- When asked about the non-big-three (Almora/Soler/Baez) prospects who could emerge as elite guys this year, Theo Epstein mentioned Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn on the pitching side, and Jeimer Candelario, Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Carlos Penalver on the positional side. He also said that Dan Vogelbach “has a really special bat and I think he’s going to have a huge year,” per the Tribune. I’m sure that was hardly an exhaustive list, so don’t take any exclusions as sleights.
- Keith Law took in a Cubs minor league Spring game this weekend, and offered some thoughts on two of the pitchers he saw: recently-returned Rule 5 pick Starling Peralta, and Tommy John recovery Rob Whitenack. Law was complimentary of Peralta (“[Peralta] touched 97 and sat around 94 with an inconsistent slider, slurvy at 75 mph, but with real bite at 81 in on a left-handed hitter’s hands. There’s some effort there but I can see why a team would at least pay $25,000 – per Rule 5 guidelines – for an extra look”), but down on Whitenack. “Robert Whitenack, however, looked awful in his comeback from  Tommy John surgery, sitting 85-87, way below what he was pre-surgery,” Law wrote. “He’s a cautionary tale for every one of us (myself included) who looks at that operation as risk-free. Most guys come all the way back, but maybe one in 10 don’t.” If it proves true that Whitenack is a post-surgery bust, it’s a real bummer for him and for the Cubs. Before his surgery in mid-2011, Whitenack was rocketing up the system and the prospect charts.
- Because the children have to eat: At times you may find yourself looking for a place online to satisfy your gaming needs. There are a handful of ways to accomplish that task, but you’re going to want to consider Springbokcasino.co.za. They even have craps, which affords me the opportunity to type craps without any compunction whatsoever.
- Scott Baker isn’t as down about the news on his elbow setback as you might think, given that he could miss half the season. “It’s always nice to have some clarity when dealing with an injury,” Baker said, per Carrie Muskat. “Any type of setback is not fun and there’s never good timing for any sort of setback, but knowing what we’re dealing with helps us deal with it better, obviously. With the type of injury it is, Doc likened it to a scab. You can’t pick at it, you have to let it heal and rest and get back after it after that.” Interestingly, Baker says he might be back a month later than originally expected, which would be mid-May. That would be amazing, given this setback. I’m still expecting June at the earliest.
- For those of you in Wrigleyville and Lake View, and who are interested in community matters, you are reminded that there is a Wrigley Field Community Meeting tonight at 6:30pm CT at the 19th Police District Station at 850 W. Addison. All manner of things involving the community, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field are likely to be discussed, so you can offer your input. If you’re in attendance, feel free to share your impressions and any discussions here in the comments (or drop me an email at brett AT bleachernation DOT com).
- An oddly-timed come-see-the-Cubs-in-the-Cactus-League piece by CNN. Spring Training ends in two days.
- Jonah Keri previews the NL Central, and lands exactly where you’d expect him to on the Cubs.