Matt Garza Throws a Bullpen Session and Other Cubs Bits

The Cubs received good news on Thursday in regards to Matt Garza. Garza completed a 25-pitch bullpen session in Mesa before he left Arizona to meet up with the team in Atlanta. Garza tweeted that he had a great bullpen on Thursday and that both his body and arm feel great. Garza is scheduled to throw another pen on Sunday.

The Cubs have not set a timetable for his return but this is a good start for Garza as he works to get back on the mound.

Marmol is the Cubs Closer

Dale Sveum addressed the closer question after the Cubs survived Carlos Marmol’s struggles on Thursday. Sveum said the team is 2-1 and going into Atlanta everyone will be in their same roles. Marmol acknowledged he is having a tough time but he is going to fight through it.

Sveum admitted he was not going to pull Marmol on Thursday.

To DH or Not to DH

The hot topic on Thursday was about the NL possibly adopting the designated hitter thanks to a report from Bob Nightengale in which Theo Epstein was quoted as saying, “I think we’re going to see the DH in the National League. Hopefully we are just a few years away.”

The DH debuted 40 years ago (1973) and with Houston moving the American League, Interleague games are played every day. Some think that NL teams are at a disadvantage playing in AL parks because they are not built with the DH in mind.

According to Bob Nightengale, a decision has not been made or even formally discussed on when baseball will play under the same rules across both leagues. Nightengale speculated the change could happen after Bud Selig retires following the 2014 season.

Dale Sveum likes the NL not having a designated hitter but when asked he admitted that Dan Vogelbach would be a good candidate if it were to happen.

Sveum indicated Thursday that Alfonso Soriano, Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger are possible DH options for the Cubs this season. The Cubs have 11 road games against AL clubs this year … White Sox, Angels, Mariners and A’s.

2013 Draft Pool

Baseball America reported the draft bonus pool numbers for all 30 teams on Tuesday. Assigned value pick values for the first 10 rounds for this year’s draft increased 8.2 percent from last year.

The Cubs pick second in June’s draft and will have $10,556,500 million to spend on their top 10 picks. As Baseball America reported, the bonus pool covers the top 10 rounds and any bonuses paid in excess of $100,000 to players selected in rounds 11-40.

Under the new rules that went into effect last year, if the clubs exceed their draft pool by 0-5 percent they have to pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. Teams that exceed their draft pool allotment by 5 to 10 percent will lose a first-round pick and will pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. If a team spends 10 to 15 percent more than their draft pool, the penalty is the loss of a first and second round pick plus a 100 percent tax on the overage. If a team exceeds the draft pool by more than 15 percent, the penalty is the loss of two first round picks and 100 percent tax on the overage.

Full Report from Baseball America

News Bits

According to the Sun-Times, the series win over the Pirates marked the first time in four years the Cubs won their first series of the season.

Ryan Sweeney and Donnie Murphy reported to the Iowa Cubs on Thursday.

Former Cubs’ farmhand Elieser Bonne signed with the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Tom U

    A very happy birthday to Steve Clevenger and Ian Stewart

    • 07GreyDigger

      Happy birthday to Ian Stewart?! C’mon Tom! :)

      • Tom U

        Now, now. He is still a part of the organization. Everyone deserves a Happy Birthday. 😉

        • Theboardrider

          Absolutely, you can tell him happy birthday even if he’s on the DL more than the field. Classy move Tom…

        • 07GreyDigger

          Absolutely, at this rate, he’ll get more hits on the DL than Valbuena and Lillibridge combined!

  • Tom U

    As far as the DH goes, I’ll refer back to an interview that former Oakland GM Sandy Alderson gave to the now defunct SPORT magazine in the early 1980’s.

    He said that the only thing keeping the DH IN the game was the Union. Owners wanted to do away with it, not only because they were one dimensional, buy they were also becoming expensive.

    • Henry

      Tom, thanks for making this reference. I have said this for years. It is not in the unions best interests to get rid of the DH. Therefore, as much as I dislike it, it is time to make it a rule for both teams. It would provide symmetry for MLB. It is not going away so why penalize NL teams when signing free agents. Great hitters realize the importance of the DH as they get older. It also gives teams more trading options. Right now a team with a one dimensional player/hitter who is older, can’t play the field well, and has a large almost immovable contract only has one league that would be interested in.
      The option I would prefer would be to get rid of the DH. Disband a couple of teams. Increase the MLB roster size to appease the union and make up for the lost jobs from the disbanded teams. and at the same time give a manager a deeper bench. Now that pitching staffs have grown to 11 to 13 on many teams. I remember when a team carried 3 catchers. Now the backup catcher is rarely used in a game. The manager is actually working with 4 to 5 bench players.

      • Tom U

        Great response. My post was neither for or against, just to promote discussion.

        • Henry

          Thanks Tom!

      • triple

        Oh man I have been a fan of disbanding a team or 2 ever since the expansion in the late 90’s! It’s just watered down the talent in the league. If this were to happen and rosters expanded, I wouldn’t want it to be more than 26 players though, as it would still be the same problem (watered down talent), but at least these extras are on the bench instead.

        I’m no fan of the DH either. But at this point, it’s here to stay in the AL. Hoping the NL never adopts that rule. I know that means imbalance, but if the league has been fine with that for 40 years already, I guess it’s fine.

