Vogelbach Slims Down, Intrasquad Game Set and News from Day 13 of Cubs Camp

Dan Vogelbach is one of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system that is often overlooked. Vogelbach can hit and not only can he hit, he has an excellent eye and approach at the plate. Vogelbach is thought of as a one-dimensional player due to his body type. And apparently Vogelbach got tired of hearing and reading about it.

CubsMesaLogo-pubDan Vogelbach reported to camp 30 pounds lighter and ready to prove the critics wrong. Reports surfaced over the weekend that Vogelbach had dropped serious weight. Photos hit the net Tuesday that showed a slimmed down Vogelbach taking batting practice at the Cubs’ new facility.

Vogelbach has been tweeting that the upcoming season is a big one for him and that he is ready for it. And he showed the commitment to his career over the winter. Vogelbach told Carrie Muskat he lost the weight and got into better shape because he wants to play first base and not only be thought of as a future designated hitter.

According to the report from Cubs.com, Vogelbach dropped 15 pounds in the first six weeks, seven in November and 10 more during the holidays.

Desi Wilson said Vogelbach has not lost anything at the plate. In fact, according to the Smokies hitting coach, the core work Vogelbach did helped him both offensively and defensively. Wilson added Vogelbach has not lost any bat speed whatsoever.

Baseball America recently ranked the 21-year old Vogelbach the ninth best prospect in the Cubs’ system.

Intrasquad Game – Cubs vs. Cubs

The first exhibition game of the spring takes place Wednesday at Cubs Park. Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch are set to start the six-inning contest. According to Carrie Muskat, “the youngsters are expected to play.” Last year, the veteran big leaguers squared off against the minor leaguers.

Cubs Park opens at 12:30pm MT (1:30pm CST) with first pitch scheduled for 1:00pm MT (2:00pm CST) and the team will not be charging admission.

Arodys Vizcaino, Armando Rivero, Neil Ramirez, Brian Schlitter, Tsuyoshi Wada, Chang-Yong Lim, and Marcus Hatley are also scheduled to pitch in the Intrasquad game. The hitters better be ready, there are a lot of hard throwers on that list.

Arodys Vizcaino

All eyes will be on Arodys Vizcaino when he takes the mound Wednesday during the Intrasquad game. Vizcaino has not pitched in a game since he has been in the Cubs’ organization. And while Wednesday is not even a full-length exhibition, Vizcaino wants to show he can pitch according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

Vizcaino has reportedly been impressive during Cubs Camp and he would like to be on the team’s active roster on Opening Day in Pittsburgh.

Arodys Vizcaino told Jesse Rogers his “arm feels great” and there is “no problem.”

Kyuji Fujikawa

Kyuji Fujikawa had Tommy John surgery on June 11 … and Monday he threw off a mound for the first time since his surgery. Fujikawa is under contract for the season ($4 million base with a $2 million performance based incentives package) and is not expected back until June. The Cubs have a club option on Fujikawa for 2015 worth either $5.5 million or $6 million with a $500,000 buyout.

Fujikawa reportedly threw 20-25 pitches and it went very well according to Rick Renteria. The Cubs’ skipper said Fujikawa gave him a “thumbs-up” afterwards.

Jeff Samardzija

According to a report from Bruce Levine, “the contract talks with the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija are still up in the air.” Levine also indicated the talks “have been stalled for weeks.”

The Cubs and Samardzija remain far apart in what the 29-year old is worth. Depending on the report, the Cubs have either offered a contract between $55-60 million while Samardzija is looking for a deal in the $80-90 million range. As has been reported, Samardzija is thought to be looking for some no trade protection and Levine reported the same Tuesday. Levine added the Cubs could be offering a five- to six-year contract.

Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start the Cactus League opener on Thursday … but nothing official yet on Opening Day in Pittsburgh from Rick Renteria.

News and Notes

The Cubs will have sliding practice Wednesday at Cubs Park with the main objective to go over how the players must slide into home plate under the new rule.

Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe addressed the team, both the Major Leaguers and the minor leaguers, Tuesday prior to workouts. According to Bruce Levine, Jenkins talked to the pitchers at Cubs Park at the request of Chris Bosio. And let’s hope the players heard what Jenkins and Sutcliffe told them. Ferguson Jenkins and Rick Sutcliffe are two of the four Cubs’ pitchers to win NL Cy Young Awards.

The Cubs see a bright future for C.J. Edwards according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And Derek Johnson recalled seeing Edwards at a tournament in Atlanta before Johnson was part of the Cubs’ organization.

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein