A fresh podcast episode is on the way this morning, though I wish the realities of production didn’t preclude us from being able to talk about last night’s game. We probably would have been cheerier.
- Dale Sveum is missing Darwin Barney, who’s expected to play a few minor league games this weekend before returning early next week. Per the Sun-Times: “You miss that defense and the lack of striking out. That defense is the best in baseball …. There’s a calmness when he’s out there.” Ouch, Brent Lillibridge and Alberto Gonzalez. (I kid.)
- Speaking of Lillibridge, he’s quite right that, when it comes to the numbers, there’s only so much you can control as a hitter. Per Cubs.com: “The biggest thing is just do your work. That’s all you can control. There’s only so many things you can control in this game, and it’s preparation, your approach at the plate, swinging at good pitches, trying to hit the ball hard. And if the ball drops, the ball drops. It can be frustrating at times, and especially early on when the numbers are so glaring.” Lillibridge also talked about the step up at Wrigley from being in the visitor clubhouse previously.
- Matt Garza, as noted yesterday, is a bit further off in his return, though he’s getting there. He threw off flat ground yesterday, and will do a couple more bullpen sessions before heading out on his rehab stint, which, for him, will essentially be the “games” part of Spring Training. The second or third week of May looks like a plausible return range, assuming no setbacks.
- Minor league pitcher Pedro Silverio has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Silverio, 18, is on the Cubs’ DSL roster, and will presumably start serving his suspension when the DSL season starts later this year. To date, he had not been regarded as a big-time prospect.
- Thanks to a marketing agreement with Wrigley 5 gum, Cubs relievers were told they should avoid chewing Double Bubble on camera, according to Paul Sullivan. At least one reliever was miffed, but I’m not sure why: Double Bubble is great for about 15 seconds (after you power through the firmness with which it begins), and then it loses its flavor. It’s not quite as bad as Fruit Stripe gum in that regard, but I’d be plenty happy to try something new. (Hooray, YouTube for low quality, hand-cam-recorded, apropos clips.)
- Actually, Fruit Stripe gum is a nice metaphor for Chicago Cubs baseball of the last few years: exciting in theory, great for the first few seconds, suddenly disappointing, and ultimately leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
- Anthony Rizzo talks about the constant process of adjusting as pitchers adjust to a hitter’s strengths and weaknesses.
- The TOOTBLAN Tracker is getting serious: it now has a searchable database.
- Like a bunch of you probably have, I used one of my fantasy contest roster spots on Anthony Rizzo (the price was right, and I think he’s undervalued right now). But I’ve been feverishly checking to make sure he’ll be facing a righty on Friday, given his struggles against lefties … and I’d actually started to waiver in my pick, given those struggles. But then he doubled off a lefty last night, and I was comforted again. Which reminds me: sign up for the free fantasy contest. You can win a share of $300. Full contest details here.