I’m going to take The Wife and The Little Girl to the back fields today, to show them what that’s about. Here’s hoping they, too, have the baseball nerd gene, and find it as engaging as I do.
- Soon enough, Kris Bryant and Mike Olt will be working in the outfield, according to Cubs manager Joe Maddon (Tribune). Whether that means we’ll actually see them out there in games remains to be seen, but versatility has been the name of the game from day one, and having Bryant and Olt, in particular, able to play in the outfield could be important as the season goes on. For example, as Bryant is ready to come up, if the Cubs are committed to having him at third base, Olt may have to show he can play will in left field to keep getting starts. Alternatively, maybe outfield is where Bryant ends up long-term, and the Cubs decide to make that move sooner rather than later, depending on the team’s needs this season. Given the Cubs’ lack of starting-caliber outfield depth, the team is one injury away from having a real situation on its hands. Thus, again, knowing that Bryant or Olt could handle the job if necessary would be reassuring. It’s also nice to know that in-game maneuvering could be possible, if necessary, during the season.
- Speaking of which, it’s been reassuring – so far – to see Tommy La Stella adequately (or better) handling third base, defensively. He’s brand new to the position, but he’s looked very good there. That could help if there’s some necessary position shuffling down the road, but it could also help just to have another position where La Stella’s lefty, high-contact bat can get in the lineup.
- Maddon has been adamant, by the way, that the shoulder fatigue that scratched Bryant from third base this weekend, and could keep him out yesterday and today, is not anything they’re worried about (Sun-Times).
- I’ll have to have much more on this soon, because it’s so densely-packed with interesting stuff, but here’s Sahadev Sharma with a deep dive on what Javier Baez is working on these days.
- Good news on Tsuyoshi Wada, who was removed from Friday’s game after his troublesome groin started barking – he was able to throw live BP the very next day (Cubs.com). It’s not yet been determined what the next step is, and even if he starts throwing regularly in games from here on out, I still think he’s probably not going to be able to build up enough into a starting role by the time the season opens. But if he’s available by then as a bullpen option, he’s still right up there as possibly the best long relief/multi-inning arm the Cubs have.
- Joe Maddon isn’t surprised to see Kris Bryant hitting a lot of homers in Spring Training because Bryant hit a lot of homers in the minors – ipso facto, lot’s of homers (CSN).
- The South Bend Cubs have another awesome promotion lined up:
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) March 13, 2015
- Those jerseys are hilariously awesome.
- If you missed the great play that pretty much ended the Reds’ hopes of a comeback yesterday:
- Obviously that’s a great field and throw by Rubi Silva, but I was particularly impressed by the way Kyle Schwarber received the throw – it was a little up the line, and he was probably in just about as good of position as he could be without blocking the runner. Only a clean receipt and very quick turn and dive would get the runner, and he pulled it off. His receiving and blocking skills might still be a work in progress, but the guy is very clearly a great athlete.
- If you missed anything this weekend, including a couple new pieces from Luis, make sure to check the weekend catch-up.