2/26 Extra bases

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year in 2013, retired all eight batters he faced in Wednesday’s intrasquad game. The right-hander was a combined 13-4 at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa combined last season.

“He’s probably put himself on everybody’s radar by the way he went about his business last year,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody to come out and do well.”

Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo and Christian Villanueva each hit solo home runs and Junior Lake hit a RBI single in the intrasquad game, which the “home” team won, 5-3. Jorge Soler walked, stole second and scored on Ryan Kalish’s single for the tie-breaking run in the fifth.

* Mike Olt did not play third base on Wednesday but was able to get an at-bat as the designated hitter, and drew a walk in the fifth. He said his right arm is a little tender, and the soreness is not unusual.

“It’s how it is every year,” Olt said. “It hasn’t bothered my swing.”

Acquired from the Rangers last July in the Matt Garza deal, Olt is a candidate for the Cubs’ third base job. He was scheduled to be the designated hitter on Thursday in the Cubs’ Cactus League opener.

* Second baseman Darwin Barney has been working a lot with new hitting coach Bill Mueller in hopes of getting back on track after batting .208 last season.

“We’re happy with where we’re at right now and feeling comfortable,” Barney said. “We feel we have a solid game plan, so we’ll keep continuing to move forward with that. I feel good to go. I feel mechanically sound. I feel like I’m getting results off the bat that I want and hopefully I can carry that forward.”

* Welington Castillo was the designated hitter on Wednesday in the intrasquad game in an effort to give him at-bats. Castillo had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid September and was slowed a little this spring because of his groin. So far, he’s passed all the tests.

“I think everybody is assured he’s completely healed and recovered,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “Like anything, we need to make sure we’re giving him the load of work he needs to get him into the season and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Castillo showed his swing is just fine as he led off the fourth inning with a home run off lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.

* Arodys Vizcaino, who has not pitched since 2011 after needing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, threw one inning in the intrasquad game, and walked two and gave up one hit.

“I’m just hoping his health continues to not be an issue,” Renteria said. “His arm is live. [The ball] comes out of there pretty easy. It looks like he’s using his secondary pitches in live [batting practice] the way he wants to. If he wants to bury a pitch he does it, if he wants to go off the corners he can.”

* Jake Arrieta is throwing from flat ground, and continuing to make progress this spring. Arrieta, who was projected for the Cubs starting rotation, was slowed because of tightness in his right shoulder.

* Matt Szczur made a great catch in left field in the intrasquad game Wednesday, but had a bloody right wrist to show for it. He didn’t let up just because it was intrasquad.

“There’s only one way to play,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

17 Comments

Sounds like a good way to start off the spring, even if these stats don’t count. We’ll see how everyone does starting tomorrow when they face competition from a different team. Of course, I know those stats don’t really count either and can be a bit misleading, but at least we’ll have something to help measure each player on other than just projections and health.

8 runs by both teams in a 6 inning contest, makes Hendricks performance look very impressive.

I really don’t get excited about players performances in Spring Training until the last two weeks. Then again, we are talking about the Cubs…….and the last three seasons were not exciting for Cubs fans.

So you dont get excited by performances? Where do you see where I stated I was excited? It seems the only thing you do enjoy, is ridicule.
You start off saying something that may sound ok, but you finish with complaint, ridicule and just plain ole unhappiness.
You sound much like that joey guy that used to post here? That you joey?
In my mind there was excitment in 2012 and 2013. Draft, International signings, trades. There will be again this year, maybe not exciting, but if your a Cub fan, it is fun.
In my lifetime, there has never been a rebuild from the bottom up, like this Management is doing. They are doing great.

How old are you Jiggs?
I am a Cubs fan for over 50 years………I have heard it all about future players, managers, front office, drafts, etc…..
that last line I wrote is the truth….three bad seasons…..two managers, now we are on our third manager in our 4th year…..Quade, Dale and now Renteria…..
I don’t know what the future holds…no one does……but something better happen fast by 2018, or Ricketts will find a new GM & manager to get himself a winner…..because Cubs fans of today are not the Cubs fans from years ago….patience is wearing thin on many of them……the Baby Boomers are getting older……..and baseball itself is losing fans to other sports……not what MLB like to see…..especially if you are an owner of the Cubs and spending millions on a team that might not make you a profit when the time comes to sell due to lack of funds, poor home attendance and a very bad team.

