I was able to take about 20 VERY CAREFUL steps with my left foot today – no crutch, no boot, just about one month out from surgery. I’m still a really long way from actually walking and doing so normally, but I was told I’m allowed to try this out (it looks like a peg leg walk) if I can do it pain-free. And I could! It’s nice to be able to feel some normal pressure on that leg and the bottom of the foot over there – weird thing happens when you have almost no contact on the bottom of your foot for a month: it becomes a wholly unfamiliar feeling to the nerves down there, so when you try to step it feels odd, unbalanced, and painful, even in the areas that were not impacted by the surgery.
- Yesterday, we talked about Kyle Hendricks coming into this season a little more fresh, and having the training wheels off, so to speak, in terms of his ability to pitch deeper into games and get closer to that 200 inning mark. But aside from having more rest in the offseason and generally feeling better, can Hendricks do some practical things to help him achieve that goal of more innings this season? Well, the big one would be avoiding injury – he missed a lot of time last year with a tendon issue in his middle finger. To that end, he told the Tribune that he is, indeed, going to limit his pitches between starts this year in an effort to reduce the risk of a re-occurrence of that issue. As long as he can stay sharp between starts (as a more veteran pitcher now, you’d figure he would need less throwing between starts anyway), it seems an easy and smart way to keep down that inflammation.
- In other words, to help prevent pain in that middle finger, Hendricks needs to use it less often between starts. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy in need of deploying his middle finger too often.
- Carrie Muskat profiles Javy Baez, from his stellar defense, to his time in Puerto Rico, to his coming baby. An interesting note from Baez that he thinks some of hand skills in the infield come from playing on rough surfaces in PR and in high school. Raise more infielders with crummy infield surfaces, I guess!
- Joe Maddon’s annual Respect Bald event – he, some coaches, and some players get their heads shaved to raise funds for pediatric cancer research, treatment, and families – is this Saturday at 11 am local time. Fans in the area can donate $100 to have their head shaved, too, or you can otherwise just come out to Practice Field 1 to watch.
- A great profile on new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis from Patrick Mooney at The Athletic. Among my favorite lines from Davis is his primary focus for the Cubs: “We want [opposing pitchers] to realize when you face us, you’re going to have to pitch. You’re going to have to beat us. We’re not just going to let you beat us. We’re not going to beat ourselves.” That’s the grinding-at-bat mentality that the Cubs were missing a bit in 2017, so if Davis can help a few guys tick that back up, then they will find success.
- Some Cubs players got their gloves yesterday, and Willson Contreras joked that if he ever wins the Gold Glove, he might ask that the “Wilson” (the brand) on his glove have an extra “L” added (Cubs.com).
- Kris Bryant may not see a game until the weekend, and Ben Zobrist might be next week:
Bryant won't play for a day or two to build some strength back up after being sick. Zobrist a few days away as well. Maybe even into next week for him.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) February 28, 2018
- Neither is in today’s lineup (and note that Darvish has since been scratched due to illness):
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 1, 2018
- Speaking of Darvish, if you missed this morning’s discussion about the 2004 Cubs rotation as compared to the 2018 rotation.
- Joe Maddon wonders if he has to get a bigger animal – an elephant? – to come to Cubs camp now to top Dave Martinez’s camel at Nats camp.
- Happy birthday, Harry:
We could celebrate Harry Caray's birthday by singing to him …
Or he could sing to us! pic.twitter.com/qzKcqOxnpT
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 1, 2018
- Michael is not exaggerating on this description – it’s one of those super hard swings and super perfect contacts that make you do the face of that guy who is like, blinking his eyes in surprise:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 1, 2018
- Use it wisely, Bears:
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) March 1, 2018
- I’ve always liked the Cubs St. Patrick Day stuff, even if there’s no specific connection there:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 1, 2018