3/27 Extra bases
* The Cubs will say goodbye to HoHoKam Stadium after Thursday’s game. The team has called the ballpark home since its first game, Feb. 28, 1997, against the Mariners. Fittingly, the Cubs will wrap up the 2013 Cactus League season against the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 a.m. CT. The Cubs are 132-118-13 all-time in Cactus League play at HoHoKam Stadium over 17 seasons.
Just because the big league team is leaving after Thursday’s game, it doesn’t mean HoHoKam will be dormant. The Cubs’ Minor Leaguers will play there this spring before breaking camp for their respective sites, plus the stadium will host the team’s Arizona Rookie League squad this summer. The Mesa Solar Sox also will play Arizona Fall League games at HoHoKam, starting in October.
The Athletics have signed a 20-year lease to play at HoHoKam, starting in 2015. Among the changes they will make is a new video scoreboard, wider seats, and a bigger clubhouse. The Cubs are moving to a new facility, currently being built in west Mesa at the intersection of highways 101 and 202, and scheduled to be ready for 2014 Spring Training.
* Outfielder Brett Jackson played in a Minor League game Wednesday, and got some at-bats. Jackson, sidelined with a strained right shoulder, was expected to play four or five innings on Thursday. He will open the season at Triple-A Iowa.
* Third baseman Ian Stewart expects to take batting practice on Friday. He will remain in Arizona and continue his rehab here from a sore left quad.
* The Cubs did claim right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays in their continued search for bullpen help. But they won’t see the pitcher in the final exhibition games. Moscoso is not guaranteed a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, but is an option for the pen. The team did tell right-hander Cory Wade, one of the in-house candidates, that he will not make the 25-man roster. That leaves lefty Hisanori Takahashi in camp, but the Cubs are still monitoring the waiver wire.
To make room for Moscoso on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 60-day disabled list. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Takahashi is a non-roster invitee, and the Cubs would need to open a spot on the 40-man for him as well. The lefty has given up six earned runs on 16 hits and four walks over 15 1/3 innings this spring.
* The Cubs also have yet to finalize the position players on the roster. Steve Clevenger is in the same situation as Takahashi. He’s the last in-house candidate.
“It’s a little weird not knowing what your fate is,” said Clevenger, who made the Opening Day roster last year as a backup catcher. “I put stuff on the truck [going to Chicago]. I’m getting ready to head north, and if they tell me different, they’ll have to send it to me.
“It’s a little weird,” he said. “It’s a little nerve-racking, too. At least I’m making them make a decision rather than be already down in the Minor League camp.”
– Carrie Muskat