So, I’m in transit today – I’ll be in an airplane from 9ish until 2ish (and then again from about 3ish until 4ish) – and you might be able to tell. Posting should be normal-ish, but I probably won’t be around much in the comments. Behave.
- When the Cubs outrighted pitcher Andy Sonnanstine off of the 40-man roster late last week, he had the right to refuse the assignment and choose free agency. And, that’s what he did. Sonnanstine came into camp a presumptive favorite to win a bullpen spot as a swing-man/long-man, but the results weren’t there. I can only assume that the coaching staff and front office didn’t like what they were seeing either, otherwise they simply would have sent Sonnanstine to Iowa (he was signed on a Minor League deal) rather than outright him off the 40-man roster. With his departure, the Cubs may have just lost their 10th or 11th starter – in other words, if the Cubs suffer a rash of injuries/trades, you still weren’t going to see his name in lights any time soon.
- The Cardinals have released Koyie Hill. Let me repeat: the Cardinals have released Koyie Hill. This can mean only one of two things: (1) with LaRussa and Duncan gone, the voodoo magic really has left St. Louis and they can’t reclaim lost souls like they once could, or (2) Koyie Hill is bad at baseball, and organizations with even the tiniest semblance of a clue can see that within a few Spring weeks. I guess it could mean both of those things.
- Dale Sveum damns Rodrigo Lopez with faint praise: in saying that Lopez has pitched well this Spring, Sveum said, “He’s really comfortable with his slider, which made him as good as he was in ’04 and ’05 with Baltimore. That’s a must pitch for him to get it with a lot more tilt on it, and that’s what he’s had in Spring Training.” Not only did Sveum have to go back seven years to find a time when Lopez was good, he had to include a season in which Lopez put up a 4.90 ERA and an 88 ERA+. Lopez says he hopes he’s done enough to win a rotation spot, but it just isn’t happening. It’s the pen or Iowa for Lopez if he’s to stay with the Cubs.
- Ken Rosenthal says that the chances Ryan Flaherty sticks on the Orioles are good. The Rule 5 pick from the Cubs has slotted nicely into a utility role, and will probably play a fair bit this year for the O’s. Bad for the Cubs, good for Flaherty. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ other lost Rule 5 pick is Marwin Gonzalez, who’s currently putting up a .148/.303/.185 line in the Spring. He may well be offered back to the Cubs.
- Carlos Marmol is expected to pitch today after missing some time with a hand cramp, and Kerry Wood will make a couple more appearances before the Spring is over (he’s been dealing with back issues). The Cubs have been remarkably healthy this Spring, but it’s a little unnerving when the back two pitchers in the bullpen are both sitting out.
- Alfonso Soriano feels good this year, which, yeah, everyone says in Spring Training. Hopefully, in his case, it’s very, very true.
- The CCO recounts a series of radio interviews by Casey Stern and Jim Bowden over the weekend with Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum, and a host of Cubs’ players.
- Doug Padilla (or, I suppose, Doug Padilla’s editor) wins the headline of the week: “Soriano’s ‘big ol’ log’ to stay for now.” I’m sure Mrs. Soriano is relieved.
- MLBullets over at BCB – I talk about Joba Chamberlain’s gross ankle injury and looming recovery.