ian stewart cubsIf you’re a March Madness type of person and you’re looking for a (free) pool to jump in, King Jeff over at the Message Board set one up for BN, and you can get the details on joining there.

  • Ian Stewart didn’t get into a minor league game again yesterday (he hasn’t since Thursday), and instead is scheduled to have another MRI on his strained quad today. There isn’t necessarily a new injury here, but you don’t cancel your game/rehab plans, and instead schedule a second MRI, unless something is wrong. Even if today’s MRI comes back clean, Stewart is feeling something, and isn’t going to get into games for several days at least. By then, we’ve entered the zone where, as quickly as players can get ready for the season, Stewart might not have enough time to get ready for Opening Day, even if he’s entirely healthy. It’s a frustrating situation, especially given that it has nothing to do with his wrist … which might be totally fixed. Grumble.
  • Dale Sveum was cagey, as usual, when asked about Stewart’s latest issue. “I don’t know if he’s got enough time [to open the season with the Major League team,” Sveum told the media. “It’ll be interesting.”
  • The piece about Scott Baker’s starter yesterday that bothers me? No, it wasn’t the result – which was ugly – it was the reported 85 mph fastball. That could have been by design (and helps explain the results), and it’s not like you’d expect Baker to be throwing in the mid-90s at this poing in Spring Training regardless of his surgery recovery. But Baker has been a low-90s guy for his entire career, so that’s where you’re going to want him to be by the time he starts going in the regular season. Mid-80s is a long way off.
  • For his part, Baker said the things you’d expect him to say about the outing. “Results are one thing, but getting back out there and pitching in front of fans was something I haven’t done yet, so it’s exciting to get out there and do that today,” Baker told reporters after his appearance, per Carrie Muskat. “I felt like I made some decent pitches. Occasionally I got a little jumpy and left the ball up a little bit. I was happy to be out there. It’s another step. You go back and work on the things that, regardless of whether you had surgery or not, you work on those things mechanically and just go get them next time …. Did I locate as well as I would like to? No. That’s still part of the process, also. It’s another step. The results weren’t there. Physically, I did everything I could to prepare for this outing, and that’s going to continue to be the case. As long as I continue to progress and build the pitch count up, we’re still shooting for that mid-April time frame.” As long as he feels OK, Baker will continue to pitch every fifth day from here on out.
  • Physically, Carlos Marmol feels as good as he had in years. Excellent.
  • Rafael Dolis, who wasn’t likely to make the team, had to leave his game yesterday with a blister problem. Those things can linger and really affect performance, so hopefully he knocks it out quickly.
  • Quote machine Carlos Villanueva on why he doesn’t talk to players on the opposing team before a game: “I don’t want to see you or talk to you before the game, because if I have to put one in your neck – hopefully it doesn’t come to that – I won’t feel as comfortable doing it. Outside of the stadium, we can chat all you want. In here, sorry.” I like that he said neck. Sounds more badass.
  • Remember how the Cubs probably signed Cuban pitching prospect Armando Rivero? Well, they definitely signed him. Now we just need to figure out if he’s any good.
  • ‘The Simpsons’ took a shot at the Cubs last week (kid-becomes-bully-because-he’s-a-Cubs-fan-derr-herr-herr), which is probably fair (h/t to BN’er Nate for passing it on). Also, it was bound to happen after, what, 700 episodes? (I’m a bitter ‘Simpsons’ fan – I was all about it in its glory years, and as I was a teenager/college student, but have given it up in the last half decade. It just stopped resonating, and, sadly, being funny.)
  • jp3

    I just dont see how he can possibly help this franchise any longer, he cant get on the field to show what hes capable of. If the cubs are looking to piss away 1.5 million just stick the cash in garbage disposal and save the Dr.’s time and medical bills.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      That’s great that marmot feels the best he has in years. I’m sure that’s going to translate into a few more saves!!!!

      • themillhah

        aww nice marmot.

        • Karl Hungus

          We want zat money, Lebowski!

  • Curt

    at what point does Stewart stop becoming a low risk option and become a roadblocks to someone else playing, the cubs have tried and tried to give him a chance he’s always hurt I know he’s not expensive but this is getting real old.

    • ncsujuri

      You can’t block the road when there is noone to block…

  • db kyle

    “at what point does Stewart stop becoming a low risk option and become a roadblocks to someone else playing,”

    November 2011.

    • hansman1982

      “You can’t block the road when there is noone to block…”

      • db kyle

        Sure you can.

        • hansman1982

          I suppose…I’ll amend it

          “Doesn’t really matter if the road is blocked if noone is travelling the road.”

      • DarthHater


        • Spencer

          this is perfect.

          • Spencer

            Oh, and the answer is yes.

