Kris Bryant is expected to play left field in Thursday’s game against the Angels. The Cubs have not said if he will start the game or come off the bench.
Joe Maddon said Bryant is looking forward to playing the outfield. And Bryant told the beat writers he is ready for it and he is “all about versatility.” Bryant said he will do whatever it takes to help the team win games.
ESPN Chicago reported “Bryant expressed his desire to play center field” but Maddon said he would play left field Thursday. Bryant has been working on outfield drills with Dave Martinez this week. According to Jesse Rogers, the Cubs want Bryant “acclimated to the outfield in case that’s where he winds up playing when he makes his debut.”
Joe Maddon had Arismendy Alcantara and Junior Lake play positions Wednesday night in Peoria they hadn’t seen time at this spring. Alcantara moved from second base to shortstop in the seventh inning. And Lake took over at third base in the seventh when Tommy La Stella moved from third to second base.
Joe Maddon addressed the Edwin Jackson situation with the beat writers Wednesday … and Maddon is not happy with Jackson or the excuse he gave. Maddon said that Jackson is “not a good kid, he’s a great kid” and he loves the guy. But what happened Tuesday can never happen again.
Maddon pointed out that Jackson did a good job with mixing his pitches in his outings prior to Tuesday. Maddon thought Jackson was much more predictable and thinks his outing had more to do with lack of preparation than anything else.
Maddon plans to talk to Jackson about what happened.
Starlin Castro returned to the lineup Wednesday night and went 1-for-3 at the plate. Castro missed time with tightness in his right groin. Castro told the beat writers Wednesday he’s 100 percent and he’s ready to put together a strong finish to Spring Training.
Castro admitted he felt good at the plate but not in the field. Castro pointed to a lack of confidence as the reason for his poor play at shortstop. According to ESPN Chicago, Castro has been taking extra grounders and spending time working on his defense.
The goal Starlin Castro has set for himself this season is to play all 162 games and he’s looking forward to the start of the season … even without any bleachers at Wrigley Field.
A rumor made its way around the internets on Wednesday night that Wrigley Field would not be ready by Opening Night for the Cubs and Cardinals to kick off the season. And MLB asked the Cubs to come up with a solution to the problem for the first game of the year. The rumor suggested MLB asked the Cubs to talk to the White Sox about the availability of U.S. Cellular Field.
Carrie Muskat reached out to team spokesman, Julian Green, and his response to the rumor, “Even a goat would tell you this reaches an absolute new low for Wrigley rumors. All is proceeding well and we look forward to Opening Night at Wrigley Field.”
The information reported by Carrie Muskat matches what a team source told Chicago Cubs Online.
One of the starting pitchers the Cubs are expected to pursue next off-season might not be available on the free agent market. David Price and the Tigers have mutual interest in keeping the former Rays’ left-hander in Detroit for a long time … and Price told Jason Beck the Tigers have opened discussions with Price on a long-term extension.
Price said he wouldn’t even call it “groundwork.” Figures and terms of a possible extension have not been discussed. The two sides are “basically talking about concepts” or exploring the possibility of an extension.
The Tigers and Price’s agent, Bo McKinnis, met earlier in the week. And Price will stay out of any extension talks with the Tigers unless something gets close.
David Price has not given the Tigers a deadline to sign him to an extension. And the lefty would be willing to listen to the Tigers’ offers during the season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to a report from the Sun-Times, part of the Cubs tribute to Ernie Banks on Opening Night might include a cover over the incomplete bleachers dedicated to Mr. Cub.
• Jon Lester’s minor league start will take place at 10:00am Thursday morning (12:00pm CDT) on Field 1 at the Cubs complex.
• Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija are scheduled to square off Friday in Cactus League action at Sloan Park … and speaking of Samardzija, the White Sox named him the team’s Opening Day starter.
• A certain Hall of Famer that is with the Cubs in Mesa is apparently very impressed with Kris Bryant. According to Rick Sutcliffe, the HOF’er asked Bryant Tuesday after he launched another home run if he ever hits singles … then pointed out, the Cubs needs to see it he can run or not.
• According to Rick Sutcliffe, Bryant’s ninth Cactus League home run had a hang time of over six seconds.
• And speaking of prospects, Bernie Pleskoff broke down the Cubs minor leaguers that are on the cusp and could contribute at the big league level this season.
• Kris Bryant and Edwin Jackson are headed in opposite directions according to ESPN Chicago.
• Allen Craig is believed to be available in the right deal and there has been a loose connection to the Cubs. Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday that the Sox and Giants haven’t made any progress in talks for the former Cardinals’ outfielder/first baseman.
• MLB Network hired Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez … another reason to only turn the TV from the Network to watch the actual games.
• According to Jon Heyman, the Orioles are that rare spring team with too much pitching … so Heyman took a look at what Dan Duquette should do.
• First, if you like history, specifically baseball history and you’re not following @ToddRadom on Twitter, you’re missing out on some great stuff … his most recent is a must read for all Cubs fans → For Your Information, the Flags of Wrigley Field – a 1946 Guide.
And last, but not least, Pedro Strop is on Twitter … the Cubs reliever can be followed @pstrop46.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released George Kottaras
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Shawn Camp
2012 – Cubs released Trever Miller
2008 – Cubs released Alex Cintron
2004 – Cubs released Gabe Molina
1986 – Cubs released Lary Sorensen
1985 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Hector Villanueva
1984 – Cubs acquired Gary Matthews, Bobby Dernier and Porfi Altamirano from the Phillies for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.
1984 – Cubs acquired Tim Stoddard from the Athletics for a PTBNL and Stan Kyles. Cubs sent Stan Boderick to the A’s on March 31, 1984 to complete the trade.
1982 – Cubs traded a PTBNL, Paul Mirabella and cash to the Rangers for Bump Wills. The Cubs send Paul Semall to the Rangers on April 21, 1982 to complete the trade.
1982 – Cubs traded Mike Griffin to the Expos for Dan Briggs.
1979 – Jason Dubois, born
1973 – Cubs released J.C. Martin
1968 – Jose Vizcaino, born
1895 – Joe Klugmann, born
1889 – Brad Hogg, born
1889 – White Stockings purchased Andy Sommers from the Boston Beaneaters for $500.
1884 – Jimmy Lavender, born
1869 – Jack McCarthy, born