I am 59 and a Cubs fan since 1966, I became a Cubs fan when the Braves departed Milwaukee. All I could get on the radio was the Cubs and White Sox. Lou Bodreau was much more interesting to listen too.
Besides tha, I liked Banks, Williams and at that time Santo, much more than Joel Horlen, Gary Peters and Ken Berry.
You talk about poor attendance, where did the Cubs place in that category the last two years? It will be the same this year, just because you give up, dont mean all your baby boomer friends will. Maybe you didnt get to protest in the 60’s or chose not too? So you decide to do it late in life and the Cubs Management are your victims. You make me laugh.
How can anyone take you serious?

Can we stop with the “I’ve been a Cubs fan for X years” because that really doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s nice to say that you’ve stuck with them for this long, but saying it to imply that because you’ve been a fan for so long you know more than someone who hasn’t been a fan for that long is not true. Someone who has only followed the Cubs for two years could very well be more knowledgeable than someone who has followed the Cubs for 72 years. It all depends on how much they’ve paid attention, how much they’ve learned, and how much they knew coming in.
Also, let’s stop with the “the Cubs have been touting their own prospects since the 60s so why should I buy what they’re saying now” nonsense. What happened in 1964 has no relevance to today’s front office. Heck, what happened in 2004 has no relevance to today’s front office either. Just because the Cubs did something in the past, acted a certain way in the past, or failed miserably in the past doesn’t mean it will happen the same way today. Unless it was under people who are currently running the team, it has no bearing on what goes on today. The front office, the scouting department, the ownership, and just the general way they all go about their business is far different today than it was even 10 years ago, much less 50 years ago. So to say that because Kevin Orie and Gary Scott failed as prospects after the Cubs said they would be the next Ron Santo, doesn’t mean that Kris Bryant will fail too. There is absolutely no correlation between the two, and Kris Bryant will succeed or fail on his own merits and on the merits of the current front office, scouting department, and player development department, not the ones from the 90s.
What I do know is that pretty much every expert who puts out a top prospects list and pretty much every scout in the game who have seen the Cubs top prospects have raved about the talent level coming up through the minors. So in this case, it’s not just the Cubs touting their own prospects and trying to install desperate hope in their fans’ psyche. It’s all of baseball saying that chances are, these players are going to be pretty good. I don’t know if anyone outside of the Cubs organization was saying that about Kevin Orie or Gary Scott, but they certainly are saying that about the current prospects now.

As usual Doug brings up great points. My two favorites are: This is not the same Management as years past. Its not just Management promoting hype on their prospects, its all of baseball.
Being a long time Cubs fan has been filled with frustration and disappointment. Thats history, good Management and Leadership learn from history.
Building from the bottom up is a different approach, I do not remember any owner or CEO/GM doing this before. It might have been I was too busy watching the ML team and not paying attention or it might mean they have never taken this route.
At any rate, this long time Cubs fan is enjoying the Theo/Jed years.

I really want Szczur to succeed.

Should be on the team by July after a trade or two……numbers game with him now, Vitters, Bjax, Coghlan, Lake, Schierholtz, Sweeney are all ahead of him now.

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Sounds like the comment board is heating up just in time for todays game. I am sure of one thing,the Cubs are moving forward,enjoy todays game like i know all Cubs fans will.It has been a long winter and Cubs baseball is finally here. HOLY COW,LETS PLAY TWO!

I found it intersting that Bloomberg listed the most valuable top ten teams in baseball and what a shocker!!
After two years of not doing well, the Cubs rank 5th. That does not sound like attendance is dropping to me, I could be wrong?
Fans may be unhappy with the Major League team, but the Cub fans will continue to attend games. Most are loyal and the ones that do see & understand whats going on Organization wide, will continue to support the team.
Wish I could be at the game tonight, but I do have tickets at Cubs Park Saturday afternoon and will be attending the night game against the D-Backs at Talking Stick.
Should be a fun baseball filled day Saturday, also happy I have a understanding wife who enjoys going with me.

For those Cubs who did not know this, attending a baseball game at Wrigley Field Is very big on tourists list in Chicago………65% of the people at a Cubs game are tourists !…..most of them are not really watching the game after the 4th inning, most of the males are roaming the park to pick up girls……and many fans leave after the 7th inning…….I been a Cubs fan because there is no other MLB team in town…..(snicker,snicker)…………okay, I thought the 1977 White Sox team was pretty good…..Harry & Jimmy made me laugh with their x-rated, off color jokes ….anyone who said what they said back then on tv today would be taken off the air forever….Lou & Vince were great on the radio……after Vince left the Cubs, he did a season of Florida Senior League baseball on the radio in 1990 for the Palm Beach Tropics…….as for the Cubs prospects of today, we just have to wait & see……meanwhile, the Cubs are on tv today!……..Baseball has returned!

Very much looking forward to the game today also Cubs Talk.

First game, I dont expect much. I am looking forward to seeing Bonifacio, Ruggiano and Olt today.

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