arizona cactusToday was the first day of full team workouts, with pitchers throwing honest-to-God batting practice, players fielding grounders, and things feeling increasingly right with the universe.

Among the items to highlight from Spring Training today …

  • The biggest news could be a comment from Joe Maddon (per Jesse Rogers and Mark Gonzales) that Tommy La Stella is “all in” at third base. As you’ll recall, La Stella has never played anywhere but second base in his career, but the hope is that he can offer some positional flexibility. I’ll want more context for Maddon’s comments before I read too much into this, but if Maddon means La Stella is permanently moving to third base (he took grounders there today), it could say some things about the Cubs’ confidence in Javier Baez at second base to start the year (and/or Arismendy Alcantara being the primary backup there), and/or it could say some things about the hopes that Mike Olt can realistic be an every-game starter there, even in the short-term. Maybe we’ll see a La Stella/Olt platoon at third until Kris Bryant is ready to come up? Whatever the case, La Stella seeing time at third is not a surprise, and we’ll see if it becomes a regular thing, or if it’s part of his utility expansion.


  • New hitting consultant Manny Ramirez was in camp, making the rounds, and it sounds like he’s coming close to being ready to give up his hopes of playing again professionally in MLB in favor of helping younger players (ESPN). That article has more from Manny being New Manny, as does this article in the Tribune.


  • Al Yellon is out in Arizona, and he’s got a write-up on what it’s like right now (far more attention than in years past), with videos and pictures.


  • Some lovely things to look at:

And a couple of videos Al Yellon shot (you can see a bunch more at BCB):




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