Starlin Castro had a MRI on his hamstring and according to multiple reports, there were “no surprises” and “nothing bad” showed up on the MRI. Castro said the stiffness had subsided and he was scheduled to walk in the pool on Tuesday according to Carrie Muskat. Castro said he may be back sooner than 7-10 days but he doesn’t want to rush back and risk reinjuring himself.
Starlin Castro addressed the Javier Baez question Tuesday and told the beat writers that he and Baez are “good friends.” Patrick Mooney reported “there’s no rivalry between Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.”
According to multiple reports, Castro said he told Baez, “Play hard, you’ll be up there no matter what. I don’t know where. But you’ll be there, because you got great talent and you play ball the right way.”
Rick Renteria said both players respect each other. And Castro said they want to play together.
Javier Baez will start the season in Triple-A regardless of the numbers he puts up in the spring or what injuries may open a spot for him on the big league roster. As Patrick Mooney reported Tuesday, Baez could be up in late June, the same way Anthony Rizzo was two years ago, if he checks the boxes on his player development plan.
Theo Epstein reiterated Tuesday during an interview on The Score, that once Javier Baez dominates Triple-A, he will start to be in the conversation for a spot on the big league roster.
Mike Olt had a good result at the plate Tuesday and is looking to play third base soon. Olt started at first base in the ‘B’ game with the Giants on Monday and has received two at bats as the Cubs’ DH. Olt is officially 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI in Cactus League play.
Mike Olt told Carrie Muskat he “feels good now” and his “shoulder is better.” Mark Gonzales reported Olt’s shoulder is almost “to the point where he can resume competing for the third base job.” Olt said he does not want any setbacks with his shoulder and is happy with the way he is seeing the baseball.
According to multiple reports, James Russell has been dealing with a dead arm (arm fatigue) and that is why he hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game yet. Rick Renteria downplayed Russell’s dead arm and said it is not a big deal. Russell is expected to throw off a mound soon.
The Cubs were reportedly listening to offers for James Russell this winter. But the front office did not move him. The Cubs feel Russell will be more effective as a lefty specialist and the addition of a second lefty in Wesley Wright should reduce his workload.
James Russell has appeared in 151 games (122 innings) over the last two seasons … and was gotten hot more times than the amount of games he appeared in. After posting a 2.78 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 47 games in the first half of last season, Russell posted a 5.29 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in his last 27 appearances with only eight strikeouts and eight walks.
For his career, James Russell has held lefties to a .232/.264/.400 slash line.
Rick Renteria announced Tuesday that Jeff Samardzija and Chris Rusin will pitch against the Rockies on Wednesday. Travis Wood will make his first Cactus League start of the spring Thursday against the Indians in Goodyear.
Friday is a split squad day for the Cubs. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to face the Indians in Mesa while James McDonald will start the game in Tempe against the Angels.
News and Notes
Tom answered a few questions about the Cubs farm system for RedMinorLeagues.com.
Theo Epstein is planning an annual feast, not just give the fan base cookies.
And last, but not least … a quote from Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. “The experiences I had the first couple of years here winning were incredible in the sense that we put together a team that was expected to win. We didn’t accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a World Series, but it was such a great experience. We had so many professionals in the clubhouse and guys who went about it the right way. I think that’s why I’ll always refer to those two years in Chicago as the best years I’ve had as a player.”