2/27 Extra bases
* Third baseman Ian Stewart, sidelined since last Thursday with a mild quad strain, was able to take part in the Cubs bunting tournament on Wednesday but lost to Anthony Rizzo, who advanced to the sweet 16 round. Stewart is spending most of his time rehabbing with Josh Vitters, who also injured his left quad on the same day. The two have been able to do agility work.
“Me and Ian are basically doing the same routine,” Vitters said. “We push each other.”
Others to advance in the bunting tournament were Logan Watkins, Chris Rusin and strength coach Tim Buss, who beat pitcher Scott Baker.
* Matt Garza could start throwing on Thursday. The pitcher, who has been shut down since Feb. 17 because of a strained left lat, passed all the tests on Wednesday. If he feels OK Thursday, he’ll be allowed to play catch. The Cubs feel Garza has enough time to prepare for Opening Day.
* Luis Valbuena led off on Wednesday, and could be an option against left-handers. David DeJesus will be the main leadoff man but Valbuena has impressed Sveum.
“[He’s a possibility] because he gives you great at-bats, he sees a lot of pitches, he can score first with a home run once in a while, he drives the ball,” Sveum said. “He’s got all the things you want in a leadoff hitter.”
* Nate Schierholtz is looking forward to getting his World Series ring from last season with the Giants. He will be the only player in the Cubs clubhouse who has not just one but two rings. He remembers the Giants being very close knit, and said that feeling began in Spring Training.
“No matter what was going on, whether we were winning or losing, we all came together,” Schierholtz said. “There were a lot of different personalities but somehow we found a way to unite and we always had the same goal, to go out and win. We took it one day at a time. It’s funny how things happen. If you can sneak into the playoffs, anything can happen. It showed.”
He said the Giants had a strong group, including Buster Posey and Matt Cain. Does he see the same in Cubs camp?
“I’m excited about this year,” he said. “Last year is last year. It doesn’t matter to me what happened last year. This year is a new year and I like what we have here and I’m excited to get the season started after a long spring.”
— Carrie Muskat