The Chicago Cubs split their split squad games today, beating the Rangers 3-2, and losing to the White Sox 7-5. Among the notable bits…
- Chris Volstad largely matched yesterday’s solid Jeff Samardzija outing, and didn’t do anything to disuade folks from a growing belief that the back two starters in the rotation as of Opening Day will be Samardzija and Volstad (it’s not like Randy Wells is pitching poorly, you’ll note – he’s matching them start for start, and he’s the one who’s had the most big league success).
- Casey Coleman rebounded from a disastrous relief outing with a solid start, giving up just two hits in three innings, and striking out three. What happens to him will be very interesting – if the Cubs believe he could have a future in the pen, they might elect to give him a bullpen spot out of Spring Training, or send him to Iowa to adjust to the role. Or, he could go back to Iowa and continue to start. I’m not sure that he’ll improve too much more in that role at this point, however.
- Andy Sonnanstine had another rough outing, going two innings – one of which was fine, one of which was a five-run, slow-motion vomit. He increasingly looks destined for Iowa, if the Cubs elect to keep him at all.
- Tony Campana finally got a hit (two of them, actually), and stole a base. The impact of a poor Spring training will be put to the test when it comes to Campana, who was presumed to be the favorite for the fifth outfielder coming into the Spring. Now? He’s probably on the outside looking in…
- …thanks largely to Joe Mather’s continued performance. He keeps hitting (a game-winning homer today), and he can play all over the field. Eventually, if he continues to play well in the season, it’s possible his presence could make Jeff Baker expendable, which would allow the Cubs to bring someone like Campana back up (assuming Mather makes the team in April, and Campana does not). There’s still a long way to go, obviously.
- Dave Sappelt had a double in his two at bats today, but he, too, would probably be bounced from the roster if Mather makes it.
- Alfredo Amezaga had a double in four at bats, Bobby Scales had a hit in three at bats, and Edgar Gonzalez had a hit in three at bats. I’m not sure any of those three really has much of a chance of making the team at this point, though. Assuming the Cubs carry 12 pitchers, there will be only five bench spots. One goes to the back-up catcher, one goes to Jeff Baker, and two go to outfielders. That leaves just one other bench spot, and Dale Sveum keeps talking about Blake DeWitt (who went 0 for 3 today) like he’s already on the team.
- The bullpen competition remains hot. Lendy Castillo threw yet another scoreless inning, as did Rafael Dolis. Blake Parker threw two scoreless (and he immediately followed Chris Volstad). Marcos Mateo was solid for an inning, but then had to pitch a second inning (game went to extras), and gave up the deciding homer to Jordan Danks (as well as another, unearned, run).