Vizcaino Throws BP, Let the Exhibition Games Begin and News from Day 10 of Cubs Camp

Arodys Vizcaino threw live batting practice Saturday off the mound at Field 1. This is a good sign for Vizcaino and the Cubs. Vizcaino has thrown his bullpen sessions this spring. Saturday was the first time news surfaced that he threw batting practice.

CubsMesaLogo-pubRick Renteria told ESPN Chicago that Vizcaino “looked very, very good” on Saturday and the coaching staff was “very pleased with his session.” According to the report, Vizcaino was “very sharp” with a “live fastball” and “was hitting his spots, burying pitches when he needed to.”

Arodys Vizcaino said he felt good afterwards and Rick Renteria is being “cautiously optimistic” in regards to how Vizcaino has pitched to this point in Spring Training.

The Exhibition Season

After a long winter and nearly two weeks of practice, there will be actual Cubs games this week, granted it is ‘just’ Spring Training games, but games nonetheless.

The Cubs will take on the Cubs at Cubs Park on Wednesday afternoon. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Eric Jokisch, at least for an inning or two, in the Intrasquad game.

The Cubs kickoff their 2014 Cactus League schedule Thursday from Cubs Park. Rick Renteria’s full spring squad will take on a Diamondbacks’ split squad. Jeff Samardzija has already been tabbed to open the exhibition season. And WGN TV will broadcast the spring opener.

Rick Renteria’s team makes the short trip from Mesa to Tempe for a Friday afternoon contest against the Angels, then half of the roster will host the Giants on Saturday afternoon while a split squad will travel to Scottsdale for a Saturday night game against the Diamondbacks. The Cubs wrap up the first weekend of Cactus League games by hosting the Royals on Sunday afternoon.

Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta threw from flat ground Saturday (90 feet) and said his shoulder “felt fine after playing long toss.” Arrieta said Friday he was hoping to pitch off a mound at some point during the upcoming week. Mark Gonzales reported Saturday a bullpen session for Arrieta “isn’t imminent” at this point.

While Arrieta remains optimistic he will be on the Opening Day roster, he is quickly running out of time to avoid starting the season on the DL. Rick Renteria told Jesse Rogers that Arrieta “still has quite a bit to go before he gets back on a mound.”

Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz returned to practice Saturday and was able to participate after being sent home Friday following a collision with Junior Lake during outfield drills. Schierholtz told Mark Gonzales that he had a sore jaw after being hit in the side of head on Friday. Schierholtz told the beat reporters he never lost consciousness but did see stars “for a second.”

Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro reported to camp ready to put last season behind him. Castro spent the winter working out with Tim Buss in the Dominican then spent the final month of the off-season at a training facility in Bradenton, Fla. Castro is reportedly leaner than a year ago. Plus he changed the prescription in his contacts which is helping him in the cages.

Starlin Castro spent time after practice working on his defense Saturday afternoon.

Wrigley Field

Construction on what is now known as Wrigley Field began on February 23, 1914 … exactly 100 years ago today. It took 60 days and an estimated $250,000 to complete Weeghman Park. The Chicago Federals (Whales) played their first game on April 23 against the Kansas City Packers. Art Wilson hit two home runs that afternoon thus becoming the first player to homer at Wrigley Field. Chicago beat Kansas City 9-1.

The Cubs moved from West Side Grounds to Weeghman Park in 1916 and renamed the field at the corner of Clark and Addison in 1920 to Cubs Park. William Wrigley Jr. renamed the ballpark, Wrigley Field, in 1926.

News and Notes

Neil Ramirez, Marcus Hatley, Arodys Vizcaino, Chang-Yong Lim, Armando Rivero and Alberto Cabrera were among the pitchers that threw live batting practice Saturday.

According to a report from Jesse Rogers, Josh Vitters did not realize Javier Baez broke a car window but pointed out Baez “hit every ball about 50 feet over the fence.”

Rick Renteria threw batting practice Saturday.

The Cubs have started posting motivational quotes on the daily schedules according to Carrie Muskat.

According to Mark Gonzales, due to four scheduled days off in the first three weeks of the regular season, the Cubs have the option of not using a fifth starter until April 22.

