We’re one rung higher on the fake games ladder, with the Chicago Cubs today playing their first Spring Training game, against the Oakland A’s. More on that in a bit.
- Yesterday’s fake game, slightly more fake than today’s, was a five-inning intrasquad game that ended in a 3-3- tie. That’s right: the Cubs played themselves, and still couldn’t win. Ba dum ching. (Thanks to BN’er Rich for the idea.)
- But seriously, the game featured a number of the Cubs’ young players, and Arizona Phil over at TCR has a good recap of the game. Jay Jackson pitched well, as did Chris Rusin. Trey McNutt had a mediocre inning and a half, and Brett Jackson had another home run (off Rusin). Joe Mather, hoping to make the Cubs’ bench, had a three-run homer. Tim Sheridan at Boys of Spring has some video from the game, and more great pictures from the past week of camp.
- In Friday’s game, there was a scoring quirk, when Matt Szczur scored from second base, tagging up on a fly ball to right field. So, is Szczur just the fasted man alive? Is David DeJesus just the worst right fielder alive? Nah, and nah. It turns out that, when DeJesus caught the fly ball, his left middle finger got caught in the fence, which allowed Szczur to keep going when he reached third. DeJesus had to bandage the finger, but is expected to be OK.
- Theo Epstein speaks at length about the added Wild Cards to the playoffs, and how the Cubs will still be focused on winning the division. Dale Sveum is a fan of the added playoff team.
- The Cubs’ front office is very serious about “out-scouting” all other teams – I’m told Jed Hoyer, himself, was recently at a game watching potential top draft pick, pitcher Kyle Zimmer, a junior at the University of San Franciso.
- Jerry Crasnick with fluff on Bryan LaHair finally getting his shot. I didn’t know that LaHair and Michael Morse were good friends. Morse, another hulking first base-type who tore up the minors but couldn’t seem to get a shot in the bigs, finally broke out in the Major Leagues with the Nationals in 2010, at the age of 28. He is no doubt the model for what LaHair hopes to accomplish this year at 29.
- The Cubs Bunt Tournament is undergoing a reseeding at the Sweet Sixteen, with Sveum taking a two-seed for himself. Catcher Steve Clevenger is now the favorite, according to Sveum.
- Sveum compliments Blake DeWitt, who is fighting for a roster spot after been taken off of the 40-man roster this Winter in favor of Adrian Cardenas.
- Add the Astros, under new GM Jeff Luhnow, to the list of teams interested in Jorge Soler. “I have seen him before,” Luhnow said, adding that he’s been in contact with Soler’s camp. “He’s still not at the point where he’s a free agent yet, but we’re keeping tabs on him.”
- Tony Campana continues to get the love from fans. Get that OBP over .330, and I’ll give the love, too. Heck, at that point, I’d pull for him to be a starter (assuming reports of his improved defense prove accurate).