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nomar injured cubsThe latest from the injury roundtable …

  • Starlin Castro ran the bases yesterday, as expected, and he came out feeling good. Castro tells Patrick Mooney that he’s still not sure when he’ll play again, but he’s “close.” After recently saying his hamstring was at about 40% and then 80%, Castro now estimates he’s at 90%. Hopefully that figure climbs today, and Castro is back in game action by the end of the week (even if it’s just minor league games to get some at bats). From there, he’d have about 10 days to get ready for the season. Still plenty of time. As of right now.
  • Mike Olt did not make his debut at third base last night as hoped, but he did DH, and Mark Gonzales reports that the plan is for Olt to start at third tonight. He had a little knot in his shoulder on Monday, apparently, but that’s been worked out. If Olt plays at third tonight, and assuming he feels healthy afterward, there should be plenty of time for the Cubs to evaluate how he looks over there for purposes of making a 25-man roster decision (because, again, he’s got a long track record of success a third defensively).
  • James McDonald says his shoulder issue this time around is nothing like last year (when he missed most of the season), and it’s just a little tendinitis (Cubs.com). He felt better the day after leaving his start having thrown just two pitches on Monday. That said, it sounds like he might eventually get an MRI after some rest, and “might” start throwing again in a couple days. Given the shoulder issues of last year, and given the short turnaround before the start of the season, I just can’t see McDonald starting the season on the active roster, as the fifth starter or otherwise. With Jake Arrieta a couple weeks behind thanks to shoulder issues of his own, it looks like Carlos Villanueva, Chris Rusin, or Tsuyoshi Wada will start the season as the fifth starter (probably in that order of likelihood).
  • Fishin Phil

    Please let it be Villanueva or Rusin.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Just from hearing Bosio talk about Rusin, I think it’ll be him

      • CubFan Paul

        Yeah, he didn’t even mention Villanueva

  • ssckelley

    McDonald sounds like someone who wants his million dollars.

    • Jon

      Reminds me of that quote from Any Given Sunday..

      “Don’t drop me, I’m worth a million dollars!”

    • gocatsgo2003

      Can you blame him?

      • ssckelley

        Not at all.

  • E

    To me, Rusin has earned the shot.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Rusin isn’t very good. A Triple A starting pitcher who you call up on an emergency basis. I’m OK with him getting a handful of starts in a pinch, but bottom line Jake Arrieta can’t come back soon enough in my mind.

      • CubFan Paul

        +1000

      • Chad

        Is Villanueva or Wada that much of a better option than Rusin? I don’t think anyone is clamoring for him to be a permanent main stay in the rotation, but he has earned a chance. I too want to see what Arrieta can do as a full time rotation piece, but someone will have to fill in for a few starts. Might as well be Rusin.

      • ssckelley

        My weekly agree with Blackhawks. The Cubs are not going to win anything with Rusin in the rotation.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Such things happen when you drop 2 of the options ahead of the guy you are slotting for the 5th spot.

  • Blackhawks1963

    So….

    Rotation…Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Hammel, Rusin (to start the season)
    Pen…Veres, Strop, Villenueva, Rondon, Cabrera, Russell, Wright
    DL…Arrieta, McDonald
    Triple A…Vizcaino, Hendricks, Grimm, Parker

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I agree with everything except I’d switch out Parker and Rondon

      • Blackhawks1963

        Rondon has an opt out clause and is a hard thrower. Parker doesn’t have electric stuff and falls into the fungible Michael Bowden class for me. Plus he has an option left. I think the Cubs keep the raw stuff of both Rondon and Cabrera in the pen and don’t risk losing either.

        • CubFan Paul

          “falls into the fungible Michael Bowden class”

          But Parker’s stats are so pretty to look at.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          I’m 99.9% sure (you can check with Arizona Phil on this one) that his opt-out clause is only if he’s taken off the 40 man roster, which he wouldn’t be as he still has options left. Parker might not have electric stuff, but he used it to the tune of 28.2% K rate and 7.7% BB rate in 2013, numbers which Bowden never came close to (other than a 3 inning sting with BOS in 2012).