        • Henry

          Triple, I would add 2 roster spots that would make up for the disbanded two teams. It would also bring back the flexibility of the roster. What I mean by that is back in the late 60’s/ early 70’s most pitching staffs consisted of 9 pitchers. Now that we are up to roughly 11 or 12 pitchers the manager’s flexibility is gone. The extra roster spots may even bring some strategy back to the A.L. I believe that is one of the things the DH has brought to baseball. That is a reduction in the thing that we love the strategy of baseball.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    I’m against the DH. It was just a gimmick by AL owners to increase offense and attendance.

    • calicub

      Neither of which to me is a bad thing. Bring it on I say!

      • Raymond Robert Koenig

        It’s still not real baseball.

        • calicub

          how is the DH not real baseball?

          People get upset because the DH can only hit and can’t contribute on the field. I gt up set because a pitcher can only field and outside of a few notable exceptions, can’t contribute at the plate.

          While the AL is firing on all cylinders, the NL is operating at a deficiency. Adding the DH to each league would balance these ineqities

          • Bredstik

            The DH is definitely real baseball. I believe all of the minor leagues use it. The NL is actually in the minority by NOT using it.

            I’d still prefer the pitchers bat though. It doesn’t bother me that some pitchers don’t contribute at the plate – that’s what drives the strategy of whether to bunt, pinch hit, or let the pitcher swing away. If you do have a pitcher who can actually hit, that’s an advantage to the team.

          • Raymond Robert Koenig

            Baseball wasn’t meant to be played with a DH. You know that. How about they change the rules again and permit each team to put their best 8 defensive players and a pitcher on the field and then when they hit let each team put their best 8 hitters in the lineup? More gimmickry.

          • paulcatanese

            You know, I made the same point a couple of years ago, an offensive team and a defensive team, just like football.
            I know it won’t fly, but interesting.

  • Tony_Hall

    The DH is only fair if all teams have the the option. MLB will always have an inequality as long as the AL uses it and the NL doesn’t. I would prefer to not have a DH, but since the AL and the players union will never give it up, it is time for the DH to be the rule of MLB.

    Owners might think it will cost more, but fans like to watch power hitters and if this keeps and allows power hitters like Vogelbach to get into the lineup, then lets get it done in about 2-3 years.

    • Matt Weaver

      I agree with everything you said here. But let me add that I also disagree with this notion that the National League is some sort of chess match with the designated hitter. It’s the same damn ball game but slightly more intolerable to watch with guys who can’t hit over .150 in the nine-hole. That’s not strategy. That’s not chess. That’s ineptitude. Institutionalize the DH — yesterday.

      • Bredstik

        It’s NOT the same, because the DH’s batting order slot being tied to the SP doesn’t have the same effect. In the NL, if the pitcher comes up to bat in a key situation, managers have to decide whether or not to remove the pitcher from the game for a pinch hitter. In the AL, you’d just let the DH bat. That’s the biggest strategy aspect I’d miss if they got rid of the DH.

        That being said, the AL & NL having different rules drives me crazy. I’m thrilled that they finally balanced the divisions evenly, so a DH ruling one way or another is the next decision that needs to be made.

  • gary3411

    Not a good start to the season for Pierce Johnson last night.

    2 1/3 IP 6ER.

    Hopefully just first game kinks needed to be worked out.

    Super super early but stats wise our second overall pick in last years draft has not had a very good start to his professional career especially from a college pitcher. If he were straight out of high school there’d be no worries at all but a college pitcher should be much more polished and ready to get these low level hitters out with regularity. Turn it around Pierce.

    No DH! We’re not competing for any playoff spots with any AL teams, let them spend the extra money on a 1-way player and keep the bench and managing skills relevant in the game somewhere.

    • Theboardrider

      I agree on the managing skills. I love the game of chess having no DH creates, or rather the lack thereof that having one creates. For any knowledgeable baseball fan this is a great aspect of the game and why I prefer national league baseball.

      Paul Catanese, what is your take on the DH, and it’s role in baseball.

      • paulcatanese

        No DH, period. The game is meant to have a player excel both ways, hitting and defense.
        All the DH does is take a spot away from a player that can play both ways.
        However looking at the Cubs with no DH one would see many of their lineups have an automatic out 7 thru 9. The DH would help them, but the rule itself shouldn’t overrule the fact that teams like the Cubs cannot field eight hitters, and even at that the DH hasn’t made that much a difference with the Cubs.
        I don’t follow the American League for that reason, as its not a true indication of team play the way the game was written.
        Its also true that it has that strategy of how long to leave the pitcher in or whether to pinch hit or not.
        Too many ways that the DH changes the game and not for the better.

        • SuzyS

          I’m in agreement with you here, Paul…Please no DH.

  • John_CC

    With the 10$M allotted for the top 10 picks – isn’t there a further allotment rule for the 1st pick? Or does the team get to decide how to divvy that money without penalty?

  • cc002600

    DH in NL wouldn’t bother me.

    While I get the point about how having the pitcher bat creates strategy, but on the flip side there’s no denying that watching a pitcher bat is like watching paint dry.

  • Tom U

    For the early start, I’ll put this out:

    Today’s Iowa starter:

    Andrew Carpenter (6-3, 3.38 at Triple-A in 2012)

  • triple

    I’m surprised that nobody mentioned it in here yet, but another reason why I like the pitcher having to bat is when the beanball comes into play. In the AL, a pitcher has no repercussion to hitting the other teams players. Yes, one of his teammates will have to take the fall, but I like that in the NL, it will make a pitcher think twice about his actions.