Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Brewers – 04/03/12

Spring Training Game Thirty-Five: Cubs (16-16-2) vs. Brewers (SS) (15-14)
Game Time – 2:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: 720 WGN
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Travis Wood (1-2, 17.28/2.88) vs. Kyle Heckathorn (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Dale Sveum’s team will suit up one last time this afternoon and take the field at HoHoKam Park for the final game of the 2012 Cactus League schedule. The Cubs have shown a lot of improvement since the first game back on March 4 against the Athletics and they will try to leave Mesa on a positive note.

Dale Sveum is expected to run out his Opening Day lineup this afternoon against a Brewers’ split squad team. Jonathan Lucroy, Mat Gamel and Nyjer Morgan are the only Major Leaguers scheduled to play for Milwaukee this afternoon. The majority of the Brewers’ roster is slated to be made up of players from their Double-A affiliate, Huntsville Stars. Milwaukee has two games scheduled at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks before their season opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The final game of the Cactus League schedule all starts with Travis Wood

To say Travis Wood had a bad spring and did not pitch to expectations would be an understatement. Wood struggled with his command and the Cubs even thought about having him open the season in the Smokies’ rotation. Wood is expected to begin the 2012 campaign in Iowa’s rotation along with Randy Wells, Casey Coleman, Jay Jackson and Chris Rusin.

Travis Wood makes his fifth appearance, fourth start, in the Cactus League this afternoon. In four games, three starts, Wood has allowed 17 runs, 16 earned, on 18 hits with six walks and five strikeouts in just 8 1/3 innings. The southpaw allowed three runs on five hits without a walk and one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Padres.

Shawn Camp is also scheduled to pitch this afternoon.

Dale Sveum’s lineup for the Cactus League finale: David DeJesus (RF), Darwin Barney (2B), Starlin Castro (SS), Bryan LaHair (1B), Alfonso Soriano (LF), Ian Stewart (3B), Marlon Byrd (CF) and Geovany Soto (C).

Kyle Heckathorn, the 26th best prospect in the Brewers system according to Baseball America, makes his first start in the Cactus League this afternoon. The 23-year old right hander struggled in seven games at the Double-A level last season. Heckathorn was 0-4 in seven starts for the Huntsville Stars with a 7.18 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP after posting a 5-6 record with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP for Brevard County.

News and Notes
Jeff Samardzija made his last tune-up of the spring Monday with four scoreless innings at Fitch Park. Samardzija struck out six on 61 pitches. Samardzija finished his day by tossing 30 more pitches in a side session.

Chris Volstad is scheduled to make his final spring tune-up this afternoon in a minor league game.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs found a mechanical flaw with David DeJesus that they think they’ve corrected. Dale Sveum said the problem could have a huge impact on why DeJesus’ numbers were down last year and have not been there this spring.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – E.E. Cummings

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Soriano – LF
    Stewart – 3B
    Soto – C
    Byrd – CF
    DeWitt – 1B
    Johnson – DH

    Travis Wood on the hill

    Bryan LaHair’sback is still bothering him. He is out again today

  • John_CC

    Did you all notice that Big Z walked 7 in 4 innings yesterday to bring his spring line to 21 K, 21 BB, 21 IP to go with his 6.23 ERA?  Of course Z “expressed no concern”. 

    That dumping of Z was an excellent move. Even if Volstad’s arm were fall off today, still worth it!

    • Zonk

      Did NOT see that, thanks for sharing!  It was a good trade the second it was made, IMO.

      Ozzie and Z is a match made in heaven….I can’t wait for something to blow up down there!

      • John_CC

         Right, a mis-match made in heaven! 

        Think of what some the yahoos around here would be screaming if Travis Wood had 21 BB in 21 IP this spring! 

        • cubtex

          No…but since you asked.

          Travis Wood

          8.1 IP 18 hits 16 ER with a respectable 17.28 ERA   :)

          • cubtex

            And it is getting worse. First 2 batters to start the game with line drive singles.

          • Tony_Hall

            Good thing they let him pitch to more than 2 batters.  Not a bad way for his spring to end.  

          • cubtex

            Yes. Started out very shaky….but you can actually call this a good outing. Hopefully he will show some signs of improvement.