        • C. Steadman

          Rondon’s opt out clause is only for an outright assignment. He can still be optioned to the minors in 2014(His last available option year). I believe Cabrera is a lock for the Chicago pen; I was hoping he would get one more year in the minors as a SP after his 2013 success, but to keep him in the org. he needs to be a MLB RP…maybe he can be a swingman a la Villanueva

    • CubFanBob

      Rather seem Grimm and N Ramirez over Rondon & Cabrera. Those two ex Rangers are more shut it down RL pitchers in my opinion. Cabrera is just not consistent and I dont trusty him. Rondon needs work in Triple AAA.

      • Fastball

        I agree with you on Ramirez and Grimm. Ramariez has looked really good in his outings that I have seen this spring. I think Grimm is a lot better than Rusin.

  • Jr 25

    Kalish and Olt should make the 25man roster- its time to see what some of these younger guys can do and with Lake’s struggles he could use some more seasoning in the minors. OF should be Schierholtz, Rugg, Kalish and Bonifacio. Forget Sweeney and McDonald and Olt should be up instead of Murphy. These guys aren’t part of our future plans so screw em!

    • Blackhawks1963

      If I had to guess right now….

      OF – Schierholz, Sweeney, Ruggiano, Kalish, Coughlan
      IF – Valbuena, Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Olt (assuming he can demonstrate the ability to throw at 3rd base), Bonafacio (OF option too)
      C – Castillo, Kottares

      I would think Junior Lake has punched his ticket back to Iowa barring a massive turnaround.

      • brickhouse

        I don’t think Kalish or Coghlan make the team – replace with Lake & Bonafacio and add Murphy to the IF

        • Blackhawks1963

          Except that Lake has been completely lost this spring. It may be a case of the pixie dust wearing off or the fact that he needs more developmental time. The league is figuring out how to get him out and he has some gigantic holes in that hitting approach. Honestly, I’m not optimistic he is anything more than a cup of coffee experience.

          • candyland07

            Yes, Lake has looked lost at the plate . he has not help himself. he does not have history behind him . I like lake – but he has shown little production and his spring has raised questions concerning his productivity- a stint in the minors wont hurt his value he can be called up when an injury or a trade happens.

            • Pat

              I will be extremely disappointed in the FO if they downgrade Lake from expected starter to the minors on the basis of 28 spring training at bats.

              Nothing other than last spot in the bullpen or last spot on the bench should be decided by spring training. Ideally not even those.

              • ssckelley

                But I think Lake has options, let him go to AAA to figure things out. The Cubs might have some TDL chips in some of these veterans.

                • cub4life

                  Not only that but I don’t know if anyone in the front office were giving him the starter spot, that was just the fans speculating (unless i’m mistaken Brett)

        • ssckelley

          Kalish looks too talented to let go, I think he makes the team.

  • Spoda17

    MLB Radio just announced that Detroit’s executives scouting and talking with Cubs about Barney and Sherholtz… they are talking about it now (11:44 p.m. eastern).

    • Jon

      Barney and Sherholz for Jake Thompson and James McCann.

      Cubs get a nice arm and some needed catching depth with updside.

      • Blackhawks1963

        Only way I trade a package of those two right now is for a true quality prospect. No “depth” guys. That’s not what our mission in building this club is right now.

        • Chad

          You’re not going to get much of anything for those guys. If you get a decent arm you are extremely happy about it. And anything beyond that is freaking gravy.

        • JacqueJones

          When you’re trading “depth” guys you can’t expect anything more than “depth” guys in return.

          • cub4life

            True but you also can’t trade Garza for Edwards, Olt, Grimm and Ramirez……o wait they did

            • JacqueJones

              Garza was a good player though

              • cub4life

                True, but that wasn’t really my point. My point was that sometimes people pay to much sometimes.

    • Jason P

      Works for me. Ruggiano can effectively replace Schierholtz, and Kalish can replace Ruggiano. Bonifacio isn’t really a downgrade to Barney, either.

