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arizona cactusWith Spring Training officially underway, the first couple days of camp are overflowing with news, quotes, pictures, etc. So much enjoyable and interesting stuff to get to …

  • It’s undoubtedly awkward right now for Welington Castillo, the Cubs’ third catcher with Miguel Montero and David Ross, the latter two of whom were brought in this offseason to be the catchers. Mark Gonzales spoke with Castillo, and you can read his comments here. There’s really not much else he can do right now but keep his head down, work and prepare as best he can, and see what happens. A pre-Opening Day trade remains the most likely outcome (absent an in-house injury), but the Cubs will retain the appearance of plausibly carrying three catchers into the season for as long as they have to. Meanwhile, Castillo is caught in a weird limbo.
  • The other players in limbo-ish are on the pitching side, especially Edwin Jackson, who has struggled mightily in his first two years in Chicago. He’s got two years and $22 million left on his deal, and when you crunch the numbers, he appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot right now. He isn’t going to say a whole lot about his anticipated role, he told Jesse Rogers, preferring to let his actions speak for him. We’ll see how he looks once the games get rolling, though I can’t help but suspect the Cubs’ preference would be that another team gets desperate, and is willing to add Jackson for a few million bucks in salary relief.
  • For his part, by the way, at the opening press conference (which I caught on a live stream on CSN Chicago), Theo Epstein didn’t rule out any moves in Spring Training (not that you would expect him to). If you missed that press conference, there are some great bits in this write-up from Bruce Miles, as well as this one from Jesse Rogers and this one from Mark Gonzales. Fans have permission to be excited this year. There will be development, and ups and downs, but, yes, it’s time to be excited.
  • Patrick Mooney has even more on the Maddon-specific aspect. The guy just has a way of taking over press conferences.
  • More from Epstein here at Cubs.com about Joe Maddon and about Jon Lester, who apparently already has young pitchers following him around, trying to learn. When asked the inevitable about Kris Bryant, I like that Epstein emphasized there will be no surprises for Bryant, however this thing goes (Carrie Muskat). He’s got an individual player development plan, and he knows what’s in it.
  • Young Kyles – Schwarber and Hendricks – discuss what’s ahead:

  • And now lots and lots of stuff from The Twitters (these folks all have much more out there, so, you know, join Twitter and then follow them):

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