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sad pandaA year ago yesterday, there was a much warmer reception for a newly-arrived little cub named Clark. That would be my son, Clark, who is one-year-and-one-day old, but his big ole first birthday shindig is today. He is neat, and I like him very much.

  • Kris Bryant was the talk of the post-game yesterday, after his long first Spring at-bat ended in a monster homer to deep center field. You can see his thoughts on the debut in many places, including Cubs.com. Bryant said he wasn’t nervous, and is just trying have fun with a smile on his face. And then he summed it up perfectly: “I’ve just been blessed with power, and I’m putting it to use.” I kind of want that quote tattooed on my forehead. May Bryant’s power bless Cubs fans for years to come.
  • If you missed Bryant’s bomb yesterday, you can see video of it here, by the way. And you should probably ignore that this is the guy off of whom Bryant went deep.
  • But as the prospect gods giveth with one powerful third baseman, they take away with another. It’s a reminder that bad things can happen at the drop of a hat (though this one was kind of previewed by some injury issues last year): big-time Minnesota Twins prospect Miguel Sano, he who adorns the cover of the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, is going to have Tommy John surgery after experience persistent discomfort in his elbow. Sano, 20, has been a top prospect for his entire time in the minors, and had a chance of contributing at the big league level this year after reaching AA in 2013. Given the Twins’ rebuild and projected timeline for competitiveness, losing Sano this year is very much analogous to the Cubs losing Bryant for the year. So, you can imagine how much this sucks for Twins fans.
  • Fortunately, Tommy John surgery for positional players isn’t quite as time-intensive as for pitchers, an Sano could see some at bats late in the minor league season. He’ll likely not be able to play third base again until next year, if at all, however.
  • A profile on Matt Szczur from Mark Gonzales. Always more athlete than baseball player, Szczur has worked hard to improve his defense to the point that now I think it’s probably fair to say he could be a quality defensive outfielder at any of the three spots. The question for Szczur is whether he’ll ever be able to hit enough to take advantage of his speed and defense, and find a job on a big league bench (a starting gig is not out of the question, but seems like a long-shot – Szczur hit .281/.350/.367 at AA last year with a .320 BABIP, a 13.1% K rate, and an 8.7% walk rate). Having been on the 40-man since late 2011, Szczur is in his third (of four) option year, and is already 24. He’ll get his first taste of AAA this year, and it could be a make or break year. You can see the great 4th outfielder in there. He’s just gotta hit a little.
  • Each of Chris Rusin and James McDonald felt like there was some good and some bad in their outings yesterday (which is appropriate, given that each had one good inning and one bad inning). For the most part, it just sounds like normal Spring Training adjusting stuff. McDonald’s shoulder still feels good.
  • Starlin Castro is workin’, workin’, workin’.
  • Non-roster invitee Aaron Cunningham is something of a sock salesman on the side, and his teammates are really enjoying the products. This is the kind of thing bound to draw wisecracks, but they sounds like pretty sweet socks (from a company called Strideline), and I think it’s cool that Cunningham is working a professional angle on the side. As he told Carrie Muskat, “Baseball doesn’t last forever.”
  • Ben

    I am half tempted to order 7 pairs of those socks. Pretty nifty if you ask me. I’m sure you can purchase them at amazon.com/Bleachernation.

  • http://www.dylanheuer.com Dylan

    Just ordered 2 pairs of these socks!

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    Is it just me, or has Tommy John surgery become more common for positional players? And if so, what’s behind this? Conditioning? Too much lifting? Better knowledge?

    • CubFan Paul

      Too much texting while, laying down.

      • Funn Dave

        *lying. And take out that superfluous comma.

        -BN Grammar Douche

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    By the way, LOVE how Castro is being framed a leader in that Muskat piece–by a guy like Rizzo who is older than him, no less.

  • another JP

    You know, it’s not necessarily who the pitcher was but what he was throwing and Grube had pitched Bryant tough until he got ahold of a sinker that got too much of the strike zone. Dude has an awesome approach, and is already the best third baseman on the team

  • ChicagoJoe

    Sahadev coming up on The Game 87.7 at 10am.

    Connor McKnight just plugged BleacherNation as one of those “smart websites” out there.

    Good stuff Brett.

  • Boba

    Happy Birthday to Clark!

    I love Jerry Seinfeld’s bit about the first and last birthday! You don’t even know it’s a party., Someone has to tell you “these are your friends”, You have to have help blowing out the candles! Yep, I love Seinfeld.

    Little kids are fun–Just wait till they are teenagers!

  • Cubbie Blues

    My daughter, Addison, says happy birthday to Clark.

  • Chiburgh

    Today would have been Harry Carey’s 100th birthday. Happy Birthday, Harry. Miss you man.

  • Jon

    That “double” for Castro should have been a triple. The focus is still not what you would like it to be.

    • bbmoney

      because he didn’t leg out a triple in the first ST game?

      Harsh. I’d prefer he doesn’t bother stretching a double into a triple in a completely meaningless game.

      • Gabriel

        Exactly right!

        Jon you seem to be looking for ways to pick apart Starlin’s game – the last thing I want in spring training from our vets is hustle on a play like that. That would be asking for injury

        • ari gold

          Jon hates all things Cubs. He’s a White Sox fan that is trolling this site.

    • MightyBear

      No it shouldn’t have been. One word – tootblan. You’re an idiot.

      • Jon

        You’ve been really nasty with the personal insults of late. Internet tough guy?

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Nah just tired of the bulkshit comments

          • candyland07

            As i am of yours.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              So you’re tired of bullshit too? Well we agree there.

    • CubChymyst

      He tripped, he is not the first player to trip. I wouldn’t blame it on his tripping on his focus. More likely it was a poor step from an early game as he gets back into the swing of things.

    • papa dunks

      Starlin slipped going around second and fell. He wanted the triple but feet went out from under him.

  • Funn Dave

    “May Bryant’s power bless Cubs fans for years to come.”

    Brett’s worshipping metaphysical false idols!

  • kridertr

    Watch out, I played high school ball with the guy Bryant hit the homer off of! Lol

  • CubsFaninMS

    …and after looking at that pitcher’s stats, he should have “Minor League Journeyman” tattooed on his ass.

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