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phoenix municipalThe Cubs head to Phoenix Municipal to play the A’s today on another WGN game, so you get you watching on. Jason Hammel gets the start as he’ll put in his final long outing before the regular season.

Mike Olt makes another start at third base today, having played there yesterday and on Thursday (and he DH’d on Friday). This is the stretch where he’s very much being evaluated for a roster spot, which would presumably come along with a full-time starting gig.

Junior Lake flops back over to left field again today, his second start there. As I’ve said, I’m hopeful that the Cubs will just bite the bullet and give him a full and fair shot to show something in center field before putting him in left, where I don’t think his bat can carry the day long-term.

Apropos of today’s Luis Valbuena discussion, The Bat Flippa is playing second base today, while Darwin Barney fills in at shortstop. Ryan Kalish starts in right field, which you could read as a signal that the Cubs are preparing for life without Nate Schierholtz, or you could just calm down and recognize that it’s Spring Training and Kalish has played all over the outfield (as he would if he makes the team).

Lineup:

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Junior Lake, LF
  3. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  4. Mike Olt, 3B
  5. Ryan Kalish, RF
  6. Ryan Roberts, 1B
  7. George Kottaras, C
  8. Darwin Barney, SS
  9. Chris Coghlan, DH
  • ssckelley

    Our outfield sucks offensively!

    • Q-Ball

      Well, OK, not going to argue that Cubs OF is in the league bottom third offensively. I do think that if Renteria intelligently platoons Ruggiano, Sweeney, etc, we could cobble together OK production out there. I think Scheirholz was intelligently used last year, and he’s a good example of how you can maximize production that way.

      The main positives in our OF picture are 1) reinforcements are on the way in the minors, and 2) we have no long-term financial commitments in OF that would in any way block point #1.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Did u say ” platoon” ? Careful – the Darth led zombies are on your front lawn-

        • gocatsgo2003

          Except that it actually makes sense to platoon your average or below-average players as opposed to your young, high-upsite players who need the ABs to develop.

          • gocatsgo2003

            *upside… dang it. I hate typos.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Yeah and your not upset… your satirical genius is depleting

        • DarthHater

          A plan for platooning the Cubs’ outfielders is entirely sensible. Your earlier suggestion about platooning all the Cubs’ infielders was mind-numbingly asinine. I know it may be hard for you to comprehend, but it actually makes a difference whether the idea in question is or is not stupid.

  • David

    I think Olt will fit in nicely this year batting 4th between the 2 lefties: Rizzo and Schierholz. If Castro can rebound in the 2 hole, Olt and Schierholtz can have alot of opportunities to drive in some runs.

    • ssckelley

      Assuming the Cubs keep Schierholtz, I agree. The middle of the Cubs lineup could look respectable.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I anticipate that Schierholtz will be traded (to the Tigers) and it all kind of falls in place…

    CF Bonifacio (S) / Lake
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo (L)
    3B Olt
    LF Ruggiano
    RF Kalish (L) / Sweeney (L)
    C Castillo / Kottaras (L)
    2B Valbuena (L) / Barney
    UT Murphy

  • DarthHater
    • Q-Ball

      One thing I’ve noticed about Cuban players: They are nearly all unnecessarily aggressive on the bases. Just a gut observation, but the average CS% rate in Serie Nacional is well over 40%, and some players like Puig and Rubi Silva and Hechevarria and others have appaling CS rates. I wonder if in Cuba they really hit the gas on players to steal.

  • ssckelley

    Wada was given his release

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Cut to the minors or completely let go?

      • ssckelley

        Unconditional release

    • cubmig

      not surprised.

  • cubmig

    Question: Is Hammel a lock to make the rotation?

    • gocatsgo2003

      Yes.

      • cubmig

        Thanks gocat. It’s just that he didn’t look too sharp today……especially early.

  • cubmig

    SARDINES! Cubs *8th inning rally WTF? Some things just baffle the mind.

    • cubmig

      ^ wrong inning given….sorry ’bout that.

  • Medicos

    Lake and Valbuena back to back!!!!! Lake has got to be in penciled as the starting CF. He looks like an MLB player.

