anthony rizzo cubsStill no baby yet. But he’s coming any day now. You are reminded. Also reminded? The Cubs’ first Spring Training game is today!

  • Dale Sveum is telling his hitters to ignore the “low borderline” pitches, and focus on pitches up in the zone. “If you’re looking for the ball up and it’s there you’re going to crush it,’ Anthony Rizzo said of the plan, per ESPN. “If you’re looking for it up and it’s a little down you’ll naturally drop your hands to it. If you’re swinging at low borderline pitches you’re not going to have much success. If a pitcher throws it there three times in a row, you tip your cap.” I love this approach. Even if a pitcher is able to throw three perfect pitches at the bottom of the zone that the umpire is calling, it’s going to take him more than three pitches to do it (usually), and the worst thing that can happen is that you strike out, but you make sure the pitcher throws four or five pitches in the process. Not a great outcome, but not a terrible one, either. And if you’re focused up in the zone, and the pitcher misses his low spot? Like Rizzo said: boom.
  • Scott Baker is going to throw on the side today, but probably won’t be getting into Spring games for another couple weeks. He’s not expected to be ready by Opening Day, but should be good to go soon thereafter.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa wasn’t too sharp yesterday, but it sounds like part of it was adjusting to the dry air in Arizona, where – especially this time of year – offspeed stuff isn’t going to do as much as you’re used to.
  • Paul Sullivan writes about the roster/positional battles this Spring, and I think his assessments are pretty fair. I’ll have something on this early next week, so I’m not going to go into too much depth today.
  • So far so good for Brett Jackson’s new swing – not just in yesterday’s intrasquad game, in which Jackson had three hits, but also in workouts.
  • A Vine Line prospect profile on Matt Szczur.
  • Joe Posnanski has ditched Sports on Earth – the site he helped create just last year (maybe this was always the plan) – in favor of a gig with NBC Sports. His first long-form piece is on Alex Rodriguez before the fall.
  • Josh Booty won ‘The Next Knuckler,’ and now reports to Diamondbacks camp on a non-roster invitation. He’ll actually pitch in a game at some point, and that’s going to be must-see TV (if it’s on TV).
  • The art of a good broadcast pairing, which Len Kasper notes includes not talking too much over the offseason.


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