Tyler Colvin signed a minor league contract with the Giants. Colvin thought he had a Major League deal with Baltimore earlier in the off-season. Colvin did not pass the Orioles’ physical and was relegated to a minor league contract with an option to signing with another team if an offer presented itself. Bruce Bochy said Colvin will compete of a back-up outfielder job with the Giants.

The head of the MLBPA, Tony Clark said the union will seek to re-open talks on free-agent compensation according to a report from Nick Cafardo.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

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  • Tony_Hall

    I love spring training and glad we don’t have players reporting 26 or even 40 lbs over weight.

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/02/21/dodgers-yasiel-puig-is-26-pounds-overweight-kempankle-still-limited/

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/jesus-montero-arrives-at-mariners-camp-40-pounds-overweight-after-ped-suspension-193833974.html

    And instead are hearing of lively 98 MPH fastballs coming out of Vizcaino’s hand and Castro being leaner and stronger than last year.
    Spring Training is a time for optimism and no I have no thoughts this team is going to hit the lottery ticket odds and make the playoffs, but I do think this is going to be a great season of watching our young players take the next step in their development and see a few new young guys make their debut’s.

    All in all, I can’t wait until games begin and we have Cubs baseball almost every day for 7+ months.

    • BillyFinT

      I concur. And isn’t this report nice by explaining why Renteria said he’ll only need 11 pitchers into the first weeks of the season? ;-)

      • Tony_Hall

        I don’t get why any team would short their pitching staff in April. I just finished showing Aprils game and the logic they could go with 4 SP’s in April, is the same logic they could go with 4 SP’s all year. SP’s would be pitching on 3 days rest and there is no reason to do that in today’s game.

        • Ripsnorter1

          There you go, bad mouthing the manager before even the first lineup of the first game of ST has been set. Negative, negative, negative!

          Or maybe the Kool-Aid is wearing off? Is it time for another snort? LOL

          If you keep your eyes open another minute or two, you’ll be agreeing with me and Cubtex all season long!

          LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            Renteria will not be pitching guys on 3 days rest.

          • mutantbeast

            Certainly not in April;. Kershaw wont be pitching complete games in April.

          • Tony_Hall

            Hey Rip, wouldn’t a kool-aid drinker think that their team has a legitimate shot at the playoffs?

            I have no thoughts that this team is good and has a real shot at the playoffs, but I do see and know what they are doing and because my eyes are open, know not to go off because we didn’t sign some 30 something FA to a contract for too much money.

            That makes me wonder, whose eyes are really closed?

          • cubtex

            We all know the plan. Isn’t too difficult to implement or understand. Just your typical 5 or 6 year rebuild.

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL!

          • Richard Hood

            Are you offended by being grouped with Rip yet? I am thinking I would be

          • cubtex

            Lol.

        • BillyFinT

          The report’s true, 4 off days before the 3rd wk into April. Let’s have a closer look:
          http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=chc#y=2014&m=4&calendar=DEFAULT

          A regular game @PIT 3/31, followed by an off-day. So, the staff ace will start on Sat. again, vs. PHI, with a 4-man rotation, 4 days of rest for the ace. Then it’s followed with another off day the immediate Mon., so the ace will start this Thu. vs PIT.

          @NYY 4/15, then 4/20, then the common 5-man rotation. It’s not short rest. The Cubs can exploit this schedule by playing their depth, position players.

          • Tony_Hall

            3 games would be on 3 days rest.

            Sunday 4/6
            Saturday 4/12
            Sunday 4/13

          • BillyFinT

            Hmm… I’m not getting your math. The #2 will start 4/6, 4/11, and 4/16. He’ll have a 4-day rest. Everyone on a 4-man rotation is getting enough rest. No 3-day in this schedule (click the link above).

          • Tony_Hall

            Even keeping Samardzija and wood on schedule you would need 3 days rest before April 22nd

            You can’t go 5 days in a row or 6 days in a row with 4 pitchers and not have guys pitching on 3 days rest. Mathematically impossible.

