One last weekend in Arizona for the Chicago Cubs and it’s going to be a busy three days for Maddon’s men. The Cubs host the White Sox this afternoon, Jason Hammel against Jeff Samardzija, then the spring roster will be split in two one more time.
Half of the Cubs will host the Rockies on Saturday afternoon while another group of players make the trip to Goodyear to face the Reds. The Cubs last Sunday of the spring in Arizona will be spent in Surprise taking on Royals.
The Cubs wrap up Cactus League play, April 1 with a game against the Brewers at Sloan Park. And the exhibition season officially ends with two games next Friday and Saturday at Chase Field.
Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Joe Maddon and the front office have a lot of decisions to make and announce over the next eight days.
The Cubs stay in Arizona is coming to an end … Opening Night is just around the corner.
Lester threw 54 pitches, 34 strikes, over 3 2/3 innings and was reportedly sharp with better velocity than his side session Monday. Lester’s fastball hit 93 mph on the gun. Lester said he felt good but admitted after the minor league outing his curveball might not come around until May when the weather warms up.
David Ross liked what he saw Thursday. Ross thought Lester had a good fastball but he “secondary stuff was just so-so.” Ross thinks Lester will be ready for Opening Night.
Joe Maddon said he was happy with what he saw Thursday from Lester. But Lester was not happy. He was not able to make the adjustments he thought he should. Lester said he would get it right.
Lester is scheduled to make his last tune-up before Opening Night on Tuesday in another minor league game. Lester will throw between 75-80 pitches which should give him around 95 pitches in the opener.
Jon Lester wasn’t willing to talk to reporters about Opening Night, but said he would if everything goes well, as expected, Tuesday.
- Full Report from ESPN Chicago
- Full Report from Bruce Levine
- Full Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Full Report from the Sun-Times
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, OF Chris Denorfia could start playing minor league games next week. But Opening Day for Denorfia is “probably in jeopardy” according to Joe Maddon.
Denorfia is dealing with a sore left hamstring and ran at only 40 percent Thursday.
Maddon said there is no reason to rush him back because ‘hammies’ can be tricky and a player can “end up with a longer healing process.”
With Denorfia unable to start the season on the active roster, OF Ryan Sweeney, OF Matt Szczur and OF/INF Junior Lake are in the mix for the spot that was earmarked for Denorfia.
Fall Out Boy
Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Fall Out Boy will perform on-field at Wrigley as part of MLB Opening Night on April 5.
Major League Baseball today announced Chicago-born, award-winning rock band Fall Out Boy will headline MLB Opening Night’s first-ever live musical performance as part of the pre-game festivities at Wrigley Field on Sunday, April 5. Fall Out Boy will perform three songs live on-field for fans before the Chicago Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals in the first official game of the 2015 MLB season. The band’s platinum hit – “Centuries” – also will be televised live to a national audience on Baseball Tonight, airing on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT, immediately followed by the live broadcast of the Opening Night game at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT.
With Fall Out Boy’s performance taking place pre-game, batting practice for both the Cubs and Cardinals will be moved earlier by approximately 30 minutes. Gates at Wrigley Field will open at 4:35 p.m. CDT as a result.
“Wrigley Field has always been a magical place to me. In some ways I can chart milestones of my life and growing up there – from going to see Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg play, to going with the my dad to the one of the first night games they ever had there, to the first time I took the ‘EL’ there on my own for a game with my friends,” said Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy bassist. “When our band all lived in an apartment together in Roscoe Village, we used to pass out fliers for shows at the Metro after games. It has been a lifetime dream to get the chance to play at Wrigley Field. We are grateful to MLB for the opportunity and so excited to perform for our hometown crowd.”
In addition to “Centuries,” Fall Out Boy will perform its newest single – “Uma Thurman” – as well as the multiplatinum hit “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘em up).”
Fall Out Boy – who won Best Alternative Band at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards – have cemented their position as one of rock music’s biggest-selling bands. Their sixth studio album American Beauty/American Psycho debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and peaked at #1 on iTunes in more than 22 countries upon its January 20, 2015 release. The band, which will be heading out on tour this summer (Boys of Zummer with Wiz Khalifa), also has written the song “Immortals,” featured in the Oscar®-nominated Disney hit movie Big Hero 6.
Hailing from Chicago, Fall Out Boy—Patrick Stump (vocals/guitar), Wentz, Joe Trohman (guitar) and Andy Hurley (drums)—has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and has performed on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live and many more. More information can be found at www.falloutboy.com.
Maddon Tampering Charges
Marc Topkin provided an update on the tampering charges filed by the Rays against the Cubs, Alan Nero and Joe Maddon. Topkin asked Commissioner Rob Manfred about the status of the investigation Thursday.
Commissioner Manfred told Topkin the investigation is still ongoing and to expect a resolution by Opening Day.
News, Notes and Rumors
• LHP Brady Aiken announced Thursday on The Players’ Tribune that he had Tommy John surgery Wednesday. Aiken explains why he didn’t sign with the Astros last summer in this well-written, revealing article. Not long after the news hit the wire that Aiken had the surgery, Keith Law tweeted Lucas Giolito, Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde were selected in the first round of the draft and there is no reason to think that Aiken will not be drafted in the first round this June. And C.J. Nitkowski pointed to the latest from the Aiken situation making the Astros organization look even worse than it did last year.
• Brian Schlitter learned a lot last season. He’s working on a new pitch and hopes to make the team out of Spring Training again according to a report from the Tribune.
• The Cubs re-assigned OF Albert Almora and C Kyle Schwarber to minor league camp as part of the third round of spring roster cuts Thursday. Almora and Schwarber have a chance to become core players at Wrigley Field according to a report from Patrick Mooney. And Theo Epstein confirmed during Thursday’s broadcast on ESPN that Kyle Schwarber will begin the season at Double-A Tennessee.
• Joe Maddon talked to Edwin Jackson about Tuesday’s incident according to Carrie Muskat.
• Cubs make cuts, tougher ones coming according to Jesse Rogers.
• Hector Rondon answered a few questions from Twitter for ESPN Chicago.
• 3B Ian Stewart is playing his way into a valuable role for the Washington Nationals according to Bill Ladson.
• According to Hardball Talk, the Mets continue to monitor the market for left-handed relievers.
And last, but not least from Ace of MLB Stats: Starlin Castro has played 740 career games … through 740 games, Castro has a .284/.325/.410 slash line, very close to Jimmy Rollins after his first 740 career games, .271/.325/.410.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs released Ryan Roberts
2013 – Cubs selected Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Blue Jays
2012 – Cubs released Jason Jaramillo
2011 – Cubs released Carlos Silva
2004 – Cubs released Jamey Wright
2002 – Cubs traded Jose Cueto, Ryan Jorgenson, Julian Tavarez and Dontrelle Willis to the Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement.
1990 – Junior Lake, born
1983 – Cubs returned Sandy Wihtol to the Indians
1973 – Padres purchased Danny Breeden from the Cubs
1965 – Cubs purchased Bill Faul from the Tigers
1963 – Drew Hall, born
1951 – Dick Ruthven, born
1950 – Vic Harris, born
1950 – Lynn McGlothen, born
1932 – Wes Covington, born
1915 – Newt Kimball, born
1911 – Walter Stephenson, born
1905 – Johnny Gill, born
1902 – The nickname ‘Cubs’ was coined by the Chicago Daily News in an unbylined column noted that “Frank Selee will devote his strongest efforts on the team work of the new Cubs this year.” It took several years before the new nickname was fully accepted.
1882 – Bill Collins, born
1875 – George Magoon, born