It's great coming off a victory, even when it's just spring -- especially when you get a great start from a guy you're depending on - Travis Wood. Also nice to get HRs from prospects Jorge Soler and Christian Villanueva.
You can catch the Cubs today at 3:10 central time. Audio available on MLB.com.
News and Notes:
- The Cubs send 6 players to minor league camp. To AAA: Logan Watkins, Trey McNutt, Alberto Cabrera, and Brooks Raley. To AA: Robert Whitenack. Nick Struck was just assigned to minor league camp so it's still undetermined where he'll play. None of these cuts are surprises. They were destined for the minor leagues and they'll be able to get more reps at the minor league camp. All 6 players have a shot at seeing Wrigley Field later this season.
- Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs can't afford to cut Ian Stewart. Stewart isn't worried about his job, however. He is participating in all activities except for running and could see playing time this weekend, though he thinks it might be earlier. I do want the team to keep Stewart until he's fully ready, but its nice to see he's eager to come back and play.
- Not news, but kinda fun. The Cubs (looks like James Russell) pranked Javier Baez today.
- DeJesus, CF
- Barney, 2B
- Schierholtz, RF
- Soriano, LF
- Valbuena, 3B
- Castillo, C
- Baez, SS
- Clevenger, 1B
- Samardzija, P
5 Things to Watch For...
- We said it yesterday but it's no coincidence the Cubs lineup is starting to look more like the one we'll see in Chicago. The only players missing from the probably opening day lineup today are Starlin Castro (hamstring) and Anthony Rizzo (playing for Italy in the WBC). With the day off tomorrow, Castro will return on Wednesday.
- One nice thing about letting Castro rest the hammy is that we get to see a little bit more of Javier Baez before he gets sent down too.
- Similarly, Rizzo's absence is giving Steve Clevenger a chance to prove he can be versatile. He'll play 1st base as he vies for that last roster spot.
- Jeff Samardzija has had a couple of bumpy starts, including getting shelled by in a B league game. Samardzija and the team said he was working on some specific things (which explains why he's in a B game to begin with), and it is spring -- so no need to worry there. Just want to see good command from him today.
- More interesting players to get into the game later. Brett Jackson is slated for work in LF, Dave Sappelt in CF, and Jorge Soler in RF. Christian Villanueva will likely get some action at 3B. More noted for his defense and ability to hit for average, Villanueva has put on some weight and has shown some power (3 HRs) this spring.