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

6 Comments

Campana’s OBP was .308 in 174 ABs … Jackson’s was 303 in 120 ABs … If Campana’s sample size is large enough to be considered representative, so is Jackson’s. Which one is more fun to watch, and scarier for opponents? No-brainer, it’s Tony C.

True Brian however comparing the two may be a moot point as Jackson will not be used as a backup outfielder as will Campana. If you compared Campana to Sappelt that would make more sense as it appears Sappelt has a lock on one of the backup roles? And if so, why? Campana’s base stealing and bunting and defense ALONE should grant HIM a lock on one of the outfield back ups, don’t you think? A pinch runner in a close game that is all but guaranteed to get in scoring postion would be more valuable than Sappelt coming in late in the game for pinch running or defense. Hell, give Sappelt the RF starting job and let Scheerieieeiiieeeeehooolltzzzz sit the bench.

Yeah, like I heard “they” are working on bulking up Campana because opposing pitchers are just putting the ball down the middle of the plate challenging Campana to hit the ball in the outfield (for an easy out I suppose?). Well, why does it seem that “they” are LOOKING for reasons NOT to have Campana on the ML roster? Why not utilize the TREMENDOUS skills HE DOES HAVE? Pinch running, late inning defense, bunting (either to get a tying or winning run ON BASE or to move such a run into scoring position), base stealing…INTO scoring position. Bulk him up to what end? To DIMINISH the great skills he ALREADY has? DUH. The “bulking” up certainly would not catapault him into a STARTING outfield job, right? How about the manager….MANAGE and see the value of Campana’s EXISTING skills and put them to use to help win a game instead of looking for the next Mickey Mantle….I see no other second string, bench warming, role playing player on the roster better suited to be in the dugout as a valuable back up outfielder other than Campana. “They” keep on looking for a HITTER yet never learn from mistakes such as Joe Mather (“as the Beaver”), DeNitWit and many others they GIVE a bench job to thinking they will win games with their awesome clutch hitting….it ain’t happenin’ and Sveum shoul realize this and lobby for Campana to be on his bench, at least until somebody actually BETTER SUITED comes along. (Please don’t tell me it’s Lillibridge, please).

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, Joey. Campana is the one to be on the bench. He can out run anyone else (if they don’t “bulk” him up), he makes the other teams pitchers nervous wrecks when he gets on base and he is fun and a hoot to watch. Go Campana!

P.S. Did Isabel get to meet Barney? LOL

I have been a cub eversince I could listen to Pat piper giing the line up for the day. That makes it more than 70 years. If they bring back Sammy Sosa I will never watch another cub game and I will eliminate the website form my desk top.
Frank Pascolini Hot Springs Arkansas.

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