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Today’s Spring Training game – at 2:05 CT against the White Sox – is the first televised game of the Spring (on WGN), which is awesome. Though, as a White Sox home game, it’ll undoubtedly feature … eh hem … the White Sox’s broadcast team. That part? Not so awesome. Recall, it wasn’t that long ago that Spring Training was the only time these teams would meet.

  • Chicago Cubs single game tickets go on sale today at 10 am CT. More details on the single game ticket sale, as well as the games I plan on going to (in case you were curious), here.
  • Dale Sveum isn’t ready to say Jeff Samardzija has a rotation spot to lose, but the manager is clearly crushing on the big righty. “For a power arm, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a power arm like that come into Spring Training and everything’s been that crisp,” Dale Sveum said Thursday. “He doesn’t throw any scuds, everything is at least somewhere where he wants it to be. His cutter was tremendous. It was almost a waste of his time to drive an hour. It’s like he didn’t even break a sweat, he was that good. It’s an interesting dilemma we’ll be in here in a few weeks.” Sveum added that it’s a “manager’s dream” to have a player like Samardzija.
  • Samardzija’s rotation competition, Chris Volstad, says he’s keeping tabs on how the other pitchers are performing. “I don’t follow on the computer and go out by out,” Volstad said about monitoring his teammates, “but at the end of the day I check it to see how everybody did. It’s competition, but friendly competition. You always want your teammates to do well. It pushes you as a player, also.”
  • Sveum says that, when it comes to selecting late-inning relievers (a decision that may become more difficult if Samardzija makes the rotation), “[t]he makeup [of the pitcher] is probably more important in those innings than the stuff.” There’s undoubtedly something to that, but I’d still like the guy to have strikeout stuff, obviously.
  • The same article notes that, indeed, in his rough outing yesterday, closer Carlos Marmol was just working on locating his fastball, rather than trying to pitch perfectly.
  • The Cubs Bunt Tournament is almost to a final four. Casey Coleman, Paul Maholm, and Welington Castillo are the first three in the group, after beating Jeff Beliveau, Randy Wells, and Adrian Cardenas. The other final four spot will go to the winner of Starlin Castro vs. David DeJesus.
  • Carrie Muskat answers a handful of questions, noting, among other things, that Randy Wells does indeed have an option year left. Something to keep in mind.
  • Fluff on Dale Sveum, partly from the Brewers’ perspective.
  • MLBullets over at BCB – Jonathan Papelbon takes little pooplebon on Red Sox fans.
  • King Jeff

    A Pooplebon? Is that like a nasty BonBon?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not sure, but it makes me giggle.

      • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

        Hey Brett I had just recently got MLB 2k12 and there are several issues with the cubs! First Paul Mahlon is a extremely low 70 overall while rafael dolis is the same rating! Second Jeff baker is rated a 70 ovr and Dewitt is a 71… I don’t think Dewitt is nearly better then baker…… Next Wellington Castillo is a 68 ovr while clevenger is a 70ovr!?!? Back to pitching Travis wood is a 78 ovr but his stamina is an extremely low 46!?!? Samarija is a 76 ovr but his stamina is even lower at 38?!?! I will give you everyone else’s ratings later if ur interested….. I think it could make an interesting article……

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It is interesting how gaming services view the players – due to production timelines, they always seem to be a little behind the times.

          • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

            Agreed but they just had a roster update and still many things unfixed

            Hitters.

            Castro 89
            Soriani 78
            Soto 78
            Byrd 78
            Dejesus 78
            Lahair 77
            Reed 74
            Rizzo 74
            Barney 74
            Stewart 73!?!?
            Dewitt 71
            Sappelt 71
            Baker 70
            Campana 70!?!?
            Clevenger 70
            Castillo 68
            Mather 67
            Amezaga 66

          • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

            pitchers

            Garza 88
            Marmol 85
            Dempster 81
            Wood 78
            T.wood 77
            Volstad 73
            Russel 73
            Wells 73
            Samardzija 72!?!?!
            Lopez 72
            Dolis 72
            Maine 71
            Maholm 70
            Berg 70
            Mateo 69
            Sonnastine 69
            Miller 69
            Coleman 68
            Gaub 68

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    One would hope marmol could locate his fastball at this stage in his career. Just saying!!! I’m rooting for a rotation of.
    Garza
    Dempster
    Jeff sm
    Volstad
    Rodrigo Lopez

    It affects I hitter to have 95 moh balls thrown at them 1 day and 75 mph the next. Say what you want about Lopez but he was a better starter than coleman and russel last year.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      … Paul Maholm?