            Monday 3/31 – Samardzija

            Day off

            5 games in a row!
            Wednesday 4/2 Wood
            Thursday 4/3 EJAX
            Friday 4/4 Hammel
            Saturday 4/5 Samardzija
            Sunday 4/6 Wood (3 days rest) or #5

            Day off

            6 games in a row!
            Tuesday 4/8 Wood
            Wednesday 4/9 EJAX
            Thursday 4/10 – Samardzija
            Friday 4/11 Hammel
            Saturday 4/12 #5
            Sunday 4/13 Wood

            Day off

            Tuesday 4/15 Samardzija
            Wednesday 4/16 EJAX

            Day off

            13 games in a row
            Friday 4/18 Wood
            Saturday 4/19 Hammel
            Sunday 4/20 Samardzija
            Monday 4/21 and so on
            Tuesday 4/22
            Wednesday 4/23
            Thursday 4/24
            Friday 4/25
            Saturday 4/26
            Sunday 4/27
            Monday 4/28
            Tuesday 4/29
            Wednesday 4/30

          • BillyFinT

            i c. the problem starts with 4/6, no pun intended. renteria may simply slot in a swing/long man, or make it a bullpen day. basically, shark is good, the others is up to their conditioning. of course, a manager wouldnt want to wear off the bullpen early in the month. CANADA! quite a show for a hockey victory ceremony. lots of flags-carrying cadets in Sochi.

          • Tony_Hall

            Correct and that is why they will just use a 5th guy, whether Arrieta is ready or whether they use Villanueva to start the year as the 5.

            Now they may skip or push back the 4 or 5 guy to keep Samardzija and Wood on schedule.

          • BillyFinT

            You know what will happen? i don’t. Nobody’s sure that Arrieta is ready by April. I doubt he is. He’s at best a swingman now, 3-5 innings eater. I’ll rather bet on a callup from the 40-man roster.

            I was going to point out how meaningless innings were necessary to every rotation, then the stats proved me wrong. To my surprise, only 20 pitched more than 220 innings in 1997, and that’s only down to 16 by 2002.

            Most MLB clubs have long practiced a swing in and let go strategy of pitchers up and down. Such is the unpredictability of who’ll pitchmore on 4-day rest than not.

          • Tony_Hall

            Arrieta will likely start on the DL and stay in AZ to stretch out or go to Iowa to stretch out. When he is ready they put him back in the rotation for whichever one is struggling, Hammel or whoever the 5th guy is at the time.

            Guys who can go 200 innings are very much needed and even more so guys who can get to 220+. Just much harder to do in today’s game where pitch counts are watched very closely.

          • BillyFinT

            I preached sustainable pitching. But I still don’t know when the close watch of pitch count all started. I’m to 1990 now, and still only 20 who pitched 220+ ip. There were more 200+ innings eaters, but I couldn’t call them effective in general.

          • Tony_Hall

            Those 3 games I listed would be on 3 days rest if they went with a straight 4 man rotation.

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL – How are you getting by the 5 days and 6 days in row with 4 guys and not pitching someone on 3 days rest….using a 5th guy?

          • John_CC

            If Villanueva gets stretched out like planned he will get a spot start or two. Didn’t he begin last year starting before moving to the pen or was it vice versa?

          • Tony_Hall

            Villaneuva started in the rotation last year. Don’t you remember Tex telling me how much better Villanueva was than Feldman and how he knew Feldman would be the one going to the bullpen.

      • Tony_Hall

        Of course it is nice for fantasy as you get extra starts from your guys.

        • Ripsnorter1

          It is nice only if you want extra starts from guys like Edwin Jackson, et al.

          LOL

          • J Daniel

            Might help them move him …?

          • Ripsnorter1

            To where? The bullpen? AAA Iowa?

            LOL

            You think he’ll have a good April?

            We shall see in ST how he throws.

          • Tony_Hall

            Samardzija and Wood are relevant in fantasy and in our league EJAX and Hammel, maybe even Arrieta will be as well.

          • BigJonLilJon

            In mock drafts Ive done… only Shark has been relevant. and that as a very late rounder. Woods has gone undrafted. But in our league with 20 teams… you might be right. I wont be looking at Woods. I just don’t trust him yet. ! year wonder???

          • Tony_Hall

            100 SP’s each week, not counting teams that use bench spots for SPs If all teams have 1 SP on the bench that is 120, 2 SP’s on the bench and that is 140.

