Dealing with a Very Crowded Outfield and Other Bullets

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Dealing with a Very Crowded Outfield and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

alfonso soriano hittingI’m taking The Little Girl to her first dance class this morning. I’m a Dance Mom!

  • The Cubs did some roster-movin’ late yesterday in advance of the game, though neither had any impact on the big league roster. Steve Clevenger, who’s been out with an oblique strain, saw his rehab stint come to an end, so the Cubs had to activate him from the 60-day DL. They did so, and he was optioned to AAA Iowa (where he already was – insert joke about him taking three days to report). To open up a spot on the 40-man roster for Clevenger, the Cubs moved Zach Putnam to the 60-day disabled list as he deals with the bone spurs in his elbow.
  • Travis Wood’s 2013 season has been something of a revelation, but it doesn’t sound like there’s some dramatic secret sauce change to his success. “Things are going good in that aspect,” Wood said, per “I feel I’m more advanced as a pitcher. I’m not just up there throwing. I have a game plan and how I want to attack hitters and the offspeed stuff is better and command is better.” The secret to being a better pitcher? Pitch better.
  • Dale Sveum already perceives a potential issue when David DeJesus returns from the disabled list in a couple weeks (hopefully), because the outfield is already crowded. “You’re gonna have to see what happens because a couple of them might be part of our future,” Sveum said, per CSN, referring to Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic. “They’re left-handed hitters that are athletes, two-way players that can hit the ball out of the ballpark. So we’ll work it [out and] figure out the playing time.” It’s not an issue this week, as Alfonso Soriano can DH, and Sweeney and Bogusevic can each still start. But by this time next week, assuming a trade hasn’t already sorted things out, Sveum is going to be presented with the unenviable task of sorting out who should start and who should be benched (and that’s with Julio Borbon and Scott Hairston already on the bench – there is zero chance the Cubs keep seven outfielders on the roster, by the way, so something’s going to happen when DeJesus comes back, for starters). It’s not easy to bench a player like Soriano, who has the veteran status and the track record (and, well, the big contract), and it’s even harder when there are trade implications. I have a very hard time seeing the Cubs putting Soriano on the bench in favor of anyone in advance of the Trade Deadline. There may not be any trades to be had, but they’re going to want the option. And benching – or even platooning – Soriano would kill that option. Whatever happens, I suspect the glut will be solved come August 1.
  • It doesn’t sound like Dale Sveum thinks Starlin Castro’s troubles are behind him just yet. “I think the mechanics of his swing are probably the same,” Sveum said, per Carrie Muskat. “He’s mixed in some hits which are nice. That’s usually what gets you going sometimes. He’s still struggling a little bit with the fastball. The mechanics are the same. Hopefully, he keeps gradually understanding what he has to do.” In other words, Sveum would like to see Castro actually implementing whatever mechanical changes they’ve been discussing (“quieting his movement” before the pitch is probably one of them).
  • Scott Baker, who’s been out all year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last April (and then a setback in Spring Training), is throwing simulated games in Arizona, and Sveum told the media that his velocity has been good. Don’t get too excited just yet, though. He still is not expected back until August at the earliest.
  • If you missed the turnout in Grant Park to celebrate the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory, you’re going to want to check this out and muse upon what Chicago would look like if the Cubs won it all. (And you should “like” the BN Facebook page while you’re there.)

Author: Brett Taylor

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