  • Chachi

    “so hopefully he knocks it out quickly.”

    This could be taken the wrong way so easily…

  • jp3

    Is Gary Gaetti still available.? At least he might be able to take the field

  • fromthemitten

    I posted this already but has anybody noticed how Stewart is tweeting at the odd hours of the morning? I know he’s on the west coast time zone but you would think he’d know better than to be up until 2AM his time and be more focused on rehab

    • fromthemitten

      I should put it like this: I don’t see Cubs prospects up tweeting as late as Stewart does. I really do wish him the best though

    • King Jeff

      I have had the same opinion of him for a while now. During the year last year he was doing the same thing before he had surgery on his wrist, and was still trying to come back. He just doesn’t seem to care enough about getting back on the field or getting better, and seems kind of aloof towards his baseball career(almost like he thinks his talent is so great that he can slack off and still be a good enough player). It could just be an errant observation from a distance, but the more I see and hear from Stewart, the stronger that feeling is to me.

      • Matt

        You may both be right in your analysis, but I don’t think it’s fair to psychoanalyze anyone via the internet.

        • DarthHater

          And how long have you hated your father? 😉

          • Jp3

            Thats very interesting, and how does that make you feel?

            • Matt

              Thanks guys. :( I’m gonna go write poetry in the graveyard and cut myself now. Not that…that means anything about me.

  • Spriggs

    I will be very, very surprised if Baker pitches in a MLB game this April.

    • hansman1982

      It really seems that this team went from “Well, if these 4 things go right they will contend” to “Jesus, God, even if everyone who is left has a career year, we would be lucky to get to .500”.

      (extra drama added for effect)

      • DocPeterWimsey

        When your 4 things to go right include aliens giving us a 25 year old clones of Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Mike Schmidt and Josh Gibson, then I’d say that Baker’s injury didn’t get my hopes to far down…..

        Seriously, this team would need more luck than last year’s O’s to really compete. That’s basically twice in my lifetime it’s happened (the 1987 Cards probably were the other example): I might not live to see it again!

        • hansman1982

          For me it was:

          Stewart being healthy
          the RF platoon working
          Rotation health
          Soriano’s effectiveness.

          Now, I’m not completely giving up on contention (the 5% hope I had) but it’s looking slimmer.

        • db kyle

          It happened twice just last year.

        • jt

          2005 D’backs
          pyth 66W/96L

      • db kyle

        The only one that really hurts so far is a month of Villanueva instead of Garza. The rest is just piddly ST stuff.

        The problem with Spring Training is that pretty much only bad things can happen.

        • King Jeff

          Especially with this one being so stretched out due to the WBC.

        • hansman1982

          Ya, I was thinking about that, really nothing major has happened outside of Garza.

          Feldman was just iffy in a ST start, Baker was always going to be out for April.

          I wonder which pre-season is more pointless and harmful, MLB or NFL.

  • fromthemitten

    also for Villy- “throat” is way more metal than “neck”

  • Jim

    I am intrigued by the Clevenger to Third base comment. If he can play catcher, 1B, and 3B that really gives you some nice depth to have, and a third catcher on the bench is always nice. I had been wondering who would back up Rizzo and I think having Clevenger and Lillibridge really gives the Cubs a lot of depth.

  • BluBlud

    I’m starting to think that Stewart will not make this team. I hope he does, I just think the team is going to give up on him. It’s not about the money either way. 1.5 million is peanuts. But if he can’t stay healthy, why waste the roster spot and lose someone else.

    As for the Bench, I’m covinced we should go with Hairston/Shcierholtz(they are both starters also I guess) Sappelt, Valbuena, Clevenger, Navarro. If Stewart doesn’t stick, we can then go with Lillibridge. That is definitely not a sexy bench, but it may be the best of what we have.

    • CubFan Paul

      I bet the current bench is

      and Lillibridge before Clevenger

      Clevenger/Bogusevic make the team if Stewart is DLed/Cut.

      • TonyE79

        If Valbuena is our bench guy, who is our starting third baseman?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Nobody. The Cubs will just field two guys somewhere else. At um…. uh…. geez, the Cubs are not two starters deep anywhere, are they! OK, I guess we trot Valbuena out there! (Hey, the guy can draw walks.)

          • BluBlud

            Hey, if not starting a 3B also means Valbuena doesn’t have to hit, we may be better off.

      • Dustin S

        Assuming we count Valbuena as the starting 3B, which is shaping up to be the case, I think you’re close. The bench spots should be:

        Sappelt…with these 3 basically being a lock, which leaves the 2 IF bench spots.

