Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Homer Away, Cooper, Wisdom, Wesneski, Howard, More

The Cubs bombed away on the Guardians today, homering four times and winning 8-3.

  • No broadcast of this game means I can’t really comment on Kyle Hendricks’ start, though I doubt I would say much anyway. He’s an established veteran who is just getting himself ready for the regular season. As long as his arm didn’t fall off, today was a success.
  • Similarly, the fact that Hector Neris gave up another homer doesn’t really bug me much (especially since it was Jose Ramirez – even if Neris were really trying, sometimes that’s going to happen).
  • Hayden Wesneski threw the final three innings, scoreless with three strikeouts (two hits, no walks). He wasn’t facing the tip-top players that the Guardians had available since he got the end of the game, but still, probably felt good to pitch three clean innings. I think Wesneski is likely to open the season either in the big league bullpen, or optioned to Iowa to keep starting. Of course, with Jameson Taillon out and the Cubs wanting to protect Shota Imanaga a bit, I won’t completely rule out the possibility that Wesneski takes a start or two to open the season (even if Jordan Wicks and Drew Smyly also make starts), and then the Cubs figure out what to do from there.
  • Garrett Cooper continues to really want a job on this team, homering as part of a three-hit game:
  • … the problem, of course, is that he might be in direct competition with a guy who is healthy again:
  • Sometimes I think people forget how productive Wisdom can be for long stretches. And in a part-time, match-up protected role (1B v Lefties, occasional DH), he’ll probably put up great numbers. As of right now, I would absolutely have him on the team.
  • That said, it’s going to be very difficult for the Cubs to carry both Wisdom and Cooper, much less coordinate that with other NRIs like Dom Smith and David Peralta, if they want to carry either of those guys. It’s a good problem to have, as all of these guys are legit big-league-bench-caliber players, but the 40-man is going to be an issue unless there are a bunch of injuries (which, hey, nobody wants that!).
  • And I feel bad that these conversations never involve David Bote, who remains under contract (at Iowa), and also homered today. I think I may have to write more about his situation soon.
  • Miguel Amaya had a grand slam in the game, by the way. Lotta dingers today.
  • A little bit from the back fields:
  • It might be a make-or-break year for Howard to stay on the radar. You can kinda throw away last year as he was returning from the major hip injury and surgery, but this is the year he would have to take a big step forward. Only 22, so you can’t rule it entirely out.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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