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junior lake cubsThe baseball season is underway! In Australia earlier this morning, the Dodgers kicked off the 2014 season with a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw dominated and Scott Van Slyke provided the offense for the Dodgers (just like the script said, right?). Yasiel Puig went 0-5 with three strikeouts. The two teams will play again later tonight before coming back to the States, and then doing some exhibition stuff (including the D-Backs against the Cubs late next week) to get ready for the season again. It’s kind of weird, but at least it accelerated the start of the season.

  • Patrick Mooney with a profile on Junior Lake, and the hope the Cubs have for the physical gifts to shine through. It’s been a rough Spring for Lake, although he did have a great day at the plate yesterday. You don’t put too much stock in Spring numbers, but when a guy with previously notable contact issues is striking out a ton in the Spring (and, many times, looking ugly doing it), you take note. Hopefully it’s just an adjustment process for Lake, getting back into the swing of things, and he’ll show a truer version of himself in April. Which is to say, hopefully this isn’t the true version once there’s a book out on him.
  • From my perspective, it would be pretty weird to play Lake in center field every time he plays in Spring Training (except once), and then break the season with him in left field. And if he does indeed start regularly in center to start the year, the Cubs might as well really give him a long-term chance to show what he can do. There’s very little to lose – in terms of wins and losses – in 2014, because, well, you know. But there’s definitely something to be gained if it clicks for Lake, and he shows he can play above-average defense in center while posting a .280/.330/.430 line. That’s a great player right there, and it’s conceivable for Lake, even if unlikely. Again: might as well take the chance.
  • All that said, one thing seems clear at this point: starting the season with Lake in the minors doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, regardless of how the final week goes or how the rest of the outfield shakes out.
  • Reiteration from the Cubs, via Mooney, that there is no serious worry about Javier Baez’s heel bruise. He’ll get checked out again today, and could wind up playing today.
  • So, Chris Rusin or Carlos Villanueva in the rotation to start the year? That remains the question.
  • In case you missed it yesterday amid the Baez injury flurry, there’s a chance Starlin Castro could play in a minor league game today.
  • Parade Magazine with 11 did-you-knows about Wrigley Field.
  • Cubs minor league pitcher Ryan Searle pitched quite well against the Dodgers in an exhibition game (Searle is Australian).
  • Diehardthefirst

    Gausman may be available and would help settle rotation

    • bbmoney

      Reported here first!

  • David

    My 3 keys to the 2014 season in my eyes , going into spring traing:

    1) olt – looks great so far
    2) arrieta – yet to be determined
    3) lake – just ok so far. I’m still a fan. I hope he still gets a chance to get 500 ABs this year.

    Keys to 2nd half:

    1) Hendricks and 2) Alcantera ‘ who knows where he’ll play. I dont think Baez is a key as it’s a given that he’ll be stud.

    I have cubs fever, can’t wait till the season!!

    • Funn Dave

      Castro? Rizzo? Shark?

  • Diamondrock

    Here’s hoping for a repeat of Parade’s fact #11… With you-know-who supplying both home runs.

  • brainiac

    i love the scrappy underdog – rooting for lake to make the team!

  • bwin

    The original ivy idea Veeck brought from the old ballpark in Indianapolis. Ivy was brought to Indy’s new park and is growing beyond the centerfield fence.

  • Forgetting Sean Marshall

    I watched the aaa and aa games yesterday. Kris Bryant hit a huge opposite field home run. He is going to be an exciting player to watch. Stephen Bruno and Albert Almora looked great out there too. Good to see bruno bounce back from Tommy John.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Saw this on Twitter and it made me laugh. For once SSS is good.

    #Cubs seize half-game lead over #Dbacks in Wild Card race.

    • Kyle

      That is awesome.

  • Fenway Frank

    I wonder Carlos Villanueva gets an edge to go into the rotation to open a slot in the bullpen to audition A. Cabrera.

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