I am in Phoenix, and I’ll be heading to Hohokam Park soon (and hopefully Fitch as well). I am stoked. I am still, at heart, just a Cubs fan.

  • Dale Sveum is expected to make his decision on the third and fourth starters (he’s already announced that Ryan Dempster is number one, Matt Garza number two, and Paul Maholm number five) by Wednesday. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad are expected to win the jobs, with Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez trying to land a job as the long reliever in the bullpen (assuming there isn’t a trade).
  • Speaking of the rotation, Ryan Dempster was honored to be tabbed as the Opening Day starter. “It’s a great honor,” Dempster said. “I hope I can go out there and win the game, but if it would have been [Garza] he is totally deserving of it, too. Him and I pull for each other. We are always looking to get the best out of each other. He was happy for me and if it was the other way I would have been happy for him.” Just win, baby. The order doesn’t really matter to me.
  • As for Samardzija, he was largely unfazed by his very rough outing yesterday against the Rockies. “The ball was up all day,” Samardzija said. “Against this team, they’re pretty free swinging and I’m a power pitcher. If I’m down in the zone, it turns into quick outs. If not, you see a cutter there, it gets fisted out, it gets over second base, things like that. Those balls are down, they’re ground balls and you’re moving on. I need to make a quicker adjustment. It’s just a couple pitches here or there to improve on.”
  • Sveum added that Rafael Dolis is very likely to be in the bullpen, as expected. ”He has had a heck of a Spring,” Sveum said. “It’s tough not to say he is going to be one of the guys. He has too good of stuff and has done to well out of Spring Training.”
  • On the recently-cut duo of Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo, Dale Sveum had only the nicest things to say. “When they get back here, they’re probably not going to leave for a long time,” Sveum said. “They’re that special as players. It’s just a matter of when we’re going to see them again.”
  • On Jackson, Sveum was particularly complimentary. ”He brings so much to the table” Sveum said. ”In my nine years of coaching he is the best young player I’ve seen in a major league camp. He is the full package. The swinging and missing, he has to work on and cutting down strikeouts. He just brings a lot to the table.”
  • Starlin Castro visited with some kids at the Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa this week, and undoubtedly brightened their days.
  • The Eamus Catuli sign and the AC numbers sign, which adorn the Lakeview Baseball Club building across from Wrigley Field, will be taken down while some repairs are done, and it’s possible that only the former will return, given that the latter is little but a sign of futility these days.
  • Featherstone

    Can anyone fill me in on why Maholm was already tabbed as the 5th starter rather than the 3rd? Is there some sort of benefit of having a lefty at the tail end of a rotation? I would figure you would want your best 3 pitchers pitching in spots 1-3, but maybe I am missing something.

    • King Jeff

      He’s still working back from injury and into pitching form. Pitching him only when the off days demand a 5th starter for now will help him work his way back.

    • CubFan Paul

      Maholm is nursing a bad shoulder still. He’ll get less starts/wear&tear as the 5th starter.

      …& Samardzija and Volstad are probably better than Maholm at this point in his career.

    • Featherstone

      Ah ok, I wasn’t aware he was nursing an injury still. Makes sense, thanks for the info.

  • King Jeff

    “Just win, baby. The order doesn’t really matter to me.”

    Music to my ears.

  • Saluki

    “In my nine years of coaching he is the best young player I’ve seen in a major league camp. He is the full package” … SCHWING!!!!!!!

    • http://bleachernation loyal100more

      i guess sveum didnt care for ryan braun when he came through camp in his 9 years or corey hart or prince fielder for that matter… man is this guy fluffing up bjax or what. i hope he is that good and sveum isnt just suffering from memory loss!

      • ferrets_bueller

        Well, to be fair to what he said, and to BJax….Braun and Fielder are not the complete package.
        Obviously, Fielder’s baserunning and defense is not great.
        Braun was a butcher when he came up, at 3B.

        Jackson, on the other hand….has every single tool.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I really want the sign to stay. Why?
    Because everything will be that much sweeter when it reads 000000.

  • Get us Sandberg Fast

    No wonder the Brewers owners passed this guy over for manager numerous times……..He actually named Dempster the Number One of Garza…………What are Loser………..Please somebody Get some Sense and get Sandberg here and fast

    • ferrets_bueller

      return of the troll alert…

    • brittney

      It was stated within the last few days the reason there was a decsion to be made between garza and dempter (when we all know it should be garza) was simply their throwing schedules. I think he also gave it to him not only on the ST throwing schedules but a mutual respect that he’s been the rotation veteran for a few years. I think he will do a solid job (6.1 innings 4er, 2bb, 5so, and 7 hits) that’s my guess at his line opening day

  • ferrets_bueller

    edit: reply fail.