1/19 Cubs notebook
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team may revisit the issue of whether to invite Sammy Sosa back. Sosa has not returned since he walked out after the 2004 season.
“With Sammy, it’s awkward,” Ricketts said Saturday. “I think over time, there’ll be a good solution for all this stuff, but obviously I think you saw what happened to the Hall of Fame voting this year. I don’t know. It would be nice to put this chapter to rest and just welcome back all the guys who were from that era that people suspected of doing whatever.”
There has not been much communication between the Cubs and Sosa since he left.
* Cubs manager Dale Sveum and hitting coach James Rowson were happy Brett Jackson accepted the drastic changes they suggested to the young outfielder’s swing during a workout in November in Mesa, Ariz. Jackson was promoted to the big leagues Aug. 5 despite leading the Pacific Coast League with 158 strikeouts. He batted .175 in 44 games with the Cubs.
Sveum said it may benefit Jackson that he hit “rock bottom.” The outfielder, who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 2009, has been hitting more this offseason than in the past. He was still expected to open at Triple-A Iowa.
* The Cubs have the second pick overall in the June First-Year Player Draft, and even though there is a need for more pitching in the organization, they could chose a position player. Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, said usually the best bets at the top of the Draft are position players.
“We will not neglect pitching in the Draft but we’ll take the best player available,” Epstein said.
* Tony Campana is very popular with Cubs fans. One fan asked Sveum why the speedy Campana couldn’t get a spot in the starting outfield. Sveum said Campana is fighting for one of the backup outfield spots, and that he has a hard time getting on base consistently. Expect Dave Sappelt to be one of the backup outfielders.
* Broadcaster Len Kasper said new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer was just like Adam Dunn in terms of high strikeouts, high on-base percentage. That was meant to be a complement. Deer said his philosophy as a hitting coach is: “Do as I say, not as I did.”
* Sveum said he wants coaches who aren’t afraid to say anything to the players. His philosophy? “Don’t ever think these guys know everything,” Sveum said.
* There are often unusual questions during Cubs Convention seminars and Saturday was no exception. One fan complained that the players weren’t paid enough to afford a haircut, and said Sveum looked as if he “sleeps on a park bench.” A youngster asked Epstein to promise he could get a Major League contract once he reaches 18. Epstein said yes.
A father from San Francisco asked Ricketts what he should tell his 8-year-old son, who is teased for wearing Cubs gear.
“I really believe we have the smartest guys in baseball building a championship team and it just takes time,” Ricketts said. “Your son’s 8; he’s got lots of time.”
– Carrie Muskat