Another split squad day, another split for the Cubs. If only they could do this during the regular season, we’d be looking at a .500 team.
- The big news came from the Cubs/A’s game, where James McDonald lasted just two pitches. You can see the more complete update here, but all we really know is that his shoulder didn’t feel right. Even if he feels great tomorrow, you’ve gotta believe this takes him out of the picture for Opening Day. Given his past shoulder issues, I’m sure the Cubs are going to proceed extremely cautiously with this one.
- The other big story for the day was Javier Baez making his debut at second base, which was, by all accounts, a yawn of a success. That’s kind of what you’re looking for, though – Baez made the plays he was supposed to make. With the bat, he ripped a single to left (does he single any other way?). He struck out in his other two at bats.
- Edwin Jackson finally had a good Spring outing (if the numbers matter to you), going four scoreless and allowing just three hits and a walk. He struck out six. Caveat? The Angels’ lineup was mostly bench guys, youngsters, and minor league invitees. Ian Stewart batted cleanup.
- Ryan Kalish had yet another two hits. If Spring Training stats meant a lot, he’d have a job on the Opening Day roster. Even as it stands, there might be a spot for him (Casper Wells is apparently out with back spasms), and it could just depend on how the Cubs want to bring him back from the extended absence over the past few years.
- Brett Jackson was 0-3 with 2 Ks, and Josh Vitters was 0-2 with a BB and 2 Ks.
- For the most part, the pitchers who followed McDonald are not guys trying to make the roster. The exception was Jonathan Sanchez, who gave up an earned run on three hits (no walks, no strikeouts) in an inning of work. Zac Rosscup followed Sanchez with a scoreless, walkless, hitless, two-strikeout inning. They’re kind of the contenders for the “third lefty” in the bullpen, though I really don’t think the Cubs will actually carry three lefties.
- Neil Ramirez threw another scoreless ninth inning, which makes me wonder whether the Cubs will groom him to be a late-inning guy in the minors this year. That’s probably reading too much into things, but he does have that kind of stuff, and folks have long questioned whether he was going to have to move to the pen. For my part, for now, I really hope he sticks in the rotation. He’s got middle-of-the-rotation upside, and the Cubs don’t have a ton of those guys at the AAA level right now.
- Also throwing a scoreless frame was Chang-Yong Lim, who still has an outside shot at a bullpen job, but the numbers are really working against him. Of course, if there’s something to Blake Parker’s down Spring – he gave up another two earned runs today – maybe one of the previously presumed-to-be-filled spots will be up for grabs. Even if not, if Carlos Villanueva is in the rotation to start the year and James McDonald is on the DL, there will be another bullpen spot available.