The Cub take on the Colorado Rockies today at 3:05 CT at HoHo Kam and you can listen to it free today on MLB.com. Tonight we'll have the final installment of our preseason minor league preview series.
For now, let's start things off with some news and notes...
UPDATE: 12:00 PM
- Junior Lake has a stress fracture on his top rib on the right side, according to Gordon Wittenmeyer. He'll rehab 4-6 weeks.
- Scott Baker apparently felt great after his 3 inning stint yesterday and will get his first Cactus League start on Sunday. He is on track for a mid-April return.
- Matt Garza feels he is making progress, but we've heard that before, so I'll wait until he actually starts pitching in games before I get too giddy.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN created quite a buzz yesterday when he suggested that there were doubts creeping in about Cubs prospects. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler are A ball prospects with less than a year's worth of full season ball experience. My question is "Why wouldn't there be doubts?"
- What was lost in that piece, however, is Bowden's suggestion that Jason McLeod is emerging as one of the games top GM candidates. McLeod has undoubtedly been on radars for quite a while because of his successes in Boston and San Diego. However, coming to the Cubs was a shrewd move for him at this point in his career. This is the third farm system he has helped rebuild and now has the combination of diverse experience and the visibility of a big market, high profile team. I don't want to see him leave, but it's the sign of a successful organization when teams start raiding your front office. I just hope the Cubs have a chance to build for a couple more years before it happens.
- A nice piece by Carrie Muskat on Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson, who puts a lot of value into a pitcher's mental makeup.
- Despite a bumpy outing, Keith Law was impressed with Jeff Samardzija's stuff Monday and declares him ready to start the season.
- Great stuff from AZ Phil of The Cub Reporter, who reports that Scott Baker pitched 3 innings yesterday. The good news is he threw strikes, but he did get knocked aroud a bit, including a HR by Rock Shoulders. Generally I'm happy because my guess is that Baker's intention wasn't to go for the knockout punch on every hitter. He was just trying to get some work in and throw strikes.
- Also in that game are many top Cubs prospects such as Albert Almora (1-1, double), Dan Vogelbach (0-1), Jeimer Candelario (1-1), and Gioskar Amaya (1-1 with a walk). Also a good performance from OF prospects Garrett Schlecht (1-2, walk, 2 RBI) and Dong-Yub Kim (2-3, run scored).
- Congrats to Team USA, who beat Puerto Rico 7-1.
- Lastly, your latest draft update. Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows high school teams squared off and it was Frazier who stole the show in front of around 80 scouts. He hit two HRs including a bomb. Although our guy Kevin has always liked him better, Frazier may have moved ahead of Meadows on draft boards overall. Here's a video of that HR, courtesy of Baseball America,
5 Things to Watch For...
- Starlin Castro returns to the lineup and he's at SS today.
- Jorge Soler-- the clock is ticking and this is probably one of the last times you'll get to see him in a Cubs starting starting lineup...for now. Javier Baez is also scheduled to play SS. Other prospects who should play include Brett Jackson (CF), Johermyn Chavez (LF) , and Christian Villanueva (3B)
- Edwin Jackson hasn't had a great spring but it's early. Like Samardzija, I expect we'll start seeing something closer to what we'll see in the regular season today.
- Brent Lillibridge is on the bench and should play 2B today.
- Luis Valbena tries to put together one last good start before Ian Stewart returns. It probably won't change anything, but manager Dale Sveum seems pretty confident in his backup, so Valbuena can continue to put pressure on Stewart to perform all season.
Filed under: News and Notes