The week of Opening Day is here (I don’t count that A’s/Mariners/Japan business). Thursday still feels weeks away.
- Bobby Scales, who returned this offseason to the States from a stint in Japan, has been released by the Cubs, and signed with the Mets, where he’ll play for their AAA team. He was expected to play for the Iowa Cubs this year, but I wonder if, instead, the Cubs were pushing him to consider starting his coaching career. Scales may not have been ready to hang ’em up yet, so he headed out to a place where he could play. Best of luck to him.
- It looks like the Cubs are going to lose both of their Rule 5 Draft picks, at least to start the year. Ryan Flaherty has long been expected to make the Orioles as a utility infielder, and now Marwin Gonzalez, despite a mostly crappy Spring, is likely going to make the Astros. “Marwin has done a great job defensively; he’s shown that he’s capable of taking Major League at-bats,” Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow said. “I think we saw a couple of good plays in the game today. He’s ready. He’s a valuable asset for us and we like to have a guy like that in the organization. To do that, we have to keep him on the 25.” Gonzalez, 23, would have come in handy for the Cubs at some point if they grow weary of having their starting second baseman (Darwin Barney) serving double-duty as the back-up shortstop.
- Bryan LaHair’s touchy back would have allowed him to play yesterday, but the Cubs are being cautious. “He’s much better today and probably could have played,” manager Dale Sveum said. “His back is better. It just got stiff and locked up. He had some discomfort down the leg so there is obviously something there with a nerve or whatever but today he was much better. Hopefully we’ll have him in there tomorrow, but if not the last day.” The Cubs aren’t worried about LaHair’s homer-less Spring Training, either.
- The Cubs have considered dropping Travis Wood all the way down to AA Tennessee, but he’ll “probably” start a AAA Iowa this year. The crowded rotation at AAA plays into the decision, I’m sure, but sending Wood from the bigs to AA would be an easy way to kick his confidence in the crotch.
- HarballTalk offers a particularly caustic take on the 2012 Chicago Cubs. It’s also a grim take: 70 wins is the upside.
- Matt Garza says that kind of talk doesn’t faze the Cubs. He thinks they’re going to be good. “That’s more motivation than anything,” he said, according to Paul Sullivan. “We’re going to take all that [talk], let it motivate us and see if we can shock some people.” In that case, Matt: I guarantee the Cubs won’t win more than 85 games this year. No chance. None at all.
- Phil Rogers takes a look at the Cuban prospects in the Cubs’ system, starting with lefty Gerardo Concepcion, who’s looking good in his early Minor League camp appearances.
- MLBullets at BCB, featuring the Ubaldo/Tulo dustup.