            150 rotation spots in MLB, of which many 5th spots change alot. Let’s just say that Wood, EJAX will be on a team and I would say even Hammel.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Math makes sense… just saying What Ive seen in 2 mock drafts…. lmao

          • Tony_Hall

            We may actually want to consider limiting teams to 6 SP’s.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Wont be needed… have to have RP for save category as well. And if you like to draft the entire Cubs staff as your starters.. I don’t think any one will stop you!!!

          • Tony_Hall

            Not using RP spots, using bench spots. Each team gets 5 bench spots to use as they wish.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I see that, but giving 5 points for saves, so you’d have to use a pitchers spot for a RP if you want saves

          • Tony_Hall

            Starters
            5 SP spots
            3 RP spots

            You have 3 RP spots to fill, which will need more than just closers to fill.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I understand that. Draft and build as you see fit. That’s the fun of fantasy. Was just saying that saves = points but holds do not. But yes… RP’s that aren’t closers will provide K’s and ERA, WHIP help

          • Tony_Hall

            We will vote on holds.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I generally don’t care for that, but since we have such a large number of teams,,, may be a good idea

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree. But if we don’t do holds, we should go to 1 or max 2 RP spots to start.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Or just call it “P” and not SP or RP and let each team build his staff as he sees fit. Allows for different strategies

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t like that, because the amount of starts gets way out of whack and the team with the most starts usually wins when they have 3+ more starts.

            With 20 teams, we have to make sure the quantities will actually work.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I’m not disagreeing with you necessarily, Am just offering food for thought, that any one should be allowed to utilize there own strategy and build there team accordingly. IE.. maybe I want to go hard on starters and not worry about saves category.. maybe you want to use 3 starters and monopolize the save category. To each his own

          • BigJonLilJon

            And with innings minimum… that forces people to use starters. and with a -5 for losses… Im not sure that is true

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t like the -5 for losses. I would like that to go away. It is fine in a 10 or even 12 team league, but not for a 20 team league.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not enough inventory to do that. I think we could use a few chat sessions with as many people as possible from the league to discuss different topics.

          • BigJonLilJon

            That could work

          • John_CC

            Tony, Certainly there is a discussion board in your league. I know fantasy baseball is fun and very addictive, but an extended two person dialog about your FB league doesn’t seem to belong here.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Puig is having great difficulty adjusting to the culture, the money and the acclaim. This is not good. It’s not good at all.

      • mutantbeast

        Cuban players have never experienced freedom. Give him a chance to adjust and to understand with freedom comes responsability.

  • Tony_Hall

    No matter what Mark Gonzalez says we can’t get away without a 5th starter until April 22nd without pitching guys on 3 days rest and doing so in April. Not gonna happen.

    Before April 22nd, they play 5 days in a row and 6 days in a row. With shorter outings (innings wise) in April, the bullpen will be taxed in April. Pitching guys on 3 days rest will only make it worse and why take the risk in April. I believe Mark Gonzalez heard Renteria mention this a few weeks ago, before Renteria looked at the details of the April schedule. I am for just the opposite, going with a swing guy in April to give guys an extra day off in April, versus trying to pitch guys on short rest in April.

    Monday 3/31

    Day off

    5 games in a row!
    Wednesday 4/2
    Thursday 4/3
    Friday 4/4
    Saturday 4/5
    Sunday 4/6

    Day off

    6 games in a row!
    Tuesday 4/8
    Wednesday 4/9
    Thursday 4/10
    Friday 4/11
    Saturday 4/12
    Sunday 4/13

    Day off

    Tuesday 4/15
    Wednesday 4/16

    Day off

    13 games in a row
    Friday 4/18
    Saturday 4/19
    Sunday 4/20
    Monday 4/21
    Tuesday 4/22
    Wednesday 4/23
    Thursday 4/24
    Friday 4/25
    Saturday 4/26
    Sunday 4/27
    Monday 4/28
    Tuesday 4/29
    Wednesday 4/30

    • Ripsnorter1

      Perhaps Mr. Rick Renteria isn’t quite as intelligent of a manager for which he is credited. Sure, he speaks English and Spanish, but if he is going to grind the pitching staff into peanut butter in April, his baseball acumen may be justly questioned early in his tenure as manager.

