Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Mark Gonzales reported Monday that Joe Maddon would like to see the Cubs’ starting staff log at least 1,000 innings this season. Chris Bosio acknowledged having five starters complete 200 innings each would be a “perfect world” scenario and would keep the young arms in the bullpen fresh.
The Cubs haven’t had a staff complete 1,000 innings since 2004 (1,007) and the report from the Tribune indicated the Rays had a starting staff total more than 1,000 innings in 2011.
Due to the development of certain pitchers, Bosio told the Tribune that he doesn’t know if the Cubs could reach the 1,000-inning plateau this season. Bosio did admit the goal is doable.
Jon Lester completed 219 2/3 innings last year. Jake Arrieta pitched a career-high 156 2/3 innings at the big league level plus another 20 innings in the minors. Kyle Hendricks recorded 80 1/3 innings with the Cubs and 102 1/3 with the I-Cubs. Jason Hammel fell 1 1/3 innings of his career high last year. Hammel pitched 176 1/3 innings. Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood are the other pitchers on the roster with a 200-innning season on his resume.
Joe Maddon is right. One thousand innings from a starting staff should be the goal, it just might not be realistic this season based on the history of the pitchers in the rotation and their projected innings increases.
Kris Bryant was back in the starting lineup Monday as the Cubs designated hitter. Bryant went 1-for-3 with a double and just missed a home run to right. The ball hit halfway up the wall and he had to settle for a double. Bryant is supposed to be the DH again Tuesday, the last time the Cubs use a designated hitter this spring.
Bryant tested his right shoulder Monday by throwing from 90 feet. He is expected to be back at third base at one of the Cubs two games on Thursday.
Once he’s ready, Bryant is supposed to see time in the outfield. The slugger said Monday he’s looking forward to playing the outfield. Bryant played the outfield in college and that’s where some in the game think he will end up defensively in the majors. Speculation continued Monday that if he moves to the outfield, he would go to right field and Jorge Soler would move to left.
The debate continued to rage Monday as to whether or not Bryant should be with the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Opening Night.
Jon Paul Morosi spoke with Theo Epstein about Kris Bryant. Epstein said, “We haven’t picked the roster yet. He’s putting on a show offensively and working hard on his defense. We’ll make a baseball decision as we always do.”
According to Peter Gammons, if Bryant is not on the Opening Day roster, the Cubs will say he needs more time to work on his defense while fine tuning “the rest of his game.” Rick Morrissey stated his case as to why Bryant should be with the Cubs from day one this year, and Bruce Miles made the points as to why the Cubs should wait.
Jon Paul Morosi had his friends at STATS do a little digging. According to STATS, a player that has led baseball in home runs during Spring Training has made the Opening Day roster of his respective team each year since 1996.
Jon Lester was not a happy camper following Monday’s start in Peoria. Lester was touched up for six earned runs on seven hits in just 3 1/3 innings. And he served up home runs to Matt Kemp and Tommy Medica.
Lester didn’t chalk up the outing to just being a spring start and said he doesn’t like getting his butt kicked.
Reports stated Lester was frustrated he could not make the in-game adjustments he needed to Monday. Lester pointed to another poor bullpen prior to his outing as one of the issues. He said everything he threw was flat and elevated and he wasn’t able to correct the issues.
Lester added that working with Welington Castillo for the first time was not the problem. Lester didn’t execute his pitches. According to Carrie Muskat, Castillo could catch Lester’s side session Wednesday.
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Daniel Bard completed another simulated game Monday. Muskat did not provide any further details.
Rick Sutcliffe was very happy for Bard after his first two simulated games. Bard was reportedly throwing strikes to lefties and righties, used all three pitches and was sitting in the 95-98 mph range on the gun.
Say Good-Bye to the Cubs Spring DH
Joe Maddon announced Monday the Cubs will not use a designated hitter in Spring Training after Tuesday’s game against the Royals. Keep in mind in an American League park, Maddon may decide to get a player extra at bats on that given day.
Maddon said beginning Wednesday, starting pitchers will begin hitting for themselves in order to prepare for at bats when the season starts on April 5.
Probable Pitchers and B-Game
The Cubs have 17 exhibition games remaining this spring, plus a B-game the Cubs added with the Angels this Thursday (1:00pm local, 3:00pm CDT) at Sloan Park. The scrimmage is open to the public.
The team posted the starting pitching rotation for the next set of games Monday.
Jason Hammel goes Tuesday against the Royals. Jake Arrieta faces the Dodgers in Glendale on Wednesday afternoon. Edwin Jackson starts against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale on Thursday night (8:40pm CDT). Kyle Hendricks will pitch the B-Game against the Angels. Based on the rotation, Travis Wood will get the ball at Camelback Ranch on Friday afternoon in the first meeting of the year with the White Sox.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs have not set a timetable for Tsuyoshi Wada to appear in a Cactus League game again. Wada left Friday’s outing in the middle of the fourth batter he faced in the first inning. Wada was scheduled to play catch Monday, but no updates were provided other than a scheduling note.
• The Phillies placed LHP Cliff Lee on the 60-day DL. Lee will try for a third time to rehab the injury but surgery appears to be the only chance Lee has to pitch again pain free. The Phillies issued a statement after Lee was placed on the DL with a left forearm strain. Lee has been shut down and sent home to rest. The Phillies and Lee will work out a rehab program and he will have his arm checked in Philadelphia to check progress.
• RHP Zack Wheeler has a completely torn UCL in his right elbow and becomes the latest starting pitcher that will require Tommy John surgery. Wheeler is getting a second opinion but he’s done for the season. The Mets knew Wheeler had elbow problems last year according to Bob Klapisch and never disclosed it. Sandy Alderson acknowledged the Mets knew something was going on with his arm and he would have to be monitored this season, but the team did not think it was the ligament in his elbow that was damaged.
• From Christopher Kamka … Most career hits by players born in the 1990’s: Starlin Castro (846), Jose Altuve (630), Mike Trout (572), Salvador Perez (431) and Bryce Harper (356).
• Jason Hammel bought a house on the North Side and according to the Tribune, he paid more than $2 million for it.
• Jim Bowden posted five moves he would like to see made soon … spoiler alert the Cubs are not mentioned, but Chase Utley, Allen Craig, Johnny Cueto, Jonathan Papelbon and Christian Yelich made his report.
And last, but not least, RHP Kyuji Fujikawa wants to prove he belongs in Major League Baseball according to Jeff Wilson.
This Day In Cubstory
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Paul Abbott
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Ed Vosberg
1988 – Cubs acquired Dave Meier and Greg Tabor from the Rangers for Ray Hayward
1984 – Ferguson Jenkins announced his retirement from baseball. Jenkins won the 1971 NL Cy Young Award and posted a career record of 284-226 with a 3.34 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 3.28 WHIP. Fergie struck out 3192 batters while walking only 997 over a 19-year career (4500 2/3 innings). During his two stints with the Cubs (1966-73, 1982-83, Jenkins was 167-132 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 3.06 FIP. Jenkins completed at least 300 innings in five different season, including four years in a row from 1968-71. Jenkins was elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1991.
1976 – Scott Downs, born
1971 – Bill Mueller, born
1952 – Jerry Tabb, born
1939 – Cubs purchased Charlie English from the Reds for $10,000
1917 – Hank Sauer, born
1899 – Charlie Root, born
1893 – Colts signed free agent Bob Caruthers
1873 – Bill Gannon, born
1860- Fred Pfeffer, born