Once again, I’ll be absent for a chunk of the morning because I’m taking the Litte Miss to the ear doctor. She’s still happy and otherwise healthy, but the constant ear infections persist, despite the insertion of tubes. We gotta get this thing figured out.
- Matt Garza was undeterred by his second consecutive weak Spring outing yesterday, noting that he was, indeed, just trying to work on fastballs and changeups (I noted in the Game Thread that it looked like he wasn’t throwing any breaking pitches – I win at the Internet). “I’ve been trying to keep myself on a strict program with just fastballs and changeups,” Garza said. “It’s tough especially with hitters going up there ready to hack and looking for fastballs. I got myself in trouble more than anything. That’s what it was. It’s not anything I’m too concerned about. Just a bad day and I’ll get ready for the next one.” I’m glad there’s an explanation, but I’ve resisted getting too worked up. Garza’s Spring ERA last year was over 10 – the worst of any pitcher on the team with more than 20 innings of work. He turned out all right in 2011.
- As previously mentioned by pitching coach Chris Bosio, Cubs pitchers plan on owning the inside of the plate this year. “It’s a vital part of pitching now especially against some of the great hitters,” Dale Sveum said. “You pitch good hitters in and bad hitters away. That’s just how the game has been for 100 years.”
- GM Jed Hoyer isn’t particularly concerned with Spring Training results, but he likes the tone Sveum is setting. “I think Dale [Sveum] has a lot of energy in camp,” Hoyer said Sunday. “Guys have played really hard so far. As far as results go, I don’t think anyone is all that concerned about it. You want to stay healthy and you want guys to play hard. Later in the Spring as we get close, you want them dialing in their focus and start making pitches to get outs. Right now, the pitchers need to stretch themselves out, and the hitters need to get their timing …. One of the things [Sveum] focused on in the interview is that Spring Training is a tone setter. That’s how you build up the makeup of your team by having that attention to detail and creating some camaraderie, too. It’s not only about being a drill sergeant but you also want to make sure guys are enjoying themselves and get to know each other. That was a big focus of the interview process is that this is the time you establish those things.”
- Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox are privately displeased with the return they got for Theo Epstein (i.e., Chris Carpenter). We still don’t yet know a piece of the deal, as the teams have yet to exchange PTBNLs, something they’ll do by the end of Spring Training.
- The Cubs Bunt Tourney has reached its Final Four, with Welington Castillo taking on David DeJesus (who yesterday beat Starlin Castro), and Casey Coleman taking on Paul Maholm. The Final Four will take place on Friday, with the championship immediately thereafter. Sveum says he’s arranging seating and catering for all of the other players. I’m sure it will be a fun thing for them. I … kinda wish I could go.
- Speaking of tourneys, I’m told there’s some kind of big one starting this week. If you want to do the bracket thing (for fun/no money) against some BN’ers, we’ve got one going here at the Message Board.
- FanGraphs ranked the 30 farm systems across baseball, based on impact talent and overall depth. The Cubs come in all the way down at 22nd. Grumble. The FanGraph rankings came out before the Cubs had acquired Anthony Rizzo, Zach Cates, Ronald Torreyes, Dave Sappelt, and Gerardo Concepcion, among others. I’m assuming the system-wide rankings were updated to include those guys, but maybe not. The San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays take the top three spots, with the Chicago White Sox down at the bottom.
- MLBullets over at BCB – Bryce Harper is probably ready for the bigs, but the Nats would be smart to keep him down (for all of the reasons you already know).