For the second day in a row, the Cubs dodged bad weather before the rain finally forced everyone indoors. Several of the hitters took batting practice against the likes of Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, John Grabow and James Russell.
John Grabow faced hitters for the first time since June 28. Grabow elected to not have off-season surgery on his knee and decided to rehab-it instead. Grabow pitched with a knee brace on Sunday and said he probably could pitch without the brace but is not going to take that chance.
It was an eventful first week in Mesa, fortunately most of the headlines the Cubs made focused on off the field issues. As for the week ahead, Mike Quade should announce his rotation for the beginning of the Cactus League schedule. The Cubs face the A’s in the opener at HoHoKam next Sunday. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Quade is expected to announce his starters on Monday or Tuesday.
As Bruce Miles recently pointed out, it is very different in Mesa without Ron Santo. Santo would have turned 71 next Friday … February 25.
Here is the update from Mesa …
More on John Grabow … Grabow has decided to pitch with a knee brace after deciding to rehab his knee in the off-season instead of electing for surgery on a torn MCL. Grabow will wear a knee brace for the entire season.
Grabow has indicated last season was embarrassing and he’s looking to redeem himself. The Cubs are paying Grabow $4.8 million for this season after re-signing him prior to 2010 to an outlandish contract (two years, $7.5 million). Who is calling the shots again?
According to a tweet from Bruce Miles, Fernando Perez is switch-hitting again. Perez was a switch-hitter before injuries forced him to solely hit right-handed.
Carlos Marmol clipped Reed Johnson on the left elbow during batting practice.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs will not make a decision on where James Russell will begin the season until late March. Russell is competing for a spot in the rotation. Russell could begin the season in the Cubs’ pen or if he shows promise, the Cubs could elect to start him in Iowa when the year begins.
Welington Castillo caught the newest Cub, Robert Coello, in Winter Ball. Coello was acquired last week from the Red Sox for Tony Thomas and is happy to be with the Cubs.
Starlin Castro feels he has to make the team and Mike Quade wants Castro to work on his defense this spring.
Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano “are making sure Castro doesn’t get overwhelmed by the attention he’s getting” according to the Tribune. Mike Quade refers to the trio of Ramirez, Soriano and Castro as the ‘Three Amigos‘.
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it!