4/1 Cubs 8, Angels 1
What went right:
Jeff Baker belted a three-run homer to spark a five-run eighth, and Darwin Barney tripled and scored on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly in the sixth. Chris Rusin, the Cubs’ fourth-round pick in 2009, started and gave up two hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out three.
What went wrong:
Ian Stewart, Blake DeWitt and Starlin Castro were each charged with an error, but none of the miscues cost them. The only Angels run was on a solo homer by Maicer Izturis in eighth off Frank Batista.
“People forget that home runs come in bunches and you need 600 at-bats to hit 25 to 35 home runs. He’s hitting plenty of balls off the wall. The day he went down [to the Minor League camp] and got seven at-bats, he hit three balls off the wall. Home runs aren’t as important to drive runs in as slugging percentage is. Slugging percentage is the key.” — Dale Sveum on Bryan LaHair, who has yet to hit a home run this spring.
* Bryan LaHair was in Sunday’s early lineup then scratched because of tightness in his back. LaHair blamed his one-hour commute from Surprise. He could play Monday or Tuesday.
* Marcos Mateo continues to rehab from right elbow soreness. He will not be ready for Opening Day.
This and that:
* Matt Garza tuned up for the regular season by throwing 51 pitches over four innings in a Minor League game at Fitch Park on Sunday. Garza gave up two hits and struck out six, then got some more work in the bullpen. He’s scheduled to start April 7 against the Nationals.
* Looking ahead, Travis Wood will close the Cactus League season on Tuesday against the Brewers. Tuesday’s game will start one hour earlier at 12:05 p.m. Arizona time and be broadcast on WGN Radio.
* The Cubs have eight relievers vying for seven spots. Three of them are set: Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell. Rodrigo Lopez appears to be the long man. Others to be considered include Rafael Dolis, Lendy Castillo, Manuel Corpas and Shawn Camp. Camp struck out three and gave up one hit over 1 2/3 innings on Sunday.
* Bobby Scales has reportedly signed a Minor League contract with the Mets.
Jay Jackson will start Monday against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale in the Cubs penultimate Cactus League game. This will be Jackson’s fifth spring appearance and second start. The right-hander, who will open at Triple-A Iowa, had an impressive outing March 19 agains the Mariners when he gave up four hits over four scoreless innings. Jeff Samardzija will start in a Minor League game at Fitch Park. The game against the D-backs will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat