Countdown to Cubs Cactus League Openers: 7 days
Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, Crane Kenney and Joe Maddon addressed the team prior to Wednesday’s first full squad workout. Maddon finished the talk with his team on the field before blasting Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen through the PA during warmups. Maddon said he wanted to get the blood flowing. For Maddon every day starts with music and he said others would have a chance to pick the music.
Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella were part of the same group that saw time at third base Wednesday. Kris Bryant participated in drills at third base but part of a different group that included Addison Russell at shortstop.
Joe Maddon said that La Stella is “all-in” with playing third base and he will receive extra work to help him learn the position.
Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara took grounders at second base Wednesday. Alcantara will also see time at third base. And Joe Maddon described Alcantara’s role with the team as ubiquitous.
From all indications, the first full squad practice of the spring was a success and Joe Maddon really enjoyed the vibe and energy that was on the field.
Manny Ramirez was at the Cubs’ facility Wednesday for the first full squad workout of the spring. The team’s new hitting consultant met with the media and fielded questions about his future and the young players in the organization. Several of the beat writers remarked about the respect Ramirez showed by looking at each of them while answering their question.
Ramirez said he hasn’t officially retired yet but he realizes he cannot play for the rest of his life. He wants to be part of the game, give back and help the young players he got to know last year grow.
Kris Bryant was glad to see Ramirez in the clubhouse, and several of the players Ramirez worked with last year reportedly greeted him in the clubhouse with hugs on his first day in camp. Ramirez was very complementary of Bryant and Javier Baez. Ramirez thinks the sky’s the limit for Bryant, Baez and many of the young hitters in the organization.
Manny Ramirez has a good relationship with Joe Maddon and called him “awesome” while comparing Maddon to Terry Francona.
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from Bruce Levine
- Full Report from Carrie Muskat
Anthony Rizzo and Sammy Sosa
Anthony Rizzo does not know what happened between the Cubs and Sammy Sosa. But the Cubs’ All-Star first baseman would like to see Sosa return to the Cubs in some capacity.
According to a report from the Tribune, Rizzo ran into Sosa at a restaurant in Miami last December. Rizzo introduced himself, said Sosa was nice to him and knew he was. Sosa told Rizzo he still follows the Cubs.
Paul Sullivan asked Starlin Castro about Sosa returning. Castro said he has never met Sosa and did not know if Sosa could return to the Cubs or not while pointing out Manny Ramirez is in the organization.
- Full Report from the Tribune
- Full Report from Carrie Muskat
- Scott Miller – Sammy Sosa in Exile: There’s Silence Rather Than Apology from Former Cubs Star
Spring Training Notes
- According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the grounds crew at the Cubs facility painted Joe Maddon’s “Respect 90” slogan along the first baseline on the main practice field. The ‘C’ in ‘Respect’ is from the Cubs logo.
- Ted Lilly told the Sun-Times that with Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis now in the organization, “We’re going to out-consultant the other guys.”
- During the first live batting practice of the spring, Dexter Fowler launched one off Edwin Jackson over the wall in right field.
- Tim Sheridan posted several excellent photos from Wednesday’s practice.
- C.J. Edwards, Blake Parker, Anthony Carter, Donn Roach, Neil Ramirez, Joseph Ortiz, Gonzalez Germen and Francisley Bueno are among the pitchers scheduled to throw live BP on Thursday.
- According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Maddon wants the players to use heavier bats in BP and he plans on using a pitching machine that throws smaller baseballs.
News, Notes and Rumors
Ald. Tom Tunney was re-elected Tuesday night and sailed to an easy victory according to DNAInfoChicago.com.
Ivy League Baseball Club, a Wrigleyville Rooftop, sent out an email Wednesday advertising they would be keeping their unobstructed view into Wrigley for the 2015 season.
The Arizona Republic posted a Sloan Park stadium guide.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Daniel Bard feels refreshed after taking time off and is ready for a comeback with the Cubs.
After agreeing to terms with INF Yoan Moncada, if the Red Sox do not sign another International bonus-pool eligible player before June 15 they will have to write a check to the Commissioner’s Office for around $35 million on July 15 according to Ben Badler.
The Dodgers signed veteran RHP Chad Gaudin to a minor league contract. Gaudin was in Dodgers’ camp Wednesday. Dylan Hernandez questioned the Dodgers decision to sign the former Cubs pitcher due to past medical and criminal issues.
And last, but not least, David Ortiz is not happy about the rule changes and told the mainstream media he might run out of money paying the fines for not adhering to the new pace of play rules. Ortiz said he will not change his routine and he doesn’t care what the rules say.
This Day In Cubstory
2004 – The foul ball from Game Six of the 2003 NLCS, infamously known as the ‘Bartman Ball’ was blown up at Harry Caray’s restaurant.
1988 – Hector Rondon, born
1981 – Cubs released George Riley
1975 – Mark DeRosa, born
1934 – Don Lee, born
1906 – Joe Graves, born
1892 – Harry Weaver, born
1891 – Colts released Dell Darling
1887 – Grover Cleveland Alexander, born