[Spring Training Miscellany is a bullet-style post offering what I consider to be the most important bits from that day’s game – it focuses heavily on players who are fighting for a roster spot, or fighting for a particular role on the team. In other words, for example, you’re not going to read too much about Starlin Castro in this feature.]

The Cubs opened up Cactus League play with a blown lead, a comeback, and a late loss. Most of the damage – both good and bad – came after the youngsters had come into the game.

  • Adrian Cardenas had a bases-clearing triple in a couple at bats. He’s fighting for a bench job after being claimed by the Cubs on waivers from these Oakland A’s.
  • Dave Sappelt, who doesn’t get enough talk when it comes to a reserve outfielder spot (he’s gotta beat out Tony Campana or Reed Johnson, at least), had a hit and a walk in two plate appearances, and scored twice.
  • Welington Castillo, one of three primary competitors for the back-up catcher job (together with Jason Jaramillo and Steve Clevenger), had a homer in two at bats.
  • Rodrigo Lopez was perfect in his two innings of work, though, absent a rash of injuries, I’m not sure a perfect Spring would get him a job out of camp. Bullpen candidates Rafael Dolis and Trever Miller also threw perfect innings (ok, 1.1 innings in Miller’s case).
  • Various younger bullpen hopefuls had a tough go of it. Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo (whom you know the Cubs would love to be able to stash at the back of the pen) gave up an earned run on a hit and a walk in his inning, and Marcos Mateo (who’s out of options, so that’ll help his case slightly) gave up a couple earned runs on a walk and two hits in his inning of work. Lefty Jeff Beliveau (the Cubs’ Minor League pitcher of the year in 2011) had the worst day of the hopefuls, giving up four earned on three walks and a hit. He simply didn’t have control today, which is unfortunate – it was his dramatic improvement in control in 2011 that made him breakout. It’s just one outing, but it was a really ugly one.
  • Darwin Barney and David DeJesus, each of whom otherwise had a nice day, were picked off of first base … in the same inning … by the catcher. Fundamentals and all that.
  • spencer

    DeJesus said they were “working on something” during the inning with the pickoffs. Theo really likes Beliveau, so it’ll be interesting to see what’ll happen to him if he continues to lack control.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Long term, I’m not worried about Beliveau.  I think he’s more likely to start in Iowa than Chicago this season, but if anyone is going to replace Marshall in the pen, I think Beliveau’s the guy.

  • Bric

    Wow, Theo’s really gone Money ball on us. I see from the box score that he’s got Manny Mota playing third base.

    Side note: Marcos Mateo has about as big a future with the Cubs as Esmailen Caridad.

  • Stan

    Brett, Carrie Muskat tweeted that DeJesus was “working on something” when picked off. Maybe they’re working on noticing the small twitches pitchers make before delivering the pitch. Let’s not frown upon the pickoff – instead let’s rejoice in the fact that they’re practicing how to take leads.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Like the positivity. And you’re quite right – that’s always the thing about Spring Training: we never know exactly what they’re working on that day.

    • die hard

      could be working on trying to get pitchers to balk which was a Maury Wills and Lou Brock trick…..means Sveum wants every edge he can get meaning hes already thinking 3 moves ahead which is encouraging

  • Josh Z

    I don’t mind pick-offs in spring training. Won’t even mind them at times in the regular season because if they are aggressive on the base paths that can be a run or so a game more.

  • Stan

    Any idea how Adrian Cardenas played defensively?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Didn’t hear anything one way or the other. Heard that Barney made at least one nice play.

      • Kyle

        Spring training is such a boring tease. It feels like it will be fun, but it just isn’t.

        During the two innings I suffered through, Barney made a nice play deep in the hole on a grounder, and Ian Stewart failed to make a tough play on a ground ball he knocked down. All is right with the world.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It does seem to be disappointing every year – you’d think we’d learn.

      • Stan

        John at Cubs Den just posted his entry for today. He reports Cardenas making a nice play in shallow right-center.


    I look forward to seeing enhanced box scores again.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And I look forward to doing them. Thought for just a moment about doing a handful in the Spring, but, because of the nature of Spring Training box scores, it would just be silly.

      • TWC

        “… it would just be silly.”

