The Cubs and Under Armour announced a new multi-year agreement Wednesday that renamed the team’s training facility at Riverview Park the Under Armour Performance Center at Cubs Park. The Cubs are still exploring corporate sponsorship for Cubs Park.
Colin Faulkner said Wednesday, “It’s rare to have naming rights for a ballpark in the Cactus League. You don’t see it a lot, but we think there’s a lot of value in it. We’ve talked to several people about it. We just want to make sure we find the right fit.”
Reports have suggested for several years the Cubs were trying to sell the naming rights for the new Mesa facility.
Cubs vs. Cubs
The White squad and Blue squad battled it out for six innings Wednesday at Cubs Park. And there were both good performances and not-so-good performances.
Team #1 featured the following starting lineup: Luis Valbuena (3B), Junior Lake (CF), Starlin Castro (SS), Nate Schierholtz (RF), Ryan Roberts (DH), Darnell McDonald (LF), Chris Valaika (1B), Darwin Barney (2B) and John Baker (C) with Eric Jokisch on the hill
Team #2 went with the following starting lineup: Emilio Bonifacio (2B), Justin Ruggiano (RF), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Ryan Sweeney (CF), Welington Castillo (DH), Donnie Murphy (3B), Javier Baez (SS), George Kottaras (C) and Chris Coghlan (LF) with Kyle Hendricks getting the start.
Kyle Hendricks retired all eight batters he faced and Eric Jokisch set down seven of the nine batters he faced.
The ‘home’ team won the game 5-3.
Junior Lake drove in Luis Valbuena for the first run of the game with a single to center off Chang-Yong Lim, Valbuena reached on a double off the right field wall. Justin Ruggiano homered off of Tsuyoshi Wada and Welington Castillo took Wada deep for his first ‘homer of the spring’ leading off the fourth inning. The third longball of the game came courtesy of Christian Villanueva off of Neil Ramirez in the top of the fifth.
At one point Kris Bryant (3B), Javier Baez (SS), Arismendy Alcantara (2B), Jorge Soler (RF) and Albert Almora (CF) were in the game and on the field at the same, which made those looking past this season very happy.
Kris Bryant walked and so did Mike Olt in his only plate appearance of the afternoon. Olt is scheduled to start Thursday’s Spring Opener as the Cubs’ DH. Brett Jackson singled, stole second and scored on a passed ball in the fifth.
Arodys Vizcaino made pitched an inning with mixed results. Vizcaino said he felt good after his outing but was not pleased at all with his command. Vizcaino walked two and gave up a hit. And Matt Szczur made an excellent diving catch in left field to rob Arismendy Alcantara of a hit late in the game.
The New York Mets could be interested in trading for Darwin Barney. Bruce Levine reported Wednesday the Mets are looking for a shortstop and a second baseman and Barney’s name has come up. The Mets have also called the Mariners about Nick Franklin.
Darwin Barney is working with Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley to try to get his career at the plate back on track after a miserable season in which he hit .208/.266/.303.
Rick Renteria announced Wednesday that Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Jose Veras are scheduled to follow Jeff Samardzija in Thursday’s opener.
Chris Rusin (Angels), Travis Wood (Giants), Edwin Jackson (D-Backs) and Jason Hammel (Royals) are scheduled to start the four games after Samardzija. Weather permitting, Saturday is a split squad game with the Cubs hosting the Giants in the afternoon then traveling to Scottsdale to face the D-Backs on Saturday night.
News and Notes
Jake Arrieta is throwing from flat ground and is making progress according to a report from Carrie Muskat. The Cubs have not announced a timetable on when he will be throwing off a mound.
Mark Gonzales reported the Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field will be played under the lights for the first time this year.
Jeff Samardzija won’t let trade talk distract him according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.