Baez Could See Time at Second Base Soon, Samardzija Rumors and Other Cubs Spring Training News

Javier Baez appears to be close to playing second base or third base in a Spring Training game. According to a report from ESPN Chicago, expect Baez to start at second base before long. And when he does, Darwin Barney will lineup at shortstop. Baez has been getting reps at both positions during morning practices.

Javier Baez told ESPN Chicago that he is ready for what the team wants him to do, but he thinks a transition to second base would be easier for him and he is “feeling more comfortable at second base.”

Jeff Samardzija

With the Braves in search of options to fill two spots in their starting rotation, the Cubs and Braves could re-open talks for Samardzija that began this winter.

CubsMesaLogo-pubIt is unlikely at this point the Braves would meet the Cubs asking price for Samardzija and may just wait until other options present themselves. Jon Heyman reported Tuesday the Braves “are believed to like Samardzija very much.”

The Braves were not believed to be one of the teams on hand to scout Samardzija during Monday’s start. According to the Sun-Times, scouts from at least a dozen teams including the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Twins, Pirates and Orioles were in Scottsdale to watch Samardzija.

The Sun-Times reported the Cubs “are not involved in any trade talks right now.”

Edwin Jackson, James McDonald and Pitching Plans

The Cubs announced Tuesday a slight change in their pitching plans. Edwin Jackson and James McDonald are both schedule to throw Wednesday. Edwin Jackson will pitch either a ‘B’ game or a simulated game at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa while James McDonald will get the start in Peoria on Wednesday night against the Mariners.

A day after Rick Renteria said he would not share publically what he talked to Edwin Jackson about, Renteria said Tuesday that he has not spoken to Jackson yet in regards to his all-fastball start. Renteria is expected to be at Jackson’s outing Wednesday. Rick Renteria is going to keep everything close to the vest and in the clubhouse. The sooner the beat writers pick up on that the better off the team will be in the long run.

James Russell

James Russell is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Wednesday night in Peoria. According to multiple reports, Russell’s bullpen Monday went “well enough” that he will pitch Wednesday.

Russell does not think his Major League leading 151 appearances for left-handed relievers over the past two seasons had anything to do with the way he pitched in the second half last season.

Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro is not expected back in the lineup until next week. Rick Renteria said Tuesday that Castro “did well on his first day of running and dry swings.”

Pierce Johnson

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Pierce Johnson “has been sidelined from workouts for much of the past week because of hamstring tightness.” The Cubs downplayed the injury according to the report. Jason McLeod said Johnson might be held back a week from making his Double-A debut when the season starts. McLeod does not think Johnson will have to be held back in Extended Spring Training to rehab the injury. He might just miss one start.

Anthony Rizzo

Jim Bowden reported that Anthony Rizzo is one of ten players that has impressed scouts this spring. Rizzo is going the other way again this spring (hitting to left field), something he must do in order to be successful. Bowden reported “there is a noticeable change in his maturity and mindset” this spring.

Pitching Rotation and Las Vegas Weekend

The Cubs announced Tuesday that Javier Baez and Kris Bryant will be among the players that make the trip to Las Vegas this weekend to take on the Mets. The Cubs are participating in Big League Weekend at Cashman Field for the tenth straight spring.

Carlos Pimentel is scheduled to start the Saturday game and Chris Rusin will get the start on Sunday. Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood will stay in the Phoenix area. Samardzija takes on the Royals in Surprise on Saturday and Wood is scheduled to face the Indians on Sunday at Cubs Park.

News and Notes

Comcast SportsNet announced Tuesday that CSN will broadcast its “first-ever commercial-free pro game telecasts this weekend.” WGN TV will broadcast Saturday’s game from Las Vegas and Comcast SportsNet will carry Sunday’s game from Mesa against the Indians. Instead of commercials, CSN will show “brand new, one-on-one player interviews with new and veteran players, along with in depth player profiles, numerous feature stories” and other coverage.

Welington Castillo wants to be a big part of the Cubs’ future according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Jesse Rogers posted a report on five things he’s learned about the Cubs in Spring Training. And, according to the report, Rick Renteria is speaking Japanese when it is needed this spring.

Arodys Vizcaino will not be rushed back according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

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  • Tony_H

    Just a reminder for those playing in the CCO Fantasy baseball league, the draft is tonight at 7 pm Central. It should be a lot of fun!

