Not unlike when a big leaguer goes down to the minors on a rehab assignment, one back-of-the-mind concern you have when facing pitchers just ramping things up in Spring Training is that their control won’t quite be there yet.
For the Cubs, that’s translated into six batters being hit by a pitch so far this Spring Training (one each for Chesny Young, Matt Szczur, Chris Dominguez, Willson Contreras, Addison Russell, and Jeimer Candelario). Not that Cubs pitchers haven’t been on the other side of it, too – they’re up to nine hit batters (two each for Aaron Brooks and Dallas Beeler, and one each for Eddie Butler, Pierce Johnson, Jhondaniel Medina, Caleb Smith, and Daury Torrez).
OK, so those numbers aren’t actually all that out of whack with the regular season (for example, the Cubs were hit 96 times last year in 162 games), but still, it seems scarier in Spring Training. Perhaps because the prospect of losing a player from the regular season because he got plunked in March is a very frustrating possibility.
Fortunately for the Cubs so far, they’re no worse for the bruising.
The two that might’ve had you mildly concerned were Addison Russell (who was scratched from a start this weekend after taking a pitch off of his left arm) and Jeimer Candelario (who left yesterday’s game after taking one flush off of his ankle/shin). But Carrie Muskat reports that both have indicated that they’re just fine, and Tony Andracki adds that Candelario says he could go today.
Good, good. Let’s keep it that way.