Friday was reporting day for the Cubs position players. Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Luis Montanez made their way to Fitch Park … but two thirds of the ‘Three Amigos‘ did not report.
Mike Quade referred to Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro as the ‘Three Amigos‘ on Friday before the trio was scheduled to report to camp. Soriano showed up after the pitchers and catchers got their work in but as of Friday night, Ramirez and Castro had not reported. Mike Quade did not make a big deal out of the fact the left side of his infield had not shown up yet … but said, “Just get here tomorrow.” The hard deadline for players to report is before the first full squad workout, which is Saturday … weather permitting.
The first full squad workout is scheduled for Saturday but the weatherman is calling for rain (70% chance) and a rather cool day in Mesa (63/49).
Kosuke Fukudome talked to the media. Fukudome learned a lot over his first three seasons in the majors and is hoping to build on the way he finished last season.
The Cubs announced they will honor Ron Santo on March 10 in pre-game ceremonies at HoHoKam Park. On “Ron Santo Day,” the Cubs will hold a ceremony at third base before the game against Cleveland according to the Daily Herald.
Tom Ricketts is expected to address his team prior to Saturday’s workout … and Mike Quade is slated to make his first Spring Training speech as the Cubs’ skipper. Here’s the update from Mesa …
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt and Kosuke Fukudome are the leading candidates to hit leadoff for Mike Quade this season.
One of the Cubs big goals this spring is to improve on their horrible defense from a year ago.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Welington Castillo is expected to get a good look this spring. The Cubs were impressed by his defense last year but said he needs to improve on the mental aspect of catching and handling pitchers.
Max Ramirez, like Welington Castillo, was delayed reporting to camp due to visa issues. Ramirez reported on Friday as expected.
Trey McNutt opened some eyes on Thursday according to a report from Bruce Miles. McNutt impressed those in attendance with a hard breaking ball. After watching McNutt throw, Miles thinks he could be in the big leagues sooner rather than later.
Tidbits from Bruce Levine
Bruce Levine chatted again on Thursday. Here are a few tidbits …
- Levine thinks Prince Fielder is a more realistic option than Albert Pujols for the Cubs.
- Levine is hoping that earning playing time is a part of Mike Quade’s MO … Levine thinks Quade will use players he feel he can win with, just not because they are veterans.
- Jeff Stevens is in the mix for a bullpen job, but way in the rearview mirror.
- It appears Andrew Cashner will make the team out of camp, either as a starter or a reliever. But James Russell could start the year in Iowa. The Cubs need a lefty in the rotation and if Russell shows promise as a starter during Spring Training, he could be sent to Iowa at the beginning of the year to work more as a starter. Levine brought up if that was to happen the Cubs have Braden Looper and Todd Wellemeyer as possible starting options while Russell is working down in Triple-A.
- Levine doesn’t think the Cubs have had “substantive talks” with Matt Garza’s agent about a contract extension … but it is on the Cubs’ radar.
- It appears Blake DeWitt is the favorite to be the Cubs’ starting second baseman this year.
News, Notes and Tweets from Day Five
According to multiple reports, Mike Quade did not have a problem with Starlin Castro not reporting early to camp. Quade acknowledged that Castro played Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic and he was fine with his shortstop not reporting early like many of the younger players.
Todd Ricketts discussed the plans for the Cubs new Spring Training home. Ricketts said the complex will be ready “for sure” by 2014, not 2013 as had been speculated. Todd said the complex will be roughly 50,000 square feet and will have the same dimensions as Wrigley Field. The Cubs have toured the Diamondbacks and Rockies new facility, along with the other new facilities in recent days. According to a report in the Tribune, the Cubs have not sold the naming rights to the new facility but they are looking for local partners.
Mike Quade is open to pulling Alfonso Soriano late in games for defensive purposes. Quade told the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000) that Soriano is going to work with Bobby Dernier this spring on his outfield defense. Soriano worked hard at the end of last season on his defense and the plan is for him to continue what he started.
Angel Guzman threw off a mound Friday morning. Guzman is expected to throw batting practice or a simulated game by March 15.
The Cubs will thank Mesa and the fans for passing Proposition 420 in pre-game ceremonies on March 7. The Cubs will also bring in near 400 Little Leaguers to watch the Cactus League opener on February 27.
Click here for great photos from Tim Sheridan at Boys Of Spring. Apparently Kerry Wood and Andrew Cashner are spending quite a bit of time together … and it is good to see photos of Carlos Pena and Tyler Colvin working on his infield defense.
Kosuke Fukudome met with the media Friday as he reported to what could be his last camp with the Cubs. Fukudome would like to stay with the Cubs following the season but knows that is not his decision. Fukudome said he would like to stay in the states and play Major League Baseball … even if it’s not with the Chicago Cubs.
Fukudome is in the final year of the four-year contract he signed in the winter of 2007. The Cubs tried to trade Fukudome in the off-season but could not find a taker … and they will need him to produce when he’s called upon.
Mike Quade has discussed using Fukudome in the leadoff spot on the days he’s playing.
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it!