3/11 Extra bases
* Travis Wood is hoping the Cubs get all the dropped balls and strange plays out of their system this spring. On Tuesday, the Cubs lefty was charged with five runs on nine hits over 2 2/3 innings, with two runs scoring on singles that never left the infield. The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the first, and with two outs in the third, Nolan Arenado was credited with a triple on a ball that center fielder Junior Lake lost in the sun. Wood gave up hits to the next five batters, including a two-run homer to Kyle Parker, before he was lifted.
“It’s going to happen, it’s part of baseball,” Wood said. “You see it every year. I’ve got to come back and help him out of the inning. I felt I made some good pitches and they put some good swings on them.”
The Rockies also got a couple breaks. Wood could only shrug after his outing.
“I said it’s just one of those days,” the lefty said. “Luckily, it happened in spring, so we can move forward from that and get ready for the next one.”
* James Russell, slowed this spring because of a tired arm, will make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday in the Cubs’ game against the Mariners. Russell has appeared in more than 70 games in relief in back to back seasons, and manager Rick Renteria said he is very cognizant of a pitcher’s usage. The Cubs do have another lefty, Wesley Wright, who could pick up some of the workload for Russell during the season.
* Javier Baez is taking ground balls at second and third before batting practice and Renteria will try to get the Cubs’ top prospect at one of those positions in a Cactus League game soon but is looking for the right shortstop to match up with. Baez will open the season at Triple-A Iowa at shortstop.
“We’re going to make sure when we do put him there we’re really comfortable and confident he can handle that side of the diamond,” Renteria said. “I think it’s pretty close.”
Darwin Barney started his second game at shortstop on Tuesday, and Renteria said that would be the most likely pairing with Baez because they want someone with experience.
* Mike Olt, who has not started at third to protect a tender right shoulder, is “getting close” to playing there in a Cactus League game. Olt did make a perfect throw on a double play in Monday’s game against the Giants, which impressed Renteria.
* Shortstop Starlin Castro, sidelined with a mild right hamstring strain since March 2, was able to do some light baseball activity on Tuesday. He was expected to get into games early next week.
* Edwin Jackson will face Minor League hitters on Wednesday at the Cubs’ complex to stay on schedule, while James McDonald gets the start that night against the Mariners. Renteria said Tuesday he has yet to talk to Jackson since his last Cactus League start March 7 when the right-hander decided to only throw fastballs, but didn’t tell either the manager or pitching coach Chris Bosio. Jackson gave up three runs on four hits over three innings against Cleveland.
“I’m sure we’ll have the discussion, and that will be between me and him,” Renteria said.
— Carrie Muskat