A Happy Easter to you and yours, in whatever way you do or do not celebrate today. We’re going to see The Grandparents today, and do some Easter Egg hunting.
- In case you missed the update yesterday, Jake Arrieta (blister) is expected to throw on the side today, and then make his scheduled start on Tuesday against the A’s. That’s fantastic news, as there’s zero chance he’d be throwing on the side today if there was any question about the status of his thumb blister. Hopefully he comes out clean today, shows health and command on Tuesday, and this becomes a mostly forgotten Spring episode, not unlike Jon Lester’s dead arm last year.
- I still like Jeff Samardzija. I liked his confidence with the Cubs, I liked the way he pushed himself to become a starting pitcher, I liked the way he could take over a game when he was on, and I liked that he did it all at a time when it probably wasn’t easy to keep grinding away with the Cubs. And I like that he still has that confidence now, even as he pitches for an NL competitor. To that end, I really enjoyed his interview here at CSN and here at ESPN, where Samardzija continues to say what he means and mean what he says (whether you agree with it all or not – he notes that The Plan was “risky,” but it worked out thanks in part to the later moves to bring in Jon Lester and Miguel Montero). He also has plenty of praise for Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. I think he’ll do well with the Giants, and, even as he wasn’t the right fit for a return to the Cubs this offseason, you know there’s mutual respect there. I definitely hope the schedules line up such that the Cubs get to face him in the regular season at least once this year.
- Cubs personnel continue to taunt me from afar by coming perilously close to saying “super utility pitcher” without actually saying “super utility pitcher.” This time, it’s Joe Maddon, referencing how impressively versatile Trevor Cahill is in this CSN article: “This guy is so versatile. It’s kind of like having a Zobrist in your bullpen or on your pitching staff.” Ben Zobrist, the super utility player.
- Speaking of which, Maddon reiterated to the Tribune that he’s not really interested in always going with his set “sixth inning guy,” then “seventh inning guy,” etc., instead preferring to let the situation and the opposing batting order help dictate whom he pitches when. We saw last year that he was definitely flexible in that regard, especially later in the year, but the games did generally feature Pedro Strop in the 8th and Hector Rondon in the 9th. And if those guys are clicking, that’s just fine – you just want to make sure that, if the game-clearly-on-the-line situation pops up in the 7th, you use the guy who is best suited to get you out of it, regardless of his role.
- The Orioles are already kicking around the idea of trying to part with offseason signing Hyun Soo Kim, an outfielder who hasn’t looked like his skills are going to translate from KBO (Korea) to MLB. How much must they still be smarting over failing to finalize a deal with Dexter Fowler? For all the railing against opt-outs (and they are, indeed, not team-friendly), his situation is a perfect example of why you sometimes have to suck it up and offer it. They refused – and they were dinging him for the draft pick compensation – and he bounced. It’s weird to think about what our conversations about the outfield and the lineup would look like right now if Chris Coghlan were still here, and Fowler were not.
- The windshield Kyle Schwarber broke, and later signed, early in the Spring sold at a charity auction yesterday for $900 to the owner of Harry Caray’s.
- A little BIF: Justin Verlander dropped a perfect sac bunt yesterday, a nice skill to have for an AL pitcher. Except … there was no one on base when he did it.
- The Missouri legislature is considering a bill that would name the Cardinals the official team of Missouri. You know, the state that includes the reigning World Champion Kansas City Royals.
- Earlier today, Theo Epstein speaks.
- I know physical magazines are falling way out of fashion, but I still like Entertainment Weekly, and I wish I didn’t already have a subscription so I could take advantage of it being $5(!) on Amazon right now. That’s the cost of a sandwich. Gonna see if I can figure out how to add this to the back-end of my current subscription …
- Here’s a thing that happened (no, I don’t think a reunion would work out, as Denorfia will probably have better minor league deal options out there), and a thing I tweeted about it because follow me and like me and be my friend:
.@Yankees release OF Chris Denorfia after he exercised his opt-out.
— MLBRosterMoves (@MLBRosterMoves) March 27, 2016
Is that like shouting, "You can't dump me, I just broke up with you!" after your ex is already out of the building? https://t.co/M82X68BfKV
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) March 27, 2016