Last night was a wash, the Cubs go at it again today against Cleveland for a 2:05 game at HoHo Kam. The game is on WGN radio and also available through MLB.com.
With that, here's our daily fix of Cubs info..
News and Notes...
- In news that's really not news, the Cubs have told Carlos Marmol to expect a trade this season. Frankly, it seems almost impossible that he won't be traded. As I mentioned before, however, I'm hearing they are no closer to trading Marmol than they were at the deadline this year. And part of the reason may be that the Cubs are setting Marmol's value as a closer and teams simply don't view him that way.
- Scott Baker and Matt Garza are on the trail back. Or so we are told. Baker was at 89 mph, a few ticks lower than normal but encouraging at this stage as he's got until May to build up arm strength.
- Manager Dale Sveum was so confident that Anthony Rizzo's Italian team would not win that he offered to give $500 to Rizzo's charity if Italy won one game. Well, they've won two as they have easily been the surprise of the WBC. Rizzo's team faces the USA next and it will be on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes at 8 pm tonight.
- Ian Stewart says he's days away from returning which is a good thing since there are only 3 weeks left in camp. Stewart has been taking swings in the batting cages for the past 5 or 6 days and recently added fielding and throwing to his rehab. I guess considering this is a quad injury, the biggest test will be running full speed. Gordon Wittenmeyer tweets Stewart could be back in the lineup by Friday.
- A nice article by Carrie Muskat on Javier Baez which explains pretty well why the 20 year old is in camp -- to give him a taste of big league life. He has found that it's not quite so easy. Baez said he faced all different kinds of arm angles and saw only 3 fastballs all day as he went 0-3 in a "B" game against the Rangers.
- Here's one thing I've really liked seeing lately -- the 22 year old Starlin Castro developing into a leader. There was some doubt whether he had the kind of personality but there are all kinds of leaders and it appears Baez really looks up to Castro -- and Castro is more than willing to impart what he's learned as a young veteran.
"I asked him if it was easy to be in the big leagues and he said, 'Just don't get comfortable up there,'" Baez said. "You've just got to keep working hard and keep doing what you were doing before you were there."
- DeJesus, CF
- Baez SS
- Castillo C
- Schierholtz RF
- Hairston DH
- Valbuena 3B
- Chavez LF
- Nelson 1B
- Watkins 2B
Starting Pitcher: Chris Rusin
5 Things to Watch for...
- Javier Baez in the 2nd spot in the lineup. Will he play the role of a top of the order hitter and look to get on base as much as drive the ball? We'll see.
- Chris Rusin gets the start and he's been the best of the lefties who are vying for a spot on the pitchng staff. The rotation is full, but Rusin should get a look as a potential 2nd lefty out of the bullpen to go with James Russell.
- Logan Watkins has played well and despite this being his first MLB camp, survived the first cut despite having no realistic shot at making the team. It's probably not a big deal but it tells me Sveum likes what he sees so far and would like to see more.
- The same goes for non-roster invitee Johermyn Chavez, who has played very well.
- Scott Hairston is beginning to heat up at the plate and its a good thing. The Cubs need a second source of RH power behind Alfonso Soriano. Of course, that power could come from Starlin Castro or Welington Castillo, but Hairston has shown he can do it at the MLB level already.