hisanori takahashiA fresh podcast episode is on the way this morning. You’ll have to excuse the one-day delay, which was, surprisingly, not baby-induced. The weather system that caused everyone undue panic on Tuesday did the same for my co-host …

  • It sounds like Dale Sveum is looking at non-roster invitee Hisanori Takahashi for the bullpen as a long reliever AND a LOOGY. “If he makes the team, he can be that [long guy],” Sveum said, per the Tribune. “He’s very durable and obviously if the game dictates, he can pitch to one [batter] and get the left-hander out, or be the guy that goes two-three innings.” It would certainly be nice to have a hybrid lefty like that in the pen, though Takahashi has had his best success the last few years as a situational guy. Still, I’ve liked him for the bullpen for a while now anyway, given that James Russell is currently the only other lefty. Assuming Carlos Marmol is not traded, the Cubs are presently looking at Marmol/Fujikawa/Russell/Camp as locks in the pen, with Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon a virtual lock. That leaves two spots to be divvied up among guys like Takahashi, Michael Bowden, Zach Putnam, Rafael Dolis, and the litany of other non-roster invitees. If Matt Garza and Scott Baker were healthy enough to start the season with the big club, neither of those two spots would be available. Kind of interesting to see the trickle-down effect of the starting injuries, and how they might afford the Cubs more time to select the right pieces for the bullpen.
  • Utility superman Brent Lillibridge has been missing from game action for a little while now, and it’s apparently due to a groin strain. It sounds like he’ll be out until early next week. He’s not a lock to make the team, but his versatility is certainly valuable. Lillibridge can play all over the field.
  • Speaking of injuries, Sveum says Matt Garza (strained lat) felt very good on Tuesday. “Talking to the trainer and him [Tuesday he] was the most upbeat he’s been and the best he felt,” Sveum said, per ESPN. “Now that it is going in the right direction, hopefully by the end of the weekend we will get him out to try and toss again.” If Garza’s able to throw pain-free (and then recover normally) this weekend, I’d think we’d see him on track to return after the minimum number of days on the 15-day DL to start the season. I wouldn’t count on that, but it remains possible.
  • Starlin Castro continues to rest his hamstring, which he now says is 100%. There’s no reason for him to play a ton of Spring games anyway, so he can return casually within the next couple weeks, and he should be fine for the season.
  • Jeff Samardzija got blasted by a Rangers minor league squad yesterday in a B game. Oh noes! Except he was just working on different combinations of pitches (including intentionally elevating a fastball to a prospect who jacked it for a three-run homer … as guys often do with elevated fastballs), so there’s not much you can take from the results.
  • Among the best signals that the Cubs are still lacking for high-level impact talent in their system? Baseball America ranked the top 20 prospective rookies for 2013, and just one Cub showed up on the list: 32-year-old Japanese professional Kyuji Fujikawa. And he was ranked 20th.
  • I am not surprised to learn that Carlos Villanueva, who has already impressed with his penchant for thoughtful quotes, is on the MLBPA Executive Board as the only non-American-born member.
  • Former Cub Randy Wells, who was always harder on himself (together with the media and fans dumping on him) than the numbers suggested he should have been, has only positive thoughts for the Cubs. He’s now with the Rangers on a minor league deal, trying to win a job in their rotation. Randy’s story was one of the more interesting ones last year at this time, when he was giving just one start all Spring, and then surprisingly sent down to AAA to start the year. He never really proved the Cubs wrong, and then finished the year hurt.
  • ETS

    When is Luke’s daily prospects coming out!>!L>!@#$!>?

    • BluBlud

      Is this code for “Brett your writing sucks, I only checked the site this morning for Lukes list.”

      • ETS

        Haha, no; it’s more like, “Bret, I’m a slave to lists and my generation is horribly impatient. I need gratification on the rest of the list!”

        • BluBlud

          Yeah, I know. Was just joking.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Luke’s lists get prime late-morning/mid-day billing.

  • IACub

    After reading the article on Wells: Is anyone else concerned with the possibility of success for the Rangers with so many former Cubs? What exactly would that mean about the baseball world?

