There’s something about seeing the Cubs take the field in Mesa, Arizona that just makes me squeal like a school girl and get the willies in my stomach. Baseball season is back!
Now… back to more masculine affairs, the Cubs had their first spring training game yesterday against the Oakland A’s. Despite suffering a 12-10 loss, there were a lot of small successes that can be highlighted from that game.
- The Cubs have a few bullpen holes to fill for the 2012 campaign, and Rodrigo Lopez showed a good outing posting 2 perfect innings back to back. Nice work Rodrigo! Awesome to see a young pitcher potentially working out for the Cubs in the future. All this is well and good, but realistically he has about as much chance of making the starting rotation as you or I do. (we can all dream)
- Speaking of bullpen, both Rafael Dolis and Trever Miller had strong outings. These two are jockeying it out for a roster spot, so its nice to see them setting a highly competitive pace for the job. Keep an eye on these two.
- Welington Castillo hit a homer in two at bats. He’s a contender for the back-up catcher position behind Soto. If we know Soto’s medical past, Welington may have a few opportunities to play in the bigs if he keeps his swing quick and his wrists in tight to his body. Posting a solid .286 AVG in the minors last year isn’t much, but it shows he can put bodies on the bags. I hope for nothing but good things for this guy.
- Jeff Samardzija (pictured) still has some of the best hair to ever grace a baseball field. Look at that flow… its like woodstock all over again. Groovy man.
- Sveum says he’s pleased with the Cubs’ aggressive base running on Sunday having stolen two bases in the second inning. However, both David DeJesus (one of the Cubs off season acquisitions) and Darwin Barney were both picked off at first base…. by the A’s catcher. Ouch boys. You can bet that Sveum will be working on more base running and leadoff fundamentals in practice.
- Alfonso Soriano filled the number one batting order spot in yesterday’s game, but I assume that wont continue today. He was most likely placed there to get a few at bats and some clean looks at real pitches again. Batting order doesn’t mean a whole lot to me personally, but I know a lot of people will argue that. Epstein was quoted saying “I wouldn’t put a lot into it, and lineups are overblown as it is” when asked about Soriano’s role in the batting order this year. If its good enough for Theo, its good enough for me. Even still, I don’t like the look of Soriano at the top of the order… maybe a 5 or 6 spot at best.
- Brett Jackson (who some would argue is the Cubs’ top prospect) saw some action in the later innings of the game yesterday and looked comfortable on the field. He was quoted saying “I’ve said it before, the things I can control are what I do every day. I’m not going to make the team right now, today, but every day is a piece to that puzzle and I will keep working until that day comes. And when that day comes I will keep working there.” The 23 year old has a great attitude and understands he needs more time in AAA to hone his skills. He will be a star for the Cubs one day though… that’s for certain.
It may only be the first day of spring ball, but the season is looking decent (or I’m still high off of seeing live baseball again). Building blocks are in place and the team seems to have the right mentality towards the uphill climb they now face. Look for the Cubs’ young talent to continue to shine in spring ball as they fight for a spot on the 25-man roster and maybe the veterans can take some notes about what good work ethic is from these “spring chickens”