- Patrick Mooney spoke with Carlos Villanueva, a former Cub and MLBPA executive board member, about the Kris Bryant situation. In classic Villanueva form, he was very thoughtful about the whole thing, saying that the rules are the rules right now, and it’s up to the union to see about changing them in the next CBA. Great read. Wonder what Villanueva, privately, thought about the MLBPA’s angry statement about Bryant heading to the minors, and about MLB’s response. In the end, I still come back to the essential problem: there will always have to be a cutoff for free agency, and, without extreme artificial controls, teams will always be able to play around with those dates. We’ll see if the sides get creative during the next round of CBA negotiations, which will probably be going hot and heavy later this year.
- Through three games at Iowa, by the way, Bryant has played only third base. No left field action yet.
- Dexter Fowler received a warm welcome at Coors Field, where he spent so much of his early career (Cubs.com). And he rewarded that warm welcome with a huge night last night, notching two triples and two walks in five plate appearances. Despite opening the season with three forgettable games, Fowler is suddenly hitting .188/.278/.500 with a 122 wRC+. Such is the silliness of early-season lines and single-game influences.
- Chris Denorfia (hamstring) is set to begin a rehab assignment at High-A Myrtle Beach today (Cubs.com). Assuming everyone else remains healthy, I’m guessing that Denorfia will displace infielder Jonathan Herrera when he returns, even after Matt Szczur made the team. From there, I’d guess Szczur is displaced by Kris Bryant, but a lot can happen in the next couple weeks, so we’ll get there when we get there. It’s possible that Denorfia isn’t ready to return for a little while anyway.
- Our answer on the Taylor Teagarden question comes from the Tribune, which reports that he’s on the DL at Iowa with a sore shoulder. Good to know he’s still around, just in case.
- Edwin Jackson is taking the right attitude into his new role in the bullpen, and he’s already had one solid outing (CSN, Cubs.com).
- Kyle Hendricks makes his season debut today for the Cubs, having not thrown more than one inning in a game since March 30.
- Players are reportedly already receiving warning letters from MLB if they’ve stepped out of the box when not permitted (Newsday). So far, games are running about 10 minutes faster than last year, but we’ll see if that holds, and if the games still “feel” better paced by midseason. So far, I’m not sure I’ve noticed much.
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