The Cubs thumped the Diamondbacks in exhibition play under the lights Thursday night at Sloan Park. Joe Maddon’s team will be in the middle of the media circus this afternoon at Glendale. The White Sox were off Thursday and have a lot of questions to answer Friday about the Adam LaRoche situation.
This afternoon’s game between the Cubs and Sox will be carried on Comcast SportsNet, first pitch is scheduled for 3:05pm CDT.
Joe Maddon said Wednesday playing time for his regulars will not be extended until the final seven to 10 days of Spring Training. Maddon started a majority of his every day players Thursday and the lineup really made Archie Bradley work, especially in the first inning.
Maddon told Jesse Sanchez he is “expecting his regulars to play two or three days in a row as it gets closer to the end of the month.”
The Cubs have 15 practice games left on the Spring Training schedule. Monday is the lone off day in the Cactus League. When the Cubs get back to work Tuesday, there will be only nine more game left in the valley. The Cubs have two games in Las Vegas against the Mets (March 31, April 1). The exhibition season wraps up Sunday, April 3 in Anaheim against the Angels.
With 17 days left in Spring Training and several roster cuts still to be made, it could be another week to 10 days before Maddon starts playing his regulars deep in games.
Ben Zobrist was supposed to start Thursday’s exhibition game against the Diamondbacks. Zobrist was in the original lineup batting third and playing second base.
Updated 10:47am CDT – Ben Zobrist said Friday morning he expects to return to the lineup on Saturday night against the Indians in Goodyear.
Javier Baez is expected to miss “at least a few days” after he jammed his left thumb sliding headfirst into first base during Wednesday’s game. Baez’s thumb was swollen Thursday.
Cubs ‘B-Game’ Info
The Cubs and Rockies played a ‘B-Game’ on Thursday in Scottsdale at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. And the numbers look good from the practice game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
Adam Warren completed three innings and allowed two runs on three hits with six strikeouts. Trevor Cahill also worked three innings. Cahill did not give up any runs, allowed two hits and struck out five batters.
Kyle Schwarber and Jason Hammel
As reported Thursday, Kyle Schwarber could become Jason Hammel’s personal catcher.
Jason Hammel threw to Schwarber for the second time in a Cactus League game Thursday. Hammel said after his outing he would “welcome it 100 percent.” Hammel likes the way Schwarber has changed his setup and noted other adjustments he made during the off-season.
According to Comcast SportsNet, Joe Maddon hasn’t talked to Hammel about Schwarber being his personal catcher yet. Hammel said he is willing to listen.
News and Notes
• RHP Rafael Soriano has decided to retire from baseball. Soriano signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays but never reported to camp due to visa issues.
• Cliff Corcoran thinks Jason Heyward will have a breakout season this year. Heyward could “emerge as a true superstar on the North Side” according to the report from Sports Illustrated. Corcoran’s other breakout players in the NL: Mike Leake (Cardinals), Arodys Vizcaino (Braves), Kolten Wong (Cardinals), and Christian Yelich (Marlins).
• Joe Maddon expects his players to police their own clubhouse according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Maddon and the Cubs’ front office do not care if the players’ kids are in the clubhouse. Maddon is thinking about getting a cockatoo for his office and he’s focused on that right now. Maddon has a meeting planned with his ‘Lead Bulls’ for Sunday to go over team policies. Maddon doesn’t like the word ‘rules’ he prefers to have team policies.
• According to Bruce Levine, the bizarre Adam LaRoche drama reverberates in the Cubs clubhouse.
• Jake Arrieta doesn’t think Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer would ever tell him that his son is not welcome in the Cubs’ clubhouse according to the Sun-Times. The Cubs had Brandon Hyde’s son, Colton, take out the lineup card for Thursday’s game against the Diamondbacks.
• The Reds signed free agent RHP Alfredo Simon to a Major League contract according to Ken Rosenthal. Simon is back with the Reds on a one-year contract. Simon received a $2 million base salary and can earn another $1.5 million through performance bonuses.
• The Indians signed OF Marlon Byrd to a minor league contract. Byrd passed his physical and will receive a $1 million salary for the season if he makes the team out of Spring Training. The Cubs should see Byrd on Saturday night in Goodyear.
And last, but not least Starlin Castro cleared the batter’s eye in Thursday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates. It was one long homer for the Yankees’ second baseman.
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
1977 – Fernando Rodney, born
1943 – Due to wartime travel restrictions, the Cubs opened Spring Training in 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.