  • candyland07

    I hope the Cubs can pull this off. The Tigers will be getting 2 bad players – but they will not be starters in Detroit- any raw prospect in return will be nice. The Cubs gaining two roster spots on the 25 man roster is actually the best part. They do not even need to get anything in return and it a win win . LOL

  • http://BN Sacko

    the back end of our rotation is as bad or worse then the last two years, most of those guys would not make a decent teams BP. But here they are going for the 5th spot.
    Bring up Hendricks and be done with this crap.

    • cub4life

      As much as I think Hendicks will be good, he needs a little more seasoning and since this year is prob not going to be a playoff year with him why waste it.

      • cub4life

        Hendricks

        • http://BN Sacko

          I agree but these guys are HS even the Twins picked up a couple pitchers so if there is seasoning put somebody in there in the meantime. They didn’t cost that much.

          • cub4life

            Well lets look at it like this
            2012 – Demp, Shark, Garza, Maholm and Volstad
            Shark is still around (for now) replace Demp with Wood, Maholm with Hammels, Volstad with a shoe lace and true Garza crushes Jackson

            2013 – Shark, Jackson, Wood, Villenueva, Feldman
            hmmm the first 3 are the same Villenueva could be there to start and replace Feldman with Hammels (Garza was hurt to start the season)

            so how is that different?

            • http://BN Sacko

              Have to have Garza included because he was right away and Feldman is a difference. Villenueva is not a long term started and Rusin Mcdonald would have little chance starting anywhere.
              They passed up better chances on SP because we were going after Tanaka at the time. Thats also a laugher.

              • cub4life

                who did they pass on?

                • http://BN Sacko

                  Nolasco-Hughs

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      I think you are gravely discounting Hammel’s upside. Arrieta/Rusin/Villanueva isn’t a bad 5th option, just not a great one.

      • http://BN Sacko

        your right I gravely discount Hammels upside. Arrieta/ Villanueva are both headed to the BP because they are not great 5th options.

  • Fastball

    I don’t think Murphy makes the 25 man. I think Kalish will. I am not sure they will put Lake back at AAA. I think they will stay committed to him at least for the first month or so. Coughlan has looked pretty good in the box thus far. He is on the bubble for me right now. If Detroit decides they need Schierholtz then you end up with Coughland and Kalish both making the team. I think Olt is going to start at 3B and Valbuena and Bonafacio are the utility infielders.
    In fact I think Murphy will be cut completely off the roster before camp is over so he can try to catch on with another team before opening day. I doubt he will. He can then be moved back to AAA in case we need him as a fill in. Last year was his career performance. He isn’t part of the solution nor will he ever re-produce like he did during last seasons call up.

  • Fastball

    You watch… we trade Barney and Schierholz to Detroit and Barney hit’s .270 and wins AL gold glove, Schierlholz hits .270 and 25 HR’s. This shit always happens to the Cubs at least it seems that way. Detroit has the need… We are not desperate right at the moment. At least that’s how i negotiate with Dumbrowski. Everyone expect 90+ wins from Detroit. Their disvision is a lot tighter competition wise than years past. So this is Theo vs. Dumbrowski in a 3 round cage match who wins.

    • Jon

      Dumbrowsk had his team ready to win a world series the 5th year into the rebuild. Let’s see if St. Theo will be there by 2016.

  • auggie

    There are definitely some logjams at 2nd and in the OF, so a trade before the start of the season would not surprise me.

    • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

      With Kalish seeming more and more like the real deal and Bonifacio having starter potential at 2nd, I would not be surprised to bee Barney and Schierholtz go. Not sure it’ll happen pre-season, but it’s definitely possible. I like both players, but they aren’t part of the Cubs future.

    • NorthSideIrish

      I think it’s extremely likely there is a trade of some sorts coming before the end of ST. Neither Kalish nor Bonafacio are currently on the 40 man roster so the Cubs will have to free up roster spots for both of them. I think Murphy could be dropped, but I’m not sure anyone is eligible for the 60 day DL.

      With seven OFers already on the 40 man and the Cubs adding two players who can play in the OF, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a move involving Szczur or B. Jackson. Neither one would bring any kind of real return, but more likely a low level player who wouldn’t require a spot on the 40 man.

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