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Davis’s Unconcerning Debut, Almora’s Calf, Candelario’s Heat, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The kiddos busted out a spontaneous dance party in the car on the way to school this morning, which was an exceedingly pleasant way to start the day. The only rub is that I now have “Can’t Stop the Feeling” stuck in my head, probably for the duration of the day.

  • New Cubs closer Wade Davis had an inauspicious spring debut, giving up three well-struck hits and a walk, while recording just one out. As you would hope and expect, though, he’s got a pretty “meh” attitude about it (Cubs.com): “I don’t know what my Spring Training has been like as far as numbers. Whatever happens here, I guess doesn’t really matter.” As long as Davis gets himself physically ready for the season, he’s quite right that whatever happens with his numbers in Spring Training don’t matter. I did figure I’d check, though, out of curiosity: for his career, Davis’s spring numbers are pretty ugly. He sports a 5.07 ERA over 119.0 innings, allowing 138 hits, with 96 strikeouts and 48 walks. In recent years, since his conversion to the bullpen, the numbers are much better, but not overwhelming like his regular season numbers. So, yeah, nothing to see here.

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  • Albert Almora Jr. left yesterday’s game after the first inning, before he took a plate appearance, due to left calf soreness (Cubs.com). It turns out he fouled a ball off of his calf back on February 28, and it’s been sore since then. It doesn’t sound serious, but I’ll admit that I don’t love hearing that the injury occurred so long ago and he’s still feeling sufficient discomfort to get pulled from a game a week later. Obviously it’s still only Spring Training, so it doesn’t take much at all to get pulled (and it’s not like Almora is totally out of whack, as evidenced by his great plays in center field this past week, and his grand slam this weekend). It’s a fair bet that Almora will get some time to rest and hopefully knock out any lingering soreness before we get too close to Opening Day. UPDATE: Good stuff:

  • Jesse Rogers spoke with some Cubs players about MLB’s new anti-hazing rules, which prohibit teams from making players dress up like the other gender (or other offensive race/nationality/sexual orientation/etc. ways). As you might expect, players don’t love being told what they can and can’t do when it comes to bonding experiences, so I completely understand and respect the player reactions, most of which were thoughtful. I would say only this, though: making younger teammates dress up and or get out of their comfort zone is not barred. There are plenty of ways to give the younger players that experience (if it’s deemed important or necessary) without the ugliness that can come – intended or not – from making men dress as women as a joke. I don’t believe MLB was trying to “protect” players from hazing so much as trying to respect female and LGBTQ fans. This change merits discussion, but it doesn’t have to be a “thing.”

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  • Another hot spring for Jeimer Candelario is netting him plenty of praise, including from his manager Joe Maddon (CSN): “I have a lot of faith in this kid …. For me, the maturation for him is he feels good in his own skin. When that happens, heads up. It’s like finding your voice; he’s not quite there yet, but he’s approaching that Stage 3: I belong here, I can do this. He’s getting real close to that, from what I can gather. And once he really arrives there, heads up, ’cause he’s got some big-boy tools.” Maddon added that he understands why Candelario may have struggled a bit to open to the 2016 minor league season, given that he’d been so fantastic in Spring Training, and it may have created unrealistic expectations about his timeline or about how easy it is to succeed, and then it can cause a young player to press. But, by the end of the year, Candelario was raking at AAA Iowa. I can’t wait to see what he does this year, and how it all plays out for him.
  • I very much feel this way, but I hadn’t articulated it. Well done, Michael:


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  • The Ring Bearer contest winners have been announced:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.