        I’d bet the farm Lillibridge gets one of the IF spots as the 2013 Jeff Baker, leaving 1. That’s where things get interesting since it leaves no left-handed PH on the bench other than Navarro, and Sveum probably won’t want to burn a catcher to pinch hit very often. He will want another lefty which leaves the last slot down to Bogusevic/Clevenger and maybe Stewart. A decent case could be made for any of those. Clevenger lets you pinch run for the catcher if needed, I’d rather have Bogusevic in there at 1B if Rizzo goes down or PH’ing if we need a HR with 2 out in the 9th, and everyone knows the deal with Stewart. Sveum has all but said he isn’t a big fan of Stewart’s for whatever reason; too many injuries, work ethic, personality conflict, not sure…but he’s pretty much the only player in ST that he’s spoken almost negatively of. He’s made the “I don’t know if he’s got enough time” to make the team comment at least 3 or 4 times in reference to Stewart.

  • another JP

    i hope the FO just moves on from Stewart. There are some players that not only underachieve but also give off a bad vibe regarding their commitment to playing, and I don’t think his heart is totally into playing for the Cubs. Hate to say it but I get the impression he’s BSing all of us so he can salvage his contract.

    • hansman1982

      Meh, I still think there is a lot of potential there but we are entering into Mark Prior territory. Dude just can not stay healthy (not trying to say that Ian Stewart = Mark Prior in the talent arena).

  • Jp3

    Mark Prior… At least his injuries weren’t really his fault, that was a coach telling him to throw 140 pitches per start. Stewart, who knows how this guy gets hurt every 10 minutes[img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JRj9PmoUohI/UGHIT3vrv5I/AAAAAAAAS-0/IRotJCElCoE/s1600/mr-glass-samuel-l-jackson-unbreakable.jpeg[/img]

  • Tommy

    I admit I was a Stewart backer for a long time, but I am done with this guy. Look, he is one of 3 things:
    1. Hypochondriac – thinks he’s always hurt
    2. pansy – refuses to do anything for any minor ache or pain
    3. glass joe – really does have serious injuries all the time
    In any of these cases, I imagine the Rockies and their fans put up with this stuff for quite a while before dumping him on us. I really thought this guy had potential (and truth be told, he does have POTENTIAL). Unfortunately, potential can’t come to fruition if you never play the game.

    Guy needs to go. He’s wasting a roster spot of someone who wants to play baseball.

    • Jp3

      C’mon TommyP you had to like my Mr Glass reference above:). Also I’m with you the a hypochondriac is another good option for what ales him… Or doesn’t ale him I guess

    • True(ly) Blue

      Tommy, I agree with your assessment of Stewart. I posted at the start of spring training (already a month ago) that he didn’t seem to really care to train or rehab last year after he had his wrist surgery. Now he is in the same mode. Not sure what his problem is but $1.5 mill seems to be a lot of dough for someone “chronically” (note the pun) injured.

  • DarthHater

    Resolved: Stewart has got to go. Any dissenters?

    • db kyle

      If I’m being completely objective, even if Valbuena is the starter, Stewart is probably a better reserve infielder than Clevenger or Lillibridge.

      But I’ll still be doing a jig if he’s cut.

      • DarthHater

        At this point, my feeling is it doesn’t make a huge difference for the Cubs either way, but his act has become annoying, so just dump him.

    • hansman1982

      I’d like to say we should DFA him now and send him to Iowa if/when he clears waivers but I’d almost rather have Vitters get the starts over Stewart.

    • itzscott

      Cubs don’t need any more distractions beyond Garza, who’s bad enough…. cut Stewart once and for all and move on.

  • willis

    Nope, dump him. Use the money to do something else, like maybe find another arm since all of ours are hurt or rehab projects that won’t pan out.

    The Cubs stupidly paid him a couple mil last year to do nothing. And they’re on pace to pay him another 1.5 mil this year to sit and cry about a sore quad. It’s a tired act. Time to move on.

    3B is a huge hole once again.

  • TheRiot2

    I’m a dissenter. I’d keep him around on his low ball contract.If he’s not capable of playing by June then click the ejection seat,it’s not like he’s blocking anybody.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What is a bully? Doesn’t fit the Cubs. Grandiose self image. Complete and utter sense of entitlement, and massive amount of whining when things don’t go as they expected. Mock and rub their opponents nose in the dirt when successful. Total lack of empathy and respect for opponents or anyone else other than their own overvalued situation. Fold up and choke like a chicken when a worthy opponent like the Giants kicks them in the teeth. Who could it be?

  • Brian Peters

    Get. rid. of. that. bum. now.

  • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

    To make Cubs fans EVERYWHERE gp apolectic, Sveum should start Castro at 3rd and Baez at short the next few days!

  • TheDynastyStartsIn2016

    or apoplectic?

  • Big Daddy

    Stewart is the new Mark Prior. He needs to sacrifice a chicken or something.