Kris Bryant is the talk of baseball right now. The Chicago and National media are focused on the Cubs’ top prospect. Jon Heyman said Bryant is putting on a show and putting pressure on the Cubs while Peter Gammons tweeted the reality of what it would mean to the Cubs long term for him to spend two weeks in Iowa. And not only is the media paying attention, the players are also having fun with his “450 pop-ups.”
Bryant is dealing with a sore shoulder and did not play Sunday. The Cubs don’t believe the right shoulder fatigue is anything serious. Joe Maddon said the team is being cautious with Bryant and it’s likely he will be held out for a couple of days.
When Bryant returns, Maddon said Sunday the plan is to get him some time in the outfield at some point. Reports throughout the off-season and early in camp indicated Bryant would play in the outfield during Cactus League games.
Joe Maddon said Sunday that Mike Olt will also play in the outfield soon.
For every outlet, writer, player or fan that thinks Kris Bryant should start the season with the big league team there is one of the exact opposite that a minimum of 12 days and nine games for an extra full-season of control is what the Cubs should do.
As long as his sore shoulder doesn’t linger, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will soon have the final say as to where Kris Bryant begins the season.
Joe Maddon and Respect Bald
The “Respect Bald” event will take place on the concourse at Sloan Park. Players and staff “will shave their head for cancer awareness.” Maddon had a similar event when he was with the Rays called “Fortune Favors the Ball.”
Joe Maddon made the announcement Sunday and tweeted, “We have great hair on this team and great hearts, which is why we are shaving our heads for pediatric cancer research 3/22 #LetsGive.”
No Catchers for You
Ken Rosenthal reported that D-Backs’ GM Dave Stewart said Sunday he is not trading for catcher.
Arizona lost Rule 5 Draft pick Oscar Hernandez last week with a broken hamate bone and he’s expected to be out six to eight weeks. The rumors picked up shortly after it was announced Hernandez could miss two months that the Diamondbacks would trade for a catcher. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Dave Stewart told Ken Rosenthal, “We are not trading for a catcher. Some people think we are. We’re not.”
Hardball Talk reported Gerald Laird, Peter O’Brien and Blake Lalli are the internal options to back up Tuffy Gosewisch.
The Diamondbacks were linked heavily to the Cubs and Welington Castillo after the two teams pulled off the deal for Miguel Montero. It’s believed Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer weren’t ready to trade Castillo at the time they acquired Montero. And Epstein and Hoyer had to pull the trigger on signing David Ross earlier than was planned.
The Cubs are believed to be listening to offers and shopping Welington Castillo.
Hamels, Swihart, Red Sox and Phillies
The Red Sox and Phillies squared off Sunday in Clearwater. And C Blake Swihart was in the Red Sox’s starting lineup. Swihart is one of the two prospects Ben Cherington hasn’t been willing to include in a trade for LHP Cole Hamels.
According to Jayson Stark, Sox manager John Farrell denied that Swihart was being showcased. Stark reported “a sizeable delegation of Phillies execs watched intently from behind homeplate.”
And Blake Swihart admitted he thought it was funny so much was being made about him starting on the day the Sox played the Phillies at their Spring Training facility. Swihart pointed out that Sunday was his day to catch.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Matt Szczur has caught Joe Maddon’s attention. And Maddon has liked what he’s seen to this point.
• The Cubs are expected to announce the first round of spring roster cuts at some point Monday.
• According to the Sun-Times, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada is “feeling better” and he re-aggravated the same injury to his groin that set him back earlier in Spring Training. The Cubs did not provide any additional updates on Wada. But Cubs.com indicated Wada threw a live BP session on Saturday “and passed all tests.” The team has not said what the next step might be for Wada.
• The Red Sox thought about re-signing RHP Daniel Bard. But the Cubs gave him another chance and it may payoff. Bard has reportedly looked good in simulated games. Neither Joe Maddon nor Chris Bosio has said when Bard might get into a Cactus League game.
• LHP Andrew McKirahan, the pitcher the Marlins selected from the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft, has “opened eyes” in Marlins’ camp. And he might have staying power in the Marlins bullpen according to the Miami Herald. McKirahan has appeared in four Grapefruit League games and has allowed one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in four total innings.
• Nick Cafardo reported that one team is “looking forward” to testing Jon Lester and make him throw to first base. It is well-documented Lester does not like throwing to first base, either after fielding a ball or holding runners close to the bag.
• Several former Cubs are in Reds camp this spring … and according to Jon Heyman, RHP Jason Marquis has a good chance to make the Reds’ rotation. OF Marlon Byrd, RHP Kevin Gregg, LHP Paul Maholm, one time skipper Jim Riggleman, Jeff Pico, Billy Hatcher and an injured LHP Sean Marshall.
• According to Mark Gonzales, Kyle Hendricks next start will come in the B-Game against the Angels on Thursday. Edwin Jackson will start the night game against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.
And last, but not least, the Wrigley Blog posted a photo of the steel structure that is going to house the left field video board.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs selected Frankie De La Cruz off waivers from the Brewers
2001 – Sammy Sosa signed a four-year contract extension.
1999 – Kerry Wood suffered a ligament tear in his right elbow. Wood missed the entire 1999 season. Wood was the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year.
1982 – Cubs acquired Dan Briggs from the Expos for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Mike Griffin to Montreal on March 26, 1982 to complete the trade.
1979 – Hee-Seop Choi, born
1950 – Cubs purchased Bob Schultz from the White Sox
1930 – Hobie Landrith, born
1918 – Vern Olsen, born
1913 – Ken O’Dea, born
1899 – Vic Keen, born