ONE WEEK to Opening Day at Wrigley Field. Tiny bit of hype building?
• Adbert Alzolay is expected to start tonight in the Cubs’ Cactus League game, his first such appearance in almost two weeks. David Ross on Alzolay, who has been working at the back fields lately rather than appearing in Cactus League games (Marquee): “The main thing is working on continuing to execute pitches, making sure that slider shape stays where it was at last year. I think that was a real turning point for him and his career and the pitch shape that he developed and worked on and really got outs. That was a real weapon. Just continue to monitor that and then going out there and competing. … He is a guy that is really gonna help us out and so balancing [innings management] with his development process with how the roster shakes out – all that stuff comes into play.”
• I won’t read TOO much into that, but it sounds like what you’d say if a guy didn’t show up and blow the doors off the place in such an obvious way that you absolutely have to carry him out of the gate no matter what (and, specifically, it sounds like he’s lost his new slider for the moment). So, with an option remaining – and maybe the Cubs had a sense that it was coming – the team is electing to really get to work with Alzolay like they did last year at the alternate site, rather than pushing him to be ready to compete for Opening Day. Given the innings limit he might face anyway, this really might wind up the best thing for him. Consider how awesome he looked after his work at the alt site last year.
• … or maybe he comes out tonight looking insane again, and we all tell ourselves that actually he should be in the rotation to open the season. Spring Training!
• I’m ready for this to become a freezing cold take in a couple years, but based on age (28), plausible breakout last year (he was sneaky dominant), and the chance that maybe he’d be open to locking down a huge chunk right now, I think the Cubs should swoop in and offer Zach Davies a five-year extension right now. I know that sounds like a lot – and it would depend on the dollars – but you’ve gotta make it worth his while to forgo free agency, and you’re rolling the dice *in advance of this year* precisely because if he shows out, then he’s going to get a whole lot more in free agency. It’s a risk, but it’s a risk that has some limited downside (his skill set figures to age well and leave him at least a useful pitcher for a while), and it has a ton of upside.
• Austin Romine is still dealing with “mobility issues” in his right knee (Bastian), so even though he’s doing “light” baseball work, there’s basically no chance he’s ready for Opening Day. P.J. Higgins will be the Cubs’ back-up catcher to open the season, and the Cubs will need to open up a 40-man spot for him next week (heck, if Romine’s knee is still struggling, it’s possible his own placement on the 60-day IL will open the spot for Higgins).
• Speaking of injury recoveries, another nice step for Rowan Wick, who won’t be ready for Opening Day, but now looks pretty unlikely to go on the 60-day IL:
Cubs reliever Rowan Wick got off the mound again this afternoon for about 10 pitches or so as he recovers from an intercostal injury.
"That he's off the bump and being able to let it rip is encouraging," Ross said yesterday. "It's exciting for him; it's exciting for us." pic.twitter.com/Gcsw9LK3ow
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) March 25, 2021
• Heads up for those of you who want a no-brainer from PointsBet:
Heads up to a NO-BRAINER this weekend for new players at PointsBet.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 25, 2021
• If you want to read David Ross loving on Wrigley Field:
Here’s Cubs manager David Ross, waxing poetic about Wrigley Field and having fans in the old ballpark and around the neighbohood once again ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/VMjVkDslbX
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 24, 2021
When you realize you're finally going to get to manage in front of fans at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/eqlf4jywus
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 24, 2021
• Matt Harvey making a big league Opening Day roster in 2021 is not something I had on my bingo card, but I say what the heck, it’s cool:
The Orioles announce they have selected the contract of RHP Matt Harvey. He had an opt-out that could be triggered Wednesday and Os had 48 hours after that to add him or release him. The club’s 40-man roster is now — currently — full.
— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) March 25, 2021
• Eloy Jimenez hurt himself trying to rob a homer yesterday, and no real update yet:
The White Sox official announcement on Eloy Jiménez is left shoulder discomfort after catching his arm on the left field fence today. He will be further evaluated Thursday.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) March 24, 2021
Lance Lynn said he poked his head into the trainer’s room and said Eloy Jiménez seems to be “in good spirits” but since he went straight to the complex and not through the dugout, his teammates didn’t get much of a chance to see how he was doing
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) March 24, 2021
• Randomly, bring back Sammy:
9/12/1998: Here’s the moment Sammy Sosa became the fourth #MLB player ever to hit 60 homers in a single season. That hop out of the box will always be classic. #Cubs #FlyTheW (via MLB) @BaseballBros @BleacherNation pic.twitter.com/yxulmBOffH
— MLBDailyDingers (@MLBDailyDingers) March 24, 2021
• Decanters, earbuds, science kits, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Our latest podcast episode:
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 24, 2021
• Cheers to Jason Benetti:
Today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.
I have CP.
I could write one of those 1/? threads, but I'll leave it at this:
Everyone with CP can do more than you think.
— Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti) March 25, 2021
• It’s Trade Deadline Day in the NBA, so make sure you’re following us on Twitter and smacking that like button on Facebook: