Countdown to Cubs Cactus League Openers: 3 days
The Cubs exhibition season begins this week with a pair of games in the Valley on Thursday afternoon. The Cubs have decided not to play an Intrasquad game this year. The pitchers have not built up enough innings and with a split squad day kicking off the Cactus League schedule they decided to skip the scrimmage this year.
Joe Maddon is expected to announce his pitching rotation for the first round of games today.
The Cubs play the Athletics in Mesa and the Giants in Scottsdale on Thursday and host the Reds in a single game on Friday afternoon. The Cubs travel back to Scottsdale on Saturday to take on the Rockies at Talking Stick then wrap the first weekend of games by hosting the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie have the play-by-play on Cubs.com on Thursday and Friday. Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer, Mark Grote and Cubs Radio make their WBBM-780 debut on Saturday. Hughes and Coomer also have the call on Sunday. The first televised game isn’t until March 11.
It is photo day for the Cubs and the games cannot begin soon enough …
Baseball lost another legend Sunday with the death of Minnie Minoso. ‘Mr. White Sox’ was a true giant of the game and should have been enshrined in Cooperstown while he was still alive. It is a shame the writers and the Veterans Committee could not have made it right a long time ago.
Those not familiar with Mr. Minoso’s career take a minute and just look at his Baseball-Reference Page. Bill James has said that if Mr. Minoso would have been allowed to begin his Major League Baseball career just a few years earlier, he would have gone down as one of the 30 best players in the history of the game.
Joe Maddon lost a friend and one of his father’s favorite players. Maddon and Mr. Minoso developed a relationship and Maddon was looking forward to hanging out at Sluggers with him this summer.
Tom Ricketts issued a statement on behalf of the entire organization on the passing of Mr. Minoso.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Minnie Minoso,” said Tom Ricketts. “Having recently lost one of our all-time greats Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox. He will be forever known as an electric offensive player and great ambassador for the game of baseball.”
Bruce Miles posted a great idea of how the Cubs and White Sox could honor two legends. Miles tweeted since the teams have to play for a cup each year, it should be renamed The Banks-Minoso Cup.
Work continued throughout the weekend in Mesa as the players and coaching staff continue to prepare for the start of the spring games. The weather cooperated and several players even had a chance to hit at the newly renamed Sloan Park.
Here are the headlines from the weekend that includes the latest from the rumor mill on Cole Hamels and Welington Castillo.
- Cubs 2015 Spring Training Preview: Shortstop
- The Daily CCO: All About Respect and Cubs News from Day Seven of Camp Maddon
- Baseball America Released Updated First-Year Player Draft and International Bonus Pools
- Joe Maddon Really Likes What Arismendy Alcantara Brings to the Table
- Chicago Cubs Reportedly Valued at $1.8 Billion
- Joe Maddon, the Cubs Relievers and Reverse Splits
- The Daily CCO: Jon Lester Throws BP and Cubs News from Day Eight of Camp Maddon
- Cole Hamels Update: Phillies’ GM Doubts a Trade Will Happen
- The Daily CCO: A Positive Start to Spring Training and Cubs News from Day Nine of Camp Maddon
- Cubs’ Welington Castillo Reportedly Drawing Interest
Spring Training Notes
- Addison Russell and Kris Bryant took infield at third base Sunday.
- Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella lined up at third base Sunday and was part of the same group that featured Javier Baez at second base. According to Mark Grote, Olt and La Stella were alternating at third base during rundown drills.
- Kris Bryant has impressed Joe Maddon according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
- And according to Mark Grote, Kris Bryant stayed over Sunday and worked on his defense at third base. Bryant took extra grounders and had the field all to himself.
- RHP Daniel Bard completed a bullpen session Sunday.
- According to Carrie Muskat, pitchers that are scheduled to throw live BP on Monday, weather permitting, includes Felix Doubront, Eric Jokisch, Hector Rondon, Zac Rosscup, Drake Britton, Pedro Strop and Brian Schlitter.
- For those that missed the videos that were tweeted from Mesa on Sunday … click on this link (@TheCCO) scroll down and enjoy. And you might want to listen as well, very good contact made by Bryant, Baez and Soler.
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs are trying to copy championship blueprints from the Red Sox and Cardinals according to Patrick Mooney.
• Miguel Montero told Jesse Rogers that he cleaned out his Diamondbacks’ locker at the end of last year because he knew he would be traded in the off-season.
• For those planning to attend Spring Training, here’s a Cubs 2015 Spring Training Dining Guide from Bitesized Phoenix.
• According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are having ongoing discussions about playing Spring Training games in Cuba and possibly a season-opening series in London.
• Gordon Wittenmyer reported someone in the media room mentioned A.J. Pierzynski’s name and Joe Maddon got “riled.” Maddon apparently had a lot to say about the play in Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS when Pierzynski basically talked his way on base and changed the course of the game … and the post-season. It still gets under Maddon’s skin that the ball didn’t bounce in the dirt.
• Jim Bowden posted a report on the prospects he will be keeping an eye on during his Spring Training tour. Bowden and Casey Stern are not visiting Cubs camp.
• The Rays are looking forward to more normal baseball without Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman according to Jayson Stark.
• Jesse Rogers asked Starlin Castro five questions.
• C.J. Edwards is very excited to be in big league camp and he talked about throwing BP while getting instruction from Chris Bosio in his latest blog post on ESPN Chicago.
Chicago Cubs Online – The CCO Poll
We asked our readers how many games you guys think the Cubs will win as a team in 2015. And 668 votes were placed and have been counted.
52 percent (349) of our readers think the Cubs will win between 80-85 games this season, 33 percent (221) have the Cubs winning 86-90 games and eight percent (54) think the Cubs will win more than 90 games this year. Five percent (36) see the Cubs winning 75-59 games and one percent or eight total votes were cast by the fan base that thinks the Cubs will win fewer than 74 games this season.
And, there is a new poll up … don’t forget to vote → → → →
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Silva got into altercation in the dugout during a Spring Training game against the Brewers in Maryvale. And the embarrassment in the dugout carried onto the field with another lopsided loss.
2006 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Watson
1992 – Ryne Sandberg signed a four-year, $28.4 million extension with the Cubs, the $7.1 million average annual value was the largest salary in baseball.
1966 – Leo Gomez, born
1950 – Pete Broberg, born
1913 – Mort Cooper, born
1906 – Woody English, born
1901 – Butch Weis, born
1899 – George Stueland, born
1898 – Rip Wheeler, born
1891 – William Fischer, born