Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mariners – 03/08/12

Spring Training Game Five: Cubs (2-2) vs. Mariners (5-1)
Game Time – 2:05pm CST
Coverage – TV: None – Radio:
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Chris Volstad (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Kevin Millwood (0-0, -.–/-.–)

The Cubs return to their spring home to host the Seattle Mariners this afternoon.

Chris Volstad will throw his first pitch in a Cubs’ uniform after the Cubs acquired him from the Marlins in January for Carlos Zambrano and $15.345 million. Volstad is competing for a spot in the rotation with Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, Andy Sonnanstine and Rodrigo Lopez.

The Cubs new regime set out to build controllable starting pitching depth when they took over the organization in October. Volstad fits the bill and gives the team depth for the upcoming season and beyond.

With Jeff Samardzija setting the bar high in his first start Wednesday, Chris Volstad needs a good outing this afternoon.

Today’s exhibition game starts with Chris Volstad

The former first round pick of the Marlins will make his Cubs’ debut this afternoon. Chris Volstad is coming off a disappointing season for the Marlins (5-13 with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 29 starts) but the Cubs are hoping he can build on a solid second half of 2011.

While Volstad did not post a win (0-5), he threw the ball a lot better after the break. In 11 games, Volstad allowed 30 runs on 67 hits in 62 1/3 innings with 49 strikeouts and 18 walks (4.04 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP).

Chris Volstad has been working on grips with Rick Sutcliffe this spring and needs a good outing this afternoon to stay in the picture for a starting spot.

The Cubs will get a look at a very familiar face this afternoon … Kevin Millwood. The 37-year old right hander signed with the Mariners in the off-season after posting a 4-3 record in nine starts for the Rockies last season (3.98 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP). Millwood is looking for another summer in the sun after two not-so-good seasons with the Orioles, the Red Sox’s organization and the Rockies.

News and Notes

Jason Jaramillo is not close to getting on the field due to problems with his legs (quadriceps). With Jaramillo unable to compete, the back-up catcher’s job is down to Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger. Both have had decent starts to the exhibition season but both need to step up and improve on their weaknesses while Geovany Soto is on the sidelines. Soto could make his spring debut Saturday in Maryvale.

Ian Stewart and Marlon Byrd are expected to be in today’s starting lineup. Stewart was a healthy scratch Wednesday after Dale Sveum penciled him in the starting lineup by mistake. The plan is for Stewart to play two days then take one off as he recovers from injuries that basically cost him last season.

Kerry Wood is expected to make his spring debut this afternoon.

The Cubs announced Wednesday that Travis Wood will start Friday against the White Sox in Glendale. Randy Wells and Rodrigo Lopez will also pitch Friday. Ryan Dempster will make his second start Saturday against the Brewers in Maryvale and Matt Garza is expected to take the ball Sunday against the Dodgers in Glendale.

Paul Maholm threw a simulated game Monday and a bullpen session Wednesday. Maholm has been slowed by the flu this spring and is expected to throw another bullpen Friday. Maholm should make his first start early next week.

The first round of roster cuts could come as early as Friday or Saturday. The Cubs currently have 62 players (39 on big league roster) in camp.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • cubtex

    Let’s see how Volstad responds following Shark’s good outing. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats so the team needs to play solid defense behind him. Hopefully he shows some promise today.

    • wrigleylover

      3 k’s in 3 inns maybe he’s learning to miss bats better

      • cubtex

        Let’s hope he continues this but there is a long way to go this spring.

  • Neil

    Castro with the Cubs first hit of the game

  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Byrd – CF
    Castro – SS
    Stewart – 3B
    Soriano – LF
    Rizzo – 1B
    Baker – 2B
    Johnson – DH
    Castillo – C

  • Neil

    Soriano with a homer over the CF wall

  • Neil

    Chris Volstad’s line in first spring outing: 0R,
    1H, 0BB, 3K, Balk, 3IP

    • cubtex

      Nice outing by Vostad!

  • Neil

    Wood gave up a 2-out double and that was it in the 4th. Marmol is struggling with his command. Marmol has given up 2 hits, struck out a batter, hit a batter and surrendered a run. 

  • Neil

    Ackley just hit a 3-run homer off Marmol

  • wrigleylover

    Great 3 inn outing for Volstad!  He probably should be in the rotation

    • BosephHeyden

       Noooooo.  No no no.  Absolutely not.  Volstad is moving from a park that slightly favors pitchers to a park that favors hitters on most days, has had some really awful outings in the past, and really has shown nothing special whatsoever.  He’s a much worse, right-handed version of what Sean Marshall was as a starter.

      The only reason Volstad should be getting looks is to see if he is competent enough to maintain a role as a long man out of the pen.  That’s really about it.  He’s had his chances to shine and has failed miserably:  his future is as a reliever or as a starter with another team that hopefully we play against often.

      • daverj

        I think that’s a bit drastic to say “absolutely not” … Volstad’s is a sabermetric favorite for a breakout this year and his underlying skill stats were solid the last couple months of 2011.  Personally I think the saber crowd is a little too high on Volstad, but I do think he deserves a fair shot to earn a rotation spot this spring..

  • Neil

    Carlos Marmol struggles in 2nd spring
    outing: 4R, 4H (3-R HR), 2K, HBP, .2 IP; Lifted with 2 outs in 5th

  • Neil

    Cubs lost 10-3 to Mariners Thursday

    Chris Volstad:
    0R, 1H, 0BB, 3K, Balk, 3IP; Carlos Marmol: 4R, 4H(HR), 2K, HBP, .2IP; Alfonso Soriano: 1-for-2,

    Cubs pen allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in 5 innings

  • Anthony

    Before all the panic posts start flowing in, these practice games fall under the category of development. What you can learn from hitting a bomb the day before is dwarfed by what you can learn from striking out twice in 2 at bats the next game.

    Baseball is designed to take its own corrective actions.

    • GaryLeeT

       Who’s panicking? Marmol stunk last year too, so there are no surprises, even if it carries beyond the spring. I imagine K. Wood could close as well as any reliever on the team.

  • Theboardrider

    I just got to watch  the entire 30 Clubs in 30 Days.  Pretty good stuff. However I want to commend the producers on that great footage of BJax and Szcuzr (sp?)!  Brett fouled off one bad pitch and Matt was stretching.  Great stuff…