  • John_CC

    Forgive me, but I am excited for baseball to begin for real.   I excited to see what this rag-tag lineup can do under this new coaching staff.  And I have to say it again, I really like Sveum…until he does something to prove otherwise, I think he is the right man.
    “I’m very satisfied,” Sveum said before the game. “The guys have taken
    to it. It’s probably one of the hardest things to get a team to do when
    maybe they’ve been base-to-base and lived by some of the rules that have
    been going on for 100 years — go halfway on fly balls, tag up with no
    outs — all that stuff.

    “To me, somebody kind of ruined base-running 100 years ago when they
    implemented these rules. When the ball is (hit) 390 feet and (the
    outfielder) is going to catch it, why would you go halfway if you’ve got
    a chance of capturing a base without stealing a base?”–20120403,0,5731424.story

    • paulcatanese

      Agree John, I also like Sveum, I like his everyday lineups and what he is doing with them.
      He gets as many different looks in as possibile and everyone has had a chance.
      Like his idea of the extra base and demanding hustle (that will soon be second nature).
      Glad to see the “bunting season is over”(had to get that one in for you John.
      I believe he will get the most out of what he has been given for the season, as you know, a rag tag lineup.
      As manager I think he will do quite well.

  • paulcatanese

    It appears that the chroinc issue with LaHair’s back continues.
    What will be interesting will be the decision the Cubs do on this.
    Do they continue to keep Rizzo in the minors because of last year’s result on bringing him up too soon?
    Are they commited to the idea of re-building and their plan to do so?

    If this continues with LaHair’s back and he is unable to play for any stretch of time, I cannot see that they will go with DeWitt over there.
    I would imagine Baker (since he seems to be a lock) or Mather(my choice) will make the switch as backup to LaHair.

    I would hate to see LaHair’s chance be gone because of an injury and someone backs into the slot. Positive that Rizzo does not that to happen, as he would rather see LaHair at his best and win the job with his bat and not by default.

    Going to be an interesting couple of weeks, as I don’t think the answer would linger any longer than that. I wish LaHair luck, but like both he and Rizzo. Ever wanting first base to be at least one position that has improved over Pena.

    • Chadaudio

      Sheesh!  Stop playing DeWitt at 1B!  

      Why isn’t this obvious?

  • Cloycub13

    Just heard Theo being interviewed on Jim Rome’s show. For those that are questioning what we have in a new front office, just listen to this guy talk. He is so intelligent, so in tune, so matter of fact in his statements. We may not all agree on the moves made this offseason, but there is no question the intelligence that we now possess. Rome was not built in a day, The Titanic cannot turn on a dime, and winning the World Series for the Chicago National League Ballclub takes time. I for one am under the impression that we finally have the right captain in place to make it happen, not tomorrow, probably not in 2012, but soon!

    Go Cubs, This will be a great new era, and like some said yeterday it is just in the genesis stages, growing pains, and infancy, it’ll be fun to watch it grow up into the “Man” that we can all be proud of. Can’t wait til Thursday and the first REAL Talking live, and the first REAL “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!”

    Great offseason Neil, maybe some day you can get that long awaited vacation! Just not until October, maybe just maybe in November :)

    • Zonk

      I personally think Theo and Co. put on a re-building clinic this offseason.  Every move was made with the idea that 2012 was a wash, and looking ahead to 2013.  That isn’t to say every deal will work out; no GM bats 1.000.  But I think the approach was correct.

      There has been alot of criticism here of Theo.  While not everything works out, I do think they had a plan this offseason, and executed it.  The next step is drafting some quality players, and maybe converting veteran assets like Marlon Byrd into more prospects at the deadline.

      We have to be patient, because Theo inherited a mess.  Our Farm system was pretty barren, and even prospects we are all excited about, like Brett Jackson, aren’t really the kind of superstars we need long-term. 

      There is alot of work to do, but I think they are in the right direction.

      • John_CC

         I agree with both of you, Zonk and Cloy.  This team is certain to look very different before the 2012 season is over, I mean the entire team, from the ones on the field in Chicago to Peoria.

        Now I’m gonna sit back and wait to the “no grace period” speech…

      • cubtex

        Can you explain to me this “re-building clinic” that was masterminded. What move “other than Rizzo” possibly helped the ballcub for 2013?

