Pfft. NBA Dunk Contest got nothin’ on the Cubs’ Bunt Tourney…
- The second day of the first round of the Cubs’ Bunt Tournament (apparently a quarter of the first round of the bracket is going each day that the tournament is played) was played yesterday afternoon, but, unfortunately, the coverage wasn’t quite as comprehensive as it was for the first day back on Thursday. So, instead of super-awesome live-updating action, you get a ho-hum Bullet recap. Matt Szczur, Adrian Cardenas, Jonathan Mota, Blake Lalli, Brett Jackson, Welington Castillo, and Bryan LaHair were among the winners, taking down Junior Lake, Josh Vitters, Michael Brenly, James Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Dave Sappelt, and Anthony Rizzo. The other loser? Tony Campana, who’d talked a healthy dose of smack, but lost to back-up catcher hopeful, Steve Clevenger (in Campana’s defense, Clevenger put up the second highest total in the tournament so far). Quotes from Campana and Clevenger here.
- As you can see from that list of hitters, and then the pitchers on Thursday, the bigger names will be going in the next two days of the tournament, whenever they are played.
- Dale Sveum talked up reliever Blake Parker a bit yesterday. “Blake Parker I think threw the ball really well today,” Sveum said when he was asked for any early camp surprises. “I like how the ball comes out of his hand.” Parker, 26, was the Cubs’ 16th round pick in 2006, and has had a successful minor league career since then (3.00 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 9.6 K/9). He’s a long-shot to make the pen, and his biggest problem has always been control – he’s walked 4.4 per 9 for his career, and he was at 4.8 last year.
- A great article on outfield prospect Matt Szczur from Patrick Mooney, which helps make clear why opinions on him are so divergent. He’s an off-the-charts athlete, but his baseball background/training/polish is quite low – and it’s hard to make that stuff up in your early 20s.
- Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo helped another non-Cub refurbish his swing this offseason (we earlier learned that he’s worked several times with Raul Ibanez): Vernon Wells. I have no beef with Jaramillo working with non-Cubs in the offseason (at least non-Cubs whom the Cubs won’t face regularly), but I do have a beef: why do we not hear stories about Cubs players wanting to work aggressively with Jaramillo in the offseason? Is it because they already do, as part of routine training, so we don’t read articles about it? Is it because Cubs players feel like they get enough Jaramillo during Spring Training and the season? Is it something else? You got me. But it would be nice to read a story about how, for example, Alfonso Soriano has reinvented his swing thanks to a grueling two-week session with Jaramillo.
- See, new Cub Ian Stewart has nice things to say about Jaramillo: “Hitting is such a big part of the game that you want a hitting coach that can break it down into terms that are easy to understand and is easy to take into the cage and the game. He does that, and he’s by far the best at that that I have been around. That’s why I speak so highly of him to my former teammates and to other ballplayers as well.”
- A kind profile of Theo Epstein, coming out of Boston.
- Tim Sheridan’s Boys of Spring awards poll is now up, and you can vote for your favorite Chicago Cubs blog here. *Eh hem.* *Cough.* Excuse me.