Thankfully, it’s been almost a month since The Little Boy had an I’m-going-to-wake-up-screaming-every-45-minutes-on-the-dot kind of night, but he nailed us with one last night. I felt like I was in the hatch on ‘LOST,’ having to press the button every 108 minutes. Except it was every 45 minutes. There was no helpful sleep shift schedule. And instead of entering a short code and pressing a button, I had to sooth a screaming infant. Ok, The Wife helped, too.
- Arodys Vizcaino threw a bullpen session yesterday under the watchful eye of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Rick Renteria (think this guy is considered an important piece?). By all accounts, the 23-year-old power righty looked good, and Renteria was impressed. Per a CSN video and Patrick Mooney, Renteria says Vizcaino looks as good as the Cubs would want him to look at this point in the Spring, and appears very fit, to boot. “That ball really comes out of his hand easily,” RR said. “It’s got late life. His breaking pitches have some bite to ‘em.” Mmmmm, late life. I love hearing that phrase with respect to a Cubs pitcher. Vizcaino, for his part, is very much hoping to break camp with the big league club, but the front office obviously isn’t committing to anything until later in Spring Training. Last week, I wrote about Vizcaino’s 2014 season, and the (strong) reasons to send him to the minors to start the year.
- Mooney’s piece even suggests that there remains some hope in the organization that, after a year in the bullpen to ease him back into things, Vizcaino could still become a starter, long-term. I remain as guardedly hopeful about Vizcaino’s future as anyone should reasonably be, but I do think that thoughts of him emerging as a starter in a year or two should probably be shelved so as not to create unrealistic expectations. Remember, Vizcaino was a who many thought could not stick as a starter long-term because of durability concerns before his Tommy John surgery, his setback, and his subsequent bone spur surgery. I’m ecstatic to hear that he’s feeling 100%, looks good, and should pitch this year. But, for me, that means I’m hoping he looks like a lights out reliever by midseason, not a hoped-on starter.
- Speaking of hard-throwing, Tommy-John-having relievers, Marcos Mateo is confident he’ll make the Diamondbacks’ pen after being selected from the Cubs in this year’s Rule 5 Draft. He’s now a year and a half removed from Tommy John surgery, so, in theory, he should be back to 100%. He always had good stuff, and he pitched exceptionally well in Winter ball this year. That said, the Diamondbacks have an extremely crowded bullpen picture, and, without some injury assistance, it’s hard to see him making the club. If he doesn’t, the Diamondbacks will have to offer him back to the Cubs for $25,000, or work out a trade to keep him in the organization. Mateo turns 30 in April, so it’s probably make or break time for him.
- Oh goodness, college baseball is underway, and it’s time to start monitoring the performances of some of the top players (the Cubs pick 4th this year, so they’re going to get another excellent prospect). Mark Gonzales has a quick look at some of the early candidates.
- Carrie Muskat with a long piece on, and full of thoughts from, Edwin Jackson. If you’re like me, you’re glad to see that, for the most part, Jackson didn’t try to change a whole lot coming into this year – he just needs to do what he always does, and the results in 2014 should be a lot better.
- It’s easy to forget, but Welington Castillo had minor knee surgery at the end of the 2013 season, so the Cubs are going to take it a little easy with him this Spring. I don’t think anyone has any specific concerns about it right now – just your usual, “why risk anything in Spring Training?” kind of stuff.
- Awful news out of what was a nice comeback story starring Mark Mulder. After years of believing his career was over, ended early by persistent shoulder troubles, Mulder, 36, discovered out of the blue that he could throw effectively again. And in the second damned day of Spring Training with the Angels, he tore his achilles and is likely done for the year. He never even got on the mound.