Yesterday was Jorge Soler’s birthday (22) and Ron Santo’s (would have been 74). If the former can match the overall career success of the latter, I think we’d all be pretty happy.
- Today’s six-inning intrasquad game, started by pitching prospects Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch, will also feature the following pitchers: Arodys Vizcaino, Armando Rivero, Chang-Yong Lim, Neil Ramirez, Tsuyoshi Wada, Brian Schlitter and Marcus Hatley. It’s an interesting collection of guys whom I would argue are “next tier” bullpen candidates, behind the guys we tentatively expect to make the pen (i.e., guys like Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Blake Parker, Carlos Villanueva, Wesley Wright, and James Russell). Wada and Ramirez are potential starters, but, generally, these are guys with some solid bullpen upside.
- All eyes will be on Vizcaino, who will be pitching in a competitive Spring Training setting for the first time in two years. He’s reportedly looked like a beast in side sessions so far. That’s also true for Rivero, whom the Cubs signed last year out of Cuba for $3.1 million, and who could be a very good reliever in the near-term future. Schlitter always seems to pitch well when healthy, and Hatley is a guy with obvious swing-and-miss stuff, but who has to improve his control. And then you’ve got Ramirez, one of the pitchers received in the Matt Garza trade, whom many have said could be a back-of-the-bullpen arm if/when starting comes off the table. Finally, there’s Chang-Yong Lim, the Korean side-armer the Cubs signed last year while he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He’s full recovered now, and, pre-surgery, he was one of the most dominant relievers in the NPB.
- You can see the lineups for each team today here, and I’ll have a little more on the game as the appointed hour approaches (2pm CT).
- You saw the unbelievable picture yesterday, as well as Gordon Wittenmyer’s associated write-up, and today there’s another piece on Dan Vogelbach’s new physique from Carrie Muskat. It’s a great read to really get into just how hard Vogelbach worked, and how much dedication he showed (changing his diet, too). Evaluators in the organization, and Vogelbach, himself, say that the weight loss won’t negatively affect his power, and will actually improve it by strengthening his core. His bat speed is still where it always was.
- Kyuji Fujikawa threw off the mound for the first time during his Tommy John rehab, and all went well. A late May return remains plausible, though June is more likely (that’d put him 12 months clear of his surgery).
- Anthony Rizzo on the desire to keep the team together throughout the year – players don’t love seeing guys they’ve become close with dealt away in July. But that’s obviously the reality now.
- Jesse Rogers argues that Travis Wood, not Jeff Samardzija, should be the Opening Day starter, given the lefty’s performance last year.
- A profile from Patrick Mooney on C.J. Edwards.
- A fun read on Junior Lake from Bruce Miles.