The Cubs first on-field work out of the spring is two weeks from today (Feb. 20). Jed Hoyer is already in Mesa, along with several of the players. Hoyer told Jesse Rogers on Friday, before the Cubs avoided arbitration with Jake Arrieta, that they are expecting a bunch of players at the complex early in the week to get a head start on Spring Training.
Jesse Rogers had his annual pre-Super Bowl talk with Hoyer as the Cubs prepare for the start of Spring Training. The front office and the players are ready to get going and excited about the upcoming season.
The Cubs still have to talk about how the workload for several of the pitchers, including Arrieta, will be handled in Spring Training. The Cubs are preparing the players for a seven-month season.
Hoyer is not opposed to a six-man rotation and thinks it makes sense in certain scenarios.
“I think it can make sense. I think it’s important not to rule things out,” Hoyer said to ESPN Chicago. “If you run into a period of the season where you’re playing 21 days in a row or something like that it can be worth it. Sometimes after a rain out it makes season if there is a doubleheader that backs you up, so we’re not opposed to it.”
Javier Baez will see “a lot of time” in the outfield in Spring Training. Baez will be moved around as planned earlier in the off-season. Chris Coghlan will fit into a role. Hoyer pointed out that Coghlan has been a “big contributor” to the Cubs success and that will continue this year.
Kyle Schwarber is reporting to camp with pitchers and catchers. The front office, Joe Maddon and the coaching staff will discuss how he will be used in Spring Training. Schwarber is expected to have long days in Spring Training working as a catcher and as an outfielder.
The Cubs feel Matt Szczur can be a late-inning defensive replacement. Hoyer said they are “big fans” of Szczur.
Jed Hoyer indicated the goal “is to repeat that second-half success.” Hoyer admitted that would not be easy. As Hoyer and Theo Epstein have pointed out this off-season, the Cubs finished third in the division last year and have a lot of work to do in order to catch up to the Pirates and Cardinals.
Race To Wrigley
Cubs Launch Updated Race Course for the 11th Annual Race to Wrigley 5K Charity Run
The Cubs will host the 11th Annual Race to Wrigley Charity Run presented by ATI Physical Therapy Saturday, April 23. This year’s Race to Wrigley 5K route will feature an updated course, allowing runners to race through historic Wrigley Field.
Registration for the race is open now through Friday, April 22, at 2:00pm CDT. Participants can register at www.racetowrigley.com.
The Race to Wrigley 5K begins at 8:00am. Race participants will again see and experience the Lakeview neighborhood along the course route before entering the concourse through the Budweiser Bleacher Gate on Sheffield Avenue and crossing the finish line steps away from the Wrigley Field Marquee. The ballpark route will feature Wrigley Field tribute statues, newly painted murals and the opportunity to run through the Friendly Confines.
Proceeds from the race will benefit Cubs Charities, which provides increased access to sports opportunities and targets improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. Cubs Charities will donate proceeds from all personal fundraising to support Advocate Children’s Hospital. The top fundraising team and top overall fundraiser will receive tickets to the April 27 game against the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as be recognized during a pregame ceremony on the field. The first 100 fundraisers to raise a minimum of $500 will receive a Kyle Schwarber autographed baseball.
ATI Physical Therapy, the Official Physical Therapy Provider of the Chicago Cubs, will provide post-race massages and lead the group in a pre-race stretch.
“We are excited to introduce an updated Race to Wrigley 5K course, which will allow participants to gain more access to the ballpark than ever before,” said Cubs Charities Vice President of Development Connie Falcone in a statement. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of our race by celebrating 11 years of promoting fitness and raising money for deserving causes in our community.”
The registration fee for the 5K fun run is $40 and the chip-timed 5K is $45. Packet pick-up will be available at local Sports Authority locations. Registrants will receive details closer to the event.
Participants will receive a Cubs performance race shirt, an ATI Physical Therapy drawstring bag and one beverage (Budweiser, Bud Light or Pepsi product) courtesy of Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi at the post-race celebration. Runners also will have the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to the April 27 game at Wrigley Field.
For more information about the race, please visit www.racetowrigley.com.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Lou Piniella is back in the National League Central Division. ‘Sweet Lou’ has accepted a position with the Reds as senior advisor to baseball operations. Piniella will “consult, and spend some time with the team at Spring Training” according to Mark Sheldon. Piniella has no desire to manage again. He did want to be part of the Reds organization again. Piniella is close to Bryan Price and thinks he can help the team.
• The Cubs announced Friday that tickets for Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20 and Aug. 22 will go on sale Friday, Feb, 12 at 12:00pm CST.
• The Angels designed INF Taylor Featherston for assignment Friday. The Cubs selected Featherston in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft in a prearranged deal with the Angels. Featherston struggled last year with the Angels to the tune of a .162/.212/.247 line. Featherston was DFA’d to make room on the 40-man roster for LHP Christian Friedrich.
• FOX Sports posted a slideshow with photos of all the Spring Training parks in Arizona and Florida.
• David Schoenfield reported don’t credit tanking for the success of Cubs and Astros.
• The Rays, along with the Diamondbacks and Mets, are interested in free agent reliever RHP Tyler Clippard according to Marc Topkin. The Rays are looking for a late-inning reliever to replace the recently traded Jake McGee. Topkin said the Rays are offering Clippard “the benefits of pitching at home and Florida tax breaks.”
• The Giants are interested in a reunion with Juan Uribe according to a report from Buster Olney. Bobby Evans has talked to Uribe about “a utility role, but the salary ask has been too expensive for them.” The Indians are also interested in signing Uribe. Olney added Uribe is “said to be willing to discuss salaries at two different scales … one price to be a utility player, or a higher price to be a regular.”
• The Blue Jays Major League deal with RHP Gavin Floyd is for $1 million and includes $1 million in bonuses based on active days on the roster.
• And speaking of the Blue Jays, former Cubs’ reliever David Aardsma inked a minor league contract with the Jays that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
• The players are now 2-0 this year in arbitration cases. RHP J.J. Hoover won his arbitration case against the Reds and will receive $1.4 million for the upcoming season. The Reds wanted to pay Hoover $1.225 million.
• Zach Britton and the Orioles avoided arbitration with a $6.75 million contract. The Orioles have all their arbitration eligible players under contract. Dan Duquette reportedly is interested in signing RHP Yovani Gallardo. And the Orioles have been linked to OF Dexter Fowler.
• Three more minor leaguers were suspended Friday for drug violations. Austin Mason (Diamondbacks) and Lucas Shearrow (White Sox) received 50-game suspensions for the second positive test for a drug of abuse. Reds’ outfielder Juan Duran received an 80-game suspension without pay for testing positive to Drostanolone, Stanozolol and Nandrolone, all PEDs. Duran is on the Reds’ 40-man roster.
• Carrie Muskat answered a few questions in her latest inbox column.
This Day in Cubstory
2012 – Cubs selected Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the Athletics
2010 – Cubs signed free agent Jason Dubois
2006 – Cubs signed free agent John Ennis
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Brian Dorsett
1987 – Travis Wood, born
1949 – Richie Zisk, born
1927 – Smoky Burgess, born
1926 – Dale Long, born
1899 – Walt Huntzinger, born