Starlin Castro may be a little sore right now but Kris Bryant has been playing with a chip on his shoulder this spring.
Starlin Castro was a late scratch from Saturday’s lineup with right groin tightness. It’s not believed to be a serious injury and Castro is considered day-to-day.
After dealing with hamstring injuries the last two springs that basically prevented him from preparing for the season, Castro was healthy and on the field this year until Saturday. According to the Sun-Times, Castro first felt there might be an issue Thursday night in Scottsdale.
In nine Cactus League games, Starlin Castro is 6-for-26 with a double, a triple, two walks and seven strikeouts .231/.286/.385 for a .670 OPS.
Updated 11:50am CST – Starlin Castro talked to the beat writers Sunday morning and said he will be back in the lineup Tuesday. Castro indicated the injury is minor and he could play through it if this was the regular season and not Spring Training.
Kris Bryant put together his best game of the spring Saturday. Bryant’s mammoth home runs, No. 7 and 8 in the Cactus League, created the headlines but he also played a good game in the field and made strong, accurate throws from third to first base.
Unofficially Bryant has gone yard nine times in exhibition games, only eight go on his Spring Training resume. Bryant is 12-for-25 in 10 games with two doubles, eight home runs, four walks, and seven strikeouts. Even in the spring, that’s just a ridiculous .480/.552/1.520 line for a 2.072 OPS. Bryant has 38 total bases in 10 games.
Bryant admitted he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder all spring. And he thinks he still has a chance to break camp and be with the Chicago Cubs from day one of the 2015 season.
Kris Bryant felt good about his defense Saturday, but he expects to see time in the outfield soon according to the Tribune.
The Sun-Times posted a few Spring Training stats: With eight homers, Bryant has twice has many longballs as any other player this spring and he’s already hit two more home runs than any other player did last spring. Only players with more home runs in Spring Training in the last 10 years than Bryant: Ryan Howard smacked 11 in 2006 and 10 in 2009. Jake Fox hit 10 in 2011 and Michael Morse hit nine spring dingers in 2011 and 2013.
The Cubs have scheduled a second B-Game, this one will not be at Sloan Park but will take place at the organization’s old stomping grounds.
The Cubs and A’s have scheduled a scrimmage for Tuesday morning (12:00pm CDT) at the A’s new complex in Mesa. The Cubs and Athletics square off in Cactus League action on Tuesday afternoon (3:05pm CDT) at HoHoKam Park.
Starting Pitching Schedule
Carrie Muskat posted a schedule for the starting staff for the next five games.
Jason Hammel (Sunday vs. Padres), Edwin Jackson (Tuesday vs. A’s), Travis Wood (Wednesday vs. M’s), Jon Lester (Thursday vs. Angels) and Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start the B-Game on Tuesday. Monday would be Jake Arrieta’s turn through the rotation but that’s the Cubs only scheduled off day in the Cactus League.
Spring Roster Cuts
The third round of roster cuts could be the largest of the spring for the Cubs. The team has announced two rounds of cuts already and either optioned or re-assigned nine players to minor league camp: RHP C.J. Edwards, INF Christian Villanueva, C Rafael Lopez, RHP Pierce Johnson, RHP Corey Black, RHP Armando Rivero, RHP Donn Roach, LHP Hunter Cervenka and INF Logan Watkins.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Joe Maddon suggested Saturday that the last week of Cactus League games should be played at night in order to get players used to the lights and help set the routines for the regular season.
• And Maddon spent time Saturday discussing with the beat writers he thinks managers should have “walkup” music for when they go to the mound.
• Matt Szczur reportedly took batting practice Saturday. No timetable has been given on when he will return.
• Mike Olt can relate to Kris Bryant’s shoulder issues according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
• Peter Gammons reported, “John Mallee says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring. Scary good. May be best of Cubs lot right now.”
• High Heat Stats tweeted: Most recent Cubs under 25 that have hit eight or more home runs in a month: Anthony Rizzo (2013-14), Corey Patterson (2004), Sammy Sosa (1994), Ryne Sandberg (1984).
• The Mets didn’t talk about Zack Wheeler this off-season because of his elbow injury, not because he was untouchable according to Joel Sherman. And mentioned in the report is that the Cubs and Mets talked “broadly” about one of the shortstops for one of the pitchers.
• Joel Sherman checked in on the Kris Bryant debate.
• Matt Snyder previewed the Cubs.
And last, but not least, when Kris Bryant went yard for the second time Saturday, Billy Williams, yes Hall of Famer Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams, asked Rick Sutcliffe if Bryant is Roy Hobbs.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs released Jason Berken
1990 – Brett Marshall, born
1986 – Dexter Fowler, born
1985 – Cubs returned Jamie Nelson to the Brewers
1965 – Glenallen Hill, born
1960 – Matt Sinatro, born
1940 – Dick Ellsworth, born
1935 – Gene Oliver, born
1932 – Al Schroll, born
1931 – Reds purchased Cliff Heathcote off waivers from the Cubs
1928 – Paul Schramka, born