  • Tony_H

    Santana to the Braves on 1 year deal, pending physical per Enrique Rojas, ESPN

    • BigJonLilJon

      That very well mean there not in on the Shark

      • paulcatanese

        Probably not with the Cubs asking price.
        Teams just need to sit back and wait. The price will come down when the Cubs feel they are going to bottom out on his value. He will be moved only when a team has a desperate need now for them to pay what is being asked.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks for posting Tony … 1-year, $14.1 million for Santana to the Braves

    • cubtex

      Read where the Braves didn’t really mind giving up the pick. Look at their history of 1st round picks. Pretty sad. Granted they usually picked towards the bottom of the 1st round but other than Heyward and Mike Minor…the last 12 years or so have been very bad.

      • BigJonLilJon

        Actually works out for them… they lose there 1st rounder(#26) this year, but at end of year they can resign him, or make qualifying offer. If they resign him great… if not – and he turns down the QO, they get an extra 1st round pick the next year, although it would be a bit worse then 26.

  • Tony_H

    Even the best teams in baseball do this.

    “With just two weeks left in camp and top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras still working his way back, there is now little chance that he’ll come north with the Cardinals for Opening Day, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Of course, that was the likely outcome from the get-go, as St. Louis has a keen interest in delaying his service clock to gain another season of control and minimize the likelihood of a Super Two qualification.”

    • Zonk

      No reason to rush when they can play an OF of Holliday-Jay-Craig, and put Matt Adams at 1B. I hate their depth! Hopefully that’s us one day….

      • cubtex

        you forgot they got Peter Bourjos for center

  • cubtex

    I like that they will try Baez at 2B. If they could get that power bat at 2nd and team up with Castro up the middle that would be huge!
    Wonderful news that Rizzo is finally figuring out that he needs to use the entire field. If he figures out to do that he could be a middle of the order bat. He was so easy to pitch to last year and defend. He might hit a few less HR’s but his avg especially with RISP should go up. If they pull that shift on him to start the year….lay down that bunt down the 3rd base line and have teams understand that you will not hesitate to do that.

    • paulcatanese

      A long time ago when I learned to hit left handed, that was the most pleasing thing in the world, to be able to go with the pitch and drive the ball to the opposite field.
      There is no defense for it, everything to gain and nothing to lose.
      If he truly figures it out his value will skyrocket.

      • cubtex

        When I see that shift against a LHB…I am shocked that more batters don’t just lay down a bunt and take a free base hit(especially leading off an inning)

        • paulcatanese

          Agree, then again, there is little money for bunts, it’s a team thing, and most players are not interested.

          • cubtex

            I guess but it is a pretty easy way to add points to that batting average and get a leadoff man on 1st base to start the inning.

          • paulcatanese

            Oh, I agree 100%, just saying it takes a “team” player to want to do that. I meant that players like the long ball more.I see what you are saying, and played that way, the “get on anyway you can”.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Agree totally. Over time as he matures he may get some of the power back and go oppo a bit more. He’s a big strong kid that can add more muscle to that frame.

    • Tony_H

      Jason Parks just said that he would have an infield of Rizzo, Alcantara, Baez, Villanueva with Bryant in RF. He thinks Castro is traded this summer.

      • cubtex

        I don’t see Villanueva. With the lack of pitching and if Baez shows he can play mlb SS it probably makes the most sense to trade Castro but I hope they don’t.

        • Tony_H

          I know you don’t like Villanueva, and we all know why, but I will take Parks opinion on prospects.

          • cubtex

            I will see Villanueva for myself when Iowa is at Round Rock but .261 at AA and .250 in high A ball with not a ton of pop doesn’t excite me. He is listed at 5’11 and 160 but he looks a lot heavier than 160 to me.

          • Tony_H

            Stats do not tell the whole story in the minors, but if you can see development wouldn’t you say that is a good thing.

            “Villanueva really turned it on in the second half: he went from hitting .251/.311/.423 in April May and June, to batting .275/.326/.531 in July August and September.”

          • cubtex

            as I said..I will see for myself but he has never been a high average guy in the minors. A Vance Law type description is nothing to jump up and down about.

