I should start planting the seeds now: The Wife and I are going to be coming to Friday’s Cubs/Red Sox game, and we’ll probably be hanging at a Wrigleyville bar before (and after?) the game. So, if you’re going to be around that afternoon/evening, be on the lookout for details of where we’ll be.
- Alfonso Soriano presently has a 116 OPS+. Just sayin’. But his dominance doesn’t please him if the Cubs aren’t winning. “I’m not happy just because I hit a homer,” Soriano said. “That’s not enough for me. I felt happier in April when we played good and got some wins ….Now I hit a homer and we didn’t get a win. I just don’t think about me. We have 25 players here, and I just think about my team. We’re not having a good time right now. We’re losing a lot of games. But we just have to keep pushing it.” Soriano says his knee feels better thanks to certain exercises the training staff has been working on with him over the last month, but it’s also fair to reiterate that Soriano’s absurd hot streak coincides pretty closely to when he decided to ditch the “big ‘ole log” of a bat in favor of a more reasonably sized piece of lumber.
- Jeff Samardzija says he plans on challenging hitters today, what with Target Field being large in dimensions. Jeff’s earned the right to approach a game however he wants, but last night’s homer display showed that it’s not like you can’t get the ball out.
- The Cubs haven’t yet officially announced any Draft signings (making them one of the few teams yet to do so, it seems like), but we know of several that have or are happening. Lance Rymel, a catcher taken in the 28th round out of Rogers State, has signed. Seventeenth round pitcher out of SIU Nathan Dorris has signed. Intriguing 14th round pitcher out of a Florida Juco Corbin Hoffner has signed. Isaac Garcez, a 30th round outfield masher has signed. And there is strong buzz that fifth round high school pitcher Daniel Prieto is going to sign soon. Ditto third rounder Ryan McNeil, and 11th rounder Rashad Crawford. When some of the formalities are in place, I’ll starting having official signing posts.
- Welington Castillo’s first rehab game with AA Tennessee went all right last night. He hit a homer and a single, which probably makes you wonder why I say it went “all right.” Well, he certainly hit well, and that’s good. But he also played first base, and not catcher. That tells me the knee is still not all that close to allowing him to return.
- Ian Stewart continues to deal with wrist soreness (related to his wrist injury in 2011). It isn’t getting “worse,” but unfortunately it is “spreading.” It’s just a reminder of how long wrist injuries can linger.
- You’ve undoubtedly noted that Anthony Rizzo was not called up for interleague play, something Dale Sveum had mentioned as a possibility a couple weeks ago, but which didn’t really seem like a great idea for Rizzo’s development (he would have been sent right back down after interleague play ended). He won’t be coming up later in the week, either, and Sveum has now suggested that it was only briefly talked about, though it was more of a “when’s the best time for him” kind of discussion. Sveum added that there are no plans to bring up Josh Vitters any time soon, either. Vitters is hitting .268/.316/.464 at AAA Iowa (kind of meh for the PCL), and he was blisteringly hot in May. But Sveum says Vitters’ defense needs to improve. We haven’t talked about the issue of control with respect to Vitters, but, for what it’s worth, his story is the same as Brett Jackson’s: if he comes up this year, the Cubs have already secured an “extra” year of control (they need to wait another two weeks on Rizzo for that to be true in his case), and they’ll probably avoid Super Two if they wait until late June. But, for both Vitters and Jackson, I doubt that’s an issue: I don’t see either coming up until after the trade deadline at the earliest (unless there’s an injury).
- The Red Sox are going to DFA Marlon Byrd this weekend. That actually makes me sad. It’s a reminder that, when guys get into their mid-30s, their careers stand on the edge of a knife. Hopefully Byrd catches on somewhere.
- I mentioned it in the EBS last night, but this morning’s articles confirm it: the Cubs’ one-run loss yesterday set a franchise record for consecutive losses in one-run games. The Cubs have lost an unbelievable 12 of them in a row.