      “POOR ROSTER MANAGEMENT”

      LOL

      • Tony_Hall

        He has never said he would pitch guys on 3 days rest.

        I can’t wait to watch your roster management in fantasy baseball :)

        • John_CC

          Rip is in the league? Now I wish I’d joined!

      • cubtex

        The cries to bring back Sveum is starting already!

      • paulcatanese

        But, I would imagine that Renteria has feelers out to the UN that are multi lingual to help out. Two languages are not going to cut it for a whole season:)

    • cubtex

      Lol. You have way too much time on your hands. Nobody is going to pitch anyone on short days rest.

      • Tony_Hall

        Exactly!

        And right now I do have too much time on my hands.

  • mutantbeast

    Who would want to face Viz and that near triple-digit fastball at this point in spring training?

  • Eugene Debs

    Let’s get this thing started!

  • cubtex

    Vizcaino daily BP pitching reports brings back memories of the Mark Prior days.

    • Richard Hood

      Only Prior actually got to the majors before he fell apart. And I have never heard any one say that Vizcaino had the cleanest delivery since Tom Seaver. That was actual said about Prior before he started breaking down. Then it was his delivery is horrible.

    • Ripsnorter1

      If so, call a doctor!

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    OMG…why does Renteria want to start his pitchers on 2 days rest???

    This is going to be a trainwreck! Reminds me of these horrible days:

    http://www.theheckler.com/2013/03/02/dusty-baker-given-second-chance-to-end-mark-priors-career/

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/dusty-baker-destroys-aroldis-chapmans-arm-within-m,7043/

    • Tony_Hall

      He doesn’t.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        if you clicked on the links, you would see I was just having fun with it.

        • Tony_Hall

          I did click on the links, I took that as you saying “Reminds me of these horrible days:”

          I was assuming the 2 was a typo, now I see you were spoofing it.

    • BigJonLilJon

      He wont

    • John_CC

      That Onion headline is gold!
      “Dusty Baker destroys Chapman’s arm within minutes of arrival”

  • paulcatanese

    Boy, Renteria gets one outing from a pitcher and he goes bananas. Going to be a long season.

    • Tony_Hall

      If you had read the link, you would have also seen this part of Renteria’s talk about Vizcaino.

      “Renteria was cautiously optimistic, reiterating that it’s all about how a pitcher coming off an injury feels the day after throwing, but, so far, so good, for the hard-thrower.

      “No setbacks,” Renteria said.”

      • paulcatanese

        True, but I also see clear signs of Renteria being a yes man. I understand that from Theo’s viewpoint. Theo would want a manager like that, one that has bought into the program.
        But also see signs that he may be the kind of manager that does things that are dictated by the program and not necessarily his own way of managing.
        Quade , Sveum were both not of that cloth, and it cost them a job.
        I would love to be wrong , but only time will tell.
        I do predict however that as long as Theo is in his present position, managers are going to be hard to come by, and they (managers) will take the heat and be replaced faster than most.

        • Tony_Hall

          Now why would Theo want a manager who is going to buy into the program? Renteria seems like a very positive guy to be around. I would say that his way of managing is much in line with the program he was hired to be the manager. That is why they conduct interviews.

          As far as managers being replaced faster than most, Theo had 2 managers in 9 years in Boston. Grady Little for 1 year and then Terry Francona for 8 years. And now with the Cubs Sveum for 2 years and Renteria just starting.

          • paulcatanese

            No question that he is very much in line with Theo. That goes without saying, he would not have been hired if he wasn’t.
            Then again, wasn’t the same being said about the Sveum hiring, we all know how that worked out.
            The point here is I expect very little internal opposition from the manager’s side here.
            Again the old thing creeps in, if Renteria does not win, or does not show that direction, he will be gone, and sooner than later.
            This as we agree, is a very flux avenue for the Cubs right now, and improvement has to be seen, and soon.
            Unless Renteria has something to work with, he will fail as well as the others, and he will be gone.
            Unfair for management with the way the restructure is designed, but someone has to take the heat, usually the manager.
            Tough business, I would look for a miracle.

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