Castro Sidelined, Arrieta Close to Throwing Off a Mound, Buckner Retires and Cubs Spring Training News

Rick Renteria announced Monday that Starlin Castro will miss 7-10 days with a mild right hamstring strain. Castro suffered the injury Sunday trying to steal second base in the first inning. Following the game against the Royals, Castro downplayed the injury and said it was not as bad as the one that cost him around two weeks last spring.

Renteria said Monday the injury is “similar to what happened to him last year.” Castro strained his left hamstring last spring.

CubsMesaLogo-pubWhile Castro is out, the Cubs will reportedly use Javier BaezEmilio Bonifacio, Darwin Barney, Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez at shortstop. Barney’s days at shortstop for the Cubs was thought to be over, even in a backup role. Having Barney spend time at short this spring could increase his value to other teams.

Rick Renteria made it clear Monday that Starlin Castro should be ready to go on Opening Day.

Jake Arrieta

According to a report from Jesse Rogers, Jake Arrieta “says he’s ahead of schedule and ready to throw off a mound.” Arrieta told Rogers on Sunday morning he is moving “forward at a quicker pace than had originally been drawn up.”

Rogers reported Arrieta was scheduled to “play long toss Sunday then pitch off the mound” but maybe not the full 60 feet, six inches. Arrieta wants to feel the angle of pitching from a mound.

Jake Arrieta is still not ruling out being on the active roster on Opening Day.

Bill Buckner

The Boise Hawks announced Monday that Bill Buckner has retired from baseball and he will no longer be the hitting coach for the Boise Hawks. This is a loss for the organization.

As Tom reported, Buckner helped produce two Northwest League batting champions in Stephen Bruno and Kevin Encarnacion.

Mike Stafford, the Hawks’ play-by-play man, reported Buckner did an excellent job as the Hawks’ hitting coach. The Hawks had the youngest roster in the league the past two years and under Buckner’s watch, the Hawks finished with the highest team batting average in the league.

According to Mike Stafford, the Cubs have hired Jesus Feliciano to replace Buckner as the Hawks’ hitting coach and added Guillermo Martinez as a full-time bench coach.

Mike Olt

Mike Olt wants a shot to win the third base job according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Olt made his first start in the field Monday. Olt played first base in the ‘B’ game against the Giants. Olt addressed his sore shoulder with Patrick Mooney and said he’s dealt with a dead arm before. He’s played through it in the past and seemed to downplay the injury. Olt pointed out his shoulder has gotten better “within the last 10 days.”

Olt told Mooney he is ready to go.

Rick Renteria said the team is “trying to get him healthy and comfortable and see how it falls into place and let time tell us through the spring what’s going to happen.”

Arodys Vizcaino

Arodys Vizcaino made his first appearance in the Cactus League on Monday afternoon … and looked very good in the eighth inning. Vizcaino says he is healthy and is certainly pitching like he is, at least to this point in Spring Training.

The Yankees gave up Vizcaino to the Braves in the Javier Vazquez deal and news of his performance in Spring Training has reached the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

Vizcaino could be part of a hard throwing bullpen at some point this season. While Vizcaino would like to pitch his way onto the Cubs’ Opening Day roster this spring, even if he begins the year in Iowa’s pen at least he will be pitching.

News and Notes

Kyuji Fujikawa completed his third bullpen session Monday. And Chris Bosio was very happy with what he saw from his third session off a mound. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Bosio said, “There are a lot of good signs for him.”

Alberto Cabrera is out of minor league options. If he doesn’t break camp on the active roster, the Cubs will likely lose him on waivers. The stuff is there but he struggles with repeating his delivery and throwing strikes. The Cubs are facing a dilemma with Cabrera according to Nick Cafardo.

Ryan Kalish is healthy and even with a good spring, he will likely begin the season with the Iowa Cubs according to a report from Nick Cafardo.

Jason Hammel knows how the Cubs operate at the trade deadline according to a report from Patrick Mooney. Chris Bosio has been pleased with the way Hammel has pitched so far in Spring Training.

Several of the Cubs’ minor league players are already in camp. Pitchers and catchers reported to minor league camp Sunday and the first full squad workouts at Cubs Park for the minor leaguers is Thursday, March 6. Minor League Spring Training games begin on March 13.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of Team Theo and Javier Baez….

    Cubs senior vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod was once an assistant GM for the Padres, and he tells FanGraphs’ David Laurila that the Friars would not have taken Javier Baez if he had fallen one pick to them in the 2011 draft. “The Cubs beat a lot of teams on Javy. They certainly beat the Padres,” McLeod says. “I have to admit we weren’t set up to take him with our pick. Thankfully, the Cubs were smart and I don’t have to wear that one too bad.”

    • Tony_H

      Not sure, but I think you are complimenting Theo.

      • GaryLeeT

        Don’t you mean Jim Hendry?

        • Tony_H

          LOL, Rip giving what looked like a compliment blew my mind.

          Yes, JH made a great pick in his final draft he was involved in with the Cubs.

        • Tony_H

          You did see where I said “Not sure,” before my next comment?

    • cubtex

      Yep. The Cubs would have Cory Spangenberg right now instead of Baez if Mcleod was picking for the Cubs that year.

      • John_CC

        This is a pretty a crappy slight toward Mcleod, even for your irrational hate of the FO. Of all the guys in the FO, Mcleod might be the most important, and best at his job. He is probably one of the best in baseball.

        • cubtex

          what are you talking about John? Mcleod was drafting for the Pads that year. He said Baez wasn’t even on their radar. They drafted Spangenberg right after the Cubs pick. What don’t you understand?

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

            One pick, one choice does not a career make…

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Some on here get all riled up about our current director of scouting saying that he would not have taken Baez and all hell breaks loose. So they would have missed on Baez. That is what he said. I didn’t say he is not good at what he does but the fact is the fact.

          • Tony_H

            He said the Padres didn’t have them on their radar. To say that the Cubs scouting, cross checkers, wouldn’t have pushed Baez or that Tim Wilken wouldn’t have been high on him still just doesn’t make sense. We have no way to know what would have happened. All we know is that the Padres wouldn’t have taken Baez and instead took a player who was rated 43 on MLB’s list of prospects for the draft. Do you think money had anything to do with that pick?

            http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2011/#list=draft

          • cubtex

            this is why it is hard to have a discussion with you. Even when a FO executive admits that they wouldn’t have drafted a player one pick ahead of the Cubs you have to defend it even when there is no defense. Who cares. Like Rider said. One pick. Move along. Rip posted it even though I saw this days ago and I just replied with who we would probably have right now instead of Baez. Take a breath.

          • Tony_H

            Fine you know exactly what would have happened if this FO would have been in charge of the 2011 draft for the Cubs based on what Jason McLeod said they did in San Diego.

          • cubtex

            One last thing on this….Who has constantly said on here that McLeod and Hoyer and Theo draft the “best” player on their board and don’t draft based on need? I think his initials are TH. Enjoy the day. This is so petty

          • John_CC

            I’m not going to get in a juvenile pissing match with you. Read what I said above.

        • cubtex

          in case you didn’t notice Rip’s link. Those little ” means it was a quote. I love those squiggly things. Why is that a crappy slight? He said it! It is a fact. Cubs would not have Baez if McLeod drafted for the Cubs that year. We would have Spangenberg. I am not saying he isn’t good at what he does. He just would not have drafted Baez.

          . “The Cubs beat a lot of teams on Javy. They certainly beat the Padres,” McLeod says. “I
          have to admit we weren’t set up to take him with our pick. Thankfully,
          the Cubs were smart and I don’t have to wear that one too bad.”

          • Tony_H

            Not sure if my other post went through, but you can’t say that the Cubs would not of drafted Baez if the current FO was in place. McLeod is one man, and all it would have taken was Theo, Jed, or someone else pushing Baez to put him on their radar. Whoever scouted him for the Cubs is probably still scouting that area for the Cubs.

          • cubtex

            you are unbelievable. Jed was the GM of the Pads at the time. What is so difficult to see? Not a big deal. They would have missed on Baez.

          • Tony_H

            So the scout that works that area for the Cubs wouldn’t have pushed it? There is no way to know what would have happened it this FO was here for the 2011 draft.

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

            Jeez, who cares? One pick. It’s one player. Were gonna make wholesale judgments about the entire fitness of a scout based on one oik? What scout never missed on a prospect? It’s a crapshoot.

          • cubtex

            exactly. and who is voicing displeasure with the guy?

          • Tony_H

            No, I think the scout would have had the same reports no matter who was the GM or in charge of the draft.

          • John_CC

            There are no “squiggly things” in your post. I was not responding to Rip, I was responding to you making yet another jab at someone, anyone, in the Cubs FO.

            There would be no need to otherwise repeat what Rip posted. None.

          • cubtex

            explain where the jab was?

          • John_CC

            maybe you missed the last sentence.

            [squiggly thing] There would be no need to otherwise repeat what Rip posted. None. [end squiggle thing]

          • cubtex

            you are looking to attack even when there is nothing to attack. Mcleod admitted something about Baez. I said what would be the case if he was drafting for the Cubs that year. That is all there was. Quit trying to attack something that isn’t there!

          • Tony_H

            Forget it John, he thinks that every person would make all the same exact decisions no matter what team or situation they are in and no matter if the information flowing up to them was coming from completely different people.

          • cubtex

            hahahaha. so If Theo was drafting for the Cubs instead of the Red Sox we wouldn’t have Boegarts and all the other picks. Good point. You are very sensitive today. Again. Enjoy the day

          • Tony_H

            We might not, there is no way too know for sure, except in “Rayray’s crystal ball of what would have happened if”

          • cubtex

            take the rest of the day off bud

          • Tony_H

            I’m not sure I’m the one being sensitive today. You made an outlandish statement, John and I called you on it, and you have been defending it since.

  • Ripsnorter1

    If this injury to Castro is more serious than the Cubs’ admit,
    who will play SS to open the season? Javier Baez, Emilio Bonifacio, Darwin Barney, Arismendy Alcantara and Jeudy Valdez
    are playing there in ST, but would Bonifacio start and we win the lottery with Barney at 2B, or do you all think
    that the Cubs will bring up Alcantara to play SS?

    It appears to me that this injury may be a God-send to Barney. “Saved by the bell–again!”

    • Tony_H

      It is not, he can still walk normal, no where near as bad as last year and he played 161 games in 2013.

      My guess though is it would be Barney. They are not going to call up Baez or Alcantara until necessary and it would greatly increase Barney’s value if he showed above average defense at SS still, as his bat is a little easier to take as a SS.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    I agree. It’s always something with Castro.

    • Tony_H

      Yeah, he is always on the field.

      2010 – 125 games (called up for game 30)
      2011 – 158 games
      2012 – 162 games
      2013 – 161 games

      If it was the regular season, he would still be playing.

      • paulcatanese

        What may be overlooked is 2103, after tweaking the hamstring what followed was a down year for him with the bat.
        Not completely saying it was the hamstring, but it did not help.
        Things like that stick in the mind and one would hold up on this and not extend on that, and could have very well contributed to the type of year he had.
        This year, well he came in in great shape, lost some weight and was looking great.
        I would hope it doesn’t bother him as I thought it did last year. He gave every indication he was good to go with prior form.

  • Tony_H

    Here is a report on Almora, Bryant and Baez from baseball prospectus from spring.

    https://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22949

    All 3 of these guys will be playing in the majors. The only questions is to what level.

  • Tom U

    The Ryan Kalish situation bares some watching. Although it makes some sense to start him in Triple-A, in a more global sense it may hurt the organization.

    It would be a shame if Rubi Silva and Matt Szczur were crowded out of promotions and had to return to Double-A Tennessee. Putting the more experienced Kalish between John Andreoli and Jorge Soler with the Smokies seems a better fit as he scrapes off the rust.

    • Tony_H

      Tom – Not sure that staying in AA is a set back for anyone. AA is where most teams have their best prospects and AAA is where a lot of teams have AAAA players as depth for the major league team.
      With that said, I agree that Kalish should fit into an opening and not have an opening created for him. Both Silva and Szczur are going to be expected to keep moving up.

      • Tom U

        Don’t have a lot of time, but Triple-A is where current management says that want players to finish their development.

        With Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters most likely returning to Iowa (also may be joined by Logan Watkins) where do Silva and Szczur go if they decide to keep players such as Aaron Cunningham, Mitch Meier, and Casper Wells? Silva and Szczur already have a year plus with Tennessee.

        Incidentally, on most good developing teams, John Andreoli would also be promoted to Triple-A to start the season. He played just a couple more games than Javier Baez, and hit at or above hit career averages at Double-A. Baez will be starting at Triple-A after posting similar numbers.

        • Tony_H

          Yes, but they have also said that there are exceptions to the 500 AB’s in AAA.

          Having too many players that need spots is a good thing and any of the journeymen AAAA guys will be cut or back-ups to the prospects that need AB’s.

          I know you like Andreoli, but he is nothing more than a 4th/5th OF, has no resemblance to Baez, and will take a back seat to the other OF’s.

          • Tom U

            Agree that Andreoli is not the same prospect as Baez, it’s just a question of consistency. Both were productive in an equal amount of time, but only one is being promoted.

            As far as Andreoli being a 4th or 5th outfielder, don’t be too sure. Baseball history is full of examples of players who look the part not making it, and players like Andreolo surprising people.

