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).
  • Dan

    Is the game on TV today?

  • Toosh

    No. Today’s game is not being televised.

  • Mike Foster

    I believe it’s suppose to be available on MLBTV. I hope so, they already charged me for the year subscription.

    • Toosh

      Subject to change, today’s Cub game is not on MLB.TV.

  • Taylor

    Just to clarify, Kyle Zimmer is a junior at the University of San Francisco that’s projected to be a first round pick. He’s a 6’4/220 RHP. He dominated last year vs. UCLA in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament retiring 26 out of 28 batters. Ended up winning 3-0 giving up 4 hits and 11 Ks/0 BBs. He was consistently 92-94, topping out at 96 in the Cape this past summer with a power slider and an improving change-up. Not sure where Hoyer would have watched him unless he was in San Diego on Friday when he matched up with SD State as they haven’t played in Arizona at all.

    Fun fact, the Cubs drafted his younger brother last year in the 23rd round out of HS, but chose to attend USF instead of signing. He’s their starting right fielder this spring.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, that was a dopey mistake – I’ve updated. Thanks for that. And I wasn’t aware of the location, but it was indeed on Friday.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And thanks for the info, too – interesting stuff.

  • die hard

    Campana would improve fielding many percentage points just if wearing his cap correctly by straightening it on his head.

    • OlderStyle

      This one should be on “The Best of die hard”…

  • AndyM

    I’m sure Campana’s a great guy, but anyone diving into 1st base during a intra-squad scrimmage is a douche.

    • DocWimsey

      heh, this brings us back to that old topic! Player X does Y. Some fans go: “Grit! Determination!” Other fans go: “Hot Dog! Phony!” My guess is that it’s neither: it’s just the way that some guys play; if you are thinking when you are playing, then you are pretty much hosed.

  • DocWimsey

    Oh, and I love that poster. So do all of my friends. Oh no! Conundrum! :-)

  • Diesel

    There was a game last year where a player tagged and scored from second. The outfielder made a hell of a diving catch going toward the wall and that’s what enabled the dude to score from second. So it happens now and again.

    • die hard

      That reminds me of one of World Series’ greatest moments:

      In the bottom of the eighth of a 3-3 game, Cardinals outfielder Enos Slaughter took off from first with the pitch, which was shot into left-center by Harry Walker. Red Sox center fielder Leon Culberson bobbled the ball briefly, and there was no stopping Slaughter who recklessly ran through a stop sign at third and charged home. Second baseman Johnny Pesky’s relay throw was late and one of baseball’s most contended stories was born. Was it a double? Walker was credited with one, but he would surely have stopped at first if Slaughter hadn’t drawn a throw home. Thus, we say, Slaughter scored the Series’ game-winning run from first on a single (and fielder’s choice).

  • ferrets_bueller

    I dont care about my lack of friends, I f’ing love math jokes.

    • ty

      Always struggled with math. So many math dudes here that I only have a 40-40 chance of understanding Bn.