Congrats to the Blackhawks and the Blackhawks fans among you. I am thoroughly jealous of what you’ve experienced this year (and the last four years) and last night, but I mean that in a friendly way. Enjoy it.
- Although the Cubs lost one reliever they signed this Winter to Tommy John surgery (Kyuji Fujikawa), another signee is close to returning from TJS. Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim made his debut for the Cubs yesterday – well, the AZL Cubs in rookie ball. Lim, 37, was one of the Cubs’ flyer signings this offseason after having TJS last year. There’s a chance we could see him up with the big club in the second half, which would give the Cubs a better opportunity to see what he’s got as they decide whether he can be a component piece of the bullpen in 2014. Then again, Lim is on a split contract that will pay him quite a bit more once he’s on the big league roster, so maybe the Cubs will want to wait.
- On moving from the rotation to the bullpen in the minors, and reinventing yourself as a reliever. The focus of that piece from the Des Moines Register is Casey Coleman, a career starter who was told in the offseason that he would be moving to the bullpen. I’ve been talking about the possibility of Coleman developing into a quality reliever for over a year now (#humblebrag), given his ability to sit consistently in the mid-90s in short bursts and a developing slider. This year, working exclusively out of the pen at AAA, Coleman has a 2.65 ERA and 1.179 WHIP – fantastic numbers for the PCL. You’d like to see more strikeouts (just 6.5 per 9) and fewer walks (3.4 per 9), though.
- Patrick Mooney writes about Jorge Soler and his manager at High-A Daytona, Dave Keller. The Cubs Way money quote from Keller: “I’ve heard so many people talk about it: It takes no ability to hustle. It takes no ability to play hard and run hard to first base – four-and-a-half seconds – or to run on and off the field or to be on time, any of those things that go into how you want your mindset to be from an organizational standpoint. That’s what everybody from top to bottom is emphasizing. It’s a habit.”
- A father, a son, and the Chicago Cubs, from Carrie Muskat. A very uplifting read.
- A very long profile on the Ricketts Family from Chicago Magazine, which includes bits on the Wrigley renovation history. If you don’t know the full story of the Ricketts buying the Cubs and working to renovate Wrigley from the very beginning, this is as good of a background piece as I’ve seen without bogging you down in the nitty gritty.
- A couple Cubs pitching prospects received honors from their leagues – Matt Loosen was the Florida State League’s Pitcher of the Week on the strength of six shutout innings and eight strikeouts; Paul Blackburn was the Northwest League’s Pitcher of the Week after 10 shutout innings and 12 strikeouts. Blackburn was the second pitcher taken by the Cubs in the 2012 Draft after Pierce Johnson. Don’t sleep on him.