Bunt Tournament Details! and Other Bullets

cubs bunt tournamentHow many extra innings is the equivalent of a 5OT basketball game like that Notre Dame – Louisville game yesterday? It’s gotta be over 20, right?

  • Spring Training is technically just a few hours old, and we’ve already got some magical news. In the second annual Spring Training Bunting Tournament, which will kick off after positional players report, manager Dale Sveum realized he had a problem with just 63 participants in the field. Who would fill that 64th spot? Well, he nailed the decision: it’s going to be someone from the front office. They’ll compete to be the 64th man, and Theo and Jed will face each other in the first round of that sub-competition. I can’t tell you how excited I am that they are embracing the divine ridiculousness of the bunt tournament – hopefully the media covers it as assiduously as they did last year. Still no TV coverage, though, I’d imagine. Last year’s winner – David DeJesus – went on to attempt three bunts in 2012, all sacrifices, and only two were successful. BUNT TOURNAMENT!*
  • In that same round-up piece from Carrie Muskat, we learn that Kyuji Fujikawa isn’t looking to steal the closer’s role from Carlos Marmol, but he does want to “get outs” and make the closer decision tough on the Cubs. We also learn that the Cubs will hold their organizational meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, so, among other things, we may start getting word on where various prospects will begin the season.
  • Cubs Scouting and Development Chief Jason McLeod was on MLBN Radio with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette (an appearance that was helpfully transcribed by the CCO), and shared some interesting thoughts: (1) the fact that Jorge Soler hit so well against live pitching last year after not having played regularly for almost a year is extremely impressive (I got the “don’t sleep on Jorge” feeling from the response); (2) Jason sees no reason why Javier Baez can’t play shortstop at the big league level, which surprised him, based on what he thought coming into last season; (3) it seems pretty clear that the Cubs view Junior Lake as a super utility player if he’s going to make the bigs at all – he’s going to play all over this year; (4) adding to that, though, Jason said Lake’s “primary” position would probably be third base … what happens to Josh Vitters?; and (5) the changes to Brett Jackson’s swing have been positive, but now the Cubs have to see how he can transition that into live batting practice and Spring Training games.
  • Patrick Mooney looks at the the five big picture questions facing the Cubs as they enter Spring Training, including a heavy focus on the health risks – mostly among the arms. He rightly points out, though, that if Anthony Rizzo or Starlin Castro should go down with a freak injury, well, the season could be toast before it begins (assuming it isn’t already).
  • Paul Sullivan ups the ante with six questions, one of which is the pervasive: seriously, who is getting dropped to make room on the 40-man for Scott Hairston already?
  • A reader sent to BCB a video of Dan Vogelbach taking batting practice out on Mesa, and those reports of him losing a significant amount of weight? Yeah, I’d say the proof is in the (lack of) pudding. Check out the video at the top of this post. The young man looks great.
  • *You might have trouble discerning whether I’m being sarcastic. I’m not. Sure, I think the tournament is absurd, but in a good way. It’s like those hamburgers where you use a Krispy Kreme donut as the bun. That’s ridiculous and silly and stupid. But it’s awesome.

    written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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