The Cubs will have their first full workout today and we'll keep an eye out for any news. For now here's a few news and notes items...
- Carlos Marmol denies any wrongdoing and has the full support of his front office. He's not expected to miss any time in camp. He will open as the Cubs closer barring a trade. Speaking of which, Tim Dierkes of Closer News tweets that Angels closer Ryan Madson has had a setback in his attempt to comeback this season after missing all of 2012. The Angels would go with Ernesto Fieri if Madson misses time, but the question for Cubs fans is whether the injury would renew their interest in Marmol. The teams had basically agreed on a deal for Dan Haren pending review of financials and a physical. Then, as we all know now, the Cubs backed out of the deal. The problem with dealing Marmol to the Angels is that it's tough to find a match between the two teams. The Angels don't have a deep farm system and, as contenders, are unlikely to trade someone useful from their MLB roster.
- Matt Garza is entering an important season and given that a top pitcher like Kyle Lohse is still on the market, it's fair to ask how draft pick compensation might affect Garza's own potential free agency after the season. Patrick Mooney of CSN writes on that very subject here. As for Garza's view on this, he's taking the right approach, “That’s out of my hands. I have to pitch. If I pitch well enough, that’s not going to matter. So if I just go out there and do what I’m capable of doing – toeing the rubber every five days and being as consistent as I need to be and as durable as I have my entire career – then that’s not going to matter. I’m just going to go out there and pitch. I’m going to make people want me.” If he does that this spring, it's fair to say that he'll start drawing interest from other teams well before he enters free agency.
- Garza touts backup catcher Dioner Navarro as a force behind the plate when it comes to controlling the running game and thinks he'll make a great mentor for Welington Castillo. "He provides a force back there," Garza said of his former Rays teammate. "He's known to stop a running game, and people don't run on him. ... Teams that rely on speed or the small game, a guy like Navarro behind the plate, he'll shut it down. That's a huge thing for a pitcher. Having a guy like Navy as a backup will be a huge help, and not only for the rotation but the learning curve to get Castillo there quicker." Garza said, however, that it doesn't matter who catches for him and won't request that Navarro be his personal catcher.
- In case you missed it, Bleed Cubbie Blue had a video of Dan Vogelbach taking batting practice and he looks even leaner then when I saw him in October. I'm not worried about the weight loss affecting his power. Vogelbach is still a big, strong kid and he generates power in large part because of this powerful, yet efficient swing. The biggest difference will be increased mobility at 1B. If Vogelbach continues to mash at Kane County and takes a big step forward on defense, he will rise up those prospect charts.
- Looking to see some Cubs games but can't seem to find the right ticket package? Reader Jordan has season tickets with some nice seats (section 215) and is looking for Cubs fans who want to buy 3, 6, or 9 game packages. He can make them similar to the Cubs packages and if you're interested, leave a comment here or contact him on Twitter (@chistyle82).
- There is some interest in a baseball fantasy league among readers here and if anyone is interested in creating, promoting, or joining a league, feel free to say so in the comments section. Personally, I will not be in a league this year simply because I'm not capable of casually joining a fantasy baseball league. I have to either go all out or just not play at all. Right now, I maximize my computer-based baseball time here on the blog, so unfortunately I have to choose the latter.
- I've mentioned this before in the comments section but if you want a great blog to follow during spring training (in addition to this one, of course!) check out boysofspring.com. Tim Sheridan does a great job with news and stories -- and takes outstanding photos.
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