It is the middle of February, several players on the Cubs’ Spring Training roster have not reported to camp and the first game of the Cactus League schedule is still eight days away … so as Dale Sveum said on Thursday, nothing is guaranteed.
Dale Sveum told the media on Thursday that Scott Feldman will follow ‘The Big Three’ of Jeff Samardzija, Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson in the rotation to start the season. And according to a report from ESPN Chicago, it appears Travis Wood will land the final spot in the rotation. It is unlikely that Scott Baker will be ready by Opening Day and Carlos Villanueva will likely begin the year as the Cubs’ swingman out of the bullpen.
While clarity was provided about the Cubs’ plans for the rotation, Sveum said that nothing is guaranteed and they have a lot of time to see the players perform this spring.
Dale Sveum is expected to finalize the rotation by March 20 or March 25.
Spring Training has a tendency to get extremely long … and this year’s stay in Arizona was extended due to the World Baseball Classic. After the newness has worn off between pitchers and catchers reporting and the first full squad workout of the year, teams are pressed for information just so the reporters have something to write about. While the “news” that came out on Thursday was, well “news”, the bottom line is that there is a lot of time before rosters and rotations has to be set in order to properly prepare for Opening Day.
Jackson made a big adjustment to his swing over the off-season and told the Sun-Times that he is more confident now than he was last season. Jackson used his struggles last year as motivation to make the necessary adjustments to be successful in the big leagues.
Brent Lillibridge has a very good shot of making the team out of Spring Training, if he hasn’t already … Jesse Rogers reported on Thursday that it sounds like Lillibridge has already made the team. Dale Sveum said that Lillibridge is “slated to be that super utility guy”. Lillibridge has played first base (24 games), hits right handed and can play all three spots in the outfield … and has played every position at the big league level with the exception of pitcher and catcher.
The Cubs promised him an opportunity this spring and now it is up to Lillibridge to earn his spot on the Cubs’ roster.
Anthony Rizzo and Tony Campana
Anthony Rizzo thinks that Tony Campana would benefit from a fresh start according to a report from the Tribune. Rizzo has spoken with Campana and is trying to keep his spirits up through this tough time. The Cubs are trying to deal Campana during the 10-day window in order to receive something in return for the fan favorite.
Rizzo is convinced that a team will pick up Campana, either via trade or off waivers, but he does not think that Campana fits the Cubs needs right now. According to the first baseman, the Cubs need power and not speed right now.
Dale Sveum thinks Rizzo is capable of doubling his offensive numbers from last season. Sveum knows that Rizzo will have bumps along the way but if he is given 600 plate appearances he will do some damage.
Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat Tuesday on ESPN Chicago … and here are the highlights:
- Levine is not convinced that Dioner Navarro will end up just being a backup catcher and he could play his way into a starting role.
- There’s no chance that Javier Baez and Jorge Soler will be called up at any point this season.
- If Levine had to make the call on where Matt Garza would be pitching on August 1, he thinks he will be pitching for Texas or Toronto … because he likely would have been traded to one of those teams last July if he had not gotten hurt.
- Levine does not think Tony Campana will remain with the Cubs and on Tuesday he predicted that Campana would be traded in three-four days. Levine sees Campana as a fit on a good team as their 25th man.
- Levine would not be surprised if the Angels rekindle their interest in Carlos Marmol in the wake of Ryan Madson’s recent arm issues … and the Cubs should receive a very good young player in return for Marmol when they are able to trade him.
- Brian Bogusevic might have the upper hand over Dave Sappelt in breaking camp with the team.
Darwin Barney is expected to join Jesse Rogers for part of his chat on Friday afternoon.
Tim Sheridan posted a video on Boys of Spring entitled ‘The New Daniel Vogelbach’ … so for those curious to see the transformation of Cubs’ power-hitting prospect since he was drafted should watch the quick, but informative video.
Spring Training News Bites
Scott Baker said that nothing definitive has been said to him about his status moving forward. Baker completed a bullpen session on Thursday and according to a report from the Tribune, Baker is feeling good and plans on continuing his preparation to break camp on the active roster.
Right now Fitch Park is The Land of Opportunity according to a report from Patrick Mooney.
The Cubs execs are taking the bunting tournament seriously. The bunting tourney kicks off on Saturday and both Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were spotted at Fitch Park on Thursday practicing their bunting.
Dayan Diaz and Edwin Maysonet reported to camp but Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon is still having visa issues and has not made it to camp yet. According to Carrie Muskat, Rondon is expected in Mesa on Friday.
Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, Kyuji Fujikawa, Travis Wood, Barret Loux, Alberto Cabrera and Carlos Villanueva threw their bullpen sessions on Thursday … and the same group will throw again on Saturday.
Javier Baez, Starlin Castro, Junior Lake, Ian Stewart, Josh Vitters, Jorge Soler and Alfonso Soriano are the only position players not in camp according to a report from Carrie Muskat … reporting date for position players is Saturday.
According to a report from Bruce Levine, Carlos Marmol hopes to be a Cub in ‘13 and beyond.
Kyuji Fujikawa was in mid-season form on Thursday and he is slated to pitch in the eighth inning when the season begins. According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Fujikawa is adjusting quickly to the Cubs and the U.S.
Dale Sveum and some of his coaching staff toured the construction site of the Cubs’ new Spring Training facility on Wednesday. Sveum helped with some of the planning and feels the improved facilities will help lure free agents to the Cubs.