp Colvin is up and running in Mesa, Ariz. The offseason workout camp, named after Tyler Colvin because of the success he had last winter, has about a dozen players participating. Colvin gained 25 pounds last year, improved his flexibility and running speed and got stronger.
“He’s proud of it and he’s embraced it,” Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said Thursday.
Among the players in camp are Colvin, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Samardzija, DJ LeMahieu, Darwin Barney, Brandon Guyer, and Tony Campana.
“It’s a nice chance for some of these guys to spend time together outside of the season in a different format,” Fleita said. “It helps them bond and reach the ultimate goal.”
Right now, the goal is to improve their strength and conditioning. After Jan. 1, they’ll start adding baseball activities.
“I think at the end of the day there will be a bond — you sweat together, you work together,” Fleita said. “Hopefully, down the road, it pays dividends.”
* Fleita said shortstop Hak-Ju Lee is working out with a personal trainer in Korea and has added 10 pounds. The Cubs he’ll report at least 15 pounds heavier this spring.
“It will be fun to see that kind of weight on that kind of body,” Fleita said of the slender infielder.
* First-round Draft pick Hayden Simpson was to report Sunday to Mesa to join the workouts. Simpson was unable to do anything after he was drafted in June because the pitcher came down with mononucleosis.
* Third baseman Marquez Smith has returned home after playing Winter Ball in Venezuela. The Cubs were worried Smith would be taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. He batted .247 in 30 games for Aragua.
“He had a nice first half, nice experience first time out of the country,” Fleita said. “I’m always anxious to see how that works out. Normally, you gain a greater appreciation for life at the very least, and you understand what some of your teammates had to go through to get to the big leagues.”
* Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI for Escogido on Wednesday. He’s now batting .200 in eight games. Fleita said he hopes Castro can help Escogido get to the playoffs. Former Cubs outfielder Moises Alou is the team’s GM and his team won the Caribbean World Series last year.
* The Cubs are expected to announce their Minor League staff assignments
next week. Big leaguer Mariano Duncan was to be named Double-A hitting
— Carrie Muskat