With only five games left in Arizona and seven games remaining on their practice schedule, the Cubs are exploring all options to fill the last two spots on the roster. It appears that 23 of the 25 spots on the Opening Day roster are filled, with only one spot in the pen and one spot on the bench still available.
The Cubs are looking primarily for a utility infielder as players become available during the final days of Spring Training. Steve Clevenger still has a very good chance of ending up on the Opening Day roster. The team reportedly likes the versatility that Clevenger could provide them late in games.
Comcast SportsNet reported that the Cubs are not inclined to sign Bill Hall, despite his relationship with Dale Sveum, and Chone Figgins does not appear to be on the Cubs’ radar. The Sun-Times added that any player the Cubs might consider would have to beat out Steve Clevenger for the last bench spot. Dale Sveum said Saturday that he will be sitting down with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the coaching staff to look at the list of available players and see if there are any that fit the Cubs needs.
Starlin Castro celebrates his 23rd birthday on Sunday (March 24) … and what a resume he has put together at the big league level in just two full seasons. Castro owns a career line of .297/.336/.425/.761 in 445 big league games with 529 hits, 96 doubles, 26 triples and 27 home runs.
As the last week of Spring Training begins, the Cubs equipment truck leaves for Chicago on Wednesday and the team breaks camp on Thursday after the final game at HoHoKam Park against the Mariners. The Cubs wrap up their exhibition schedule in Houston on Saturday … and the Rangers and Astros open the 2013 season next Sunday night.
Scott Baker is scheduled to have his right elbow examined by Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Sunday. Baker told the media on Saturday that his elbow felt much better than it did six days ago. Dr. Gryzlo is making the trip from Chicago to Arizona to do a more in depth exam to determine if what the medical staff saw in the MRI was correct. The Cubs were concerned enough about what the MRI revealed to shut him down until the team orthopedist could examine him.
Scott Baker will likely stay in Mesa for Extended Spring Training … the Cubs have not put a timetable on Baker’s return.
David Kaplan spoke to a scout he knows about the Cubs and Kaplan shared what he learned via Twitter on Saturday morning. The scout told Kaplan that if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer remain committed to their plan they could build a monster. The Cubs have the resources and the prospects to do so. The question remains if they will have the guts to do it. The scout feels like the Cubs are building the organization the right way and the key is to keep stockpiling talent. The scout added that Epstein and Hoyer are doing what everyone in baseball feared. They are developing talent and have big money to spend in a winnable division.
The same scout told David Kaplan that he knows the Cubs want to take a college pitcher with the second pick in the draft but if Mark Appel goes number one they could end up selecting the best position player available.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Scott Feldman is expected to stay behind in Mesa when the rest of the team departs for Houston on Thursday. Feldman will make his final spring tune-up in a Minor League game on March 31 (scheduled to throw 50 pitches).
The Cubs are hopeful that Brett Jackson will be able to play in a Cactus League game this week. Jackson was able to hit and throw on Friday after resting for a week. Jackson is dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder.
While Alberto Gonzalez remains in camp, the Cubs appear to be leaning toward Steve Clevenger for the last bench spot with the way the roster is currently constructed.
Dusty Baker gave Dave Sappelt his nickname, Might Mite. Gordon Wittenmyer spoke with Sappelt about the trade that landed him with the Cubs … and the deal in which the Cubs received two players that will be on their Opening Day roster.
Dale Sveum said the Cubs are not leaning toward any of the four relievers remaining in camp battling for the last spot in the pen. Three non-roster invites, Hisanori Takahashi, Cory Wade and Zach Putnam, along with Rafael Dolis are in the mix for the final spot.