3/30 Cubs extra bases
Andrew Cashner will not accompany the team Wednesday to Chicago but stay back in Arizona to throw in the Cubs Minor League camp. Cashner wasn’t too happy about that.
“He was like mad,” manager Mike Quade said. “He didn’t want to stay back. He wants to go with the club.”
Cashner, who is scheduled to start April 5 against the D-Backs, will fly to Chicago on Thursday so he can be at Wrigley Field in time for Opening Day festivities.
* Quade had two large red-covered notebooks loaded with statistics to go over on the plane ride to Chicago. He has yet to finalize his Opening Day lineup. It’ll be posted Thursday. Three spots are set — Starlin Castro at No. 2, followed by Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez.
Still to be determined is who starts at second base. Rookie Darwin Barney has impressed the team with his defense and could get the nod, Quade said.
* Expect Kosuke Fukudome leading off against most right-handers this year. Quade wasn’t fretting over the outfielder’s .173 average this spring.
“He’s somebody I don’t worry about,” Quade said. “I love his at-bats. I love that he sees a lot of pitches. He’ll hit better than he did down here. He’s always had a pretty good on-base percentage and that’s what you’re looking for in the top spot.”
The Cubs also are counting on Fukudome having another strong April. He has a career .326 average in the first month.
* There is no Lenny Harris or Dave Hansen or Daryl Ward on the Cubs bench this year.
“You hope that whoever has that off day, be it Colvin, be it Fuke, be it Sori, be it DeWitt, be it Baker or Barney, those guys can all contribute swinging the bat,” Quade said. “There can be an art to pinch-hitting. Those guys are versatile as heck, all capable of starting and contributing, so why wouldn’t they be able to handle those pinch-hit roles?”
* Quade’s parents and brother will be in the crowd at Wrigley for Opening Day. He has a lot of friends who want to be there as well.
“It’s going to be a great day for me and I’m glad they’re there but I’m not asking everybody to drop everything and come to the ballpark,” he said. “I hope to be there for a little while so there are other days people can come. It’ll be a nice day for me and nice day for them.”
– Carrie Muskat