The Cubs seem to be leaning toward having three catchers on the active roster when the season starts; at least that is what the team is saying publicly, according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
Joe Maddon discussed the scenario with the beat writers Tuesday and pointed out Welington Castillo would give the team insurance at catcher and provide an extra bat on the bench.
Joe Maddon has been impressed with Welington Castillo this spring and pointed out Tuesday that he has had a great camp. Maddon maintained while it’s a possibility the Cubs begin the season with three catchers it would be difficult to do even with the versatility players like Arismendy Alcantara and Tommy La Stella provide the team.
Miguel Montero and David Ross are catchers and only catchers and Welington Castillo has played one inning of one game at first base during his time in the majors.
Welington Castillo admitted to Bruce Levine that leaving the Cubs would hurt. He would like to stay with the only organization he’s ever known and help the Cubs win.
According to Bruce Levine, Phillies’ top scout Charley Kerfeld was in attendance Monday to watch Welington Castillo and the Diamondbacks are also interested in Castillo.
Joe Maddon’s Post-Game Tweet
Joe Maddon tweeted the following after Tuesday’s win over the Royals, “Have to learn to win late, and expect to win late … ZD is very important here … championships are won 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 …”
Kris Bryant continued to be the talk of Cubs camp Tuesday and that was before Scott Boras and Theo Epstein exchanged words through the press.
Bryant is expected back at third on Thursday, Friday at the latest. The Cubs plan on being cautious with Bryant and not push him for Spring Training games. Bryant said Tuesday if it was the regular season he would be able to play.
Joe Maddon admitted before the game against the Royals that he made a mistake. Bryant wasn’t scheduled to play Tuesday.
Kris Bryant said he caused the injury to his shoulder by changing his arm angle on his throws. Bryant is “focused on repeating the motion just like a pitcher would.” Bryant said he doesn’t like needles so he did not receive cortisone shot in his shoulder.
Kris Bryant-Scott Boras-Theo Epstein Reaction
Here are the links from the various outlets on the comments made by Scott Boras and Theo Epstein about Kris Bryant – and other views on the service time issue in baseball:
- Scott Boras Rips Cubs Over Kris Bryant Situation – Comcast SportsNet
- Kris Bryant and the End of the World – Rob Neyer
- Delaying Arrival of Young Baseball Talent in Majors Is Getting Old – Ken Rosenthal
- Scott Boras Rips Cubs for Plan to Start Kris Bryant in Triple-A – Sports Illustrated
- Kris Bryant’s Agent Questions Cubs’ Desire to Win – Sun-Times
Joe Maddon sang the praises of Jon Lester Tuesday for the way he talked to Welington Castillo following Monday’s start. Maddon overheard the conversation between Lester and Castillo in which Lester accepted full responsibility for his performance and told Castillo he didn’t do anything wrong. Maddon thinks Lester “probably elevated Welington so much from that conversation.”
Jon Lester tweeted Tuesday: “Doesn’t matter whether it’s ST or the regular season. These are the starts that keep us humble, hungry, and always working to improve. #NVRQT.”
Who is Maddon’s No. 2?
Joe Maddon talked about his lineup with the beat writers Tuesday and admitted he’s not sure who is going to hit in the two-hole. Maddon said Tuesday that the two-hole “remains a mystery” and he’s looking for a player to hit behind Dexter Fowler.
Anthony Rizzo has spent time batting in the two-hole this spring, something he might do in the regular season if Maddon bats the pitcher eighth. According to the Sun-Times, Rizzo has hit five times in the second spot in the lineup this spring, the most of any player on the roster.
Maddon hasn’t made a decision yet. But based on his history of daily lineup changes, whoever he decides before Opening Day could be moved by the second game of the season.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jason Hammel credited his fastball command with his improved performance Tuesday. Hammel worked extensively with his fastball in between starts and told ESPN Chicago he threw 35 fastball out of 50 pitches over four innings against the Royals.
• Keith Law picked RHP Jacob Turner as one of his breakout players for the season. Law thinks that once Turner rests for a month and goes on a rehab assignment that the adjustments Turner made with his arm slot will produce results.
• RHP Daniel Bard is scheduled to pitch in Thursday’s B-Game against the Angels.
• Dale Sveum feels for Rick Renteria according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• According to the Sun-Times, Cubs University features football and hoops experience.
• Major League Baseball is switching to online All-Star balloting only. No more stadium paper ballots.
And last, but not least, according to Buster Olney, Joe Maddon and his staff “are working hard to raise the attention to detail for all of the infielders, from Starlin Castro to Kris Bryant.” Maddon and the coaches are also working with Javier Baez “about knowing the situations, about making better decisions.” The Cubs are improving and Maddon is trying not to nag but to teach.
This Day In Cubstory
2009 – The Cubs announced No. 31 would be retired in honor of Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddox. No. 31 became the sixth number retired by the Cubs joining Ernie Banks (14), Billy Williams (26), Ron Santo (10), Ryne Sandberg (23) and Jackie Robinson (42).
1983 – Andy Sonnanstine, born
1943 – Due to wartime travel restrictions, the Cubs opened Spring Training is Lick Springs, Indiana.
1926 – Dick Littlefield, born
1916 – Hi Bithorn, born
1891 – Colts released John Tener
1874 – Jimmy Callahan, born
This Day in Baseball History
1937 – Lou Gehrig ended his holdout and signed with the Yankees for $36,000. Gehrig received a $750 signing bonus after asking for $50,000 for the season. Gehrig became the highest paid player in the game a year after he won the AL MVP.