Results tagged ‘ Mesa ’

2/13 Samardzija ready to go

This will be an interesting spring for Jeff Samardzija, who is one of the candidates for a spot in the Cubs rotation. He’s out of options.

“I’m not too worried about that,” Samardzija said Sunday on his way into Fitch Park in Mesa. “I came into camp the last couple years with a big grand plan of what I wanted to do. I’ve done to camp and done everything I can preparation-wise and obviously a lot of guys will get a good look and it should be a good camp.”

The Cubs are not picked as favorites in the NL Central. That doesn’t bother Samardzija.

“I think we have a great core group of guys,” he said. “It’s a fun team. I don’t think you can project this team’s season just by who’s sitting in the locker room right now. You have to see how this team starts and how we roll. I think the best thing we have here is how we are a team. Everyone gets a long very well, everyone enjoys each other and has fun. Hopefully, we can start fast. I think that’s a big key to the season. Obviously, you can’t clinch a division in the first month but you can get off on the right foot, which always helps instead of playing catch up the rest of the year.”

In January at the Cubs Convention, Samardzija said he was ready to go then.

“I’ve been ready for a long time,” he said. “That hasn’t changed. I’ve cherished this last month. I’ve really laid low here in Arizona and took my time and didn’t go anywhere and stayed here and worried about one thing. It’s been nice to do that. To be down here and getting ready for camp is a different feeling.”

Pitchers and catchers will have their first workout on the field Monday.

— Carrie Muskat

2/13 Johnson shows up early

Cubs pitchers and catchers have to report on Sunday but outfielder Reed Johnson was one of the early birds at Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz. He was eager to return to Chicago, where he played in 2008 and ’09.

“It’s great to be in a spot where you’re familiar,” Johnson said. “It’s tough going to an organization in Spring Training having to start all over again. I feel like there’s still a lot of pieces in place here. [Kerry Wood’s] back here, too. We’re all working our way back.”

Position players don’t have to report until Feb. 18 but Johnson has a 1-year-old and a new puppy, and wanted to get settled in Arizona quickly so he showed up at Fitch early.

When Johnson realized he would likely have to sign a Minor League deal, he tried to get back to the Cubs. Fans showed him very early how knowledgeable they are about the game. One of his early at-bats at Wrigley Field, he recalls grounding out to second and driving in a run, and the whole stadium stood up and cheered.

“I think the fans in Chicago appreciate the little things,” Johnson said.

— Carrie Muskat

2/12 Cubs notebook: Marmol takes physical

Carlos Marmol underwent his physical Saturday at Fitch Park and the Cubs were expected to announce a long-term deal with their closer this week. Marmol, 28, who is the team’s only arbitration eligible player still unsigned, wouldn’t comment on Saturday. Asked if a deal was done, he said: “Not yet.”

The two sides have exchanged arbitration figures, with the Cubs submitting an offer of $4.1 million, while Marmol is seeking $5.65 million. However, all signs indicate the two sides could settle on a multi-year contract. If Marmol and the Cubs agreed to a three-year deal, he would be giving up his first year of free agency. He has one more arbitration year, then becomes a free agent in 2013.

Marmol converted 38 of 43 save opportunities last season, and averaged a Major League record 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings.

Cubs pitchers and catchers report on Sunday to Fitch Park, although many have already been working out in camp, including Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and John Grabow. The first workout will be Monday.

* Angel Guzman, coming back from surgery on his right shoulder, threw off a mound Friday for the second time since having the procedure. He is not throwing at full speed but is making progress.

* The Cubs players have kept busy during the little down time they’ve had in early workouts by playing Ping Pong. Tyler Colvin is the offseason leader in head-to-head play so far.

* Among the players working with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo on Saturday were Colvin, Marlon Byrd, Darwin Barney, Jim Adduci, Steve Clevenger, Chris Robinson, and Micah Gibbs.

* The Fitch Park facility has been improved with the addition of four covered batting cages, so that six are now available instead of two. Plus, the screens can be moved and up to eight pitchers can throw in just in case there is inclement weather.

— Carrie Muskat

2/3 Winter wonderland

Cubs photographer Stephen Green put together a nice photo gallery of snow-covered Wrigley Field. Here’s a link:

If that link doesn’t work, go to the bottom of, and you’ll see a picture of the ballpark covered in snow. Double-click that. And remember, pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., in 10 days. (Of course, it’s cold in Phoenix now …)

— Carrie Muskat

1/4 Spring Training tickets

Need a baseball fix? Spring Training is not too far away, with the Cubs’ first game scheduled for Feb. 27 in Mesa, Ariz. Individual game tickets for all home games go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. CT on or by calling 1-800-905-3315. The ticket box office at HoHoKam Park in Mesa will open for the sale of individual game tickets beginning Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. MST.

