Talkin’ Cubs Live – The Split Squads – 03/16/13

Spring Training Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Rangers (ss) (9-9)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: MLB.tv (Rangers) – Radio: 720 WGN
  • Location – Cashman Field, Las Vegas

Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 5.59/2.14) vs. Nick Tepesch (0-0, 2.25/1.13)

Spring Training Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Royals (16-2-1)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: None
  • Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Hisanori Takahashi (0-1, 5.14/1.57) vs. Bruce Chen (1-0, 6.23/1.04)

The full weekend of Cubs’ baseball continues this afternoon with a pair of split squad games … one in Mesa against the red-hot Kansas City Royals and the other at Cashman Field in Las Vegas against the Texas Rangers.

The Cubs make their ninth straight trip to Las Vegas to participate in the annual Big League Weekend at Cashman Field. Jeff Samardzija takes this hill this afternoon with Carlos Villanueva toeing the rubber tomorrow. The Cubs travel roster to Sin City is expected to include Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger.

The Cubs have one more Cactus League game with the Rangers after this weekend’s split squad games.

Pat Hughes makes his spring debut this afternoon and will call the game against the Rangers with Keith Moreland from Vegas on 720 WGN.

The Cubs face the hottest team in the Cactus League, the Kansas City Royals, for the first time this spring. The Royals are playing good ball, and while this is just Spring Training, the Royals are pointing to the spring the Athletics had last year. The Cubs make the trip to Surprise to take on the Royals at the end of the month.

Anthony Rizzo is expected to be in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Royals this afternoon.

Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will call their first game together. Len and JD are in the valley this weekend and will call the action against the Royals this afternoon and Scott Baker’s debut on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix against the Athletics.

This afternoon begins with Jeff Samardzija and Hisanori Takahashi

Spring Training Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Rangers (ss) (9-9)

Jeff Samardzija is coming off another spring outing in which he felt good about afterwards, but the in-game results were less than stellar. Samardzija made quick work of a very good Diamondbacks lineup in the first inning, then struggled with his command, especially in the third inning. Samardzija served up two home runs and allowed four runs with a pair of walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Pitchers get hit during Spring Training games, that is to be expected, but the lack of command is a little concerning. Samardzija has walked (5) as many batters as he’s struck out (5) this spring and allowed six runs on eight hits in three Cactus League starts (9 2/3 innings).

After his last outing, Jeff Samardzija said he would just be getting his work in during his next two starts. The Cubs play both the Rangers and Brewers early in the season and Samardzija does not want to show too much.

One of the top prospects in the Rangers’ organization is in the mix for a spot in the rotation. Nick Tepesch posted a 6-3 record in 16 appearances, 14 starts, at the Double-A level last season with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP, and apparently has impressed the Rangers’ brass this spring.

The 24-year old right hander has allowed two runs on seven hits in eight Cactus League innings (three appearances, one start). Tepesch has walked only two batters while striking out eight.

Spring Training Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Royals (16-2-1)

Hisanori Takahashi makes his second start and fifth appearance in a Cactus League game today. Takahashi put together a decent outing against the Rangers his last time out. Takahashi allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings of work. The Cubs dropped the practice game 3-2.

Takahashi is in the mix for an Opening Day job in the Cubs’ pen. The Cubs view Takahashi as a possible second lefty as well as a long reliever. With Matt Garza and Scott Baker starting the season on the DL, a spot has opened in the pen and the second southpaw job appears to be between Takahashi and Chris Rusin.

Hisanori Takahashi has allowed four runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven Cactus League innings.

Bruce Chen is battling for a spot in the Royals’ rotation, and halfway through the Cactus League schedule, the crafty lefty is the leading candidate for the fifth spot. Chen makes his fourth appearance and second start this afternoon. Chen has allowed six runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Here is something interesting from one of the Tigers’ reporters: Leyland about an extra RH-hitting OF: “We want one.You can take that to the bank.Its 99.9 percent (sure) we’ll have one.”

