Day Five of Cubs Camp: Feldman and Wood in the Rotation, Lillibridge on the Bench and Jackson to Triple-A?

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.

Brett Jackson

Brett Jackson has every intention of making this team according to a report from the Sun-Times … but according to Dale Sveum, barring injury Jackson will begin the year at the Triple-A level.

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.

Full Report from the Sun-Times

Brent Lillibridge

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.

Dan Vogelbach

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.

Full Report on Boys of Spring

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.

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  • gary3411

    First time in a while it seems as though the starting 5 and position players seem to be set on the opening day roster, no?

    Bench looks to be Lillebridge, Valbuena, Sappelt, Hairston, and Navarro.

    Starting 5 mentioned in article.

    Bullpen is the only question mark:

    Marmol
    Fuji
    Russell
    Camp
    Villanueva
    Last 2 spots up for grab but if these 2 throw strikes in ST then I don’t see how it isn’t Dolis and Bowden. There’s always a chance a young Rhoderick/McNutt/Batista/Caridad light it up and steal a spot but unlikely as none are on 40-man. If Dolis can’t throw strikes then I think the next guy in line might be Blake Parker.

    AAAND that’s your 25-man, exactly how anyone would have probably guessed it a month ago. Let’s skip this spring training stuff. JK I love ST just no real competition this year barring injury of course.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think Dolis has zero chance of making the roster. He cannot throw strikes, and he has only one pitch. ONE.

      Bowdon, if he can throw strikes, will make it, I think.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Dude. Learn to spell.

        Rondon will make the roster because as a Rule 5 draft pick he has to, otherwise they’ll give him back to Cleveland. They’ll probably use him sparingly then throw him on the 60 day DL at some point just to keep him like Lendy Castillo.

        • paulcatanese

          I don’t mind you’re dis-agreement.
          I do mind the first line,”Dude.Learn to spell”,not needed.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Yeah, you kind of undermine your argument with any statement starting with “dude.” I’ve done it before too, live and learn…

          • 07GreyDigger

            The dude part I get, but if you’re going to talk about certain players, at least get their name right. Just saying.

    • Tony_Hall

      It is hard to believe, but the roster is set today. But just as during the season, roster moves happen all the time.

      Bowden and Rondon are the last 2 bullpen arms.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rogerdlarson Roger Larson

        IF Rondon is healthy, he could be a great pickup.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rogerdlarson Roger Larson

      Don’t forget Brian Bugosovic (sp). He could be a sleeper over Sappelt.

    • gary3411

      Oh yea, totally forgot Rondon, I’m sure he will make it, but if Dolis throws strikes I’m not sure they may just send him back.

    • calicub

      Can’t forget Dolis and Bowden are out of options which would help their cause if they have a strong spring showing..

      • Tony_Hall

        Dolis has 1 more option year. I believe he will be in Iowa to start the year.

        • calicub

          Your right, there seems to be some conflicting information out there regarding his option. The cubs used 3 of his options in 2012 but b/c he has 4 yrs service time he is in line for a fourth,however, i also found another 40 man roster that said:
          “Alberto Cabrera, Welington Castillo, Rafael Dolis, and Travis Wood cannot be sent outright to the minors until the player signs a 2013 major league contract, or until Outright Assignment Waivers are secured and the player agrees (in advance) to sign a 2013 minor league contract.”

          I’d prefer not to post the link as it is to another cubs site but a simple copy/paste of the above should get you to the desired spot.

          So not technically out of options but obstacles still remain.

          • Tony_Hall

            Arizona Phil keeps the most detailed info on the technicalities of roster moves and he has Dolis as having one more option year. He earned that because he has only accrued 4 full seasons through the 2012 season.

            The other part is already taken care of as he has signed his 2013 contract.

  • paulcatanese

    The video on Vogelbach is amazing, obvious that he has lost weight, but notice of that was lost in watching his swing, just awsome, he’s a future waiting to happen, and he will make some noise whever he plays.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Totally agreed, he looks great…

  • Tony_Hall

    Vogelbach looks like he spent less time at the buffet and more time in a gym. Good for him. I can’t wait to see him and the rest of our prospects at Kane County this year.

    • John_CC

      He sure looks strong. Kids a beast!

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I don’t like that Baez isn’t in camp yet. As a young guy trying to accelerate his path to the big’s I’d have liked to see him be the first to report. Any more information on this? Such as a good reason why he’s not there?

    • calicub

      I can imagine it has something to do with the fact that he is in the states/traveling 8-9+ months a year and would like to spend as much time with his family in PR as possible. I don’t think you can blame a guy for not getting in before he technically has to.

      Plus Baez doesn’t really strike me as the type who would tries to Impress just to impress I think he feels he can stand on his talents and performance alone rather than wait to be noticed or to further his career… If that makes sense it’s still early

      • John_CC

        Agreed.

      • DWalker

        More surprised Stewart didn’t make an effort to be there early. Bubble guy who is make or break, I’d have thought he’d be looking for anything he can get.

        • calicub

          Lol I suppose he is a different story. Baez is there to get a feel and will have a job in the minors no matter how he performs. Stewart on the other hand may not even have a job in two months. Especially considering how hot L.V. was in the Winter Leagues and guys like Lake, Lillibridge and Vitters drying to prove themselves (you’d hope).

          I don’t recall whether Stewart traveled with the team after he was 60 Day’d but I do know he’s been training all winter hear his home in Los Angeles. While I still can’t blame anyone for not being there before they have too, if it were me, I’d have packed my bags for AZ the second the ink on my contract was dry!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Stewart was not around the team after his surgery. Sveum addressed that today and said everything is fine now.

          • calicub

            Thanks! Information at the speed of Neil.

  • RMercer69

    Very excited for Spring and the upcoming season, feel like we are headed in the right direction and have a plan.