Season tickets at HoHoKam Park go on sale Wednesday at 9 a.m. MST, and group tickets go on sale Thursday at 9 a.m. MST at the HoHoKam box office, or by calling (480) 964-4467.

— Carrie Muskat 

1/1/11 Happy new year

It’s time to look ahead, beginning with Spring Training. The Cubs’ first Cactus League game is Feb. 27 in Mesa, Ariz., vs. the Athletics — that’s not too far away — and individual game tickets for home games go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. CT on or by calling 1-800-905-3315. The ticket box office at HoHoKam Park in Mesa will open for the sale of individual game tickets beginning Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. MST.

Season tickets at HoHoKam Park go on sale Wednesday at 9 a.m. MT, and group tickets go on sale Thursday at 9 a.m. MT at the HoHoKam box office, or by calling (480) 964-4467. All Cubs’ home games begin at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time unless otherwise noted.

— Carrie Muskat

12/6 Cubs notebook

Hayden Simpson, the Cubs’ No. 1 pick in last June’s First-Year Player Draft, was expected to begin workouts in Mesa, Ariz., later this month if he passes all medical checkups. Simpson did not report to a Minor League team after the Draft because he was sidelined with a severe case of mononucleosis. The right-handed pitcher from Southern Arkansas University, who was the 16th overall selection. Simpson was to get a head start on his workouts before Christmas, take time off for the holidays, and then return to Mesa.

* Camp Colvin has begun in Mesa. The workout program, which helped outfielder Tyler Colvin gain 25 pounds last season, is run by strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss. Colvin is among the participants and reports are that he’s doing well after having his season cut short prematurely when he was hit in the chest by a broken bat.

— Carrie Muskat

12/4 Tentative Spring Training schedule

Are you thinking about going to Arizona for Spring Training? The Cactus League has released a tentative schedule for 2011 and here are the Cubs’ home/away dates. Remember, these are subject to change, and the Cubs still may add a weekend trip to Las Vegas. All home games are at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Ariz.:

Feb. 27: Athletics at Cubs
Feb. 28: Brewers at Cubs
March 1: Cubs at Giants, Scottsdale, AZ
March 2: Cubs at Brewers, Maryvale, AZ
March 3: Rangers at Cubs
March 4: Cubs at Royals, Surprise, AZ
March 5: Padres at Cubs
March 6: Cubs (ss) at Reds, Goodyear, AZ; and Dodgers at Cubs
March 7: Angels at Cubs
March 8: Cubs at Rockies, Salt River, AZ
March 9: Royals at Cubs
March 10: Indians at Cubs
March 11: Cubs at White Sox, Glendale, AZ
March 12: Reds at Cubs
March 13: Cubs at Diamondbacks, Salt River, AZ
March 14: Cubs at Mariners, Peoria, AZ
March 15: Rockies at Cubs
March 16: OFF
March 17: Cubs at Athletics, Phoenix
March 18: Reds at Cubs
March 19: Cubs at Padres, Peoria, AZ
March 20: Giants at Cubs
March 21: Cubs at Angels, Tempe, AZ
March 22: Cubs at Dodgers, Glendale, AZ
March 23: Athletics at Cubs
March 24: White Sox at Cubs
March 25: Mariners at Cubs
March 26: Cubs at Rangers, Surprise, AZ
March 27: Rockies at Cubs
March 28: Cubs at Indians, Goodyear, AZ
March 29: Diamondbacks at Cubs

The Cubs also may play at HoHoKam Park on March 30 in an exhibition game against their Minor League players. Details are still being worked out.

— Carrie Muskat

11/30 Spring Training schedule update

Expect the Cubs to release the 2011 Spring Training schedule soon. The delay is because the team is still finalizing details about a split-squad weekend trip to Las Vegas.

— Carrie Muskat

11/23 Cubs vs. White Sox

The Cubs are expected to release their 2011 Spring Training schedule after Thanksgiving. However, if you want to plan to be in Arizona for the Cactus League games against the White Sox, here are the dates: the Cubs play in Glendale, Ariz., on March 11, while the White Sox play in Mesa on March 24.

— Carrie Muskat