10/7 Extra bases from Mesa, AZ
* Monday was a big day for Kyuji Fujikawa. The right-hander, who was limited to 12 games with the Cubs because of arm problems that eventually resulted in Tommy John surgery on his elbow, threw a baseball for about five minutes Monday at Fitch Park in Mesa. It may not sound like much, but it was another step in his rehab. He had been able to play catch with a tennis ball, but Monday was the first time he was allowed to throw a baseball. Fujikawa has spent the summer in Mesa rehabbing three to four hours a day. Even though most pitchers need two years to recover from the surgery, Fujikawa said his goal is to be ready for 2014.
* Right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard, claimed off waivers from the Red Sox, is working out at Fitch Park as well as infielder Mat Gamel, whom the Cubs claimed from the Brewers. Bard was expected to throw off the mound Tuesday.
Gamel did not play this season after re-tearing his ACL early in Spring Training. Was he surprised the Brewers put him on waivers?
“As far as a business standpoint, I completely understand where they’re coming from,” Gamel said. “It’s unfortunate. In the same breath, I’m happy for the new opportunity and looking forward to it and am excited about it. It’s new life.”
He can play third and first, and originally came up as a third baseman. He’s been with the Brewers for eight years.
“I don’t know any other organization,” he said. “Maybe this will be a good fresh start for me.”
Gamel planned to train in Mesa this week. He wants to show the Cubs he’s healthy. He re-injured his leg at the eight-month mark of his rehab, which was supposed to take six to nine months.
“I think it worked well this time,” he said. “It feels good, it feels strong and that’s the important thing.”
* The Arizona Fall League gets underway Tuesday with the Mesa Solar Sox playing at Glendale against the Desert Dogs. Expect to see Jorge Soler in right field for most of the AFL games. Cubs prospects Albert Almora, Kris Bryant, Wes Darvill, Lendy Castillo, Dallas Beeler, Matt Loosen, and Armando Rivero also are on the Mesa roster. Beeler and Loosen will start.
* On Tuesday night, the Cubs’ instructional league team will play at 5:30 p.m. Arizona time at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are expected to be in town for the game.
* Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will spend three weeks in November with Starlin Castro in the Dominican Republic to get the shortstop ready for the 2014 season.
* Cubs coach Franklin Font was headed to Venezuela soon to be a coach on Buddy Bailey’s Winter League team.
– Carrie Muskat