Kris Bryant launching his ninth Cactus League homer and tenth longball of the spring would have created more of a buzz Tuesday than it did if it wasn’t for Edwin Jackson going to the wrong ballpark and being late for his own game.
Bryant punished another baseball for his 13th hit in 11 games. Bryant is 13-for-28 with two doubles, nine home runs, four walks and eight strikeouts (.464/.531/1.500) for a 2.031 OPS and 42 total bases. In the field Bryant was charged with his third error.
Dave Martinez and Joe Maddon spent time Tuesday morning with Bryant working on outfield drills. According to the Tribune, Bryant’s outfield instruction lasted about 10 minutes. The next step for Bryant is getting him into a game in the outfield. And Joe Maddon said that could happen in the next couple of days.
ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs insist Bryant is the team’s third baseman of the future but if Mike Olt can grab the third base job while Bryant is in Iowa at the start of the season, according to Jesse Rogers, he “could very well make his debut in the outfield sometime in the next month or so.”
Joe Maddon pointed out that Bryant knows how to play the outfield, he’s done it before.
The Cubs announced Tuesday that Jon Lester will make his final two starts of the spring in minor league games. The Cubs have decided it’s best for Lester to build his pitch count in more of a controlled environment.
Lester will not start Thursday afternoon against the Angels, it will be Eric Jokisch instead. Lester will get his work in on the minor league side. The goal for Lester is to throw around 60 pitches and if everything goes as expected he will pitch again, on regular rest, Tuesday in another minor league game. Lester will build up his pitch count to around 80 in his last tune-up before Opening Night.
The Cubs will likely have Jon Lester on a strict pitch count limit on Opening Night. Lester still needs time to build up to 100 pitches. The off days on April 6 and April 9 will give Maddon the option to use his bullpen more than he typically would in order to have Lester front the Cubs’ rotation when the season starts.
Joe Maddon is not concerned about the competition Lester faces the next two starts. He just wants to make sure he’s able to get his work in and increase his pitch count. Before skipping last Saturday’s start with the tired arm, Lester had built up to around 70 pitches against Padres.
Jon Lester reiterated Tuesday that he feels fine.
Starlin Castro was expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday after missing time with tightness in this right groin. Joe Maddon wanted to give him one more day just to be safe. With Castro not playing Tuesday and Wednesday being a night game it’s almost like Castro received two more days to put the minor tightness behind him.
Castro turned 25 Tuesday and of the 28 members of the 3000 hit club, only Ty Cobb, Robin Yount, Al Kaline and Hank Aaron had more hits than Castro through their age 24 season.
B-Game vs. Diamondbacks
Before the Cubs lost to the Athletics Tuesday afternoon, the Cubs played a B-Game at Sloan Park against the Diamondbacks.
Cubs starting lineup in B-Game: Alcantara LF, Szczur CF, Olt 3B, Ross C, Baxter 1B, Stephen Bruno 2B, Herrera SS, Rubi Silva RF, Hendricks P
Here are the highlights provided by the beat writers:
- Hendricks took a grounder back up the middle off the bat of Mark Trumbo off his right leg. Hendricks stayed in and finished the inning. Hendricks returned to the mound for the second inning.
- Diamondbacks’ left Vidal Nuno struck out the side in the first inning.
- Mike Olt made a diving stop at third base and recorded an out on Tuffy Gosewisch.
- Kyle Hendricks final line in the B-Game: 0R, 1H, 2K, 5IP
- Cubs lost the B-Game 5-1 to the Diamondbacks and there are reports that Daniel Bard had a rough outing.
- First-hand account from Arizona Phil of the B-Game between the Cubs and D-Backs.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from the Sun-Times, Travis Wood could be Joe Maddon’s first pinch-hitting option in some games. Wood is “projected to have an expanded role on Maddon’s team beyond left-handed pitcher” and the report mentioned the possibility of Wood seeing some time in the outfield. The team has not talked to Wood about playing another position. He said he would do it “in a heartbeat.”
• The Rays announced Tuesday the team is honoring Don Zimmer by retiring his No. 66 on Opening Day.
• Anthony Rizzo is not concerned about the fact he’s not hit a home run this spring. Rizzo said he’s seeing the ball well and hit several rather hard that haven’t found a hole.
• Anthony Rizzo’s third annual Cook-Off for Cancer event is scheduled for May 14 at Revel Downtown, Chicago.
• Comcast SportsNet announced its 2015 Cubs on-air/online coverage details Tuesday. CSN is broadcasting 87 Cubs game this season, the most in network history.
• Kyle Hendricks is just getting started according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• Former Cubs RHP Alberto Cabrera, who signed a minor league contract with the Tigers that included a non-roster invite to big league camp, was re-assigned to Detroit’s minor league camp Tuesday.
• According to Marc Topkin, the Rays seek fun but also some comic relief.
And last, but not least, veteran reliever Heath Bell was released by the Nationals and decided to call it a career Tuesday.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Tsuyoshi Wada
2011 – Braden Looper voluntarily retired from the Cubs
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Reed Johnson
2004 – Cubs acquired Andy Pratt and Richard Lewis from the Braves for Juan Cruz and Steve Smyth
2001 – Cubs traded Jose Nieves to the Angels for Mike Fyhrie
1980 – Neal Cotts, born
1969 – Scott Sanders, born
1962 – The Cubs announced Elvin Tappe would be the first manager of the season in the ‘College of Coaches.’
1962 – Jeff Kunkel, born
1945 – Jim Ellis, born
1941 – Pirates purchased Ripper Collins from the Cubs
1922 – Cubs purchased Marty Krug from Seattle (Pacific Coast League) for $7,500
1909 – Dutch Leonard, born
1901 – Denver Grigsby, born
1891 – Polly McLarry, born
1874 – Bill Carney, born
1868 – Frank Dwyer, born