        Seriously? You’re worried about tarnishing the integrity of the EBSes? Come ON, it’s been, like five months! Bring ’em on!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Not so much integrity as preserving the specialness/humor/utility/whatever. I don’t want to dilute it with box scores that are, by their nature, full of absurd things to highlight. Ok, so maybe it is integrity…

  • Cheryl

    How did LaHair do?

  • ferrets_bueller

    I ‘ll be quite surprised if Sappelt doesn’t end up as the 4th OF…he’s a vastly superior player to Campana, and at this point, Johnson as well.

    • Turn Two

      Not sure what you are basing this off of. To say someone is vastly superior you would think that it would be a glaring difference. When in fact you look at the short pro numbers of Dave Sappelt and he hit under 250 with an obp less than 300 and no power. Johnson has proven himself over the years to be a strong bench player and a clubhouse leader and Tony Campana while highly flawed himself put up numbers far more appealing than Sappelt’s. While I do not disagree Sappelt may prove to be the best option, he is not vastly superior to anyone in position to earn a spot on this team.

    • ty

      I was surprised a few days ago when an insider told me essentially the same thing. I just need to see Sappelt more. This same person said this club is in deep trouble.

      • Turn Two

        Why would we be in deep trouble? We are a young team in transition looking to get better. What kind of insider are you referring to? To say Sappelt is far superior to Reed Johnson and Tony Campana is ridiculous, they are all at the same relative level with skills in different areas. Also, what kind of insider would say a team that admits to being in a project mode and that is projected to finish at the bottom of the Central is in deep trouble? What does that mean?

        • ty

          Easy big guy. This insider is well known by all of us and was talking about defeats this year–not the future. I am Tony C biggest fan and high respect for Reed. Just surprised that this very capable baseball employed person was so high on Sappelt. I guess we will see very soon how the roster plays out–somebody else convince me of Sappelt abilities–I do not know

          • Turn Two

            Who is the insider? Its not like he is giving you some tip, its just his opinion on a position battle. Which, by the way, if Sappelt was in a different league than the others, the Cubs would not be calling it a position battle.

  • Stan

    Would you rather have your team crush the opposition in Spring Training and win every game by repeating the same plays they’ve learned or would you rather take a couple of losses because they’re experimenting with new things?

    Hey, better to do this now than in June!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I mostly just don’t care about wins or losses in Spring Training. Good performances are nice, though.

  • http://www.cubsminorleague.blogspot.com Lothar

    Beliveau’s 3 BB look bad, but he threw a lot of strikes. The problem was he didn’t miss any bats. Two of his walks were long ABs with multiple foul balls. Three walks in an inning is unacceptable, but it’s not like he was missing the plate Marmol style. All three runners scored on a GS given up by Rhee who looked worse then Beliveau imo.

  • hogie

    It’s too bad to see a past ball already from Castillo though. It’s the first game of the spring, but he has a history of having a problem in this department.

  • die hard

    Tigers look ready to start season today….maybe they wont need Garza expecially if average 6 runs a game….Fielder went yard…So have to find another team to trade with unless they want Lopez for a low draft pick as he can usually go 6 innings with giving up less but not much less than 5 runs.

    • DocWimsey

      Seriously: you’d draw any conclusions from a single game, never mind a single spring training game?

      • Ogyu

        Seriously: you’re surprised by this?

        • DocWimsey

          mea culpa….

      • die hard

        They will likely lead league in runs scored and so not surprised at score. Also, they could afford Lopez more than Garza given money spent on Fielder.

  • DocWimsey

    “Fundamentals and all that.” In both cases, it seems like the play really was on Suzuki rather than on the base runners. They won’t be facing someone catching quite like that on most days….

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      With apologies, you should *never* be thrown out at first by a catcher – any catcher. If it’s going to happen, though, I’d like it to be in Spring Training when you’re working on something. So, I’m cool with it.

      • Brian Myers

        I do find it interesting they would be “working on it” when the catcher had the ball in his glove. Unless they were trying to fake him out (to get him to throw a bad throw), they might need to stop working on “it”, at least during that 2 second span. :-)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think they were one-hoppers in the dirt that were picked clean. The Cubs flinched on the bounce.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        I hope they just busy doing stretches or talking with 2B because if they were actually paying attention there is no excuse, or maybe they were thinking about stealing and stopped half way. How it happened twice is what baffles me. I hope someone has some video.