6/17 Extra bases
* During a radio blitz on Tuesday to promote his Foundation To Be Named Later fundraiser in Chicago, Theo Epstein was asked about Jeff Samardzija’s status. The right-hander will be a free agent after the 2015 season.
“The bottom line is nothing has changed,” Epstein said on ESPN-AM 1000. “We think the world of Jeff. He has a year and a half left on his contract. We’d love to find a way to keep him in Chicago for a long time. He’d love to be a Cub for a long time, but it’s a business and things aren’t quite that easy. We’re just not going to get into detail or give a public play by play.”
There were several scouts at Tuesday’s game in Miami, including two from the Blue Jays who have seen nearly every one of Samardzija’s starts.
* Epstein also was asked about Kris Bryant, who is leading the Southern League in home runs, batting average and RBIs. When will Bryant get to Wrigley Field?
“I can say he’s doing everything we could ask of him at Double-A,” Epstein said. “If he continues this and if he continues to work on his development plan and work on his weaknesses, there will be a time in the not too distant future that he’ll see Triple-A this year.
“Is he dominating Double-A right now? Of course he is,” Epstein said. “Does that mean his development is complete? No.”
* Welington Castillo is still rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs complex. He has right rib cage inflammation, and is eligible to come off the disabled list now. Castillo was scheduled to play in extended Spring Training game Tuesday in Mesa. He may not need a Minor League rehab assignment.
“If he can get some at-bats and be able to swing the bat with intensity and catch, it’s still the same [rehab],” manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday. “From a games perspective, it’s a matter of making sure he’s healthy.”
* Renteria does not plan on batting Travis Wood sixth in the lefty’s next outing but may call on his starting pitcher sooner to pinch-hit. On Monday, Wood delivered a game-winning RBI double in the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 win over the Marlins.
“I think when you have a short bench, it’s not unheard of to use a pitcher if you want to save the bench,” Renteria said. “You have situations where they may not be as key as that one [Monday]. I think that’s always been open for most clubs.”
– Carrie Muskat