2/29 Cubs Wednesday notebook
Travis Wood and Randy Wells will start Friday in the Cubs’ intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park, and be followed by Andy Sonnanstine and Casey Coleman. On Saturday, Jay Jackson and Chris Rusin will start, and Trey McNutt and Alberto Cabrera will also pitch in a second intrasquad game. The Cubs shift from Fitch Park to the stadium after Thursday’s workout. The intrasquad games will begin at 1 p.m. MT, be open to the public and are expected to last five to six innings.
* The Cubs continue to sort out the backup catcher situation this spring. Does Cubs manager Dale Sveum have a preference for a left-handed hitter or a switch hitter?
“It matters, but it’s not the final piece of the puzzle,” Sveum said. “The guy who will work and be able to handle pitchers is the biggest thing when it comes down to it.”
* The Cubs have a team psychologist, Dr. Marc Strickland, in camp. Did Sveum have one when he played?
“We had one, probably one of the first, back in ’87,” he said of his days with the Brewers. “We used Jack Curtis and I thought it really helped our team at the time. When we saw him, we were two games under .500 and after we saw him for a couple hours, we finished the season winning 91 games so we were about 25 games over .500. I think it helped a lot. We were a very young team at the time and he helped a lot of us out.”
What was the message? Think positive.
* On Opening Day of the Cactus League season, all of the teams will take part in a tribute to Robert Brinton, who died in October. Brinton was a driving force in the Cactus League and in keeping the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. A past Cactus League Association president, he also was executive director of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau and past president of the Mesa HoHoKams. Commemorative baseballs with a gold Cactus League logo will be used for the ceremonial first pitch at each of the home parks. The balls also are marked with Brinton’s name. A tribute will be read at each of the ballparks and there will be a moment of silence.
* Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Casey Coleman and Blake Parker were among the pitchers to throw live batting practice on Wednesday. For Maholm, it was his first session since coming back from the flu.
* Rusin, Coleman and catchers Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger advanced to the sweet 16 of the Cubs bunting tournament on Wednesday. Castillo and Clevenger join another catcher, Blake Lalli, who also advanced. It was a tough day for Bryan LaHair, who faced Clevenger. LaHair was hit by a pitch by bullpen catcher Andy Lane, who was throwing to the two hitters. Brett Jackson lost his match with Castillo but did score the first 100 of the tournament. There are two red dots on either side of the pitcher’s mound, and players must call the “100” before aiming for it.
– Carrie Muskat