Sampson Still Dinging, Assad, Rios, Hughes, Free Minor League Games, Hiura, and Other Cubs Bullets
The return of “Succession” tomorrow has me in massively bittersweet mode, because I can’t wait to watch … but it’s the final season.
- Adrian Sampson allowed just three runs over his 5.0 innings last night … but all three runs were homers. Three of ’em. Again. It’s obviously a serious problem, and for as much as you might want to suggest that it’s just spring training and his pitches (and the ball) travel differently in Arizona, I don’t really see how you could justify making him the fifth starter right now. The Cubs may have had a preference for Sampson to win the job, but that did not happen. It has to go to Hayden Wesneski.
- As for Sampson, I know some have suggested that the Cubs should unload him and open up a 40-man spot, but I don’t agree. I think he’s still valuable as a depth starter who can be optioned to Iowa. You’re going to need many starters over the course of the year, and it remains very possible that Sampson could steady himself, and get back to being a perfectly capable back-end starter in the months ahead when he might be needed. And if the Cubs are going to have Javier Assad in the bullpen, I think it’s all the more valuable to have Sampson still around in the organization – don’t forget, the need for a fill-in starter can pop up unexpectedly, and the guy you might prefer to take the start might not be on perfectly-aligned rest. So you need multiple options.
- Speaking of Assad, who was solid yesterday in relief, here’s hoping the WBC experience set him up well to hit the ground running in April:
- Edwin Rios – playing first base in this one … – had another near homer:
- I’m thinking there needs to be a lot of starts available for him to open the season, at one spot or another. Maybe that means Nick Madrigal starts at Iowa, maybe that means Eric Hosmer doesn’t make the team. In either case, I just want to see what Rios can do with the Cubs now that he’s healthy. He has always hit when healthy.
- Marcus Stroman always wants to collaborate:
- Load of pitching notes from Sahadev Sharma here:
- Among the notes, the situation on Brandon Hughes’ knee, which he’s had drained three times this spring and has also received a cortisone shot:
Hughes said he had meniscus surgery in 2015 and ever since then he’s dealt with arthritis in his knee. When he was “sitting into” his left knee, the bone-on-bone was bothering him enough that he couldn’t execute his pitches and delivery properly. In the past, he’s managed to do so without feeling that pain. For now, the cortisone shot seems to have taken care of the issue, which Hughes says is “much better.”
- OK. That seems … not great? But I guess if it’s a situation where the cortisone shot alleviated the pain, and the pain is the only issue, then maybe he really would be fine going forward? Sounds like the plan is for him to appear in one more game before Opening Day, at which point the Cubs would make a decision on whether he starts the year on the IL. If so, the chances both Mark Leiter Jr. and Ryan Borucki (or Anthony Kay) make the bullpen go way up.
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- Keston Hiura could be gone from the Brewers:
- Will be fascinating to see if a team claims Hiura, who has plenty of bat-related talent, but the swing-and-miss against big league pitching reached epic proportions last year (41.7%! yikes).
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- Oof, sounds like the Yankees are going to be without Luis Severino (lat strain) to open the season, and they were already without Carlos Rodon. That dominant rotation won’t be looking so dominant initially.
- A chance to win some prizes on Monday at Wrigley Field:
- The various Bally Sports RSN teams are going to need to know what’s happening with their rights fees by Wednesday, and MLB stands ready to pounce to try to take back any rights for which Diamond Holdings doesn’t make payment:
- Meanwhile, in a totally separate deal, MLB is reportedly going to make all minor league games free to stream inside the Bally (casino, not RSN) app. So if you don’t have MLB.tv, you’ll still be able to watch minor league games in the Bally app if you want.
- Can’t unsee:
The Cubs Game You Want Recapped: Owen Caissie and Jordan Wicks Star In A Big Win For Double-A Tennessee
Hendricks Happy to Be Back, Start Was Not Bad Under the Hood, Madrigal, Burdi, Palencia, and Other Cubs Bullets