        • paulcatanese

          If they trade either Castro or Baez, I’m out, still recovering from the trade of Campana:)

          • JasonPen

            I hope they trade Castro for pitching. I think it will happen.

  • paulcatanese

    Comcast with commercial free telecast? What will Casper have to say? Or has Comcast figured out that people don’t want to hear about roof top packages?
    Other broadcasts from teams have maybe 1/10th the commercial’s that the Cubs have.
    Then again, they are not seeking every dollar they can skeech from every available source as the Cubs are.
    Cub broadcasts are really not about Baseball, but selling spots for dollars.

    • Tony_H

      The commercials are sold by the network, not the team. The team sells the broadcast rights to the network. Tell me the Dodgers network isn’t going to sell as many commercials as they can to pay that massive contract to the Dodgers.

      • paulcatanese

        Yep, Dodger commercials are flooding the airwaves, to the tune of about 1/10 the amount of the Cubs.
        Any foreign broadcast (meaning not the Cubs) do not come even close to them
        in filling the airwaves with inane nonsense.
        And Tony, I do have the right not to listen and have said that, with turning the sound off and just watching the game.

        • Tony_H

          Paul – How do they show 1/10th of the commercials, only show commercials between a few innings?

          • paulcatanese

            I have a built in calculator in my ear counting commercials:)
            It is what it is, can’t stand Casper, or Kasper, however it’s spelled.
            Everything but the game is on the air.

          • Tony_H

            You must be watching a different feed then I do, I usually see all 9 innings in the normal 3 hour range, just like all the other games I see on TV.

          • paulcatanese

            You need to get that calculator:)

          • paulcatanese

            My bad Tony, I was talking about the actual broadcast, live, and not the in-between innings that have the commercials.
            Casper is just short of hawking a sale on rooftop seats as a runner go’s from first to third.

          • Tony_H

            Well then you will be disappointed with the commercial free games, as those don’t really count as commercials.

          • paulcatanese

            Why did I not know that you would come up with the correct answer?
            Then it’s the ones that don’t count as commercials (I didn’t know there was a difference) that I don’t care for. And absolutely I will be disappointed
            with those games that don’t have “commercials”.
            I just need to address those who
            allow those (non commercials) and let them know I don’t like them.

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  • Tony_H

    It’s not just Baez and Bryant: Cubs building deep farm system
    CSN Tony Andracki – Not sure if this was posted yesterday or not.

    http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/it%E2%80%99s-not-just-baez-and-bryant-cubs-building-deep-farm-system

    • John G

      Sat next to a MLB Agent on the plane yesterday coming back from Phoenix. He likes Rizzo and Baez, but in his mind Bryant is the one to watch. He says that he has the potential to be a major stud. He just needs to improve his D. Don’t want to print the guys name but he played for the Mets back in the late ’80s.

      • John_CC

        You sat next to Mookie Wilson?!!

      • Tony_H

        I agree. I think if you watch his first AB of the spring you can see a player with a great approach to hitting and that to great power and you have a major stud, as you said.

  • Tony_H

    Kris Medlen expecting Tommy John surgery.

    David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves 3m

    A choked-up Medlen said of TJ likehood, “Nothing’s official, but I think I know and just go from there.”

    Awful to happen to such a good young pitcher. He will be back. But this is the tough part about pitching, you need lots of depth, because arms break down.

    • Tony_H

      I had forgot about this, but this will be Medlen’s 2nd Tommy John surgery.

      • paulcatanese

        That is terrible news, my oldest son had knee surgery two years in a row, same knee, not good for the mental process, let alone the pain.

      • mutantbeast

        bad news is, very few guys recover from a 2nd TJ, Wainwright might be the only one that comes to mind for me. Sad for Medlen, but the odds his career will never be the same are very high.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Good news about Rizzo. I still think someday he’ll be an all-star.

    • cubtex

      That’s a surprise coming from you :))

  • paulcatanese

    Have to share this. Been in California since 1963, have a neighbor for the last few months and we got to talking. He is also from Chicago, in fact from the same neighborhood (south side).
    After exchanging pleasantries turns out he is a staunch White Sox fan, and of course he snickers and laughs when I tell him I am a Cub fan. His stock answer, why? The embarrassment never stops, as I have little defense, no rings, one World Series.
    The only thing I have going, I have a newer, larger car.

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