Spring Training Miscellany: Rizzo Feels the Difference, Zobrist Sits Again, Tim Buss Shenanigans, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Rizzo Feels the Difference, Zobrist Sits Again, Tim Buss Shenanigans, More

Chicago Cubs

After seeing everyone gush over Yu Darvish’s first bullpen session this morning, I was reminded that, hey, the Cubs have Yu Freakin’ Darvish in their rotation.

Yu didn't forget, right?

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(I posted that on Bleacher Nation’s Instagram, which you should follow, even though I broke one of Brett’s “Yu” pun rules).

I think we’ve become so spoiled with free agent signings (Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward) and big-time trades (Jose Quintana, Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman) in recent years that we’ve forgotten how rare it is to land some of Darvish’s caliber. I am just so jacked up for this season.

More from Spring Training …

  • First and foremost, Anthony Rizzo adds to the chorus of folks saying things are different around Cubs camp this year: “It’s a good feeling. It’s a good hungry feeling. I feel like everyone is focused & locked in early & shifting our energy to getting off to a really good start, because we know how important that is.” There’s no doubt the Cubs are hoping this season is more like the breezy summer of 2016 than the grind-it-out days of 2017, but I think it’s more than that. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and we’ve all been away from the World Series for a year and a half now … that’s too long. We’ve been talking about it all winter, including when Tom Ricketts just said it, and when Ben Zobrist just said it. Something is definitely different this year. It’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s there.
  • Speaking of Zobrist, he wasn’t with the infielders today:

  • Gordon Wittenmyer revealed that Zobrist missed another day of workouts because of his back. But, according to Joe Maddon, there weren’t any setbacks. The Cubs are just playing everything very slowly. I can’t tell if I think the Cubs are purposefully slow-playing things so he’s ready to go for a full season (good news!) … or if we should be concerned that Zobrist is already missing workouts because of his back just a few days into camp (bad news!). So far, we’ve been given no signs that it’s the latter.
  • Fortunately, as we discussed earlier this winter, Ben Zobrist knows that his role this year will be more complementary than it has been in year’s past. That might be best for him (keeping him fresh and healthy), and best for the Cubs (optimizing his matchups, saving him for the stretch/postseason).
  • Speaking of that Cubs infield … it’s looking hot!

  • Cubs strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss is a treasure:

  • This went down yesterday: “On Tuesday, Cubs players lined up to cheer some special children. The team hosted four kids from Advocate Children’s Hospital, welcoming them onto the field for morning spring-training drills,” writes Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald. The players formed a receiving line and applauded the kids as they passed through, before hanging around and talking for a while afterwords. I know it may seem like something small, but head over the the Herald and read the quotes from these kids and tell me yesterday wasn’t a HUGE moment in their lives. I love when the Cubs do good.
  • Theo:

  • Kris Bryant is in, guys (whew … if he wasn’t, and if Tommy La Stella was in, then I guess he’d be the starting third baseman):

  • Okay, now let’s try one at full speed:

  • And … I’m hungry:

  • All that food and no grapes though …

  • And finally, Anthony Rizzo is still the G.O.A.T.:


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami