Not a single Cubs Bunt Tourney update yesterday. Unacceptable!
- Dale Sveum addressed his full squad yesterday, the gist of which address was “we’re a lot better than you might think.” When recounting his remarks to reporters later, however, he may have said just a hair more than he meant to. “[Plus] obviously the pitching staff with [Ryan Dempster], [Matt] Garza, [Paul] Maholm, [Randy] Wells, [Travis] Wood and you go on and on with the bullpen and [Carlos] Marmol and [Kerry] Wood and [Jeff] Samardzija,” Sveum said after explaining how he talked up the position players. Two things obviously jump out: (1) Sveum names only five starting pitchers, none of whom is Chris Volstad, and (2) Sveum includes Jeff Samardzija in the bullpen. Is this a meaningful statement at this point in the Spring? Probably not. Sveum just got done two days ago talking up Volstad and talking about how Samardzija is getting a chance to start. But might the statement hint at how Sveum is leaning, all things equal? Maybe.
- Tom Ricketts, who also addressed the team, told reporters that “we’re not preaching patience. We’re preaching [to] have expectations. Expect these guys to play hard. Expect them to compete every game. Expect them to have a great season. It’s not about patience. We have a great team, and we’re going to have a great year.” We have expectations, Mr. Ricketts, but, it’s cool – we don’t expect playoffs immediately. Ricketts spoke on a range of topics, from ticket sales, to Wrigley renovations, to a TV deal, to his relationship with Theo Epstein at that previous link and this one.
- Cubs players react to the Ryan Braun decision, mostly saying that they’re happy for Braun, but can’t offer much more because the facts remain obscured. Sveum, who was Braun’s hitting coach in Milwaukee last year, declined comment.
- Alfonso Soriano offers a candid take on Springing without Carlos Zambrano: “I think they made very good moves, trading Z, because I don’t know if he wasn’t happy or what here but the things he did here, nobody was happy. I think the team is happy they were able to trade him and I think he’s happy, too, that he’s in Miami now. It worked great for both positions. We won’t miss him.” There’s probably a bit lost in translation there (English is a second language for Soriano), but it still sounds fair.
- Sveum is already helping Starlin Castro on his defense. From the Tribune: “It’s not charging the ball, or the dreaded term, ‘Don’t let the ball play you,’ ” Sveum said. “Only God knows when it’s going to take a bad hop. It’s just a matter of understanding when you gain ground on ground balls, you’re going to throw the ball five (fewer) yards, your feet are going to be moving. … It’s a work in progress. There are a lot of things I saw today he definitely needs to work on.”