The Little Boy is home with me again today, and it turns out that he’s got pneumonia. That’s obviously a little scary for a one-year-old, but fortunately he’s still in good spirits and mostly just wants to snuggle (not that you’d wish for your kid to be sick, but, if he’s going to be sick, I can think of worse byproducts than him sleeping on my chest while I watch baseball). He also is being a good boy about getting his rest, so I should have near normal opportunities to write today (and I wrote a couple pieces ahead of time last night).
- Ricky Renteria told ESPNChicago that he’s sticking with Jose Veras as his closer for now, and called it premature to even be considering a change. That’s pretty much where I landed earlier this week in my discussion of the situation, and Veras had an effective inning of work last night in a high-leverage, but non-save, situation. He should have had two strikeouts in his inning of work, but a come-on-that-was-a-strike-a-half-inning-ago was called a ball, and RR lost his cool, getting booted from the game. I think the fact that it was Veras on the mound, after his control issues the first two times out, probably made it even more important for RR to make a show of the blown call. Veras may have needed that.
- RR is also sticking with the platoon system for now, emphasizing that it’s early in the year, and you’re trying to put guys in positions to succeed (Cubs.com). Eventually, some guys will show that they deserve more regular playing time against same-handed starters, but that has to develop organically. I especially like that RR reminds folks that isn’t just about results – it’s about seeing, when the guys do get their opportunities, that they have a good approach at the plate, and are doing what they can with the time they’re given. As I said yesterday, with respect to Mike Olt and Junior Lake, this will sort itself out over time. But it’s been eight games (if you count tonight), and half of them have been against lefties. Going with an even split over that stretch, especially considering Olt’s shoulder and Ryan Kalish’s possible emergence, is both understandable and laudable.
- Starlin Castro, who broke out last night with a three-hit, two-homer game, says he’s feeling like he’s back to himself at the plate (ESPNChicago). More on Castro in a bit.
- Jesse Rogers with the story of how Emilio Bonifacio wound up with the Cubs, rather than the seemingly numerous other teams that could have (and probably should have) used him. It’s super early, and there’s plenty of regression ahead, but it’s hard to say that the Cubs (and Bonifacio) aren’t looking pretty damn smart right now. Bonifacio, 28, is a free agent after this season, so we’ll see what happens if he’s still playing well come midseason and the Cubs are a dozen games out. He’d be a valuable guy to keep around for a few years after this one – that bench versatility cannot be overstated, especially in the NL – but he could quickly price himself out of a range that would make sense for the Cubs.
- Tribune business guy Phil Rosenthal weighs in on the Ricketts’ possible plan of selling minority stakes in the Cubs, and his take? Well, uh, duh, why wouldn’t they? Totally not a big deal, and a better way to raise cash than hiking prices or trying to place ads on jerseys or something crazy.