3/3 Brewers 4, Cubs 3; Cubs 4, Angels 2 (ss)
Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff home run and Blake Lalli added a RBI double to back Marco Estrada and lead the Brewers to a 4-3 victory Sunday over the Cubs, who were playing a split squad game. Gomez led off the third with his home run off Drew Carpenter, and Lalli, a former Cub, added his double one out later. Javier Baez drove in all three Cubs runs. He hit a two-run home run in the fifth and drew a bases loaded walk with two outs sixth.
Baez fouled a ball off his left foot before he homered. The Cubs’ athletic trainer came to check on him but Baez said he was OK.
“It still hurts,” Baez said of his foot. “I told [the trainer] I was all right. I don’t like coming out of the game.”
So far, spending Spring Training in the big league camp has been pretty nice for Baez, the Cubs’ 2011 first-round Draft pick.
“You learn things that you don’t realize you’ll learn,” said Baez, who is getting a lot of tutoring on his defensive positioning.
He didn’t get the ball from his first home run. Was it a big deal?
“Not really,” Baez said. “I’m just going to keep trying to hit the ball hard.”
In Tempe, Brad Nelson and Brian Bogusevic each hit home runs in the Cubs’ win over the Angels. Bogusevic was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a home run. Nick Struck, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, threw three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.
* On Monday, right-hander Alberto Cabrera will make his first Cactus League start when the Cubs play host to the Indians at HoHoKam Stadium. With Matt Garza not expected to be ready for the first month, and Scott Baker sidelined until mid April, the Cubs need to get a good look at some of the other pitchers for the bullpen spots. Cabrera, who appeared in 25 games in relief last season, could be one. Brad Nelson will start at first base as Anthony Rizzo joins Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic. Jorge Soler will be the designated hitter and Steve Clevenger, who could win a job as a utility player, will start at catcher. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
* Rizzo was looking forward to playing for Team Italy in the Classic.
“I’m going to be competing on an international level, which is going to be cool,” Rizzo said. “From what I’ve heard, the Italian team is pretty good. Hopefully we can shock some people and play good baseball.”
The Italian team will practice Monday, then play exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday before facing Mexico on Thursday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Rizzo talked to Cubs manager Dale Sveum before agreeing to play in the World Baseball Classic.
“Obviously, [Sveum] wants me in camp, and I want to be in camp, we want to build as a team,” Rizzo said. “For the short time I’ll be gone, I don’t think it’ll be much of a distraction at all.”
Sveum wasn’t too worried.
“He’d be playing here — it’s baseball,” Sveum said. “He’d be doing the same thing here that he’ll be doing over there. He’s in good shape and his legs are good and everything is fine. He’d be playing here just as much.”
* Former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe was back in uniform Sunday at HoHoKam Park, feeling much better after undergoing emergency hernia surgery. Sutcliffe actually stopped by Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday, four days after he had the procedure, to watch the Cubs-Giants game. He had just been released from the hospital. A Cy Young winner in 1984, Sutcliffe will get the stitches removed Wednesday, then go to work in the broadcast booth for the World Baseball Classic.
* Infielder Logan Watkins beat Rizzo in the first sweet 16 match of the Cubs bunting tournament. Three more matches will be played Monday, including video staffer Nate Halm’s showdown against pitcher Travis Wood.
– Carrie Muskat