        • Cloycub13

          All I can say is this…1. No long term contracts 2. No “No Trade clauses” 3. No financial burden 4. Added prospects 5. payroll flexibility 6. instituting a plan & system 7. New Manager 8. New pitching coach 9. Slight stadium renovations with increased revenue and finally 10. a modernized and expanded front office

          All of those should help in 2013.

          • Theboardrider

            I agree with Cloy and Zonk 100%.  I believe Theo put on a clinic as well…

          • cubtex

            IMO…they did nothing that any other gm with the abilty to rebuild a team couldn’t do. In fact…team Theo has done a terrible job imo with the Cubs being a big market team.

            1. He added no significant prospects to help in 2013 besides Rizzo.
            2. He traded one of the best left handed RP in baseball and didn’t get anything back to help the ballclub in 2012 or 2013.
            3. He added another outfielder in DeJesus who they have signed for 2 years coming off a terrible year and they are stuck with if he continues to re-gress.
            4. Didn’t move Marlon Byrd and/or Soriano.
            5. Didn’t trade Garza or lock him up to a long term contract
            6. Didn’t trade Soto
            7. Has only 1 lefthander in the bullpen in Jeff Russell
            8. Has an aging bench with no real trade value whatsoever
            9. Hasn’t improved the team speed
            10. Anything else?

          • Cloycub13

            Come on Man!
            1. Where was he gonna find said prospects?? Does Gerardo Concepcion not count? How about Soler if they can land him? (BTW Soler hold up is not their fault)
            2. Ok yes Marshall was one of the best in the game but we had him for one year. Want us to lock him up for 3. Ask people what they think about long term contracts for relievers (Grablow) And we obtained 3 prospects under 25 with control, reasonable salaries and upside (yes I know Wood has sucked this spring and may suck forever).
            3. Can’t argue with Dejesus other than he gave Brian a new crush. But, what if David goes out and gets on base and actually hits over .280 without corkscrewing himself into the ground
            4. Tried to move both Byrd and Soriano. Byrd was and is marginal.. but come 7/31 he will be much more valuable. And you try trading Soriano and that god awful contract.
            5. Tried to trade Garza. Imagine if we got back a Jacob Turner and a few marginal prospects for our “Ace” Oh the screams from the roof tops would be heard here in Madison. And they may still trade him, or lock him up, again he will be a hell of a lot more valuable come 7/31.
            6. Trade Soto for what? A bag of balls? See above about the screams from the roof tops and 7/31
            7. I dunno, maybe more than one is overrated… let’s put Travis Wood there just for the sake of having more than one.
            8. Speaking of that aging bench two words for ya: Joe Mather, signed him, yep he did.
            9. Team speed will be much improved come July when BJax comes up. Maybe they improved Team Intelligence which is better than speed (See Joey Gathright).

            I am not trying to drink the koolaid and pick a fight, I respect you. I am pointing out that this is the beginning, only the beginning, now if going into 2013 you can say those exact same words as you just did, then you have a case. I just don’t see that happening. Either way it is gonna be interesting and much more bearable than the last 2 years.  

          • MonsterPike

            Well, to be honest.  That is not exactly what you would call a clinic.  I think he’s trying to balance between rebuilding & trying to have a team that draws the uninformed fans.

          • Scott

            1.  He added a 25 year old right hand starter with over 100 games started under his belt and three years of control.

            2.  He added a 25 year old left handed starter with two years experience and five years of control.

            3.  He added a 25 year old outfielder who was the Reds Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, jumping 3 levels – from A+ to AAA and hitting .342 for the year – and us under control for 5 years (?).

            4.  He traded a lefty RP who, while being one of the best, was not a closer and was a failed starter with only one year of control for #2 and #3 along with a good 2B prospect.

            5.  DeJesus had an OPS+ of 93.  That is not good, but a far cry from terrible.  Adam Dunn was 56, THAT is a terrible year.

            6.  Yes, Byrd, Soriano and Soto were not traded.  But it takes TWO people to make a trade.  They are not going to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.

            7.  Garza is still with the team.  Complain about NOT locking him up or NOT getting anything/enough for him when he is gone.  Just because he hasn’t been traded or signed doesn’t mean that they haven’t tried both.

            8.  James, not Jeff…..and I am sure that the bullpen is not set in stone for 162 games.

            9.  Has a bench that has roster and position flexibility and can be turned over if necessary.  There are no long term commitments and no one is going to stand in the way of a prospect when the time comes.

