The Chicago Cubs held their first official workout of the spring Friday at Cubs Park. Several pitchers not only completed bullpen sessions but there was pitchers fielding practice, always one of the first signs that Spring Training is actually underway.
There is apparently no shortage of cameras at the Cubs new facility, at least according to Jeff Samardzija. And the days of staff members or tripods holding cameras to record pitchers in Spring Training are over. The facility is equipped with cameras mounted near the pitchers mounds to document each throwing session.
Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Justin Grimm, James McDonald, Kyle Hendricks, James Russell, Blake Parker, Zac Rosscup and Wesley Wright were among the pitchers who completed bullpens on Friday. Kyuji Fujikawa threw again from flat ground, and looked good in the video that surfaced. Fujikawa threw from 135 feet on flat ground according to Carrie Muskat, then threw to a catcher, still on flat ground, from about 60 feet.
Jake Arrieta addressed his status with the media Friday and said he plans to be ready to pitch when the season starts. Arrieta said he “felt tightness while playing long toss about three weeks ago” and admitted he “might have pushed it too soon.” And while reports stated otherwise Thursday, Arrieta said he “has not ruled out being on the Opening Day roster.”
Arrieta has been playing catch for a few weeks. The Cubs are being careful with him as Jed Hoyer said Thursday. Arrieta indicated that he is just behind schedule and needs to build up arm strength while remaining patient. Arrieta does not want to have a setback that keeps him from accomplishing the goals he and the team have set for him this season. Arrieta did not have an MRI on his shoulder.
Jake Arrieta is looking “forward to picking up where he left off” last year and he told Comcast SportsNet the upcoming season is a big one for him and he’s ready for it.
Welington Castillo was spotted Friday working on his defense with Mike Borzello. Castillo made a lot of strides last year under Borzello’s tutelage and the two were working on framing pitches. According to Jesse Rogers, Borzello is trying to get Castillo to catch pitches a little closer to his body to cut down on movement.
Arodys Vizcaino spoke with the media Friday and confirmed what Jed Hoyer said Thursday. Vizcaino said he is “pain free and ready to go.” According to Jesse Rogers, Vizcaino expects to be pitching with the Cubs in April. Chris Bosio acknowledged Vizcaino should be ready to pitch in April while not committing to whether it would be with the big league team or with the I-Cubs.
Jason Hammel told Patrick Mooney he doesn’t want to be the guy that gets flipped. When the Cubs agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Hammel, the first thought was he would be this season’s Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman. The front office would trade him prior to the July 31 deadline and turn a short-term asset into a couple of players to help with the building process.
According to Mooney’s report, the Cubs were the first team to show interest in Hammel this off-season and he is looking at being with the Cubs as a “great opportunity.”
Hammel was teammates with Scott Feldman in Baltimore at the end of last year. Feldman “raved” about the Cubs according to the report. Mooney added “the Cubs identified Hammel before the Winter Meetings and then let the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes play out.”
Chris Bosio is consistent and he is in Kyle Hendricks’ corner. Bosio is looking forward to seeing Kyle Hendricks face big league hitters during the Cactus League games.
Bosio told Paul Sullivan the team is “going to get a good look at this guy before we send him out.” Bosio said Hendricks’ pens “have been pretty special” and “he knows what he is doing.”
News and Notes
The Cubs will play an intrasquad game on Feb. 26 at Cubs Park. And it will be Kyle Hendricks versus Eric Jokisch according to a report from Paul Sullivan.
Darwin Barney is among the position players already in camp. According to Comcast SportsNet, Barney is pulling out all the stops this spring. Barney begins Spring Training as the top second baseman in the organization but he has to be feeling the heat from the likes of Arismendy Alcantara and possibly Javier Baez.
Rick Renteria addressed his players Friday and will again Wednesday prior to the first full squad workout. Renteria said, “Everything that we do has a purpose, and everything does matter. Today was the beginning of what our mind needs to be thing about, which is accomplishing the task, which is winning as many ballgames as we can possibly win.”
Jose Veras is happy to be with the Cubs according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
Tim Sheridan was busy Friday and snapped several excellent photos at Cubs Park. Anthony Rizzo, Matt Szczur, Ryan Roberts, Nate Schierholtz, Carlos Villanueva, Darwin Barney and newcomers Jason Hammel and Jose Veras were among those players Tim ‘caught’ working out.
Jon Greenberg thinks a little more patience is needed and advised to keep the faith in the new Cubs era.