            One more thing while I can. Present management has a history of hanging on to the fringe players and causing gridlock at the upper levels. It’s mostly why Dave Sappelt melted down last season.

          • Tony_H

            On the consistency issue are you saying that because Baez is going to AAA, to be consistent the Cubs should promote Andreoli as well?

            I agree, Andreoli could make it, he has a chance, I just don’t see anyone other than you saying he has that ceiling. If he does make it, you will have been on it from the beginning.

            Not sure on the gridlock we have had at the upper levels, when are real prospects are just getting there. I believe all teams give certain players more opportunities and give others limited chances to succeed. This is true of all sports and in most things in life. I don’t see how any log jam we had last year led to Sappelt “melting down”. He was given chances and never was able to produce.

          • cubtex

            bad evaluation to include Sappelt in that Marshall trade.

          • Tony_H

            No it wasn’t. Not all players that come back in a trade make it. You don’t know what the options were and just getting Wood made that trade a big winner for the Cubs. If either of the other 2 would have done anything for the major league team it would have been bonus.

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

            Agreed, Wood was what made that trade work. And we obviously got the better end if the deal.

      • Bryan

        Tony…my apology for the “vent” here. Let me start by stating that you bring some good insight to this online forum. With that said, could you please try to refrain from replying and injecting an opinion on what seems to be every post from someone else. People here have opinions, either similar or contrary to yours. Respect that. I’m sorry, but I feel that your quantity of commentary prompts others to not even bother to comment as you always have to provide your perspective. Again, I’m not dismissing the value of your content here. I hope you accept this as a constructive observation.

        • Tony_H

          That is fine and you can have your opinion.

          As far as replying to every post, today yes I have been on more, but yesterday I only replied to one person and that was to tell them yes to a question they asked that no one had answered yet. We all have days and times we post more or less often.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. I mean, he is a Theo-buddy,
      so AA would not seem likely to me.

  • Roll

    Sorry to see Billy Buck retiring I hoped to see him back in the big leagues.

  • paulcatanese

    Have never seen so many players brought into an organization that were destined to be platooned.
    Biggest mystery to me is Rizzo, since he has come aboard he has been platooned and is destined to be so again this year. This makes no sense at all . Bring him in, give him an extended contract and platoon him. They are searching for a right handed hitter to do that.
    Their whole outfield will be platooned this year, Third base as well.
    They are looking for players that can play more than one position
    hoping or that it will eliminate any holes on the roster.
    IMO that only creates lesser ability within a player when he is moved away from that persons natural position, and is not making the team stronger, but weaker.
    Need I add the pitchers that were brought in already on the DL or soon to be on it.
    Why did they not just go after players who were switch hitters to begin with:)
    What the FO doesn’t realize is that this team is the Cubs, always has been. No matter who they bring in, the Cubs will win “when it is their time, and not before”.
    They could have eight Mickey Mantles on the roster and because it’s the Cubs, they will not win, until it’s their time to win.

    • cubtex

      they are not looking to platoon Rizzo. He needs to prove that he can hit lefties. So far he hasn’t done that….. but they definitely don’t want to platoon him.

      • paulcatanese

        I know that, but to cover their decision to bring him in they are forced to platoon him, I don’t think they had that in mind when they brought him in.
        Going to throw this in to see how it flies.
        Never thought they were going to extend Castro yet, but did so because of their hurry to extend Rizzo, he’s their baby, their choice. A good one, if he can hit lefties.. The Castro extension covered their butt getting Rizzo locked up. IMO it was too soon for Rizzo.

        • cubtex

          agreed. It was too early. Look when Arizona extended Goldshmidt. As many on have said….he never played a full season. Why was there such a rush?

        • Eugene Debs

          Rizzo has played nearly every day; he’s never been part of a platoon to my knowledge.

          This is a platoon-heavy organization, though, you are right. I think its the nature of our current AAAA approach. That’ll change as the promotions begin.

          • BillyFinT

            I don’t know about that. The A’s and the Rays have been “platoon-heavy”, but they were not AAAA. These clubs simply know how to maximize an advantage in baseball roster.

        • paulcatanese

          My bad guys, I thought he was platooned, maybe then he should have been.
          Seems he was sitting when some lefties were on the mound, or maybe it just appeared that way to me.

      • Ripsnorter1

        2nd half OPS vs. LHP was .406.

        Yup, that’s terrible.

    • Tony_H

      Rizzo hasn’t been platooned.

      The Cardinals are struggling with all these players moving around in their positions. Only Matt Holiday and Yadier Molina will be in the same position as last year.

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