darwin barney cutoutWe got a notice from our electricity provider that there are going to be planned power outages in our area today – but they can’t tell us when or for how long. Neat. So I’m typing frantically this morning, and standing ready at a moment’s notice to flee the house and find some public wi-fi to keep working. Just do it already!

  • Rick Renteria tells Cubs.com that Starlin Castro is at 100 percent now. He’ll play in a minor league game today, at which point the Cubs will decide whether to start him in a Cactus League game tomorrow.
  • Patrick Mooney writes about the somewhat muddy roster picture, and he, too, mentions the possibility that Ryan Roberts could ultimately make the roster (even if Mike Olt makes the team, and in place of Donnie Murphy).


  • Possibly relatedly, Rick Renteria has become pretty cagey when asked about Darwin Barney being *the* starting second baseman. Check out anĀ example here in a Cubs.com piece, where RR is responding to a direct question about Barney: “I think as we go into the season, we have certain guys who are going to be put in a particular position, and on the second day, you might see a different lineup. The reality is the matchups we have and that we’re looking at throughout the course of the season will determine how we use all our guys.” He goes on from there, but never really commits to anything except “flexibility.”
  • As I’ve said before, I think the hardest part in all of this is benching (or platooning in a very limited role) a well-liked-in-the-clubhouse, veteran leader, three-year starter. I’m not saying it’s not the right idea. If Mike Olt is the starter at third base, you’re going to want to see Emilio Bonifacio and Luis Valbuena getting regular at bats, and second base is going to have to be part of that picture. I’m just saying putting Barney on the bench to start the year can be tricky in ways that outsiders like us can’t really perceive. This has become something suddenly very interesting to watch.
  • The tricky wrinkle with Barney has always been this: he’s so very good with the glove (and would probably be good at shortstop, too) that, if he can bounce back just a little with the bat this year, you could see some real trade value come July. If Barney is sitting against most righties, that probably doesn’t happen (or, to the extent his numbers improve, they look like a platoon mirage). Good luck balancing all of this, RR! Of course, it remains modestly possible that Barney is dealt in the next week, quieting all of these issues.


  • Speaking of Olt, by the way, he admits to the Tribune that his shoulder issue has been worse this year than in years past. He thinks he’s over it now, but it does make you slightly more nervous than if it was just typical dead arm type stuff that he deals with every Spring.
  • Jake Arrieta writes about Opening Day, and why it’s so special.
  • Justin Ruggiano sat yesterday after waking up with a swollen ankle, though he says it’s nothing serious, and he’ll be fine in a day. The part of Carrie Muskat’s article that stuck out to me? Ruggiano mentions that he woke up after “12 hours, 10 hours” of sleep. Jerk. I got a three-hour stretch and a separate two-hour stretch last night. (Kids with ear infections are not the cat’s pajamas.)
  • It sounds like, unlike Tsuyoshi Wada, Chang-Yong Lim will not be re-signing with the Cubs after he was released this week, and is instead headed back to Korea to pitch. It’s a bummer that things didn’t work out with Lim, who came back from Tommy John surgery late last year after the Cubs signed him in the offseason before 2013. In all, the Cubs rolled about $500,000 worth of dice on Lim, so it wasn’t a huge loss.


  • Your prospect porn of the day:


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