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        He will suffer Gods wrath soon enough

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          He’s definitely a risk. He’s in the rotation until then, though.

          • njriv

            So is it a long-shot for Travis Wood to make the rotation or 25-man roster?

    • CubFan Paul

      At least Coleman bas the stamina for 6innings. Lopez can *barely* complete five ..rodrigo is a long reliver at best

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That third time through the order is killer for Lopez. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I’d take a wild guess that he gets CRUSHED the third time through the order (moreso than most pitchers, that is).

        • CubFan Paul

          He does get crushed 3rd time thru albeit to everyone except Quade

    • King Jeff

      I’d let Sonnanstine have a rotation spot over Lopez. You also left out Randy Wells and Travis Wood. After watching him pitch last year, I’m having a hard time figuring out why you would be rooting for Rodrigo Lopez to win a rotation spot.

      • Richard Nose

        ISU hoops loss last night has left Andre bewildered.

  • Curt

    let’s play over/under, will any cub hit 25 hrs, will any cub hit 300, how bout will any cub steal 20 bases, and how bout 30 saves, and 1 last one will w hve anyone drive in a 100 just throwing it out there to see. have a great day all.

    • King Jeff

      Are you trying to be negative? Because the Cubs have a good chance at reaching all of those. The only number there that I see being tough for the Cubs would be the 100 rbi’s. Stewart, Soriano, and LaHair are all very capable of hitting 25 homeruns, Castro is a career .300 hitter and lead the league in hits last year, Campana stole 24 bases in half a year of spot duty, and Marmol had 34 saves even though he blew 10 save opportunities.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Yes – Soriano at 28 (and for my wild blue sunglasses prediction – LaHair at 27)
      Yes – Castro – .315
      Yes – Castro – 22 and Campana at 93 in 15 games
      Yes – Marmol – 37
      No – Highest will be LaHair at 87

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ha. Campana.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      25 HR – Yes.  Soriano and LaHair both have a very good chance to hit that mark.

      .300 – Yes.  Castro, at least.

      20 SB – Yes.  It seems like Sveum will be more aggressive on the base paths.  I could see three or four guys hit 20 SB, depending on who makes the roster and how soon Jackson is called up.

      30 SV – Yes.  If Marmol isn’t effective early, he’ll be replaced.  Either way, 30 saves is very doable.

      100 RBI – No.  I’d take 80, but not 100.

    • David

      I will say that, provided he’s on the team all year, that Soriano will hit 25, Castro will bat .300, and Castro will steal 20. If he’s on the team, I would think that even in limited play Campana is a lock for 20 bags as well. 30 saves and 100 RBI’s I’m doubtful of, though.

    • bob

      I don’t think Castro will reach .300 this year, as he’s trying to become more of a run producer. Not that I think he’ll be swinging for the fences, just trying to drive the ball more into the gaps instead of just getting the bat on the ball. Also, as teams are seeing him as potentially the only big threat in the lineup, he’s likely to see less pitches to hit. I’d go out on a limb and say the most likely to hit .300 will be Barney, if the added muscle translates to not wearing down as much as the season goes along.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I think the Cubs bullpen will be alright if Samardzija goes into the rotation.

    Marmol, Wood, Russell, Second Lefty (three candidates right now), Dolis, Sonnanstine (or another veteran right hander), Lendy Castillo.

    When they drop down to six bullpen arms mid-spring, either Dolis or Castillo (if a deal can be cut with Philly) can head to the minors.

    That’s not a bad bullpen.

