3/23 Extra bases
* Scott Baker was to be examined Sunday by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. Baker was shut down after his one Cactus League start last Sunday because of discomfort in his right elbow. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery and expected to open the year on the disabled list.
“I’m happy with the progress it’s made,” Baker said of his elbow. “Obviously, we’re doing something right as far as treatment and the medication is helping and there’s nothing wrong with taking it easy either.”
Baker will likely stay in Mesa for extended Spring Training. Scott Feldman also was expected to stay in Mesa and start March 31 before joining the Cubs, throwing 50 pitches in a game. He will start the Cubs’ fourth game, April 5 in Atlanta.
* The decision for the final spot in the Cubs bullpen may not be determined until the last weekend in Houston. Four relievers are competing, including Hisanori Takahashi, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis and Cory Wade. Dolis has been bothered by a blister. There’s no favorite, Sveum said.
“It’s completely undecided now,” Sveum said. “We’ll sit down and weigh all the options and everything, and the teams and durability. All that stuff comes into play.”
* The Cubs are monitoring the waiver wire to see who is available. They’re looking for some backup infield help. Javier Baez was not an option. This spring, Baez batted .389 against left-handed pitchers, but was 7-for-29 (.241) against right-handers.
“He’s so far away from the big leagues, the defense and everything,” Sveum said. “The guy has to develop. I know he hit all the home runs and everything, but he’s still premeditated swinging. He’s got a lot to learn yet. There was never a thought he’d be on this team.”
* Brett Jackson, bothered by soreness in his right shoulder, was able to throw on Friday and took about 20 swings off a batting tee. The Cubs hope he can play in a Cactus League game this week.
* The Cubs have three more games at HoHoKam Stadium. On Friday, officials with the Athletics toured the facility to consider changes for 2015 when Oakland moves in. There will be a new scoreboard and an updated clubhouse. The bleachers in left and right field will be removed, as will the seats. New, wider seats will be installed.
* Dave Sappelt was picked for the Cubs’ 25-man roster because of his ability to play center field. That’s his preferred position.
“I was defensive player of the year two years with the Reds in center,” Sappelt said. “I bounced around when I got here. I don’t have a problem with it. The corners are easy. You can make a lot of good, cool plays. Center is kind of wide open, you can catch them standing up; the corners you can dive, run into the wall.”
Sappelt’s nickname is “Mighty Mite,” and he got that from Dusty Baker.
“Whatever I’m listed at, I’m probably not that height, and I can probably hit the ball pretty far,” said the 5-foot-9 Sappelt.
– Carrie Muskat