  • Seth

    So I got MLB 13 The show last night and I started a Road to the Show game with the Cubs (2B stud here) and frackin Brent Lillibridge was on the Double A team. I was thinking that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Josh Vitters was as well. I’d like to talk to the game devs and see why that is, all things considering. (I sure hope someone has seen this and knows what I am talking about)

    • CubFan Paul

      Not everyone can fit on the 25man. CarGo & Chris Young are on my AAA team…

    • hansman1982

      One thing I have noticed is that The Show isn’t too good with roster management. In ’12 I created a pitcher, assigned him to the Cubs and within 3 months I was traded to the Angels for Mike Trout (not too shabby). That offseason I was renewed with the Angels for $12M (eat your heart out Mike Trout) and then traded to the Phillies for Cole Hamels (not too shabby again). After my obligitory year in AAA I was the Opening Day starter (I may have set the sliders to make it so it was like 1998 Greg Maddux pitching in Boise (4 perfect games between AA and AAA)) with a 6-year $100M contract. The #3 starter for the Phillies? Cole Hamels. (I know, right now you’re saying, ‘Good story, bro’)

      Needless to say, the Angels were pretty poor at their roster management.

      • Seth

        Hah, that’s hilarious. I just really hope I don’t get traded because I really wanna play my first game at Wrigley. I wish you could somehow just flip a setting or option to where they cant trade you.

        • hansman1982

          That would be nice, but from what I have read (and experienced with 2 players) it’s gonna happen late-May early-June.

          I got my first appearance in Wrigley. Took a perfect game into the 8th (again, set on Greg Maddux in A- Ball), gave up a hit and got yanked (after 70 some odd pitches). That run (as all of the runners I bequeth) scored and I got my first career loss. WRIGLEY SUCKS.

    • hansman1982

      Oh, not sure if you have played a lot of The Show but it seems that regardless of what you do, the Cubs will trade you in a heartbeat.

      • CubFan Paul

        Yep. The Cubs traded me too in Year 1. Now I shove fastballs down their throats when I play them.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      Wait until real-life Opening Day and check the roster vaults. There’s a group of players who go through and put out their own custom roster – I can’t recall what it’s called right now – but it’s pretty incredible. It will include everyone where they’re supposed to be, and will add a ton of prospects who are not yet in the MLBPA thus aren’t in the game. That’s why I just mess around with RTTS and Diamond Dynasty before starting a franchise/season game around Opening Day, after I have downloaded this updated lineup. Just look for the highest rated current roster in a few weeks … or hit me up on Twitter at that time and I’ll figure it out

      • Jacob

        I did that with last years game, but it messed up everybody’s contracts. Every single player was on a 1 year deal after I downloaded one of those. Hopefully it was just that individual roster, because that really upset me lol.

      • hansman1982

        What I really wish is that The Show, Baseball Mogul and OOTP would get together to make a baseball game. The results would be EPIC!

        • DarthHater

          OOTP is ruining my life. I now have a second full-time job as a GM! 😉

          • hansman1982

            Tell me about it. In the same amount of time I ran Baseball Mogul from 1901-2025, I was able to get OOTP from 2011 through 2015.


  • Tim

    I like 2k13 better

    • hansman1982

      You, sir, are Un-American.

    • Jacob

      I am a lifelong Xbox owner… I bought a ps3 just for The Show. The only two games I own are The Show 12 and 13. That’s the only purpose of my ps3 lol. The two games aren’t even comparable. 2k glitches and just plain sucks. The same hits all the time, etc..

  • Idaho Razorback

    I just texted a childhood friend who is a diehard Mets fan and asked him about Hisanori Takahashi, former Met, and likely to make the Cubs bullpen and asked his opinion on him. His response: You better order playoff tickets NOW!!

  • BD

    With Lillibridger and Stewart- if they want them on the team, they could start on the DL, right? I guess more specifically with Stewart, if they still wanted to see if the risk pays off, why wouldn’t they just DL him to start out? I haven’t heard anybody mention that. (Not that I am excited to see Stewart or anything- just that there doesn’t seem to be another option)

    The only thing I could think of is that adding them to the 40-man would require ditching somebody else..

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Nice story on Randy Wells. Randy went to Belleville East high school and played ball with my son. I have known him since he was a kid, and he is to this day a very classy and nice young man.
    He was always very proud to be a Cub, and loved playing in Chicago and for the Cub fans. Had a nice conversation with him in December watching nfl games at a sports bar, and he thought the Cubs were really being well run now and would be great down the road.
    May have mentioned this on here before, but I asked him if he enjoyed playing with Castro and what he thought of him. He simply raved about Starlin, and said he had a chance to be a Hall of Fame type player. He was amazed of the perception that he is this immature kid who can not concentrate and doesn’t really care about the games. Instead, he said Castro and Soriano were probably the two most dedicated guys he had ever played with.
    Told me that the players used to tease Castro, when everybody would be drinking beer in the back of the plane on road trips, Starlin would be studying video of how pitchers had worked him, etc. Said Castro was obsessed about baseball and being the best.