    • SuzyS

      I saw that…Sori is off to another slow start…I wonder how that affects things?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        If a team is interested and he is healthy, I don’t think it would. With that said, I would doubt anything will happen with him at least until June … if then.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup in Vegas:

    Valbuena – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – DH
    Schierholtz – RF
    Hairston – CF
    Navarro – C
    Bogusevic – LF
    Clevenger – 1B
    Maysonet – 3B

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup in Mesa:

    DeJesus – CF
    Lillibridge – 3B
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Vitters – DH
    Baez – SS
    Soler – RF
    Lopez – C
    Gonzalez – 2B

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    An MRI on Brett Jackson’s right (throwing) shoulder on Friday showed inflammation. Jackson is expected to miss a week.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Other pitchers scheduled to throw in Mesa today: Bowden, Camp, Fujikawa and Marmol.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs say Ian Stewart opted to not play in Minor League game Saturday. Still nursing sore quad

    • http://profiles.google.com/jchickenlegs paul john catanese

      It’s getting to the point where “either play, or get off the pot”. And, he is “nursing ” his dollars for as long as he can.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs expected to send Baez and Soler down on
    Monday. Sveum mentioned could be as many as 10 spring roster cuts on Monday. Spring roster currently at 52 players.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dale Sveum said Matt Garza threw again on Friday. Garza threw from 90’, feels good and
    making progress.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good to hear Len Kasper and his new partner Jim Deshaies ready to start a game.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Agreed.

      I would like to add, it is great to hear Pat Hughes, been too long.

      • Tony_Hall

        He is why I love weekday games listening on the radio….still miss Ronnie though. No one will ever be able to replace Ron’s genuine reactions to the game.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          He would love these kids

  • Tony_Hall

    Ernie Banks should be loving today, not only are the Cubs playing 2, but both televised at the same time. One on WGN on the TV and one on Fox Sports Rangers on the computer.

  • Tony_Hall

    DeJesus with a lead off bomb…off of a lefty.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija with better command in the first inning. Poor location on a couple of pitches, but that was all.

  • Tony_Hall

    Soriano with his 1st of the spring.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Excellent at bat by Soriano. Down 1-2 worked the count to full then cranked a 2-run shot

  • Tony_Hall

    Baez hits another one…..we do have a need for a 3B!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Baez with another home run … three straight at bats with a homer

    • Tony_Hall

      He looks great. I didn’t realize they were back to back yesterday.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes. Cubs saying his homered on last three pitches he’s seen.

        • Tony_Hall

          Ah, the naysayers will talk about his lack of patience….

          If we took away his age, and where he played last year, don’t you think he would open up as our 3B, based on how he looks. He looks better than Castro did in 2010.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, one thing from yesterday … he also walked.

            He does look better than Castro did three years ago. He’s made improvements throughout the spring.

          • Tony_Hall

            Any chance they send him to AA, instead of Daytona.

            He doesn’t look 2+ years away, he looks like he needs to go to Iowa to get a half a year of seasoning.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            With the way he struggled at Daytona last year, I do not think starting there is avoidable. If he does well, a quick move to Double-A would not surprise me.

            I do not think he is 2+ years away, if he stays on the same track.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think he is going to test the patience of Theo and Jed and the 500 AB’s at AAA plan. For him to get 500 AB’s at AAA will take 2 more years at least.

            With the PCL being such a hitters league, I would like to see the guys like Baez skip that level and only use it, if they need to go back down after a stint in the majors.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Would be a nice ‘exception’ to their rule wouldn’t it?

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Tony, I would like to see him at third. I’ve heard positives about his work ethic this spring as well.

  • Tony_Hall

    Theo is in the booth.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Helped with play-by-play

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija worked around a leadoff walk in the third. Command is better today, just missed on the 3-2 pitch to Olt.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hairston with a homer in Vegas

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija and Navarro having problems getting on the same page

  • Tony_Hall

    Takahashi has looked good. Is he being given a chance to go to Iowa and start? That would seem strange at this point in his career.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I hope not, being stretched out for a possible longman job. Having him start in Iowa would be a bad move in my opinion. Would rather see the younger guys have the opportunity.

