For the second game of Spring Training, the Cubs faced a Brewers split squad. Spring Training stats complied by players, whether good or bad, are hard to read into overall. That fact is compounded when you are going up against a weakened split squad. The team the Brewers put out on the field was missing names such as Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Prince Fielder, but Ryan Braun did show up to play.
On to the game notes.
Randy Wells is looking to bounce back from a sophomore slump season in 2010. He got off to a good start in his bid for a rotation spot with two scoreless innings that included a strike out. Andrew Cashner was the other starting rotation hopeful that came in to pitch the next two innings. Cashner was tagged with two runs in the 3rd inning, but did finish with a scoreless frame in the 4th. The Cubs are testing Cashner to see if he can be a top of the rotation starter because they already know he can be a good late inning reliever from his 2010 season. I am not trying to be down on Cashner early, even though my preference was to keep him in the bullpen, but it will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with Cashner if he does not impress as a starter this Spring. Will the Cubs send him down to the minors for the beginning of the 2011 season to continue work as a starting pitcher, or will they attempt to work him back into a reliever’s mind set as Spring Training winds down so that Cashner can come out of the pen alongside Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood at Wrigley Field?
Speaking of Kerry Wood, he must have had a bit of the jitters in his return to the field in Cubbie blue. Wood also gave up two runs, but in his one inning of work. Cubs pitching prospects Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter, who we all are a little more familiar with thanks to Luke, provided scoreless frames in their Spring debuts. Mr Consistent Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless 9th with a strike out.
For the second straight game the Cubs committed three errors in the field. It is real early to start worrying, but still a number you want to keep down when the opposing teams so far this Spring have committed less.
Reed Johnson marked his return to the Cubs with a 2 for 3 day out of the leadoff spot. He was driven in by Tyler Colvin in the first inning. It will be interesting to see if Johnson gets thrown into the leadoff man rotation if he makes the squad out of camp. The Cubs scored in the 1st inning for the second straight game, and hopefully they can make it a habit that they take with them into the regular season. Alfonso Soriano was bumped up to the clean up spot for this game and went 1 for 3 with a double after his perfect day at the plate on Sunday.
Several Cubbies Crib readers would prefer to see Welington Castillo as the back up catcher over Koyie Hill. The rookie Castillo did his part in making the case for the job by going 2 for 2 with a run while Hill went 0 for 2 at the plate. Hill is still considered the better defensive option at this point, and that is pretty much all that you really want out of a back up catcher that will get limited at bats behind the offensive minded Geo Soto, but it will be interesting to see if Castillo can force a decision with a great Spring. Hill did negotiate a salary bump to $850,000 for 2011 to avoid arbitration, so it will be an uphill battle for Castillo to unseat the veteran back up.