I’m trying to sandwich the Bullets in between the reveal of the Cubs’ mock-up of the JumboTron and hotel/plaza this morning, and Tom Ricketts’ comments on the progress of the renovation stuff coming later this morning. Also there’s a Lukewarm Stove coming and a fresh podcast episode. Busy start of the day.
- Ian Stewart is not ready to play in the big leagues. That’s what he told Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register yesterday. Stewart seems to be acknowledging that his numbers aren’t there right now, and he’s hopeful that he’ll feel more confident in a few days. Why are the few days relevant? Well, as I’ve said before, Stewart’s rehab stint in Iowa is up on Friday. At that time, the Cubs will have to make a decision about what to do with Stewart: activate him? Send him back to Mesa to work on his swing? Put him on the 60-day DL? That last one’s going to be a tough sell, because Stewart has said for quite some time that he feels perfectly healthy. Would the Cubs consider just letting Stewart go? It’s hard to see that, but it’s also hard to see him displacing the Luis Valbuena/Cody Ransom platoon right now, given how well those two are performing. It seems like the best route right now would be to option Stewart to Iowa – he’s got one option year left – but he would have to consent to being sent to Iowa, because of his veteran status (it’s complicated, but that’s the gist). Of course, if he declined the option, he would lose his guaranteed $2 million contract – so he’d probably accept.
- Randy Wells has announced his retirement, which is a bummer for him. The former Cubs starter had a couple nice years with the Cubs, but arm injuries in the last two years really derailed his career. He was never an overpowering guy, so any slight downturn in his velocity or command was going to do him in – and it seems like that’s what happened. I’ll always remember Wells as the example of how guys can come out of nowhere in Spring Training and become contributors, even in their mid-20s. It’s rare, but it happens.
- Edwin Jackson on last night’s ugly start, which he called one of the worst of his career, and his first month overall (per ESPNChicago): “It’s been a pretty disappointing month from my standpoint – to myself, to the teammates, to the organization and to the fans, but it’s a test of character. It’s one of those times where you can crumble and fold or fight and bounce back. And I definitely have not been one to be known to fold.” Jackson was booed by the fans last night on his way off the mound when he was yanked in the 5th.
- What jumped out at me in Paul Sullivan’s piece about Alfonso Soriano’s generally power-free Aprils as a Cub is that his final season total of homers tends to be higher when he has fewer April homers. Two of his three lowest season totals came in seasons in which he hit 10 (2011) and 7 (2009) homers. So maybe his power-free April this year is a good sign!
- Dale Sveum loves Darwin Barney’s defense as aggressively as a manger can love a player’s defense.
- You can share your Cubs story for the “Committed” campaign. Details here.