On Thursday the Cubs matched up with the Cleveland Indians. However much of the focus of the day centered around the Ron Santo, who of course passed over the off season. The Cubs organization held a ceremony to honor the Cub legend and fellow fan. A plaque for Santo was hung by the radio booth at HoHoKam. The Cubs players have been wearing a special number 10 patch on their jersey sleeves throughout games so far this Spring, and they will continue doing so through the 2011 season.
Randy Wells was given his second start of the spring (third appearance overall) and his scoreless innings streak has reached 9 innings over that span now after tossing four innings of one hit ball with two strike outs. After his sophomore slump last season, Wells was not guaranteed a rotation spot coming into camp, and so far he has proven that not only is he deserving of being one of the starting pitchers come April, but that he is also looking to rebound from his poor 2010 campaign and prove that his rookie season was no fluke.
Kerry Wood decided to greet his former team with a three strikeout inning in relief, although he did give up one hit. Wood and closer Carlos Marmol have had a quality Spring so far, and along with Sean Marshall, as the anchors, I believe we are seeing a good build up for what will be one of the best bullpens around the Majors. Andrew Cashner gave up the lone Indians run in the 6th inning, but it was an improved outing as he only issued one walk while striking out three. He had entered the game having issued three walks and recording only one strike out so far this Spring. With Wells seemingly having locked down one of the two open rotation spots, Cashner is now in competition with Carlos Silva, Braden Looper, and Todd Wellemeyer for the final spot. Cashner has the advantage of youth and upside on his side, not to mention the backing of the front office and coaching staff for his transition into a starting pitcher, but he will need to continue to show progress and command of the strike zone to win the job.
Another day of errorless ball for the North Siders. I hope to sound like a broken record on this as camp continues.
With a 2-1 score line in favor of the Cubs, there was not much offense to speak of for either side in this game. Kosuke Fukudome found himself in the lead off spot again, and he went 0 for 3 with two strike outs. Not a pretty statistic line for your lead off hitter, but despite that Fukudome appears to be the front runner for the job by default, whether Cub fans like it or not. For what it is worth, Fukudome himself was quoted as not sounding too thrilled to be considered for the role, but that he would do what the team asks of him.
Brett Jackson came into camp hoping to mirror the break out Spring Tyler Colvin had last year. Unfortunately, it has not quite worked out in that manner for Jackson. He may be putting a little too much pressure on himself, but he did come through with a 1 for 2 day that included a RBI. At this point he is ticketed for a trip back to the minors with the goal to be a mid or late season call up in 2011.