    • King Jeff

      Do you think the losers of the Wells/Wood/Volstad competition go to the pen or the minors? Svuem made it sound like he wouldn’t mind having Wells or Wood in the pen, talking about needing makeup, not stuff to be a reliever. Or do you think I’m reading to much into that?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I don’t think you’re reading too much into it, but you might be reading it backwards.  Wells has never relieved.  Regardless of his stuff, we’re just not sure that he has the makeup to come out of the pen.  Sveum could be hinting that he could be moved to the pen, but he could also be hinting that that won’t happen.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          We’re going to know within two weeks whether a guy like Wells is being considered for a bullpen spot – especially a late inning one – because he’ll start making one-inning appearances (during which you’d see a few more MPH on his fastball).

          • Cheryl

            Is he more likely to be traded than sent down?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              That would depend on a lot of things: how confident the Cubs are in their pitching depth, how good he looks during the spring, what teams suddenly have a need for a starting pitcher as a result of injuries, and so on.

              • http://www.fightoutsider.com Ryan

                Wells was also the guy who struggled in the first inning of games. That might not bode well for him if he does end up pitching in relief. I think, if he doesn’t make the rotation, he should go to AAA and get some more work. You always need a couple of starters ready in case of injury (as evidenced by last year’s ordeal).

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        I don’t thik Volstad has any options left, but I think Wood or Wells will be in AAA. (assuming Beliveau still makes the team)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think they’ll ever drop down to six in the pen. The Cubs haven’t regularly carried just 11 pitchers in years.

    • Cedlandrum

      Sonnanstine would be ok for mop up duty, but I don’t hold any hope for Lendy. Those rule v picks very rarely work out. That bullpen looks short. I love Dolis, but he might not be ready. The benefit of having a crap team is that you can be a bit more patient when a young guy is getting their brains beat in.

  • David

    I think the biggest question about Samardzija is at this point does he have a reliable off-speed pitch? If not, I can’t see him going 6-8 innings on a regular basis throwing most everything at the same speed.

    • HuskerCub

      I think if he gets a hair cut he will win the Cy Young. Oh and I scored July Cubs Cardinals tickets by paying the 15% mark-up on Wednesday. It would be nice if they were still in the race at that time, but I doubt it.

  • Doug

    Just purchased my tickets for all of the Iowa Cubs games down in Round Rock for the season. I can’t wait!!!!!

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    WOO! Tickets on sale. Hoping to get the dates I want. My family and I are trekking down for first Sunday in May against the Dodgers, and although my girlfriend flaked out on Opening Day plans (which were never really set in stone anyway), I’m trying to find some cheap date in August when I return from my summer job. Think they’ll be able to beat the Astros?

  • BD

    Garza, Dempster, Maholm, Volstad, Samardzija
    Lopez as the swing-man out of the bull-pen
    T.Wood and Wells in AAA

    • rcleven

      As it stands right now I like your rotation but plenty of spring left.

  • Joker

    My guess for Opening Day 25 Man:

    S: Dempster, Garza, Maholm, Samardzjia, Wood
    BP: Volstad, Russell, Wood, Marmol, Dolis, Maine, Sonnastine

    SL: Dejesus, Byrd, Castro, LeHair, Stewart, Soriano, Soto, Barney
    Bench: Baker, DeWitt, Castillo, Mather, Johnson

    This leave Wells for starting at AAA along with Lopez. Campana, Sappelt, Amezega, Jaramillo, and Scales (as injury promotion filler) there as well.

    *Edited because I need remedial math

    • http://www.fightoutsider.com Ryan

      Not to be a stickler or anything, but technically you listed 26. I’m guessing it would be either or with DeWitt/Cardenas.

      • Joker

        You are correct. I apparently need more caffeine.

  • North Side Irish

    Seeing pictures on Twitter of the ticket windows at Wrigley…no line. Things have definitely changed.

  • Spencer

    Just bought tickets for April 9 in the bleachers and June 27 upper deck. Maybe a get together at a bar after the game on the 27th Brett?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sounds great to me.

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