Today’s the day for the BN Fantasy Baseball Contest, so you’ve only got until this evening to sign up. The full details are here.
- Carlos Marmol is not the closer, but, well, he might kinda be the closer again. Dale Sveum says he’s not going to name Marmol the closer, in part because Marmol “pitches great when he doesn’t know he’s the closer” (CSN). That was probably half joking, half serious. Marmol was given the save situation last night, and he saved the one-run game in quintessential Marmol fashion – allowing two base runners and striking out the final batter. Maybe Dale’s Jedi mind trick will continue to work on Marmol.
- Sveum has conceded the problem the Cubs face with respect to Luis Valbuena and Ian Stewart, something I wrote about earlier in the week. With Valbuena playing well, Sveum doesn’t sound too eager to have Stewart back. “He’s got to earn it,” Sveum said of Stewart, per CSN. “He’s got to go down there and play well. He’s not swinging the bat very well at all …. Valbuena’s one of our most consistent players right now. It’s going to be very difficult to move one of our more consistent players out of a spot.” The problem for the Cubs is that Stewart’s rehab stint is going to be up in a week, and then they’ll have to make a decision. If they aren’t going to call Stewart up, I suppose they could send him back to Arizona to keep working on his swing and/or transfer him to the 60-day DL.
- It sounds like the Cubs are tentatively more convinced that Matt Garza’s most recent issue was indeed just run-of-the-mill dead arm. He’s expected to throw this weekend, and then throw a bullpen session thereafter. From there, he’ll make a rehab start at AA Tennessee. If he requires only two more rehab starts after that, he could still return to the Cubs by the second half of May.
- Commissioner Bud Selig is eager to see the final plans for the Wrigley Field renovation, including the JumboTron in left field. It doesn’t sound like he has any concerns, mind you. He just wants to see what’s up. So he’s like everyone else in that regard.
- FanGraphs with an in-depth look at that horrible Alfonso Soriano at bat against Jonathan Broxton the other day. A pleasant-ish note at the end: “As an interesting twist, in both 2011 and 2012 Soriano was above-average at driving in runners from third with fewer than two outs. Last year his conversion rate compared to those belonging to Billy Butler and Derek Jeter. Soriano hasn’t been dreadful, situationally, but over his career he has been decidedly below-average, and on Wednesday he was awful.” It is unsurprising that Soriano has been below average in those situations for his career, but it’s nice to know that he was above-average in the most recent two years.
- The Cubs’ VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod is once again mentioned as a future/up-and-coming GM type by Jim Bowden. I’ve already girded myself against McLeod leaving at some point. Given his obvious talent and the two men ahead of him on the depth chart, so to speak, it would be completely understandable for him to be poached eventually. In some ways, you hope he gets that opportunity (if he wants it). In other ways, you hope he never leaves.
- A Q&A with Anthony Rizzo.