            10.  May not have improved team speed, but HAS improved team morale and team chemistry.

            11.  Anything else?

          • cubtex

            Volstad was one of the worst starters in baseball last year(25 years or not…who cares) Travis Wood is a long way from being a serviceable mlb starter(again 25 year old or not….who cares if he is below average)

            And I wish it was Jeff Russell…not James :)

          • Scott

            And Volstad was traded for one of the worst pitchers in baseball last year in Zambrano.  And he doesn’t destroy the team every year like Zambrano.  So how is that a loss for the Cubs?

            Travis Wood has time to put it together.  Maybe he will and maybe he won’t.  But I am not going to just dismiss someone with talent before they have the opportunity.

            And James Russell only had a 2.19 ERA and 1.07 WHIP as a reliever.  Yeah, he must not be very good….

          • cubtex

            I understand about deleting Zambrano…but Volstad is not good. Don’t get too excited that he is only 25 is my point

          • Scott

            I don’t get excited that Volstad is 25.  I just get excited that he isn’t Zambrano.  ANYTHING he can give the Cubs is a bonus in my opinion.

          • cubtex

            OK. fair enough

          • Henry

            Cubtex I have to agree.  I think he did some things that needed to be done.  Some worked better than others.  The jury is also out a on some of the moves.  To say Theo put on a clinic is going a little over the top! 

          • paulcatanese

            I agree with you, have been dis-enchanted with the moves so far.
            Can’t understand the “wash” idea for 2012, why depend soley on what can happen in the distant future?
            I will say that with all of it I do like Sveum so far, but hope he has the backing of the front office if some of these trades or pickups don’t work out,and get something done.
            Difficult to ask or tell fans wait till next year when this year hasn’t even started yet.
            Mox Nix with me,have seen these teams around for a long time, and am used to it.

        • MonsterPike

          Yeah, I agree, that was not a clinic at all.  I think if he had not signed DeJesus, not traded for a Rockie castoff to be the starting 3rd sacker, not resigned Lopez & got rid of some other dead wait, then maybe it would have been more of a clinic.  I believe he was trying to do a little bit of rebuild & keep the uninformed fan coming out to the games by calling it some sort of building thing.  But definitely not a rebuilding clinic.

  • Neil

    Castro hit a monster 2-run shot in the first, off the scoreboard in left

  • brent carmona

    ‘one of the longest home runs I have ever seen in this ballpark’ – pat hughes call on starlin’s home run in the first

  • Neil
    • Cloycub13

      Very Nice!

  • Neil

    Cubs beat Brewers 5-3 in spring finale

    Travis Wood: 1R, 6H, BB, 4K in 6IP; Rafael Dolis: 1R, 1H, 2BB, K, E in 1IP; Shwn Camp: 0R, 1H, K in 1IP; Starlin Castro: 1-for-2, HR, 2RBI; Joe Mather: 1-for-2, 2B, R, RBI

  • Tom U

    Unofficial Daytona Cubs roster reported on


    Frank Del Valle

    Eduardo Figueroa

    Casey Harman

    Ty’Relle Harris

    Eric Jokisch

    Austin Kirk

    Matt Loosen

    A.J. Morris

    Brian Schlitter

    Hayden Simpson

    Larry Suarez

    Brett Wallach

    Anthony Zych


    Sergio Burruel

    Chad Noble


    Arismendy Alcantara

    Dustin Harrington

    Richard Jones

    Greg Rohan

    Ronald Torreyes


    John Andreoli

    Elieser Bonne

    Nelson Perez

    Rubi Silva

    Matthew Szczur

  • Tom U

    Other Minor League news

    Michael Jensen  named opening day starter for the Peoria Chiefs.

    Tennessee Smokies have an exhibition games against Walters State Community College tonight. As presently reported on, Junior Lake is NOT on the Smokies’ roster. Will report tonight’s starter as soon as it is posted.

  • paulcatanese

    The Cubs finished at a .500 clip,even though it was ST and not too much importance was put on that point,as all teams did not field their best(including the Cubs).
    To finish the same in the coming season would be a great improvement in my mind and would be satisfied as it being a decent year.

    • jw

      I am confident they can do that if we can play the Brewer minor leaguers!!! Even so its nice that they finished spring training on an upbeat…previous squads seemed to be just meandering at this time of year. Maybe they can jump some people early on.