    • blublud

      Today, maybe.

    • cubmig

      As pointed out though, Junior has some work to do on his throwing. It’s said he has a tendency to air-balloon the ball in when a low throw bounced in might get in faster. How true is that?

  • cubmig

    I hope MacDonald makes the team.

    • blublud

      Yea. I mean, the player need access to their Hamburger and Apple pies at all times. And dont forget that dollar tea.

    • ssckelley

      Which one?

  • cubmig

    Junior is on fire………………………….ST or not.

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Lake taking no prisoners. Good Gawd what a swing that was!

  • ssckelley

    Junior Lake woke up, that 2nd one was a blast.

  • craigp

    Lake should get every chance to start in center this season. He could be part of the future. Valbuena should just be handed the second base job. Barney can play twice a month or none. I don’t care and I don’t think any team would even give us a low level lottery arm for him. We need as much offense in our lineup as possible.

    • cubmig

      Agree. “We need as much offense in our lineup as possible.” In his first years as a Cub, Barney was good at hitting to the opposite field. Somewhere, somehow he lost that along the way…….though, I noticed today he hit two to the opposite field. Even so, I’d say it’s time for to be traded.

  • ssckelley

    Olt with a throwing error that probably gets over turned with replay.

  • ThatCubsGuy

    HR derby today I see.

  • DarthHater

    OLT!

    • Dales Fired Ear

      [img]http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m842miQoe51qiuukyo1_500.jpg[/img]

    • jp3

      Looks like Olt tied Baez for the team lead this spring in HRs… Sigh.

  • NorthSideIrish
  • willis

    Cabrera with another scoreless inning. If he can find a place and figure it out, his stuff definitely plays.

    Wonderful to see Lake showing well at the plate. He’s getting the gig, for better or worse.

  • Jason P

    One of Dave Cameron’s trades that “should” happen:

    Jeff Samardzija for Did Gregorious, Randall Delgado and David Hernandez. We may overrate Samardzija’s trade value some, but it can’t be *that* low. I mean, that’s basically Samardzija for a fringe 5th starter, a glove-first second basemen who would block Baez and Alcantara, and a 7th inning reliever.

    His other Cubs trade is Schierholtz and Barney to the Tigers for Devon Travis, a second basemen who destroyed high-A last year (.350/.401/.561, solid K/BB %, though it should be noted he was slightly old for the level at 22 years old. That one I could go for.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’d pass on both. The Cubs have no need for any of the players in the Arizona deal (except, possibly, Delgado, and only then if the Cubs think he has yet untapped upside (I think he does, but I wouldn’t make him the center piece of a Samardzija trade on that believe)), and the Cubs are stacked on middle infield prospects so the Detroit deal doesn’t really work either.

      Then again, I don’t see Gregorious as being all that valuable in general. If Cameron is high on Gregorious, I suppose his proposed return makes a little more sense.

      • Jason P

        Cameron says the Cubs could play Gregorious at second for a year and then put him back on the market as a young shortstop. Still doesn’t make much sense for me.

        For the second one, I don’t think the combined trade value of Barney/Schierholtz is all that high, so I’d be willing to disregard position to get the best player available.

  • DarthHater
    • FFP

      Sweet.

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Jeezus……..Lake save some for the regular season man. My goodness!

  • ssckelley

    Lake making a splash with his third!

  • cubmig

    Sonnaofahbitch……………………………….#3 for Junior!

  • E

    2nd for Valbuena. Jesus.

  • Medicos

    Jr. Lake starting CF for the Chicago Cubs. Power, speed, strong throwing arm. What more could you ask for in a MLB player. Still a work in progress in the field but u can see the potential.

    Valbuena starting 2nd baseman. Barney sits on the bench.

  • ssckelley

    Valbuena with another!

  • E

    That last one by Lake was a bomb.

  • cubmig

    VALBUENA! hijo de la …*$##@^!!!!! Whatever those guys had for breakfast, make it a daily feed!!!!!

  • Medicos

    Black Hawks game is next. Stanley Cup championship is on the horizon!!!!

  • ssckelley

    Why did they just sign off?

    • ssckelley

      For AFV?????

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