3/4 Extra bases
* Jeff Samardzija will start in a Minor League game on Wednesday instead of facing the Rangers, and Hisanori Takahashi will get the start for the Cubs. Takahashi is a non-roster invitee this spring, and the lefty has done well.
“He’s everything we expect,” Dale Sveum said Monday. “He’s a strike thrower, he can throw every pitch for a strike. Obviously, the velocity isn’t great but he was 89 [mph] yesterday. he has command of his pitches and can do a lot of things. He can pitch long, get left-handers out. He’s a veteran guy who knows how to pitch.”
Right now, the Cubs appear to have only one lefty slotted for the ‘pen in James Russell. Sveum would like another one.
“It’d be nice, especially a guy who can go multiple innings,” Sveum said. “Right now, you could be in a situation wher we don’t have a long guy.”
* Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery, had his third live BP session on Monday. If he passes all the tests. the right-hander could pitch in a simulated game this week. The next step would be to appear in a Cactus League game.
* The first roster cuts will likely be Friday, Sveum said. The Cubs still have four split-squad games remaining.
* Dan Vogelbach, the Cubs’ second pick in the 2011 Draft, appeared in his first game on Sunday and showed some discipline at the plate.
“He had a heck of an at-bat with the bases loaded,” Sveum said of the first baseman’s at-bat in the sixth. “The [pitcher] made a heck of a pitch with a back-door breaking ball to finish him off. He came right back the next time and took his walk in a big situation [in the ninth]. I would’ve liked to see him maybe swing at that 3-0 pitch [in the ninth] — I don’t know where it was on the plate. I know he’s a young kid coming over but he had the green light to swing away. It was nice to see his patience. I don’t think he swung at a bad pitch.
“That’s one guy, from all the video I’ve watched, you can just tell some guys can just hit,” Sveum said. “They’re more patient than other hitters, obviously the bat speed is fine. For a young kid, he’s pretty polished already as far as pitch selection and trusting himself.”
It’s tough to find that kind of power from the left side. The Cubs do have a pretty good first baseman in Anthony Rizzo, but Sveum said Vogelbach needs to continue to develop, and not switch positions now.
– Carrie Muskat