I wouldn’t call myself horribly out of shape, but I will say that my body is not accustomed to 4-ish miles of hot-sun-walkin’ at the end of a long travel day. Thus, I feel a little worn down this morning. Thankfully, BN’er Roy happens to be staying at the same hotel I am, and I’m going to finagle a ride to the back fields today to check out Cubs minor league camp. Hopefully there will be some good picture, video, eyes-on opportunities, which I’ll be sharing live on Twitter and/or Facebook.
- It’s tough to read things like this and this and this about Javier Baez’s continued adjustment process. It’s so early, and he’s so young, and he’s had so many voices in his ear over the past year. We all know he needs to make mechanical adjustments to succeed at the big league level, and there’s good reason to believe some mental adjustments (in terms of relaxation and pitch recognition (if that skill can be developed or improved)) are necessary, as well. But the microscope he’s under – in Spring Training, no less – while he works on those adjustments has got to make it all the more difficult. Fans and media are obsessed with everything Baez does (understandably and for good reason, given his upside), and he’s also trying to win a job and impress the new manager. It can’t be easy, and I’m going to work hard to keep reminding myself that the adjustments he has to make will take time to become second nature, which is what they have to be before we will actually see them in the games. The last thing you want is a 22-year-old player thinking about 10 different adjustments and tips while he’s trying to decide if that pitch bearing down on him is a high fastball or a slider that’s about to dip away from him.
- Moreover, as fans, we’ve got more access to seeing players work through this kind of process than ever, so we have to remember that we probably have no idea what a successful process looks like on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to a month-to-month or year-to-year basis. None of this is to excuse Baez or tell you that he’s going to be fine. He may wind up having to go back to AAA Iowa. I’m simply saying that we probably have to adjust to what this kind of adjustment process looks like when you’re observing it as closely as we are now. There is no light switch that clicks from one day to the next.
- For his part, it sounds like Joe Maddon wants to ease off the gas in terms of getting so many voices and so much instruction in front of Baez, and let him relax a little bit (Cubs.com).
- Tsuyoshi Wada is dealing with a “nagging groin injury” (Tribune), and is probably going to be pushed back. Wada, 34, dealt with hamstring tightness at the outset of camp, so he may have already been a few days behind the other starter candidates (he pitched just one inning in his debut this weekend). If he misses a week or two – and there’s no reason to rush things – it’s possible he wouldn’t be ready to start the season on time, and could be placed on the DL to open the year (thus resolving one of the many, many roster crunch issues, at least temporarily). Given that roster crunch and Wada’s previous tendency to dominate the first two times through the order and then get crushed the third time through, I still wonder if his best fit for this particular team at this particular moment in time is in a long relief role. We’ll see how this plays out.
- Speaking of which, pitching coach Chris Bosio was on the Score (CCO transcript here), and he talked about how they were very frank with veterans Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson in the offseason, letting them know that they were going to have to win a job on this team. Bosio gets into a bunch of other pitching things there, including how aggressive the Cubs were in their courting of Phil Coke.
- If you missed it last night, Michael wrote about Mike Olt’s hot start, his projections, and how he could hold onto a starting job (perhaps in the outfield) after Kris Bryant comes up.
- Also: finally, a game on on TV – today’s game against the Indians will be on MLB.tv, which you can buy here and support BN in the process.