Golfers these days. They can’t even shoot under par. I mean, I could shoot 10 over … (ok, 40 over) …
- The Cubs continue to keep an extraordinarily close eye on Jeff Samardzija’s pitch count and total innings, after giving him an extra day of rest this week, and pulling him last night after just over 100 pitches. He’s already at 78 innings this year, after throwing just 88 last year in relief, and he’s struggled in his last three starts. Samardzija says his arm still feels good, maybe even stronger than ever. But the Cubs still have to be careful with a guy who could continue to develop into a frontline starter. “If he can, [Samardzija will] go the whole season,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said, according to the Tribune. “He works hard. He’s talented. Like a lot of your young players, he’s still learning the game. But he’s definitely one we’re watching closely …. We try to keep track of every warmup pitch, every side session, everything. It’s all documented.”
- Dale Sveum was eager to talk up utility infielder/current starting third baseman Luis Valbuena after yesterday’s three-run homer. “For a small guy he has some pop in his bat,” Sveum said. “He’s a pretty quality hitter and so far you’ve seen his defense. He’s very capable at third base as well as other places …. That ball comes off that bat and he’s a future guy you have to keep your eye on because he’s a left-handed hitter that can play the infield that can hit the ball out of the ballpark.” I don’t know about his future as a starter, but Valbuena, who broke into the bigs as a 22-year-old in 2008, certainly has the skills to stick on some team’s bench.
- Sveum is considering giving Starlin Castro a day off, as the shortstop is going through a particularly rough patch. “It’s a possibility I’ve thought about,” Sveum said. “That might be coming pretty close because he is pressing a little bit, but he is a huge asset on the field every day …. It’s is an idea you think about all the time, giving everyday players a day off. It is just hard to do when you are not winning a lot of ballgames and you take your best hitter out of the lineup.” In his last 14 games, Castro certainly hasn’t hit like the best hitter in the lineup. His line is an ugly .186/.213/.322.
- The Cubs have officially announced the signings of 15 draft picks, most of whom we already knew about, at least informally. The signees are: supplemental first round pick Paul Blackburn, a high school pitcher, fourth round pitcher Josh Conway out of Coastal Carolina University, seventh round infielder Stephen Bruno out of the University of Virginia, eighth round left-handed pitcher Michael Heesch out of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, ninth round catcher Chadd Krist out of the University of California, Berkeley, 11th round high school outfielder Rashard Crawford, 14th round right-handed pitcher Corbin Hoffner out of St. Petersburg College, 15th round catcher Carlos Escobar out of the University of Nevada-Reno, 17th round left-handed pitcher Nathan Dorris out of Southern Illinois University, 21st round right-handed pitcher Stephen Perakslis out of the University of Maine, 28th round catcher Lance Rymel out of Rogers State University, 30th round right fielder Izaac Garsez out of the College of Idaho, 32nd round shortstop Timothy Saunders out of Marietta College, 35th round third baseman Ben Carhart out of Stetson University, and 40th round first baseman Jacob Rogers out of Mount Olive College.
- Koyie Hill has cleared waivers, and the Cubs outrighted him to AAA. Hill’s particular situation allows him to decide whether he wants to accept the assignment, or become a free agent. That decision will be made in short order.
- Interim hitting coach James Rowson is already working with Cubs hitters on new drills.
- Peter Gammons wrote what started out as an interesting take on the Cubs’ rebuild, but which somehow morphed into a discussion of the wealth of shortstop prospects in the Boston Red Sox’s system. That sounds like a Peter Gammons joke, but I’m serious. It wasn’t even a “Theo Epstein did this with the Red Sox, here’s what he might do with the Cubs kind of thing,” which would have been a legitimate, albeit overplayed, link. He just started talking about Red Sox shortstop prospects.
- I was on ESPN Radio in New Hampshire yesterday to talk about the Cubs and Red Sox (sorry, no replay link, and sorry for the lack of a head’s up – traveling yesterday kind of threw my schedule off), and I’m going to be on the radio in New Zealand today at 4:40 CT. It’s LiveSport Radio’s National Sporting Breakfast Radio Show (it’ll be breakfast-time there). You should be able to listen here (might take a bit to load, it being all the way in New Zealand and all). I bet you anything that they’ll find my accent sexy.