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t get the long man role either. Villanueva will be in back in the bullpen by mid to late April. Will Villanueva slot into the mid to late innings or be a long man?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Until Baker and Garza are back, they will need a longman or two. Bowden can also pitch multiple innings. Would think Villanueva will move to the long-man/swing role once Baker and Garza are back.

  • Tony_Hall

    DeJesus with 3 fly balls today….yes one went out but that is not what you want to see from him.

  • Tony_Hall

    You know how they say that players will tell you when they are ready…..Baez is speaking load and clear to me.

    • brent carmona

      I know what you mean, im still worried about his aggressive approach though. That’s the hardest thing to teach/learn as a hitter…but does it matter with this kid haha? maybe he can pull a machado from the orioles and get a call up later this year….

      • Tony_Hall

        I know he needs more time, but I think he is closer to ready for the majors than Castro was in 2010. Maybe the minor league pitchers will make him look human.

  • calicub

    Len and JD, here are three reasons both leagues should have the DH:

    1) Even out the playing field in contract negotiations between the AL and the NL. NL teams would be willing to take the risk on long term deals for big boppers because they would be able to move them to the DH later in their careers, and on another note, Either league would have more options for trading an aging slugger, like soriano.

    2) Reduce the risk to starting pitcher. Grienke isn’t making $25MM to hit the long ball or swipe a bag or two. Get guys who cant swing a bat, let alone carry it out of the path of a 95mph ball!

    3) Create more high paid starting players. More of a benefit to the MLBPA and players than owners, but this would also even out interleauge play and the play offs where AL teams have a dedicated roster spot for a DH where as an NL team must put a starting player in the DH and suffer through a bench player on the field or vice versa.

    While I feel like the NL would miss the small ball and strategy, but i think those are two aspects of the game that are falling by the way-side with managers like Pinella and LaRussa moving out of the game.

    WOW back to back 2 HR days. Kid needs to start above high-A!

    • Tony_Hall

      A few years ago I wouldn’t have agreed with you, but I do now. Vogelabomb needs a line up spot next to Baez, Soler, Almora, Castro, and Rizzo.

      • calicub

        I’m right there with you. I think think eventually baseball needs to shift into a system closer to basketball. Where the top 8 teams make the playoffs as opposed to division winners and then two wildcards. While I would like to retain some degree of NL vs NL and AL vs AL with inter-league sprinkled in, I think two leagues with the same rules, and same advantages isn’t asking for too much. Especially as pitching has become so dominant, while offense has slowly dropped off.

        I just think it would be a more exciting game with each League having equal offensive potential.

    • SuzyS

      Nope, Nope, and Nope.
      I love the late inning strategy of the National League…without the DH. To me, it’s still a desecration of the game to even contemplate a DH.
      The very reason I love baseball is all the strategy behind it…like a chess game. I know there are a lot that would disagree with me here…and the argument for a DH…but I still haven’t changed my mind after watching the AL with the DH for mant years.
      Please…no DH for the NL.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Samardzija with a very good outing

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Jeff Samardzija’s final line in Vegas: 0R, 3H, 1BB,
    3K, WP in 5 IP. Samardzija finished his afternoon throwing in bullpen to reach pitch limit

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs (ss) beat Rangers (ss) 5-1 on Saturday
    afternoon in Las Vegas. Jeff Samardzija: 0R, 3H, 1BB, 3K, WP in 5 IP

    Castro: 1-2, 2B, SF, RBI, R; Hairston: 1-4, HR;
    Barney: 1-3, RBI; Navarro: 1-3, RBI

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs (ss) top Royals 8-3 on Saturday afternoon
    at HoHoKam Park – Baez: 2-3, 2 HR, 2RBI; Soriano: 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2R; Takahashi: 1R, 5H, BB, K, 4IP; Bowden: 0R, 2H, 0BB, 2K, 2IP; Camp: 1R, 2H, BB, K, 1IP; DeJesus: 1-3, HR; Lillibridge: 2-3, 2B, R