Monday was photo day for the Cubs and the team practiced on the main field at Cubs Park for the first time this spring. But the biggest news of the day surfaced late Monday night courtesy of the Sun-Times.
Rick Renteria announced Monday that Chris Rusin, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel would follow Jeff Samardzija in the starting rotation for the Cubs’ first five games of the spring. Samardzija will start the opener against the Diamondbacks. Rusin gets the start in Tempe against the Angels. The Cubs’ first split squad day of the spring is Saturday. Wood will square off against the Giants at Cubs Park and Edwin Jackson will get the night game in Scottsdale against the D-Backs. Hammel will face the Royals at Cubs Park on Sunday afternoon.
Rick Renteria dodged the question once again when he was asked who will get the nod for Opening Day. At this point it is thought to be a given that Samardzija would face Francisco Liriano in Pittsburgh on March 31. But that might not be the case. Renteria said, “So many things can happen over the course of the spring that I’m not going to lock myself into trying to divulge something that I can’t really determine will be in the end.”
As Patrick Mooney reported, the Cubs are not expected to try to trade Samardzija again until July.
Gordon Wittenmyer reported “two industry sources said Monday they believe a trade is a strong possibility, although a third source said no such talks are happening.” Wittenmyer added to Mooney’s quote from Renteria.
“That’s a terrible thing to do when you name somebody and then all of a sudden it changes. Obviously, we give you a name and then by elimination everybody starts deducing and speculating. And I’ve got a large group of guys that are very talented, and I want to see what they can do, and we’ll determine that as the days move forward and we get closer to the opener.”
The Rangers and Blue Jays are still looking for a starter according to Wittenmyer … and the Blue Jays have been interested in acquiring Jeff Samardzija all winter but have yet to be willing to pay the Cubs’ price for him.
Chris Rusin, James McDonald and Carlos Villanueva “will be vying” for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ rotation if Jake Arrieta does not look like he will be ready by Opening Day. ESPN Chicago reported “there’s no indication” Rusin has an inside track for a spot in the rotation. The speculation began about Rusin soon after Rick Renteria said he would start the second game of the Cactus League schedule.
News and Notes
The Cubs asked Casey Coleman, Nick Struck, Ryan Searle, Lendy Castillo and Dae-Eun Rhee to report to minor league camp early to start their workouts in case they are needed for Cactus League games according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
Edwin Jackson has seemingly put his (insert expletive here) year behind him according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Pressure did not get to Jackson last year … it was just “one of those seasons.”
Ken Rosenthal confirmed a report from George King that the Yankees have decided to pass on SS Aledmys Diaz.
Cubs Park will open at 12:30pm MT (1:30pm CST) for Wednesday’s Intrasquad game. Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch are scheduled to start the six-inning exhibition that is slated to get underway at 1:00pm MT (2:00pm CST).
According to a report from Global Sporting Integration, reports out of Korea suggesting Chang-Yong Lim would return to the KBO if he fails to make the Cubs’ roster are not accurate.
The Sun-Times reported Ron Coomer is ready to start his dream job with the Cubs.
George Kottaras’ dog is a staple of Cubs Camp according to Carrie Muskat.